Employee interests

Sustainable human resources (HR) strategy

By fully focusing on the wholesale business, we are setting the course for our future. Our employees are the key success factor in this business model. They implement our strategy and bind customers to our company as partners through long-term relationships. It is therefore particularly important to us to create an appealing, open-minded and inspiring work environment for our employees. We firmly believe that only satisfied employees who are empowered in accordance with their capabilities and motivation can offer a first-class customer experience.

Our underlying holistic HR approach with customised initiatives and programmes spans the entire employee experience life cycle – from recruitment across various career and life stages to retirement models.

The involvement of the Management Board or the management of the various national subsidiaries and service companies often already takes place during the development phase of the HR concepts. This ensures a proper balance between adaptation to local needs and standardisation throughout the group. For example, in 2020 our Guiding Principles were revised by an international, cross-functional project group in which employees at Management Board level and from the countries were equally involved. The objective was to describe these principles even more clearly, to make them understandable and more tangible for all employees and to highlight the uniqueness of the METRO culture. The expanded Management Board and the management of the national subsidiaries were regularly involved as sounding boards and now also act as sponsors for the reintroduction.

The Guiding Principles are the cultural glue in our HR processes for a unique employee experience at METRO. They provide our employees with guidance for their conduct and decisions on our way to becoming a 360° wholesaler.

Our engagement levels, which have been consistently rising since 2011 and are well above the industry average, are proof that our employees are doing their best every day to jointly achieve the goals of the group. With our HR initiatives, we are contributing to reinforce this motivation, to encourage teamwork and to promote entrepreneurial thinking, open-mindedness and taking responsibility.

Our focus is on the following areas:

  • Using the Guiding Principles as the foundation of our HR processes to create a consistent employee experience
  • Development of our talent management and investments in our employer brand in order to fill positions in our company with the most talented employees.
  • Further develop our performance management process with a clear focus on development to promote a performance-driven culture
  • Increasing efficiency through conscious use of our resources and continuous improvement of our processes

With the outbreak of Covid-19, our familiar and habitual ways of communication and working were abruptly changed. We have used special surveys to establish dialogue with our employees during this period and asked them which aspects of the ‘New Ways of Working’ they rate positively and where they see potential for improvement or would like further support. The results particularly revealed a positive assessment of the IT infrastructure and the flexibility gained through the expansion of flexible work and time savings due to less travel. By contrast, managing teams from a distance was mentioned as a challenge. Therefore, we initiated a project organisation to promote the topic ‘New Ways of Working’ in 3 working blocks. These include: ‘How we work together’, ‘How we empower and communicate’ and ‘How we commute and travel’.

This project complements the above strategic focal points with a new perspective on collaboration and communication.

Time for a new togetherness


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MPULSE magazine – Time for a new togetherness (Photo)

Employee attraction

In the competition to hire the best professionals and managers, our goal is to position METRO as an attractive employer and to attract qualified, talented people to our company. Through various activities in the field of talent acquisition, we identify and recruit suitable professionals and managers for METRO on the talent market. This approach enables us to successfully and sustainably fill critical roles for the business in order to strengthen the company’s own workforce and to move the company forward by securing our human capital.

In order to attract suitable employees, METRO positions itself as an attractive employer through target group-oriented communication on various channels.

Our main activities:

  • By recruiting and training junior employees for the wholesale sector, we are able to develop managers from our own ranks. Therefore, we offer various internship, trainee and apprenticeship programmes throughout the group.
  • In order to reach and attract specialised, experienced professionals and managers, we invest in direct sourcing, talent pooling and candidate relationship management activities.
  • The definition of relevant and business-critical target groups and the analysis of their potential touchpoints with METRO enable target group-oriented and focused communication in order to position METRO as an attractive employer brand. Examples of communication channels include career fairs (also virtual ones), social networks as well as strategic collaborations (for example with universities).
  • We invest in our employer brand: METRO has again been certified as a top employer. Altogether, 7 METRO national subsidiaries and 6 service companies received the renowned certification by the Top Employers Institute.

Employee development and retention

Through comprehensive talent management, targeted succession planning and numerous career development opportunities, we offer our professionals and managers attractive careers within our company, thus creating the basis for sustainable success. Our remuneration and benefits models also provide incentives for our employees to work performance-driven in line with our corporate Guiding Principles.

Talent management and succession planning

Our goal is to fill vacancies internally wherever possible. At the local management level we are committed to fill 75% of all positions from internal ranks and locally. It is important to identify our talents as early as possible and prepare them for the challenges of future management tasks, both nationally and internationally.

The internal replacement rate for country management teams in financial year 2019/20 was 85%. Regarding externally recruited professionals and managers, we consider it highly important that they are not only suitable for the position to be filled but also have the potential to develop beyond that. Therefore, we look at the second management level and measure what proportion of externally recruited employees is included in the succession planning for the management after 2 years. During the reporting period, this ratio was 43.4%. We also pay increased attention to the proportion of women in management positions in our succession planning.

Managers are particularly important in this respect. Because it is their responsibility to guide their employees through the performance process, to differentiate who needs which development measures and which next target position fits the employee’s abilities. Individual development measures are coordinated in an annual calibration process, which takes place both per country for all employees and across countries for the first and second management levels. At the same time, decisions are made to determine for which employee groups we will invest in talent or development programmes at the local or global levels. The talent programmes for younger employees focus on retention and promotion to team leader or initial management positions.

Additionally, we support the creation of global communities of junior employees and experts to share knowledge and best practices across national borders and functions. Increasing digitalisation, particularly in the reporting year, has accelerated this trend.

In order to get a comprehensive view of employee development and adapt it to the ever-accelerating pace of business, we have revised our current processes. The previously separate processes of performance evaluation, succession planning and individual career development planning will be combined. In the future, it will be carried out on a semi-annual basis. We are placing the Guiding Principles of our company at the centre of all processes. Our goal is to guide our employees to base their behaviour and decisions on our Guiding Principles. This creates clarity and cultural ties to our company.

Training and development

Following the successful accreditation of the in-house training academy House of Learning by the internationally renowned CLIP certification of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) in 2019, staff and management development was continuously further developed in the reporting year. For example, we launched new rounds of our international development programmes (for example Master in Store Operations, METRO Sustainable Leadership Programme, METRO Potentials) and further optimised training portfolios by expanding our ‘Academy Concept’. In doing so, we link individual learning solutions in a logical chain so that they fit the various needs of the target group in line with the career planning. The Operations Academy, for example, covers all career steps in sales, from core topics for all store managers to competence training for store managers and an internal master’s programme.

The focus of our training programme is on employees and managers of METRO AG as well as of the national subsidiaries.

The portfolio for the learning and development programmes offered at METRO on key topics such as sales, field service, sourcing, finance, human resources and management has also been digitalised to a large extent in order to facilitate virtual workshops in addition to traditional e-learning. Particularly noteworthy in this regard are our multi-month programmes Next Generation Finance, HR Masterclass, Assortment Management and Future Leaders.

This way, we were also able to successfully continue the international development programmes and internal master programmes, which are important for the internal replacement rate, in order to prepare our highly talented employees in the company for the challenges of future management tasks in the wholesale business – even in times of lockdown – and to ensure long-term succession planning.

The systematic development of our managers was further accelerated by the Lead & Win management programme. The target group of this learning path comprises approximately 12,300 managers in the group. Due to the limited international travel activities caused by Covid-19, the focus in the reporting period increasingly shifted to the local management levels of store, floor and department managers. In addition to Lead & Win, the ‘Leading in the New Normal’ module was developed as an online programme, which will be introduced globally at the beginning of financial year 2020/21. It is designed to prepare employees and managers for the challenges of the new work environment.

Training courses at METRO


E-learning modules,
webinars and
online courses

on-the-job training










Participant hours




Training courses at METRO AG


E-learning modules,
webinars and
online courses

on-the-job training










Participant hours




Performance-based remuneration

METRO employees receive competitive, performance-based and fair remuneration. We have also anchored this in our global guideline on fair working conditions and social partnership.

Our remuneration system ‘Perform & Reward’ for executives (with the exception of the members of the Management Board)1For more information about the remuneration of the Management Board, see chapter 6 remuneration report. comprises a monthly fixed salary as well as 1-year and multi-year variable remuneration components whose payment amounts are essentially linked to our company’s business performance. Additionally, the 1-year variable remuneration considers our executives’ individual achievements, generation of additional value for customers as well as their implementation of our Guiding Principles in their daily work. The multi-year variable compensation components include a sustainability component and allow executives to participate in METRO’s share price development.

Executive remuneration is complemented by additional benefits, such as an attractive pension model, promotion of health care and a mobility budget that can be used as part of METRO’s ‘Green Car Policy’ for a car, train rides or pension provision.

Diversity and inclusion

We strongly believe that diversity and inclusion lead to better business results. In order to establish a diverse and inclusive corporate culture and to gain better access to more talent, METRO has developed a company-wide diversity strategy. Our goal is to create an open work environment in which individual differences are respected, valued and promoted. We strive to build a workforce in which each individual can develop and use their unique potential and strengths.

Equal opportunities at work

We promote equal opportunities at work for men and women. METRO aims to further increase the proportion of women in managerial positions. The objective is for 20% of employees on the first management level below the Management Board and 35% of employees on the second management level below the Management Board of METRO AG to be women by June 2022. At the end of financial year 2019/20, a share of 15.2% of women were employed in the first management level below the Management Board and 36.4% in the second management level below the Management Board. Additionally, the Supervisory Board has stipulated the objective of having at least one female member appointed to the Management Board of METRO AG by June 2022. As of 1 November 2019, Andrea Euenheim was appointed to the Management Board of METRO AG as the new Labour Director. METRO AG achieved the target set by the Supervisory Board already in 2019.

Furthermore, METRO has set a voluntary target for the share of women in executive positions at our wholesale business. By June 2022, 25% of managerial positions on levels 1–3 (including store managers) of METRO locations worldwide are to be filled by women. At the end of financial year 2019/20, the proportion of women on management levels 1–3 (including store managers) was 24.0%.

METRO has established one contact person for diversity and inclusion in each METRO (national) subsidiary in 2020. The diversity and inclusion strategy revised in 2020 is now being jointly implemented and monitored with the help of key performance indicators. As part of the revision of the strategy and through the positive development with regard to achieving the target of increasing the proportion of women in management positions at METRO AG and METRO’s wholesale business, we have shortened the target achievement date of the current gender targets set by the Management Board on 26 July 2017 to 30 September 2020 (originally: 30 June 2022) and set new targets for September 2025. The objective is for 25% of employees on the first management level below the Management Board and 40% of employees on the second management level below the Management Board of METRO AG to be women by September 2025. Furthermore, METRO has again set a voluntary target for the proportion of women in executive positions at our wholesale business. According to this, the share of women in management positions at levels 1 to 3 (including store managers) of METRO locations worldwide is to be 30% by September 2025.

To support these goals, we launched the Women Leadership Programme (WLP) in 2018. It supports the top 150 women within METRO with customised training measures. In addition, they are offered the opportunity to contribute to solving relevant business challenges and thus to make an impact and gain international visibility within METRO.

METRO is actively participating in various initiatives, such as the Diversity Charter, the LEAD Network and Prout at Work. Beyond that, various employee networks have been established to represent the issue of diversity and inclusion within the workforce and externally on their own initiative.

Occupational safety and health management

As a leading sustainable company, we are committed to ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for our employees, suppliers and customers. This commitment has motivated us to develop a new occupational safety and health (OSH) strategy, which provides transparency for improvement opportunities and highlights key OSH issues. As a first step, we introduced a new organisational structure at the company level to support our OSH activities.

Occupational safety

For METRO, we have initiated a group-wide Operational Safety Management System (OSMS), which was adopted by the Management Board in September 2020. It structures the safety environment in accordance with the requirements of ISO 45001 ‘Occupational health and safety management systems’. The OSMS manages and controls the interlinked processes of the various business activities so that METRO can fulfil its security relevant obligations as an operator. Starting in financial year 2020/21, the system will apply accordingly throughout the group.

Occupational safety and health reporting

Already in February 2020, the OSH Reporting Manual was launched as a pilot project, which will be transferred to all units as part of the implementation of the OSMS. Currently, the vast majority of METRO countries report regularly using the new format with an improved methodology for recording and calculating work-related injuries.

KPIs for occupational safety and health

In the reporting year, we expanded our OSH performance and are well on the way to a robust safety culture. With various initiatives, we are generally working to increase awareness among employees that each individual bears responsibility for occupational safety. Moreover, we are continuing to work on a solid group-wide reporting system. The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), that is, the total number of lost-time incidents (LTIs) per 1 million working hours, for the German METRO companies in financial year 2019/20 was 4.272Key figure not comparable with the disclosure in the 2018/19 annual report due to the change in the reporting system.

We will continue our commitment to improving occupational safety and will measure the results of our safety measures using proactive and reactive key figures. This includes measures to actively involve employees in management through store visits and participation in , strong employee involvement in our hazard identification programme, robust incident and near-accident reporting, training to encourage behavioural change, an audit programme and self-monitoring programmes.

Occupational safety in times of Covid-19

The global Covid-19 pandemic has also affected METRO. Extensive organisational measures were implemented to ensure the safety of all employees. They include optimisation of the flexible work offer, travel restrictions as well as safety and hygiene measures in the headquarters, stores and warehouse locations of the METRO companies. Transparent communication regarding regulations and changes in the Covid-19 situation kept the incidence of infections at a low level throughout the company.

Fair working conditions and social partnership

Our principles on fair working conditions and social partnership are a crucial component in shaping our employer–employee relations. These principles are based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as the 3 main principles of the Resolution on Forced Labour by the Consumer Goods Forum. Accordingly, these principles contain the right to free unionisation and collective agreements, structured working hours and wages, occupational safety and health management as well as the prohibition of forced labour, child labour and discrimination.

We ensure that our sales lines and their national subsidiaries comply with the principles on fair working conditions by reviewing our regional headquarters, stores and logistics centres. In order to improve the working conditions in the national subsidiaries, corrective action plans are defined with the local colleagues, in which substantive measures with clear responsibilities and timetables are defined and executed. The focus is on entering into a dialogue with the companies and promoting the knowledge sharing in order to learn from one another, not only with regard to working conditions but also in terms of dialogue with employee representatives. Since financial year 2016/17, extensive reviews on with the METRO principles have been performed on-site in 15 national subsidiaries (Pakistan, Bulgaria, Japan, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, India, Slovakia, Moldova, Spain, Russia, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Portugal and France). Many areas returned satisfactory results, while others showed potential for improvement, in particular in the area of occupational safety. The on-site reviews were followed by comprehensive training on the METRO principles on fair working conditions. No on-site audits were carried out during the reporting period.

Financial year 2019/20 was dominated by Covid-19, which is why we changed our audit procedure in the METRO companies and conducted a survey on the principles from May to July. Afterwards, limited audit procedures were carried out at 5 selected METRO companies. The goal was to assess the current implementation status of the principles on fair working conditions and social partnership (FWC & SP) in key units and to make recommendations for improving the FWC & SP process.

On a national and international level, METRO maintains constant communication with works councils and unions and encourages management to engage in constructive and mutually informative dialogue with our employees and their representatives. This dialogue results in several collective employment agreements at the level of business units, countries or individual stores – depending on local laws and customary practices. There is also the METRO Euro Forum (MEF), our European Works Council. This corporate body is notified and consulted in case of cross-border/transnational changes within the EU area. The MEF meets regularly. Plenary meetings are held once a year with a training session for all employee representatives of the METRO Euro Forum and up to 3 times a year with the steering committee of the MEF and management representatives. Also, in a periodic social dialogue with the international trade union organisation UNI Global at the global level, discussions include the commitment to fair working conditions and social partnership.

Development of employee numbers

The tables below show the year-on-year development of employee numbers as an average for the 4 quarters of the financial year and as of the closing date of 30 September, both based on full-time equivalents:

Development of employee numbers by segment Full-time equivalents, average







METRO Germany



METRO Western Europe (excl. Germany)



METRO Russia



METRO Eastern Europe (excl. Russia)












Development of employee numbers by segment Full-time equivalents as of the closing date of 30/9







METRO Germany



METRO Western Europe (excl. Germany)



METRO Russia



METRO Eastern Europe (excl. Russia)












1 For more information about the remuneration of the Management Board, see chapter 6 remuneration report.

2 Key figure not comparable with the disclosure in the 2018/19 annual report due to the change in the reporting system

A procedure that assesses an organisation’s processes and structures according to previously formulated standards and guidelines. Audits shed light on the effectiveness of process optimisation measures. If an audit is conducted by an external auditor, the certificate issued after the review can be used as evidence of adherence to standards.
All measures specifying compliance with legal requirements as well as social guidelines and values by a company and its employees.