Lead story 01/18
Rhenus represents more than 100 years of logistics, understanding customers’ needs, cooperation and experience. It is important to repeatedly ask important questions and continue developing in order to prevent coming to a standstill at some stage over such a long period. Who are we? What do we represent? And: where do we want to go in terms of developments? They are questions that link past traditions and the future very closely. About 160 experienced managers and 60 international junior employees from Rhenus came together in January 2017 in order to explore these issues.
Developing the Rhenus values
Rhenus has had values to guide its actions and business at all times – but their essence had not yet been specifically worked out and defined in textual form. Employees from a very wide range of nationalities, business units and hierarchy levels developed ideas in a workshop on how they experience Rhenus on a daily basis, how they themselves leave their mark on the Rhenus culture and which values they wish to pursue with their managers. What has emerged are the five values that best describe the Rhenus Group:
understanding the requirements, offering solutions, shaping the future
give respect, nurture competence, ask for development opportunities
develop ideas, take responsibility, be successful
living out our values, keeping promises, providing security
acting with long-term goals in mind, connecting generations, remaining independent
Claus Eckmann, Head of Human Resources at Rhenus, accompanied the development of the Rhenus values, initially as a workshop leader and later as the chairperson for the complete, ongoing process. “We knew from the outset that if we wanted to define the Rhenus Group’s values, it wouldn’t be enough to just write them down. Values need to be lived out. We therefore launched a communications process to actively involve our employees. We don’t want to communicate any abstract values as a modern and forward-looking company. We want to show our employees how they can use their skills and talents to benefit our customers and the whole Rhenus Group by living out our values.”
"Our employees are our most valuable asset - their knowledge, their skills and their passion for what they do on a daily basis."
That is precisely the wish of Klemens Rethmann, the CEO of the Rhenus Group, too. “Our employees are our most valuable asset – their knowledge, their skills and their passion for what they do on a daily basis.” However, it was not enough to just publicise the values. In the end, they need to be communicated via every management level to all the business units, countries, companies and departments and become an integral part of our employees’ everyday lives. “We’ve therefore developed a workshop concept so that each manager is in a position to pass on the content from one level to another. This provides the opportunity for reflection, communication, improvements and tapping into the potential for changes within Rhenus and introducing them very specifically. This is the aspect that makes us believe that we’ll continue to develop within the company,” Claus Eckmann explains.
Customers benefit from our view of ourselves
Dr Stephan Peters, a Rhenus Board Member, emphasises the following. “In the end, everything we do in our daily work at Rhenus is focused on one thing: our customers. We’re not the only ones to appreciate the passion and commitment that is expressed in this way – our customers do too.” Klemens Rethmann adds, “In the end, the goal of the Rhenus values is to show our customers once again who we are and what we represent through actions that benefit them and measures that continue to develop Rhenus.”
"I now realise that our brand is becoming even stronger through these values - from the inside out."
The broader significance of the Rhenus values
The values are also an opportunity to improve communications regarding the Group’s compliance, in the view of Gilles Delarue, the Group Compliance Officer at Rhenus. “At Rhenus, we abide by the laws and regulations and keep the promises that we give to our customers, partners and employees. Compliance at Rhenus is directly mirrored in the five Rhenus values."
"In the end, everything we do in our daily work at Rhenus is focused on one thing: our customers. We're not the only ones to appreciate the passion and commitment that are expressed in this way - our customers do too."