14. Employment Rights

The company reports on how it complies with nationally and internationally recognised standards relating to employee rights as well as on how it fosters staff involvement in the company and in sustainability management, what goals it has set itself in this regard, what results it has achieved thus far and where it sees risks.

The Bank plans to achieve the objectives set out in the business strategy by a need-based recruitment of employees, continuous personnel development and a high employee retention rate. An appreciative consideration of employee interests as specified in international standards as well as constructive and targeted information provision and involvement of employees is the goal of this concept.
Furthermore, OLB still pursues the objective of creating the framework conditions and work environment that enable equal opportunities and a diversity in the company. This is associated with the aim of ensuring and pushing access to further education for all employees (also on topics like health management and digitalization), so as to overcome the challenges of demographic change. These objectives all have the same priority. The Bank attaches special importance on an appreciative and cooperative treatment of employees as part of the company culture, and as the basis for the sustainable success of the company. The concepts all have a long-term orientation, are agreed with the management and verified for effectiveness on a regular basis. That is done, in particular, in the context of the (annual) alignment of the Bank’s business strategy. A HR strategy taking into account all employee matters is planned until the end of 2023.
The Bank uses different measures and instruments which can only be successful in an environment of mutual respect, open communication and trusting cooperation. One essential measure in the year 2020 was the first-time realization of the annual performance assessment for employees, which included an employee discussion. One essential content of such assessment is an exchange about future fields of learning and development and about individual measures. A trusting cooperation also includes the compliance with rules and standards which have evolved from statutory, industry-wide, intra-company and individual agreements. Regular meetings of employee representatives and Board members ensure a trusting cooperation and a continuous communication. The success of this concept is revealed, inter alia, in a high average period of employment in the company and a high rate of vacancies that can be filled by internal personnel.
The Bank exclusively operates business locations in Germany and is exclusively active within Germany as regards employee matters. OLB complies with all legal provisions and standards applicable in Germany. That relates, in particular to work conditions, the rights of employees, health protection and occupational safety and the rights of unions. The Bank is very active in all of these areas. The vast majority of its employees is employed on the basis of collective bargaining agreements which provide for, in particular, the remuneration, working hours, their claim to vacation and the general working conditions.
OLB maintains a constructive and trusting cooperation with the bodies representing its employees. The Board of Directors, the departments of Human Resources and Communication and the Work Council all advocate employee rights. Employee’s rights of co-determination arising from the Works Constitution Act and other legal standards are being complied with. Employee representation bodies are involved in the plans for all essential corporate changes at an early stage.
The participation of employees in sustainability management is based on established communication standards. Such a participation in the Bank’s sustainability management can be promoted best by using digital options of employee participation. This includes the comment function available on the intranet or a direct information about contacts, since this allows employee to disclose and determine their opinion and needs (e.g. on topics such as diversity). Even events in which the Board of Directors take part, or meetings of departments and sales employees with specialist Board members or meetings on a group or department level contribute to an open dialogue within the company. The Bank requests and promotes an active feedback and participation of employees through information events which the Board of Directors initiatives, in case of need, for employees in all business regions. Employees are not promoted in any other way to participate in the sustainability management.
The Bank was able to determine that it achieved its objectives regarding the compliance with laws and regulations on working conditions, rights of employees for health protection and occupational safety. No date has been set yet by which the objectives in terms of cultural aspects such as good cooperation or appreciative conduct are to be achieved, since these are objectives for which no measure of achievability can be determined. The Bank may only include and assess indications for an achievement of such objectives (e.g. staff fluctuation, term of service in the company).
The achievement of the Bank’s targets in the year 2020 was also characterised by the Corona pandemic and associated with changes in the communication and cooperation with and among staff members. OLB’s crisis unit discussed the risks of the pandemic for employees from the beginning of the crisis. It provided timely and targeted reports about decisions taken by the Bank and the effects on the working conditions of employees. Employee representatives were integrated in the crisis unit at any time.
The increasing spatial separation of the workplaces due to employees working from home and the further flexibilization of their working hours and workplaces caused challenges in communication. A more digital communication, supported by the introduction of e.g. video conference systems or MS Teams as communication medium ensures that options are available for communication, without the need for employees to be present in the branch offices. Such were widely used. New provisions for occupational health and risk analysis regarding infection protection will be included in the Bank’s occupational safety system. The concepts will be verified and adapted in coordination between personnel and Board of Directors when they assess whether the objectives have been fulfilled (e.g. when determining the share of women in leadership positions or by assessing negotiations in executive bodies, for approving the reconciliation of interests or social plans).
The Bank permanently analyses the achievement of its targets and the risk and does so, in particular, when it determines business objectives while analysing their impact on employees matters. It determines both the risks arising from its business activity (e.g. consulting and sale of bank products), from business relationships (e.g. bank clients such as private clients, corporate clients or private banking clients) and from our services (e.g. financing advice, insurances or investment types). The operational losses / risks found systemically in the past (e.g. due to court decisions or damage arising from consulting) provide indications for future risk classifications for certain measures. No essential risks can be found which might have serious negative effects on employee matters. The interests of employees will continuously be taken into account in the course of merger processes and the use of synergy effects for an increase in efficiency.