REWE Group Sustainability Report 2018

Education and Training Programmes

The labour market is constantly changing: Digitalisation is altering the work world, and demographic change has created a shortage of skilled workers. For this reason, promotion of education and training programmes is critically important to companies: By taking this approach, they can fill in gaps of expertise, train employees accordingly and address the requirements of digitalisation – while positioning themselves for the future.

To permanently integrate sustainability into its company processes, REWE Group has developed an all-encompassing sustainability strategy that is made up of four main pillars: Green Products; Energy, Climate and the Environment; Employees; and Social Involvement. Five areas of action have been defined for the pillar Employees: values and culture; training and professional growth; health and safety; job and phases of life; and diversity and equal opportunity. With its activities in the area of action training and professional growth, REWE Group is striving to attract talented employees to the company. The company is working to recruit as many skilled employees and managers from its own ranks as possible and to create a long-term relationship with qualified and motivated employees.

GRI 404: Education and Training Programmes

Management Approach

REWE Group offers about 25 different training options, in such areas as retail or wholesale, foreign trade, food production, IT, logistics and tourism. New options are continuously added, such as the trainee programme for e-commerce management assistant at toom Baumarkt DIY stores and REWE Digital, a programme that has been available since 2018. REWE Group offers a guaranteed full-time job in the company to trainees who perform strongly during the programme. In Germany and Austria (scope of application of the sustainability report), REWE Group employs a total of 8,487 trainees.

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 considering the employees’ individual requirements.

The issue of sustainability plays a role in the company’s education and training programmes; as part of courses and projects, trainees, employees and managers of REWE Group gain insights into general and specific sustainability topics.

The goal of increasing the share of internal hirings of managers to 75.0 per cent by 2022 was achieved far ahead of schedule in 2017. In 2018, the total was 78.0 per cent (2017: 79.1 per cent).

KPI Target Status
Internal hiring of managers To maintain the level of 75.0% through 2022 78.0 %

REWE Group intends to increase the training percentage or, at the least, to maintain it at the current level. In the financial year, trainees made up 5.2 per cent of the company’s workforce.

KPI Target Status
Training percentage (share of trainees in the company’s workforce measured in full time equivalents) To raise it to 5.0% by 2022 or to maintain it at the very least 5.2 %

Measures and Projects in the Areas of Training and Education

REWE Group introduces a number of measures and projects that are designed to provide additional support to the company’s training and education activities. In particular, the sales operations of individual sales lines at REWE Group are committed to hiring employees after they complete their training programmes as well as to offering them targeted advanced training opportunities and support. Preparation for assuming a managerial position in a store takes two to three years, depending on the sales line.

Systematically Preparing Trainees by Using Special Learning Concepts
As part of its training activities, REWE offers classroom instruction and extensively applies e-learning and blended-learning concepts that combine classroom and online training. Trainees are given a tablet free of charge at the beginning of their learning programme and may keep it after they have finished their programme. With this tablet – or their own smartphone – and the company’s e-learning app, the trainees can study for tests anywhere. Today, about 5,200 trainees at REWE use tablets as part of their learning programme. 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 manner that facilitates the retention of knowledge. In 2018, REWE received the HR Excellence Award for this paper chase.

In addition, the topic of sustainability is integrated into the classroom courses of training programmes as part of many projects. For instance, the project FOENAKO (Förderung von Nachhaltigkeitskompetenz für Auszubildende und das Bildungspersonal im Einzelhandel, or Promotion of Sustainability Knowledge Among Trainees and Training Personnel in Retail) was implemented in the REWE Region Central. This work was carried out in cooperation with the German Institute for Vocational Education and Training and the German Ministry of Education and Research. During a logistics camp, trainees also made 500 nesting boxes that were then distributed to environmental protection groups around the company’s logistics locations. In the Region Southwest, all REWE trainees who are focusing on wholesale and foreign trade spend 40 hours each working in charity facilities.

To improve the training programmes of PENNY, a partnership was started with Prozubi – an online learning platform for trainees in commercial occupations. Trainees can prepare for their final examinations by using a variety of quiz questions that are based on the originals contained on the exams administered by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. PENNY has also developed a learning app for its trainees and has made sustainability topics a fixed part of the training curriculum. During the financial year, a broad range of sustainability projects was carried out, including a competition among trainees that focused on biodiversty and the mass death of bees.

As part of REWE International AG’s Career Forge, trainees in Austria are offered a combine-wide training platform. This platform enhances training opportunities and exam preparations by offering special events. In addition to the combine’s philosophy, the concepts behind such store brands as “Ja! Natürlich” are discussed.

In 2012, the individual sales lines became solely responsible for trainee marketing. By taking this approach, these units can systematically recruit new trainees and meet the need for skilled employees. In summer 2018, the training campaign for REWE was redesigned. The campaign is primarily conducted in the social networks Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. In addition, job ads designed especially for trainees were placed on a number of portals. Additional attention to the job ads was generated by placing ads on Google and Facebook as well as by systematically posting banner ads. School partnerships, applicant training courses and participation in trade fairs were intensified as well. Online campaigns were also conducted on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify for PENNY. The company also cooperates with social influencers and bloggers to increase the coverage of the campaigns. toom Baumarkt DIY stores also conducted a video campaign in which trainees explained how work is done at toom Baumarkt DIY stores: Under the title “toom sucht Helden in Ausbildung” (toom is Looking for Heroes in Training), the trainees introduced themselves, their training programme and their employer in a video.

Development of Young Employees with the REWE Group Star

As part of the combine-wide competition REWE Group Star, trainees and young employees are encouraged to make sustainability a part of their lives. This way, the sustainability philosophy within the company is to be strengthened. In teams, employees work on sustainability issues that they want to advance. Subsequently, they plan specific projects and carry them out on their own. In 2018, 11 teams enthusiastically developed creative projects and submitted them to a competition among young employees. Five winning teams were named during the “German Sustainability Award” congress. The projects included the improvement of living conditions for animals in an animal shelter and the clean-up of rubbish in a river.

Trainees in all sales lines also conduct small projects on their own, take part in idea competitions and assume responsibility, for example in such areas as store management. The projects are selected in such a way that they contribute particularly to the topic of sustainability.

Supporting Scholarship Holders
In 2018, REWE Group sponsored 14 scholarship holders the Deutschlandstipendium, or Germany Scholarship, programme. The selected economics students attend the University of Cologne and the Technical University of Cologne. Through the financial support, visits 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 future.

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), the Mannheim and Ravensburg Cooperative State Universities (DHBW) 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 business informatics. During the reporting period, 128 students were enrolled in the dual training programme.

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 position held during the 18- to 24-month programme primarily involves an individual focal point. Stations in relevant interface areas are also addressed, including locations outside Germany. During the reporting period, 41 university graduates began their on-the-job training.

A trainee programme for retailers was launched in 2016. It consists of a 24-month training phase and a subsequent 12-month assignment as a store manager. The programme is designed for college graduates who want to become independent business people and have a strong interest in retailing; the goal is to become an independent REWE retailer. 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 2018, six trainees started the programme as expected, additional trainees are planned for 2019.

GRI 404-2:

Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

REWE Group systematically promotes the education and training of its employees by applying a range of concepts and programmes.

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 in stores, sales or the headquarters. In 2018, the company introduced special group-wide training courses and the Future Journey programme to mid-level managers as a way of preparing this critical target group for the future demands of the work world in terms of innovation and leadership and of more closely connecting them to one another. 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. All programmes also address the topic of sustainability on a number of different levels: reflection on and discussion about individuals’ own attitudes on the one hand, practical activity as part of excursions on the other.

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 this position.
  • REWE Markt GmbH promotes young employees on a number of different hierarchy levels in special sales and logistics programmes. With training courses offered by the Junior Campus, young retailers are assisted on their way to becoming independent business people.
  • 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 programme is available to full-time and part-time employees.
  • In 2018, toom Baumarkt DIY stores launched a modular qualification programme for the target groups junior category manager/purchaser and junior manager.
A multifaceted range of seminars is offered to all employees. This programme 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 are offered in all regions and in the different sales lines. Additional topic-specific academies for the departments of human resources, property, accounting, products and IT complement the qualification programmes. The seminars are designed with the (future) needs of the individual target group in mind and educate members of the group about a particular subject.

Systematically Training Managers

In addition to the broad range of training opportunities for all employees of REWE Group, the company provides members of mid-level and top management with special education programmes. The programme LEAD 4.0 was launched in the reporting year for members of mid-level management. It is designed to strengthen managers in their role, prepare them to face the challenges of the future and promote international networking. The seminars cover the areas of leadership, communication and new work. A trend expedition is taken as a complement to the Future Journey programme – this personnel development measure is designed to promote leadership skills and innovation.
The ambitious internal training programme myCampus provides needs-based knowledge and helps top 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 sustainability can be integrated into the company’s management and culture.

Digital Learning and Blended Learning
REWE Group is increasingly using digital-learning and blended-learning concepts. Digital learning has proven itself to be an efficient method to reach all employees and provide them with an opportunity to learn 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-digitalisation age. For this purpose, REWE Group continuously conducts pilot projects about new innovative training concepts and implements them. For example, the new blended learning course “Putting the Harvard Negotiating Principle to Practice” was developed. In 2018, 112 purchasers and category manager attended it.

The company-wide training portfolio comprises about 100 e-learning courses. Some of these courses cover legally required information, including food and personal hygiene, prevention of infection and occupational health and safety. The portfolio also includes voluntary courses for employees that cover subjects like career and succession planning. 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 pilot project regarding a new cloud-based IT platform for the sales lines REWE, PENNY and headquarters departments in Cologne and the regions was conducted. The “Learning” module was rolled out step by step in 2017 and 2018. Separate e-learning platforms are available for toom Baumarkt DIY stores, DER Touristik and in Austria.

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

Overview of Participants as well as Online Courses and Classroom Training in 2018

Completed online courses Completed classroom courses
REWE and PENNY 829,012 35,674
toom Baumarkt DIY stores 65,457 No information

Sustainability Training
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 specific 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. All employees of REWE stores can use an e-learning tool and learn about sustainability. The tool was redesigned in 2018 and received the eLearning Award in the Gamification category in 2019. At REWE Austria, all new employees in headquarters departments and all trainees receive regular training about sustainability. Managers, too, can obtain information about current trends and developments in many different event formats.

Transition Assistance
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. In addition, REWE Group provides its employees with a partial retirement programme that eases their transition from the work world.

GRI 404-3:

Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews

Systematic career and succession planning (CSP) is a key part of company-wide talent management at REWE Group. The aim of CSP is to enable the company’s own skilled workers and managers to expand their bases of knowledge: High-potential employees are to be recognised at an early stage and a long-term relationship with qualified employees is to be promoted. To meet these goals, regular performance and job-potential assessments, job-potential conferences and individual professional-development dialogues are conducted in the sales lines and company headquarters.

In each sales line and 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. This appraisal and the employee’s own self-assessment are then discussed during so-called potential conferences held by management. During these potential conferences, managers on a particular hierarchical level or in a particular segment/department discuss employees whom they directly supervise. The aim is to develop joint standards for judging performance and potential, set up targeted and effective development planning and 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 with employees 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 2018, the CSP process was conducted for 17,721 employees and managers, from top executives to sales and logistics managers.

In 2015 and 2016, planning and implementation of a cloud-based IT platform were initiated for the sales lines REWE, PENNY, toom Baumarkt DIY stores and headquarters departments as well as all top executives throughout the company. The rollout began in October 2018 following a comprehensive pilot project with about 1,100 managers that was conducted at the beginning of 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.

Further topics in this area:


GRI 401

Labour/Management Relations

GRI 402

Occupational Safety and Health Management

GRI 403

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

GRI 405


GRI 406