As Legal Counsel in the legal department, one of my jobs is to make our employees aware of the issue of compliance. Naturally, we also want to provide them with the information required to help them adhere to the applicable rules. The basis for this is the MANN+HUMMEL Code, which comprises the Code of Conduct and the Social Charter and encompasses all the ethical, social and legal principles and guidelines for our Group (for more information: MANN+HUMMEL Code). Now, drawing up the Code is one thing; but it is another challenge entirely to communicate the contents to employees in way that they can both understand and apply. MANN+HUMMEL has therefore invested a lot of time and effort in passing on this knowledge. All employees undergo initial training followed by regular refresher sessions.
Due to the nature of their work, around 20% of our global workforce has contact with customers, suppliers and authorities. We therefore provide this group with more intensive training using an eLearning tool. Over two separate modules, we tackle the topics of corruption and competition and antitrust law. Once the participants have completed the training sessions, each lasting around 90 minutes, they must take an online test to prove they have understood the material. The multiple choice test is really quite involved; there’s absolutely no shame in failing at the first attempt. In our test there might be one correct answer or even two or three. The proposed answers also often differ only in the slightest of nuances. This means you need to understand the context; even learning the training materials off by heart wouldn’t help.
What particularly fascinates me is the high level of acceptance among my colleagues. They engage with the topics, write me emails asking for clarification or even call to discuss particular aspects of an issue in person. Some of them think two or three steps ahead and ask such specific questions that even I, a professional, refuse to give an immediate answer until I’ve checked the facts and can provide a well-founded and – above all – correct response.
Overall, we have succeeded in emphasising to our employees the great importance of compliance and making them aware of potential pitfalls. We will continue work on this, and not just because we want to underline how we as a company see ourselves, and how we want to think and act as a group in our global network. We are known to be growing and so will continue to welcome more and more new colleagues, and as we do, we will continue to set expectations and provide support in all compliance matters.