Development and Prospects
One of the basic principles for our People & Organizational Development is “we make people successful.” In our dynamic, constantly changing market, our employees have to take responsibility both for their work and for their personal development. We are convinced that their motivation and determination to succeed depends on their ability to see and pursue individual prospects for themselves. Individual employees’ knowledge also grows our organizational knowledge as a whole. For example, keeping up with the state of the art protects our technology lead in the areas of information security and software development, while professional customer care enhances customer satisfaction.
We therefore invest in wide-ranging learning and development measures and ensure our employees grow in line with the functions they perform. Activities here are based on their individual “development journeys”; these are agreed during annual staff performance reviews and their implementation is then checked over the course of the year.
Among other things, staff development plans include acquiring skills needed to perform forthcoming tasks, suitable on-the-job or off-the-job measures, and employees’ personal development wishes and preferences. This reinforces employees’ readiness to take responsibility for themselves and willingness to learn, and ensures they can acquire new skills at every stage of their development. Our proactive feedback culture and 360-degree feedback process supports continuous learning and development. A large proportion of the workforce has the opportunity to take part in these performance reviews using a structured, systematic process and to obtain additional feedback themselves. The results of the annual performance reviews are collated centrally by Corporate People & Organizational Development (POD). In addition, managers in the independently run companies in particular hold individual development reviews with employees.
The success of learning measures is benchmarked using a mix of satisfaction with development opportunities, measuring our “return on education,” evaluating how measures have been implemented at the individual employee level during the next performance review, and cost control metrics.
Our central training portal, 1&1 Campus, bundles internal training and e-learning offerings, giving staff quick and easy access to development opportunities within the organization. 1&1 Campus offers employees from all areas of the organization a wide range of training options in the areas of methodologies, soft skills, and professional knowledge. We assess all courses for participant satisfaction and recommendation rates to ensure we are continually improving our offering. These KPIs suggest they are of an extremely high quality. In addition to the courses offered by People & Organizational Development, the range also includes training designed for segment-specific customer care units, plus seminars taken from our technical training catalog, our TEC Campus, and our Online Marketing Campus – training offerings by and for employees.
Our technical staff have extremely specific, in-depth knowledge. Our goal is to promote information sharing and joint learning, which is why we have expanded our 1&1 Campus to include a platform offering training in tools, processes, and methodologies, along with e-learning material and presentations by staff for staff. The TEC Campus focuses on specialist technical training and presentations, including development practices, developer onboarding, and agile methodologies. This allows topics such as information security and business process management to reach a broader target audience. The TEC Campus also hosts internal conferences such as the TEC DAY or the PASK (Project/Agile/Scrum/Kanban) conference.
Talent management (MyWay+, Navigate, and Women explore)
We use our talent management programs for proactive personal development. Individual development plans are aligned with the target positions concerned (e.g., professional development for experts and managers in the case of “MyWay+”). Partly as a result of these measures, we were able to fill 73.65% of management positions internally in 2020 (2019: 70.19%; 2018: 65%).
The “Navigate” program is designed to retain highly motivated high fliers within the Company early on and develop their entrepreneurial mindset and skills, powers of reflection, and ability to give and take feedback from a very early stage.
“Women explore” gives high-performing women the opportunity to increase their visibility within the Company, to network with one another, and to actively examine their strengths and their career and networking strategies.
“Human Resources’ ‘Women explore’ program has made an inspiring contribution to growing exceptional talent within United Internet – as well as creating a promising way of strengthening our Company by appointing more female managers. It is a great privilege and pleasure to be able to assist in the program as a role model. I am consistently inspired by my female colleagues’ impressive personalities and considerable potential, and I also benefit personally from every exchange with them.”
Simone Hoefer, Head of Portal Platform Services, 1&1 Mail & Media Development & Technology GmbH
New intranet pages that were launched in 2020 give an attractive and comprehensive overview of the large number of (continuing) professional development opportunities on offer. This provides all staff quick and easy access to all relevant information relating to human resources development and learning. We consistently incorporated feedback from our internal customers when redesigning the pages.
Function-specific Development Measures for Customer Care
Our strong customer focus means we rely on skilled employees to provide a professional service. In keeping with this, we regularly train both our (internal) employees and staff at our (external) service providers on our products and services, and on sales methods. The more our employees know, the more confident and self-reliant they will be in dealing with customers, guaranteeing high-quality customer care.
To ensure we meet this commitment to quality from the first customer contact onwards, we overhauled the training given to new call center agents in the “Learning Paths” project and put the focus on practically based content. In addition, we developed and implemented a number of different workshops and short training courses as part of the sales and quality campaigns we launched in 2020, so as to enhance external staff members’ communications skills and sales performance.
A final core action item in the fiscal year was to digitalize our training and further education offerings. Key training modules were successively converted to webinar format, and a growing number of e-learning modules produced, in order to continue guaranteeing the quality of our training operations. In 2020, we completed the rollout of our learning goals matrix – a way of structuring and implementing coaching and on-the-job training situations particularly easily and efficiently – for our (external) service providers. The launch of the “Verint QM” project saw the first milestones on the road towards uniform coaching documentation using a tool offering call listening and significant evaluation functionality.
Customer care staff who serve as consultants for our retail and business customer applications have to have substantial technical expertise. And since the technologies involved are changing rapidly, they also need to keep up with the state of the art. Our training courses therefore focus not just on customer communication and sales training, but also on product and process expertise.
In 2020, we introduced our new “STEP” employee development program – the "Strive Towards Excellence Program." We use this to support colleagues’ development in Operations Customer Care, from onboarding training down to opportunities to become personal consultants, future trainers, and managers. The new, modular program supplements classroom training with e-learning courses and dynamic videos. The mixed training methods make things more interesting for our team colleagues and motivate them to work together more actively with 1&1 Campus (our learning platform). In addition, e-learning can be used as refresher courses following training.
One performance promise made by our IONOS brand is that a personal contact will be available to provide direct support for customers. In line with this, our training offering also focuses on continuous professional development for our personal consultants.
We will continue our learning journey in 2021. We are going to update our 1&1 Campus to make it easier to offer training courses and short workshops by employees for employees, and to ensure that our success story can continue by providing access to knowledge.
We are moving to centrally document the training offerings available in the individual areas, so as to make them available to a broader target group and further enhance their quality. The goal is to be able to use this central list to report more fully on the volume and types of training offered. The following table shows the figures for training and education recorded for the last three years.
Training and education hours(1)
Training and education hours per year (employees)
Per capita training and education hours (employees)(3)
Training and education hours per year (service providers)
(1) Data collection was significantly expanded and optimized in 2018. In addition, the figures also reflect combinations with other companies. The hours for employees of our service providers vary, e.g., depending on whether new service providers are currently being deployed or new products being offered, thus necessitating time-consuming basic or product training.
(2) The year-on-year increase in training hours for our employees is due to the introduction of enterprise-wide e-learning courses (e.g., on the GDPR and information security). Since not all these e-learning courses are offered every year, the figures will fluctuate over time.
(3) The information for 2018 relates to United Internet Group employees in Germany: 7,567; from 2019 onwards it relates to all United Internet Group employees: 2019: 9,374; 2020: 9,638.
In addition, our employees attended a total of over 480 external training courses, seminars, and conferences of varying lengths during the reporting period. The decline in external training courses is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant that hardly any face-to-face events could be held.
United Internet is able to recruit top performers to key positions and hence ensure that the Company can grow its business despite the extremely competitive market for IT specialists, among other profiles. Our successful recruitment strategy is based on an applicant-friendly, competitive acquisition and selection process, flanked by targeted employer marketing, partnerships with education and training providers, and our brands’ halo effect.
As a growing company, we offer our staff secure jobs, exciting projects, personalized training opportunities, and attractive prospects. Our motto in this area – Design your Career – puts this promise in a nutshell. It says that each and every employee can have a hand in growing their own development, which can largely be tailored to their personal situation.
Initial vocational training has a high priority for United Internet. We train future staff and give young people a successful start to their careers. At present, we offer apprenticeships for the following commercial and technical career profiles: computer science specialists (application development/ systems integration), IT systems management specialists, dialog marketing specialists, marketing communications specialists, office management specialists, and digital and print media designers. In addition, United Internet and Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) offer degrees in computer sciences; business information systems; law, tax and business/accounting & financial control; business administration/marketing management; and business administration/digital business management at the university’s locations in Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, and Mannheim.
All program participants work in a wide range of different departments within the organization during their three-year apprenticeship or DHBW degree. They are fully integrated with the teams and day-to-day workflows during their time there. Our apprentice workshops at our Karlsruhe and Montabaur locations are particularly successful. These are mainly used by technical apprentices, who spend an early part of their vocational training here to learn the basic skills that they will need later on when seconded to different departments within the organization. In addition to teaching specialist skills and methodologies, United Internet puts a priority during training on behavior that is in line with its system of values. Technical know-how, methodological expertise, and living the Company’s values are the basis for a successful transition to the working world once apprentices are qualified and ensure they are excellently positioned to take on permanent positions. In June 2020, United Internet was awarded a “Best Place to Learn” accolade.
As of December 31, 2020, there were 225 (2019: 227; 2018: 239) young people in apprenticeships or studying throughout the Group. In fiscal year 2020, 45 (2019: 48; 2018: 58) freshly-qualified apprentices and students who had completed dual studies degree with us were offered permanent positions.
We work together with universities and colleges to attract fresh talent at an early stage. We have developed a variety of trainee programs for a dual degree course (in cooperation with the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW)) or to help fresh graduates find their feet in our corporate environment.
United Internet is currently sponsoring three students at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich as part of the “Deutschlandstipendium” system, in which companies and the German government share the cost of scholarships equally. Students not only receive financial aid but are also mentored by colleagues in our departments.
We also have a special responsibility to our interns. We have signed up to the Fair Company Initiative (German only), whose members commit to providing fair conditions such as appropriate compensation and personal support. The interns who join our Company every year for placements in the IT, Product Management, Online Marketing, Finance, and HR departments regularly highlight how much they have learned from the time at United Internet.
Above and beyond this, we offer school students short internships that give them a chance to get to know our organization and the world of work in general. United Internet cooperates and holds events with schools, as well as offering careers advice and career discovery opportunities during Germany’s Girls’ and Boys’ Days, among other things. Apprentices also offer extremely popular one-week programming courses for children and young people aged 13 and over during the summer and fall vacations. Given the current pandemic, all these formats were enhanced so that they can be offered online