Incentives to change our thinking

Guiding principle 12

Internal industry and cross-industry competition and awards are key milestones and yardsticks which fischer uses to measure the company's performance capabilities. Comparing and measuring ourselves against other companies improves self-reflection, providing a more objective view. According to a study by the University of Hohenheim, the German Sustainability Prize is the most important sustainability award in Germany. Winning the prize is an outstanding incentive. 

The fischer group of companies was a finalist in the “Large companies” category when the German Sustainability Prize was awarded in October of 2018. Just one year later, the company was declared the winner: fischer was proud to be named “Germany's most sustainable large company for 2020”. The highly distinguished jury based its decision firstly on the way sustainability is consistently anchored in the corporate strategy, and secondly on the above-average force of innovation shown by the company, thanks to the way it involves all employees in the process of innovation.

Sustainability management topics are closely linked with the strategic goals of the fischer group of companies (see the fischer sustainability compass), and are broken down as such in the annual Hoshin planning for individual divisions. Challenges such as digitisation, Industry 4.0, and the change management required for it are seen and included as sub-projects for sustainability management. 

As a result, all managers are integrated into a comprehensive incentive system for achieving company sustainability targets. The fischer ProcessSystem (fPS) serves as a key factor in the success of the corporate group, ensuring continuous improvements in economical, ecological and social respects. It rests on the three dimensions of sustainability, and prevents waste at the source, the individual workplace.
The goal is a streamlined and flexible company that can stand up to the global challenges with the involvement of all its employees. Targeted employee development and the structures created for this purpose are the basis for ongoing improvement. All employees can apply for three-level fPS training. In addition, the fPS prize is awarded each fall, sponsored by company owner Prof. Klaus Fischer. Within this context, highly innovative performance by the inhouse improvement system are honoured – including in the special category of Sustainability since 2018. 

As an innovative company, fischer focuses on ensuring employees can make their voices heard. There must be a method for delivering good ideas to decision-makers directly and quickly. In addition, activity has to pay off. A variety of instruments has been created for this purpose: the fischer IdeaProcess (measurable suggestions for improvement from employees’ own and other work areas) and the fischer ProductProcess (product suggestions or potential areas of improvement).

In brief: An incentive system encouraging collaboration and rethinking exists, both for the group of companies as a whole and for managers and employees. 

Through many improvement measures in the previous years, the group of companies has been able to master several challenges and make a significant contribution to achieving the “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDG). Current challenges include digitisation and industry 4.0, issues that were important even before the coronavirus crisis. The fischer workforce is at the centre everything the company does in this respect. They receive support from the Klaus Fischer Training Centre, a voluntary continued training centre providing employees free access to a broad range of topics. 
The services range from seminars and presentations to general training, language courses and current office training sessions. Among other subjects, employees can choose training on the subject of “Sustainability – a term with many definitions, and what it means to us”. In addition to proven in-person training sessions, the fischer group of companies also offers various e-learning programmes – remotely and around the clock. This provides digital support to employees and ensures innovations are promoted and fostered.
In addition to employee qualification, change management is becoming more and more important in the course of digital development and in light of the challenges of industry 4.0. Major changes require managers and employees to work closely together. fischer illuminates and analyses the change process both on a factual as well as a relational level. Only when both levels are intact can teams deliver the best possible performance in change projects. For this purpose, managers and employees receive appropriate methods and tools to best support them in change projects. This ensures that the focus is always on the common goal of sustainably ensuring the future of the company, and on handling related developments collectively.