REWE Group Sustainability Report 2017

Training and Education

GRI 404: Training and EducationManagement Approach

Positioning REWE Group as an attractive employer in order to recruit talented individuals is an important goal of the company. The demographic shift and the shortage of skilled employees arising from this trend have turned this goal into an even higher priority. The company is working to recruit as many skilled employees and executives from its own ranks as possible and to create a long-term relationship with qualified and motivated employees.


REWE Group offers about 20 different training options, such as retail or wholesale and foreign trade, food production, IT, logistics and also in the tourism industry. New training options are continuously added, such as e-commerce management assistant at toom Baumarkt DIY stores and REWE Digital, which has been available since 2018. In Germany and Austria (scope of application of the sustainability report), REWE Group employs a total of 5,992 trainees.

Learning concepts for trainees

As part of its training activities, the company offers classroom instruction and extensively applies e-learning and blended-learning concepts that combine classroom and online training. With this special learning concept, REWE Markt GmbH, for example, especially focuses on promoting the professional development of its trainees who receive a free tablet computer at the beginning of their apprenticeship that they can keep after completing the programme. With this tablet computer – or their own smartphone – and the company’s e-learning app, the trainees can study for tests anywhere. All merchandise knowledge subjects are digitised and available via the app. Using tablets and the Beacon technology also allows a digital “paper chase” in supermarkets, which teaches product and process knowledge in a modern and sustainable manner. The subject of sustainability has also been integrated into the classroom training with many projects dealing with sustainability topics.

To improve the training programmes of PENNY, a partnership was started with Prozubi – an online learning platform for trainees in commercial occupations. As a result, PENNY’s trainees can prepare for their final exams with the help of a large number of quiz questions based on original tests administered by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK). A learning app was also introduced for PENNY trainees, sustainability subjects have been integrated into the trainee seminars and an idea competition on the topic of food waste was organised.

Karriereschmiede from REWE International AG offers trainees in Austria a cross-company training platform. It supplements the learning offerings with special events. An example of this is the annual personality seminar in Ramsau am Dachstein. In addition to the Group philosophy, the concepts behind store brands such as “Ja! Natürlich” and the PRO PLANET label are taught in combination with the subject of sustainability. When they have completed their vocational training, employees have an option of a further 2-year training course to become a manager. For this purpose, there is a wide range of advanced training programmes – such as the BILLA Master Class, the MERKUR Young Generation programme, the BIPA YoungStars career programme or the Frische Campus from ADEG and AGM.

Dual Study Programme with REWE Group

In addition to traditional trainee occupations, REWE Group gives people an opportunity to take part in a college-level programme that combines theory and practice. It conducts this programme in conjunction with such institutions of higher education as the European University of Applied Sciences (EUFH), the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW), the University of Applied Sciences for Business (FHDW) and the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. The courses of study focus in particular on the areas of trade, tourism and event management as well as information systems. During the reporting period 138 dual students were enrolled, 53 of whom started in 2017.

Trainee Programme as an Entry-Level Opportunity for University Graduates

The trainee programmes of REWE Group provide university graduates who have studied a broad range of topics with interesting and multifaceted career-launching positions. The work performed during the 18-month to 24-month training programme generally focuses on the particular job area. Assignments in relevant interface areas are also involved, including those abroad. During the reporting period, 45 university graduates began their on-the-job training.

A trainee programme for independent retailers was launched in 2016. It consists of a 24-month training phase and a subsequent 12-month assignment as a store manager. The goal is to become an independent REWE retailer. The programme is aimed at university graduates who want to be self-employed and have a strong interest in trade. The training includes specific job assignments in a number of different stores. It also involves work with the field sales forces as well as in the respective regional headquarters and the company’s main office in Cologne. In 2017, 5 trainees started and a further 5 are planned for 2018.

Development of Young Employees at REWE Group

The association REWE-Nachwuchsförderung e.V. began to conduct the sustainability competition “REWE Group Star” in 2013: In a combine-wide team competition, trainees and young employees can jointly plan and carry out sustainability projects based on one of the company’s four pillars of sustainability. In doing so, they gain an understanding of the importance of sustainability in trade.

The finals of the REWE Group Star, including the recognition of the top projects, are held as part of a ceremony honouring the best work. During the annual ceremony, the best trainees of a training class throughout the company (all trainees including dual programme students and graduates of programmes to develop young employees) are honoured by their trainers and members of the Management Board during a major event that includes an evening programme. All trainees who complete their programme with a grade of at least 1.9 (upper second-class or 2:1) are invited to the ceremony. In 2017, a total of 293 trainees and 102 graduates of programmes to develop young employees were honoured.

In 2012, the individual strategic business units became solely responsible for trainee marketing. These units can systematically recruit new trainees and cover the need for skilled employees. For instance, in 2017 the employer campaigns for employees in the sales lines were intensified. Most of these campaigns take place on social media and in job networks, such as Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and the job portal Wachado. The company also cooperates with social influencers and bloggers to increase the coverage of the campaigns.

In 2017, REWE Group sponsored twelve scholarship holders via the Deutschlandstipendium. The selected business sciences students are from the University of Cologne and the Technical University of Cologne. Through the financial support and also excursions to production facilities and warehouse locations as well as regular support meetings, the scholarship holders get to know REWE Group as an attractive company for a potential career in the future.

GRI 404-2: Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

Programmes that Support the Continued Employability of Employees

REWE Group provides all employees and managers with a broad range of internal education and training programmes that are designed to help these individuals to grow in both personal and professional terms. The challenge of this work is to design the training courses in such a way that they meet the sale lines’ broad range of needs while also considering the employee’s individual requirements.

Personnel Development Programmes

As part of systematic personnel development activities, every sales line offers programmes aimed at particular target groups. These courses teach valuable skills to employees who work in sales or logistics or have administrative positions or prepare them for future jobs or roles as managers, store managers or store-management employees. With its Management Academy, REWE Group provides programmatic and individual support to high potential candidates working on the management level below the top executive group. The courses offered by the Management Academy also address the topic of sustainability on a number of different levels: Reflection and discussion about an individual’s own attitude in the introductory programme and practical activities during excursions.

More examples of human resources development programmes:

  • On the store level, PENNY employs a management development programme for its discount business known by the German acronym FeDi to develop and promote prospective and new store managers. It also trains them in professional and personal terms for the position of store manager. The company also offers targeted programmes to prepare employees and managers to assume specific positions.
  • REWE Markt GmbH promotes young talent in special programmes for sales and logistics, while the Junior Campus programme is designed to help participants become self-employed.
  • Trainers are offered “train the trainer” programmes certified by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce as well as regular trainer workshops.
  • The B.Factory – the career plan at BIPA – trains professional beauty consultants and make-up artists. Shop managers are also prepared for a career in management. The offerings are available for full time and part time employees. 


A multifaceted range of seminars is also offered to all employees. This program is centrally managed by a learning centre for REWE Group, REWE Markt GmbH, PENNY, toom Baumarkt DIY stores and all other companies in Cologne. Regional seminars and specific training programmes are offered in all regions and in the different sales lines. The qualification offerings are complemented by supplemental topic-specific academies for particular company areas. These seminars are designed with the (future) needs of the particular target group in mind, including the Human Resources Academy with a specific course programme for (prospective) HR employees.

In addition to the broad range of training opportunities for all employees of REWE Group, the company provides executives with special education programmes like myCampus. This ambitious internal training programme provides needs-based knowledge and helps managers network outside their own companies. myCampus focuses on classroom training, presentations and coaching to develop managers’ skills. Managers also attend a seminar called “Sustainability 2.0” where they have an opportunity to discuss how the value of sustainability can be integrated into the company’s management and culture.

Other Educational Opportunities

In addition to the existing education programmes, new innovative training concepts are continuously piloted and implemented, such as “Lunch & Learn”, a programme for Cologne headquarters departments in which interested parties can take part in specialist presentation and discussions about various topics during their lunch break. REWE Markt GmbH offers training courses and coaching sessions in cooperation with seminar actors or boot camps whose content is based on attendees’ needs or is developed in advance by the participants themselves.

Digital Learning

REWE Group is increasingly employing digital learning and blended-learning concepts because digital learning has proven to be an efficient way to reach all employees and gives employees of some business units the opportunity to study at home. With blended learning, a combination of classroom seminars and digital courses, knowledge is retained for a longer period of time and the practical transfer is facilitated by repetition and follow-up work. Furthermore, significantly more training can be offered on the store level than was provided during the pre-digitalization age.

The training portfolio includes about 70 e-learning units, some of which are required by law. It covers such topics as food and personal hygiene as well as voluntary courses that include career and successor planning for employees. The objective of the e-learning courses is to teach practical knowledge, occasionally by taking a playful approach. The appealing and interactively prepared training units are designed to support and educate employees through the use of an intuitive learning format.

During the reporting period, a new cloud-based IT platform for the strategic business units of REWE, PENNY and headquarters departments in Cologne and the regions was piloted. The “Learning” module will be rolled out successively in 2017 and 2018. Separate e-learning platforms are available for toom Baumarkt DIY stores, DER Touristik and in Austria. About 100 e-learning courses are currently being offered throughout the company.

The innovative training concepts have received several awards over the past years. In 2017, the “Beacon” concept received the Human Resources Excellence Award in the area of Knowledge Management – Learning & Development.

Overview of participants and online courses 2017:

Number of trainees (rounded) Completed online courses
REWE 100,000 423,937
PENNY 27,000 82,045
toom Baumarkt DIY stores 14,500 23,076

Sustainability Training

All employees of REWE stores and toom Baumärkte DIY stores take e-learning courses on sustainability. In addition, all purchasers at REWE Far East and in the non-food area receive training in relevant sustainability issues, including the Code of Conduct of the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (amfori BSCI). Other courses address raw materials, an area about which REWE Group has prepared guidelines. These raw materials include fish, palm oil and soybeans. In addition, the training focuses on special issues that apply to REWE Group, such as ways to avoid environmentally harmful chemicals. In REWE Austria, all new employees from the headquarters departments and all trainees are trained in sustainability topics at regular intervals. Managers can obtain information about current trends and developments in many different event formats.

Programmes for Redundancies

For employees whom REWE Group declares redundant, the company works with employee representatives to develop a redundancy programme when necessary. Such programmes frequently include qualification activities for the employee that are designed to help him or her find another position.

GRI 404-3: Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews

With its systematic career and succession planning (CSP), REWE Group ensures that the right employees are at the right place at the right time. It is a key aspect of company-wide talent management. The career and succession planning process is designed to recruit skilled workers and managers from the company’s own ranks, to identify high-potential employees at an early stage, to create a long-term relationship with qualified and motivated employees and to develop these individuals’ skills.

To meet these goals, regular performance and job-potential assessments, job-potential conferences and professional-development dialogues are conducted in the strategic business units and in company headquarters.

In each strategic business unit as well as in the headquarters, the CSP process begins with a review of the responsibilities contained in the job description. A manager will evaluate the performance of an employee on the basis of task fulfilment and abilities from the REWE Group skill model. In addition, a job-potential evaluation is conducted and future professional-growth measures are agreed upon. This appraisal and the employee’s own self-assessment are then discussed during so-called potential conferences held by management.

During the potential conferences, managers on a particular hierarchical level or in a determined segment/department discuss employees whom they directly supervise. The aim is to develop joint standards for judging performance and potential, to set up targeted and effective development planning and to create the basis for systematic succession planning. The potential conferences for top executives and for managers on the levels directly below them are held annually. Potential conferences for other managerial and employee levels can be held every two years.

The subsequent annual development meeting ensures that feedback about work results, aspects of the working relationship and questions about personal and professional growth are discussed, documented and systematically addressed. The immediate supervisor conducts the confidential development meeting with each of his or her employees once a year.
In 2017, the CSP process was conducted for 20,151 employees, from top executives to sales and logistics managers.

In addition, in 2015 and 2016, the planning and implementation of a cloud-based IT platform were initiated for the strategic business units REWE and PENNY, for headquarters departments in Cologne as well as for all top executives throughout the company. The pilot phase for the module was in 2017 and the rollout is planned for autumn 2018. With the Talent Suite, work on the topic of integrated talent management (ITM) is being intensified and processes related to recruiting, learning and talent management linked. The goal is to simplify the search for talented individuals, internal hiring and the professional growth of employees.

The goal of increasing the share of internal hirings of managers from 75.0 to 77.3 per cent by 2022 was already achieved in 2017. In 2017, the total was 79.7 per cent (2016: 77.3 per cent; 2015: 76.2 per cent). Furthermore, a goal was defined to keep the share of management positions filled by women at 47.9 per cent until 2022. This goal was also achieved in 2017, when 48.6 per cent of management positions were filled by women.

More topics:

GRI 401


GRI 402

Labor/Management Relations

GRI 403

Occupational Health and Safety

GRI 405

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

GRI 406