Human Rights and Labor:

Strength through Diversity

Diverse teams drive innovation at Freudenberg. The best solutions and innovations occur when employees contribute their varied experience, knowledge and skills to a collaboration. Employees provide new ideas, generate imaginative solutions and create innovative products. Freudenberg employees all have a common foundation: entrepreneurship in their mindset and actions. This spirit unites them around the world.

0 Staff

were employed by Freudenberg as of December 31, 2021 (previous year: 47,777 employees)

Freudenberg Group employees by region.

Attractive Employer

Strengthening the Employer Brand

In the year under review, internal and external communication of the 2017 employer promise continued. The goal was to reach specific target groups and ensure that Freudenberg appealed to the right talent in sufficient numbers in the future. The activities led to both a steep rise in the number of followers on social networks – especially on LinkedIn, WeChat and Facebook – and in the number of visitors to the redesigned Freudenberg career website.

Examples of Awards

In 2021, the Freudenberg Group once again won various awards for successful human resource work. Examples include: For the tenth time in a row, a Freudenberg company, Chem-Trend of Michigan, USA, was named one of the 150 Top Employers in the Region. In the rating published by the Detroit Free Press newspaper, Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies in Detroit, USA, was named “Top Work Place 2021” for the fourth time in succession.

Attractiveness

Freudenberg provides numerous benefits that are being continuously expanded to attract new and retain existing employees. The benefits tend to vary from region to region and site to site, but are usually more generous than the minimum legal requirements in the relevant country.

As part of the Talent Management program, Freudenberg supports numerous continuing education programs at all hierarchical levels (see "Personnel Development"). Freudenberg also considers the maintenance of a good work-life balance as important in helping to ensure and improve employee health and well-being, especially during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of an occupational health management program, the Group provides the best possible medical support and sponsors numerous sport and fitness programs.

Talent Management

The goal of the talent management process is holistic and focuses on professional personnel development as well as the successful identification and advancement of potential future executives. In the process, employees receive balanced and calibrated feedback from their superiors. They also discuss their next development steps with them. As part of talent management, succession candidates are systematically identified for expert and leadership functions, to ensure the long-term stability of the leadership team. In 2021, the development of talent across Business Groups was established to a greater degree. Regional and functional talent conferences in particular are leading to a shared recognition of the key positions and high-potential employees in the organization. Another result is the joint responsibility for nurturing talent and making the best possible staffing decisions.

In September 2021, the recruiting process was rolled out in Freudenberg’s global employee information system. All open positions at Freudenberg have been posted using the system and thus are visible. Freudenberg is making it possible for its employees to actively become involved in their ongoing development and take it into their own hands. Supervisors support their staffs in this process.

Employment Ratios (As of December 31, 2021)

The employee counts on this page come from the Group’s internal HR system. They deviate from the employee statistics based on IFRS since employees from some companies are considered differently. Newly acquired companies are an example of this.

  • There are country-specific assumptions and regulations for part-time work.

  • Direct employees are directly involved in the production of products and the provision of services.

Recruiting

All open positions at Freudenberg are posted on the new recruiting platform for external candidates as well, and every effort is made to create a positive candidate experience. The introduction of the electronic recruiting platform in 2021 was also the impetus for reworking the career sites on the Freudenberg website.

One of the greatest challenges during the year under review was filling open positions in direct as well as indirect areas. In all, Freudenberg was able to recruit 6,833 employees. The focus of the recruiting activities was on Europe and North America, and in manufacturing.

New Hires

1,587

in North America

1,261

in Asia

1,819

in Europe excluding Germany

866

in South/Central America

1,250

in Germany

50

in Africa/Australia

0 employees

were hired in total

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity is anchored in the Group’s Values and Principles and is clearly positioned in the brand. Freudenberg is convinced that teams with people of various ages and genders and with diverse cultural backgrounds are more successful. In 2021, people from 136 nations worked together. An international working group is devising specific measures to further strengthen activities as part of an inclusive working environment, while serving as a sounding board and multiplier. The goal of various initiatives is to create a working environment in which every person feels appreciated, respected and heard.

A balanced gender distribution is particularly worth pursuing, with a focus on the hiring process, early identification of female talent as well as the targeted career promotion of women into top executive positions. The trend here continues to be positive. The share of female expert staff and executives remained stable at 32 percent, and the share of females in middle management was roughly 22 percent.

In 2021, racial diversity in the United States was another focus, and a number of measures were identified. One was for Freudenberg to support various institutions and programs that are especially devoted to the support of minorities. Many other measures were approved as well.  For example, by year’s end 2021, a “Learning Path for Diversity and Inclusion,” with various training modules was made available to employees.

Freudenberg does not exclusively think of diversity in terms of gender, age or religion. It plans to pay more attention to geographic diversity. Many of the country’s experts and managers are located in Germany. In the medium term, the Group would like to work on developing strong local and regional leadership, both in manufacturing and administration. The goal is to balance knowhow and expert knowledge across all regions. Accordingly, Project Balance was launched in 2021. Its goal is to create the framework for strengthening local talent and succession planning for senior management positions in Asia and North America. 

Diversity

Freudenberg regards diversity as more than gender, age, and religion. In the future, it will put more emphasis on geographic diversity.

136

Freudenberg employees come from 136 countries

60

There are Freudenberg facilities in 60 countries

32 %

Female professionals and managers

Personnel Development

In 2021, development programs were adapted to the new conditions with the help of virtual learning. This made it possible for Freudenberg to maintain training and continuing education. As a result, knowledge relating to strategic issues, such as digitalization, customer orientation and e-mobility, could continue to be taught. 

Once again in 2021, more than 500 employees from all regions participated in Group-wide manager development programs. A special focus was on the newly designed manager program for the manufacturing field.

The Freudenberg Training Center is also engaged socially. Since 2016, a technical internship has been offered as part of the donor-funded project, “Training for Refugees.”

Manager Development

A newly designed program for managers in the manufacturing field.

0 Participants

in programs from all regions

The Freudenberg Training Center is also engaged socially. Since 2016, a technical internship has been offered as part of the donor-funded project, “Training for Refugees.”

Training at Freudenberg

In 2021, 91 people (previous year: 120) began training programs (German only) at Freudenberg companies in Germany. A total of 366 persons in Germany and 482 worldwide were in a training program as of December 31, 2021. In 2021, 69 new trainees began their training at Freudenberg in Weinheim, 34 from Freudenberg and 35 from outside companies. The quality of the training at Freudenberg is highly regarded by other companies. This is shown by the fact that well-respected companies in the region have repeatedly sent their young talent to be trained at Freudenberg in Weinheim. The training ranges from two-year technical programs to commercial courses and even work-study at a university. The Freudenberg Training Center is also engaged socially. Since 2016, as part of the donation-funded project “Training for Refugees,” a technical internship has been offered, raising the prospect of training at Freudenberg. So far, a total of 53 refugees have accepted the offer, and 30 of them were able to begin their training at Freudenberg. Out of that number, 12 graduated and were able to find jobs, six at Freudenberg and six at outside companies. Eight refugees were added from the preparatory internship in 2020/2021, and Freudenberg enabled them to take part in vocational training to become machine and facility operators.

Training

0 Trainees

at Freudenberg worldwide as of December 31, 2021

0 Trainees

at Freudenberg in Germany as of December 31, 2021

The UN Global Compact Progress Report 2021 by Freudenberg

This is how Freudenberg applies the United Nations Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals.