E.ON (Europe, Russia, and North America): "Life Balance"
|Europe, Russia, and North America|
|Number of employees (2011): around 79,000
Sales (2011): around EUR 113 billion
Start of activities:
End of activities:
|ongoing (to be continued)|
E.ON is a major energy supplier operating in Europe, Russia and North America with sales of around EUR 113 billion in 2011 and a workforce of about 79,000. Starting in 2008, the company has implemented an ongoing and expanding project called “Life Balance”.
E.ON sees its main goal in attracting and retaining qualified employees by enhancing the reconciliation between work and private/family life by introducing and enforcing a flexible work organization.
Group of employees in focus
The programme targets all employees and potential applicants.
In the light of three major developments, E.ON decided to implement "Life Balance:"
- Demographic change results in a shortage of qualified labour.
- Workforce turnover has risen with growing use by headhunters of social networks like “Xing” and “LinkedIn” in combination with an increased mobility of employees.
- Employees’ career choice criteria have changed markedly: work-life balance and a family-friendly work atmosphere are as important as a good salary.
E.ON has introduced the "Life Balance" project to meet its strategic goals of boosting job applications, reducing staff turnover and encouraging more employees to return to work after parental leave. To achieve these objectives, the company aspires a flexible work organization and a family friendly work atmosphere.
E.ON has broken down its goals of an enhanced flexible work organization and family friendly work atmosphere into distinct elements.
Flexible work organization
In the initial project phase, E.ON identified room for more flexibility within the work organisation in close cooperation with the business unit managers.
These findings have been subsequently put into practice, introducing flexible working hours (part-time work), workplace options (home office provisions and working time trust systems), sabbaticals and job sharing.
Family friendly work atmosphere
E.ON supports parents during and after their parental leave. This happens in the form of systematic planning meetings before and after the leave, trainings and particular work assignments.
Furthermore, employees are offered support in fulfilling their childcare obligations. E.ON subsidises care spaces available for children of employees and offers ad-hoc childcare through external suppliers. In E.ON Sevrige's "Plusvalet" programme, the company furthermore allocates money to employees using services like babysitting, gardening or housekeeping.
The programme is showing very positive results with significantly more people applying to join the company since 2008. Furthermore, staff retention has improved. Employees are staying with the company longer, and more return to the company after parental leave.
Challenges encountered during the project
Employees need to be encouraged to make full use of the opportunities provided. This is closely connected to effective internal and external communications: a programme can only be successfully implemented if the staff is well informed about transformation processes. Another challenge concerns acceptance by employees: cultural changes in a company do not happen overnight, so do not overextend yourself with unrealistic objectives.
It is essential to get management on board and engage them in the process right from the start.
Therefore, those implementing a programme need to win over their interest by highlighting the economic reasons and letting them take part in all the events. Positioned as role models, management can become true drivers of change and innovation.
E.ON has won several awards that recognise the company as an attractive employer.
- Best workplaces in Germany 2011 (Great Place to Work® Institute Germany)
- Top Employer in Germany 2011 (Top Employer)
- Top Employer for Engineers 2011 (CRF Institute)
- Best workplaces in Europe 2010 (Great Place to Work® Institute Europe)
- Good Company Ranking 2009 (Manager Magazin)
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