Achieving the Group’s strategic and financial targets is largely dependent on its employees and on their skills and commitment. Increasing complexity and a fast-moving competitive environment are leading to a growing demand for skilled employees and executives. HUGO BOSS therefore strives for continuing to strengthen its position in the international competition for the most qualified employees. To increase its attractiveness as an employer, in addition to a fair and value-based corporate culture, the Company is also working primarily to create opportunities for individual development and a variety of offers to make it easier to combine work and family life.
The central department Human Resources is responsible for personnel strategy and personnel management across the Group. It remains in close contact with the managers of the central departments and with the HR departments and managers of the Group companies. The Managing Board is kept regularly informed of the progress of the personnel work and is involved in all significant decisions.
Further increasing its attractiveness as an employer is an important target in the personnel work at HUGO BOSS. The Company wants to strengthen its position in the international competition for highly qualified workers and to increase motivation, commitment and loyalty among its approximately 13,800 employees.
For HUGO BOSS, systematically training and developing its employees and supporting the combination of work and family life are among its top strategic personnel management priorities. Employees
HUGO BOSS offers its employees a variety of opportunities for individual development. Structured training programs, such as the Employee Development Program (EDP) and the Leadership Development Program (LDP), are designed to support employees in ways that are appropriate to their abilities, to broaden their knowledge and to strengthen their skills, for example with a view to pursuing a management career. The development programs already in practice in Germany and at selected international locations were temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDP is currently being revised, with the aim of potentially establishing it in all Group companies together with the LDP. Moreover, employees have access to a broad selection of face-to-face and online live training along with e-learning courses on social, professional and management skills via the Group-wide “HUGO BOSS University” platform. At the Group’s own production and logistics sites, face-to-face training sessions and workplace orientations are an integral part of the onboarding process for industrial staff. While the availability of online live training and e-learning continued to grow in importance in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, face-to-face training could only be conducted to a limited extent.
In 2020, HUGO BOSS successfully completed the introduction of the “Performance & Development Dialog” (PDD) to support the creation of individual development opportunities on the process and system side. With the help of an online tool, the PDD aims to bring about further improvements in areas such as performance evaluation, assessment of potential and development planning, initially at the Group’s headquarters in Metzingen and in selected European locations. In this way, HUGO BOSS intends to create greater transparency within the Group, particularly with regard to possible cross-departmental and transnational development paths, to get the best out of employees and create a sense of loyalty to the Company among talented workers for as long as possible. The PDD will be available to all administrative staff from 2021 onwards. In addition, the first pilot projects have already taken place in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with employees of the Group’s own retail business.
To increase its attractiveness as an employer, HUGO BOSS also supports its employees in combining work and family life. A multitude of flexible working models, such as individual part-time arrangements, trust-based working hours or working from home, are designed to further increase motivation and commitment among employees. The majority of the Group’s employees already benefit from flexible working hours and possible part-time arrangements. For example, employees in the own production site in Izmir (Turkey) are able to take accrued overtime hours as time off within two months or make use of alternative part-time arrangement options. Working from home is now available to almost all administrative staff in the Company. In 2020, HUGO BOSS also introduced the hybrid “Threedom of Work” concept, which initially applies to administrative staff in Germany. The concept provides for three days of attendance at the Company’s headquarter in Metzingen from Tuesday to Thursday. Employees can choose their place of work on the other two days. This model is the Company’s response to the increasing desire of employees for flexibility in terms of where and when they work. At the same time, it reflects the Company’s positive experiences with the home office concept during the pandemic. HUGO BOSS is one of the first companies in the fashion industry to make the permanent expansion of mobile working standard. The Company is working to establish comparable models in other Group companies in the future.
HUGO BOSS is also involved in the collaboration “Success Factor Family” to strengthen family-friendliness across Germany. The Company already offers a broad variety of family-friendly options to its employees. For example, young families at the Metzingen site have access to places in the local daycare center and holiday care programs. In 2019, construction work also began on a Company-owned daycare center there, which is planned to open in 2022. HUGO BOSS also established virtual training courses in 2020, specifically aimed at strengthening the mental and social health of employees during the pandemic, including a seminar on “Home Office with Kids”. At international sites too, the Company promotes the combination of professional and private life. For example, employees in the United States and Canada have free access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers independent advice on matters such as childcare and caring for family members. In addition, employees there have the choice of spending part of their personal gross income on external care and support services through flexible spending accounts (FSAs).
The attractiveness of HUGO BOSS as an employer was also awarded several prizes in 2020. In the annual survey conducted by the Trendence and Universum institutes, the Company was once again among the top 100 most attractive employers in Germany among relevant target groups. In the study “Working in Fashion 2020” conducted by the German industry magazine Textilwirtschaft, HUGO BOSS took third place, retaining its place from the prior year. The Company scored particularly well in the categories of working internationally and salary levels. In fact, the Company ranked second in both categories.
HUGO BOSS determines the satisfaction and the needs of its employees as part of an employee survey conducted annually in cooperation with Great Place to Work® Germany. The knowledge gained provides the Company with an important stimulus for the further development of its personnel work and the corporate culture. With a Group-wide participation rate of 70%, overall satisfaction increased to 72% in 2020 (2019: Overall satisfaction of 70% with a participation rate of 66%). At HUGO BOSS AG, overall satisfaction rose to 82% (2019: 76%). Compared with the prior year, more employees stated that they were proud of what they had accomplished together and that they were convinced that their work would make an important contribution to society. HUGO BOSS has set itself the target of raising overall satisfaction across the Group to 75% by 2025.
As a responsible employer, HUGO BOSS attaches great importance to the health of its employees. In general, the Company has taken comprehensive measures to ensure the occupational health of its workforce. The Health and Safety Commitment published on the Company’s website emphasizes how much of a priority the matter is for the Company. The commitment derives from the HUGO BOSS Code of Conduct and supplements the rules set therein.
Responsibility for occupational health at HUGO BOSS is taken locally. Clear responsibilities are defined in administration as well as in the Group’s own retail, production and logistics facilities. The responsible employees report regularly to the management of the respective Group companies, which is in close contact with the Managing Board.
The goal of HUGO BOSS is to protect the health of its employees as comprehensively as possible. High health and safety standards play a significant part in achieving this goal. In 2020, this topic has become even more important in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. HUGO BOSS implemented comprehensive measures at an early stage of the pandemic to protect its employees from any potential infection as effectively as possible, which also allowed to maintain its business operations. The following section will look at these measures in detail.
At the end of January 2020 already, HUGO BOSS set up an interdisciplinary coronavirus crisis team for the Metzingen site and surrounding logistics locations, which closely monitors the course of the pandemic and comprehensively coordinates all measures taken by the Group to protect its employees. In addition to decision-makers from various departments, the team also includes members of the Works Council and medical professionals. Important decisions and measures have been closely coordinated with the Managing Board at all times and regularly communicated to employees, for example via email. This includes both concrete measures for the safe interaction of employees with one another and general information, for example regarding official travel warnings or current quarantine regulations. Appropriate protective measures and important rules of conduct have also been summarized in an internal policy, which has been made available to all employees.
Almost all administrative staff has been able to work from home. Wherever this was not possible for operational reasons, appropriate precautions were taken, for example for employees in the Group’s own retail, production and logistics facilities. The measures implemented to create a safe working environment include restrictions to the number of staff permitted on site and shift models, ensuring minimum safe distances and the provision of appropriate fresh air ventilation, disinfectant and protective masks, as well as technical protective measures such as the installation of plexiglass walls. In the course of the pandemic, an obligation to wear a face mask was also introduced on the premises of the Company’s headquarters in Metzingen as well as in the surrounding logistics sites. Similar schemes are also in place at the Company’s other international locations.