Employee development

GRI 404

As a forward-looking company, Fresenius invests in the future of its employees. We take a targeted approach to promoting outstanding talent and in so doing ensure the long-term success of our Group and increase our innovation potential. We create individual development opportunities for the professional success of our individual employees, which is reflected in our wide range of training and further education programs. By having this in place, we also ensure that our workforce remains agile and innovative. Our four business segments focus on digital and innovative working methods to achieve this. By investing in digitalization within its human resources strategy, Fresenius can keep meeting new requirements and stay competitive.

Our approach

We offer our employees the opportunity to develop professionally in a dynamic international environment. Our four business segments use different concepts and measures for personnel development – depending on their own customer and market structure. They constantly adapt their approach to current trends and requirements. In addition to Group-wide mandatory training courses on the respective Codes of Conduct, there are mandatory training courses on quality management, environmental management and occupational health and safety in the business segments. Digitalization is also playing an increasingly important role in the daily work done by our employees, as we explain in the chapter Digitalization and innovation. Segment-specific talent management and individual further training offerings for employees and managers are our other personnel development measures.

Vocational training

Vocational training is very important to us. That is why we offer applicants many opportunities to start their career pathway in our company. In 2020, more than 5,900 young people were doing dual vocational training and/or dual study at our locations in Germany. Across the Group, we offered more than 46 posts requiring formal training and 25 dual degree programs. For the first time, the study programs or majors Management in Medicine, medical Technology Management and Business Informatics, Data Science were offered in cooperation with the Technical University of Central Hesse and Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University), respectively. The classic direct entry route aside, Fresenius also offers graduates trainee programs for further professional orientation.

In Germany, the welcome seminars for new trainees and dual students took place in August 2020 in hybrid form due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The training courses and seminars were held in both virtual and classroom form. The in-house lessons held during the training period were also quickly converted to virtual or digital formats due to the IT equipment available to the trainees and dual students. In the case of the commercial and IT training occupations, the trainees and dual students were able to continue supporting the departments from their home offices. In addition, the training department maintained contact with the trainees and dual students who were learning from home or working in the home office due to the online classes offered by the vocational schools and dual universities by holding regular virtual meetings. This ensured good support for trainees and dual students throughout - despite the distance.

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Trainees and training ratio for Germany
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Trainees1 5,985 4,952 4,354 4,019 3,743
Training ratio 6.18 5.44 4.94 4.64 4.45
1 Includes vocational training and university students
Fresenius Training Catalog

The Fresenius Training Catalog lists all of the training opportunities available to our employees. This includes programs for communication and presentation, self-management and project management, as well as specific learning content depending on the job profile of the target group of employees.

Fresenius Learning Center

In addition to the training catalog, we offer training courses in the Fresenius Learning Center (FLC) learning management system. Depending on the subject, these training programs consist of one or more modules. Most of these involve some e-learning – for example webinars – as well as classroom training; reading materials are also offered to different target groups. Employees in Germany who do not have their own computer or laptop, or who do not have a quiet work environment, can take the training courses they need at specially set up learning locations. The Fresenius Helios and Fresenius Vamed business segments also offer needs-based e-learning and document the training activities in their own learning management systems. In 2020, new or iterative training modules on compliance-specific topics, basic data protection regulations and information security also became available worldwide in the FLC (with the exception of the United States).

Leadership development
Leadership development in the Fresenius Group

We have set up two Group-wide programs for our executives. Working together with the Harvard Business School, we focus on the concept of “Maximizing Leadership Impact” among holders of top management positions in order to increase their effectiveness. In a leadership program that targets middle to upper management and is run in conjunction with the University of St. Gallen, we focus on strategy implementation and change management. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected these programs this year, 2021 will see us restructuring the training, meaning that part of each program will take place virtually.

Fresenius Medical Care

Regarding the development of our compensation systems, the Management Board decided on the implementation of a new global leadership bonus plan in 2020. According to this plan, all senior executives are given a comparable mix of global, business-specific, and individual objectives. The aim is to improve the consistency, alignment, and fairness of our senior leadership targets and ensure recognition. The plan will be implemented in 2021.

Fresenius Helios

In the future, Fresenius Helios would like to provide more support to executives in the form of specialist and non-specialist training courses. To achieve this, the business segment has been building up a management academy since the second half of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the academy's courses are being offered as e-learning modules.

Fresenius Kabi

Leadership development at Fresenius Kabi has the aim of training and developing high performers and talents according to their individual requirements. Their performance should contribute to successfully executing the corporate strategy and to achieving the company’s growth targets. This is why Fresenius Kabi identifies talents, retains them within the company, and develops them further. The development of employees to executives requires continuous learning and a clear focus on the company values of Fresenius Kabi.

Fresenius Vamed

The courses and training offered by the Vamed Academy provide employees with extensive opportunities for professional and personal training and development. Ongoing development through a demand-oriented training offering as well as targeted personnel development measures are an important focus area of Fresenius Vamed's human resources management.

Fresenius Medical Care

Fresenius Medical Care attaches great importance to its employees’ development. The company's goal is to support its managers’ and employees’ personal growth and their efforts to help others grow. Fresenius Medical Care approaches learning and development from three angles: (1) Provide the digital and non-digital infrastructure to foster learning and development. All employees around the world participate in formalized or mandatory training via existing learning platforms that support offline and online learning. (2) Enhance the attractiveness of learning and development by increasing the opportunities to learn and improving the learning experience. In addition to existing platforms, around 25,000 employees started using the company's new digital platforms with knowledge and training resources in 2020. (3) Ensure that the company's executives are prepared and equipped to provide ongoing development support. In 2020, Fresenius Medical Care also introduced a digital platform to foster the dialog between managers and their teams on the topics of development and performance management. More than 1,500 managers have already started using this platform.

Fresenius Medical Care identifies and promotes outstanding talent on an ongoing basis and invests in building a sustainable talent pipeline for the company's top 400 positions and beyond. The different programs for leadership development are based on regional requirements but with a focus on principles that apply globally. For example, since 2014, over 5,000 managers have completed the regional leadership development program in North America.

Fresenius Kabi

Fresenius Kabi has global, regional, and local structures for training and developing employees. Employees are trained and qualified according to their functions and tasks. Mandatory global trainings for employees are carried out internally. This includes, among other areas, training on the Code of Conduct.

All employees who are directly involved in manufacturing, testing and distribution of our products, as well as employees who work in a supporting role (e.g., technical maintenance, IT) receive mandatory training on job-related good manufacturing, control, and distribution practice as well as occupational health and safety and environmental protection.

In addition, occupational health and safety and environmental and energy management training is conducted at all certified sites. Further training supplements this and serves to support the introduction, further development and improvement of the corresponding management systems and measures.

As part of talent management, postings to other countries are also used to promote professional and personal development. Postings include both, long- and short-term postings, which also contribute to meeting specific staffing needs. In addition, Fresenius Kabi supports the development of digital competencies, for example, in connection with making work more flexible, such as mobile work by its employees, through new training programs.

Organization and responsibilities

Due to the decentralized structure of Fresenius Kabi, training is mainly managed decentrally, which enables Fresenius Kabi to provide training opportunities quickly and according to the respective requirements. The personnel development measures are evaluated by the responsible organizations within Fresenius Kabi. Feedback from employees and executives is also taken into account for continuous improvement of professional development measures.

Fresenius Helios

Imparting knowledge and developing its employees both form part of Fresenius Helios' self-image. All human resources training and development activities help the business segment achieve its four strategic business objectives: to offer the best service, to be a leader in medicine, to do sustainable business and to expand on its market position. These will enable Fresenius Helios to further improve with regard to medical quality and to position itself as an attractive employer at the same time. Training budgets as well as regular employee and development discussions are therefore firmly anchored in Fresenius Helios' corporate culture.

However, Fresenius Helios has also been faced with increased competition in the human resources sector, partly due to new regulatory requirements in line with the lower thresholds for nursing. In the last two years, the demand for skilled workers has continued to increase, especially in the nursing sector. For this reason, Fresenius Helios intends to acquire a large proportion of the necessary nursing personnel through in-company training at its 32 training centers in the future. The business segment is also tackling the continuing challenge that the shortage of skilled workers in the medical sector represents. One example is the structured talent pools of senior doctors that we are building.

All professional groups at the hospital can learn, train and further develop their expertise at the Helios Academy and at the Fresenius Helios training centers in Germany, to develop professional and personal competencies or learn about their own health and prevention in this area. In addition, Fresenius Helios offers its employees trainee and assistant programs and builds up competence profiles for hospital management. In Spain, Fresenius Helios is using development plans in its work to provide targeted support to its employees. Furthermore, the training program Talent Beats was designed to help nursing students make the transition from university to the professional environment.

Fresenius Helios now uses digital work tools across the board in all areas of education, training and further education. Learning content is organized using what is known as the Helios knowledge account – a digital education management system – as well as earning scenarios implemented via e-learning and online seminars. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Fresenius Helios has been promoting the development of digital formats more than ever before.

In 2020, Fresenius Helios managed to implement all development programs as planned. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more digital events took place, e.g., virtual selection of personnel and development procedures in the Assessment or Development Center.

Organization and responsibilities

In 2020, Fresenius Helios merged the two departments Digital Knowledge Media and Academy/Talent Management under the new Central Service Recruitment and Development.

Policies and regulations

In 2019 and 2020, Fresenius Helios in Germany developed a new vision/mission. Due to the COVID-19-pandemic, the roll out was postponed to the first quarter of 2021, instead of late 2020. The Fresenius Helios Leadership Code also contains important guidelines for the management of employees. Company and Group agreements contain specifications for the training of employees and/or managers.

Fresenius Vamed

The expertise and project experience of its employees plays an important role in the success of Fresenius Vamed due to the heterogeneous nature of its activities in the high-end service business, overall operations management, and project management. It is therefore extremely important for the business segment to promote their further development in a targeted manner. Key for Fresenius Vamed's personnel management are individually adapted personnel development measures and a comprehensive, needs-oriented training offering, which is very diverse in nature due to the complex structure of the business segment. As part of its strategic personnel planning, Fresenius Vamed identifies young employees with particular potential and promotes their individual development. This is done via trainee programs and in the VAMED Human Capital Management Program (HCM Program). It prepares employees with potential to take on leadership and specialist roles.

Fresenius Vamed is increasingly using digital elements such as e-learning to design new training offerings. Employees can access a pool of knowledge via various knowledge platforms. In addition, Fresenius Vamed also has the option of developing and rolling out micro learnings independently. These short training modules are preferably used online, and have enabled fast and up-to-date precise training and education on applicable COVID-19 regulations, particularly in the area of hygiene. Fresenius Vamed has also digitalized essential and mandatory training and further education activities. The same applies for the monitoring of success.

All employees are free to use their own Fresenius Vamed Academy. Their courses and training not only cover specific professional issues, but also topics such as personal development and leadership, interpersonal skills and methodological expertise. Various knowledge platforms, such as the International Medical Board (IMB), also pool the know-how of about 1,200 health care professionals working for Fresenius Vamed. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the content of the program has not changed significantly, with only a number of courses and events being digitalized and some classroom seminars postponed to later dates.

Organization and responsibilities

Fresenius Vamed's Human Resources management team, together with the responsible business segments and the Management Board, develop and implement measures to promote and train employees and new talents.

The ambitions of our business segments

Our business segments promote the development of employees according to segment-specific ambitions. Fresenius Helios for example has set itself the goal of rolling out the Helios knowledge account. In the future, Fresenius Helios aims to improve the service for its employees and managers via digitalized work processes that will streamline processes in Human Resources Management and create better reporting opportunities. The objectives for training and further education at Fresenius Vamed are determined in the context of the Vamed strategy and brought in line with ESG and sustainability targets.

Progress and measures 2020

Development of training programs and digital training opportunities

The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted development and training offerings at Fresenius, requiring us to move numerous training activities into the digital space.

Fresenius Medical Care

In 2020, Fresenius Medical Care introduced a digital platform to foster the dialog between managers and their teams on the topics of development and performance management.

Fresenius Kabi

The Code of Conduct learning module was supplemented by a chapter on human rights in 2020. This training module is expected to be rolled out at the beginning of 2021. Compulsory data protection and information security training introduced at the end of 2018, was repeated in 2020. Furthermore, anti-corruption training was created and rolled-out in 2020. In 2020, mandatory online modules were also expanded in the industrial area. Fresenius Kabi documented training activities in more than 50 countries with more than 27,000 people trained in 2020 in internal learning management systems.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global quality management department in cooperation with the occupational safety and environmental protection department, created online training on the background, behavior and preventive measures related to the pandemic in various languages in 2020.

Fresenius Helios

During the COVID-19 pandemic, digital learning scenarios have become more significant than ever before. The Helios knowledge account, the Helios Lernbar, and digital learning media have been of benefit to Fresenius Helios.

In 2020, Fresenius Helios' professional training courses and further education focused on patient-centered communication as well as on in-classroom, simulation and online training on COVID-19. The aim in early 2020 was to prepare hospital staff for an expected pandemic and to train specialist staff who had not worked in intensive care units before, for possible deployment there. Online courses on basic, advanced and expert knowledge of the Corona virus were developed, among other things. In addition, there was psychological training, such as awareness and self-protection in a crisis, as well as courses and communication training for crisis situations.

In 2020, Helios Germany continued its trainer education for the Patient-Centered Communication project on a limited scale. The aim of the project is to train employees in the clinics on communication in difficult situations, e.g., with patients and relatives.

In the reporting year, Helios Germany's digital infrastructure in the human resources area enabled it to rapidly roll out its training as digital educational offerings. This included, among other things, the training of nursing staff and medical staff for pandemic-related deployment in the intensive care units.

In 2020, Helios Spain introduced a Corporate Talent Plan for talented employees. This plan encompasses a talent pool for internal exchange, as well as training activities. The aim is to identify future leaders as well as key talents in the company, tailor an individual talent plan to their needs, career aspirations and the company's strategy, and thus strengthen the individual's commitment to their work. The first step is to conduct 360-degree feedback interviews with the selected individuals, after which the individual development plan is determined based on the evaluations. One focus of the training activities in this program is on emotional intelligence, which we value as an important attribute for our talents, especially in the hospital environment. Training is conducted both internally and in collaboration with such institutions as IESE, Business School of the Spanish University of Navarra.

Fresenius Vamed

In 2020, the business segment introduced the new VAMED Leadership Program for the targeted development of executives. This is made up of different components that are offered on a needs-based and tailor-made basis. The program is designed in close cooperation with representatives of university training institutes, such as the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. Furthermore, individual e-learning modules (e.g. labor law) and micro learning units were developed and rolled out independently as digital training options.

Development program: nursing department assistants

In order to be able to fill vacancies in the nursing department segment independently of the external labor market, Fresenius Helios introduced the nursing department assistant development program in Germany in 2020. It is structured in the same way as the Hospital Management assistant program.

Fresenius Helios: Knowledge target and knowledge account

The Helios knowledge account is a digital education management system. It enables Fresenius Helios to respond accordingly if the demand for digital learning, further education and training formats increases.

Thanks to the annual Helios knowledge goal, all employees of Fresenius Helios in Germany are able to continue their training on specific health topics via online training. In the year under review, two areas provided the main focus. The first area – Strong for the future – saw employees learning how Fresenius Helios can offer the best medical quality in the long term – for example by means of an improved care structure or by setting up centers. The business segment relied on comparable data from its clinics to do this. The second area – Focus on patients – saw employees of Fresenius Helios seeing things from a patients’ perspective. They found out what the business segment has already done to improve the quality of patient contact – and what other plans are in place.


GRI 404-1
Fresenius Medical Care

More than 25,000 employees used the new digital platform with knowledge and training resources in 2020. In 2020, Fresenius Medical Care also introduced a digital platform to foster the dialog between managers and their teams on the topics of development and performance management.

Fresenius Kabi

For training of employees in production1 on quality management an average of 20 hours was spent per employee in 2020. In 2019, a strong basis concerning our training of employees on quality management was set. In 2020, we continued with our training measures and ensured training of all respective employees.

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Average hours of training per year per employee in production1 regarding quality
2020 2019
Production (training hours/average) 20.06 25.07
Number of employees included in the calculation (FTE) 21,800 22,000
1 The production area comprises the following employee groups: operations / manufacturing, quality control, quality assurance, maintenance/technical support and warehouse.

The company uses an annual talent review for a dialogue on performance, competencies, and development potential for upper management levels. This talent review is the basis for identifying, evaluating, and developing executives and talents in all of Fresenius Kabi’s regions, divisions, and central functions worldwide. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the talent review process was suspended in 2020. Further, the process has been conceptually revised in 2020. The adapted talent review is intended for roll out in 2021 to strengthen the dialog between employees and their superiors and the individual development planning. The global process shall be IT-based for a better user experience.

Fresenius Helios

Fresenius Helios utilizes annual feedback meetings to discuss topics relating to training and education. Additionally, the central service for the German locations, analyzes how effective its digital offerings and programs are for employees. It carries out qualitative evaluations and reviews the usage statistics collected, results of outcome measurements (e.g., filling vacancies after development programs) and participation rates.

In 2020, Fresenius Helios recorded significantly higher use of online conference tools and digital learning platforms in both Germany and Spain. Fresenius Helios is currently developing a training portfolio management in Germany, the aim of which is to evaluate and market employee training and further education options and services more effectively – internally and externally. At the same time, it needs to objectively evaluate the performance of the respective offerings.

Fresenius Vamed

Fresenius Vamed continually assesses its own vocational training and development programs; if necessary, the business segment develops and implements adaptation or improvement measures.

The following data is evidence of the long-term success of the programs: Fresenius Vamed's HCM program, which has been in place since 2004, has produced about 130 graduates to date. More than 70% of them have now taken their next career steps.

In addition, Fresenius Vamed's Human Resources Division evaluates the utilization rate of digital programs and services – for example, from within e-learning or webinars. Further, Fresenius Vamed continually optimizes its human resources development processes in the direction of digitalization.

Working conditions, recruitment and employee participation

Occupational health and safety