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 inclusive, 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. At the same time, it creates a consistent and METRO specific employee experience with global standards.

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 members of the Management Board as well as employees from the countries were equally involved. The objective was to define these guidelines even more clearly, to make them understandable and more tangible for all employees and to highlight the uniqueness of the METRO culture. We relaunched the Guiding Principles at the beginning of the reporting period and successively conveyed them until 21 May 2021 – our first METROheroes Day, on which we celebrated our cohesiveness and thanked our employees all over the world.

The Guiding Principles are the cultural glue in our HR processes at METRO. They provide our employees with guidance for their conduct and decisions on our way to becoming a multichannel 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. At the same time, the survey provides us with important insights for continuous improvement directly from the workforce. 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
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion at all levels of the company as a driver for sustainable business success
  • 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 continuing of Covid-19, our familiar and habitual ways of communication and working were substantially changed. In this phase it was particularly important for us to give our employees the space to experiment in order to find the best ‘New Ways of Working’ in a hybrid work environment, especially at team level. Along this line, we initiated a project organisation that compiles the positive findings, discusses them and translates them into concepts so they can serve as inspiration in the various dimensions of ‘New Ways of Working’ for as many teams as possible.

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

‘Respect doesn’t come
from titles or positions’

Gündüz Bayer, Managing Director Region Asia at METRO PROPERTIES, works across borders and cultures.

Read MORE at mpulse.DE

Employee recruitment

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 labour 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, 8 METRO national subsidiaries and 2 service companies received the renowned certification by the Top Employers Institute.
  • We have recently established an Employer Branding Academy, developed by a renowned external partner, to train our HR staff in 20 METRO/MAKRO countries. We are also working on establishing new technologies to increase our digital footprint and launch a smart recruitment platform.

Talent management and succession planning

Through comprehensive talent management, targeted succession planning and numerous career development opportunities, we continuously develop our employees. This way, we offer them 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.

Our goal is to fill vacancies internally wherever possible. At the local management level we are committed to filling 75% of all positions from internal ranks and locally. It is important to identify our talent as early as possible and prepare them for future management tasks, both nationally and internationally. The internal succession rate for national subsidiary management members was 86% in financial year 2020/21.

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 and third management level and measure what proportion of externally recruited employees is assessed as having medium or high development potential after 2 years and is thus particularly considered for succession planning. During the reporting period, this rate was 50% among the employees previously assessed in MPower. We also pay increased attention to the proportion of women in management positions in our succession planning.

Early identification and targeted development of internal talent is supported by the new integrated Talent Management and Learning System being introduced across the group in 2021 in combination with new processes for assessing the performance and potential of all employees. Currently, the learning module with its many new opportunities for personal development is available to around 90,000 employees. Meanwhile, the performance and succession planning module is already available to around 30,000 employees. A broader roll-out is planned for the coming years. The previously separate processes of performance and potential assessment as well as succession and individual development planning have been integrated into a coherent approach in the revised version and are fully supported online. Managers play a special role in the process, as they are responsible for assessing their own employees in a differentiated manner and defining suitable development measures based on this assessment and potential target positions. They are supported by the option to systematically collect feedback on their employees’ performance from different stakeholders. They can also receive integrated proposals for development plans based on the assessment. All employees also have an opportunity to introduce their own development ambitions into the process in a structured manner.

Individual evaluations and development measures as well as succession plans 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 local or global levels. The talent programmes for younger employees focus on retention and qualification to team leader or initial management positions. In addition to the formal job appraisal process, the new talent management system includes a variety of ways to encourage informal feedback between co-workers. It also promotes interaction on performance and development between employees and managers to further emphasise the importance of continuous learning and development.

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) comprises a monthly fixed salary as well as a variable annual remuneration component, the payment amount of which essentially depends on the economic development of the respective company in which the executive works. 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.

With a clear focus on the economic development of METRO, our managers also receive a multi-year variable remuneration component that includes a sustainability component and allows 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.

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

Career development and retention of talent

Numerous learning solutions are offered by the in-house training academy ‘House of Learning’, which is CLIP-accredited by the renowned institution European Foundation for Management Development. The goal is to support the individual development of employees and managers – both at METRO AG and at the national subsidiaries – and to reinforce their loyalty to our company. During the reporting period, a new uniform learning management system was introduced to which all employees from all METRO companies have individual access. This user-friendly system gives employees access to a wide range of (independent) learning opportunities and makes it easy to manage mandatory instructions.

In the previous financial year, we introduced ‘Leading in the New Normal’, an online programme for managers. In this financial year, we added the learning solution ‘Mastering Your New Normal’ for employees without management responsibility. Both programmes support employees and managers of the group and of METRO AG in dealing with the challenges of the new work environment, which is distinguished by a higher proportion of digital, virtual and hybrid ways of working.

  • Furthermore, the portfolio of international talent programmes, which are important for the internal succession rate, was completed in the reporting period. We also managed 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. Thus, all existing international talent programmes took place according to plan.
  • The programme ‘Next Generation Finance’ is tailored to the talent in our finance positions. It pursues a threefold objective: (1) to prepare experts for their first leadership responsibility in the finance world, (2) to increase their business expertise to distinguish finance departments as business partners, and (3) to highlight changes in roles to prepare them for the future. ‘HR Masterclass’ is aimed at HR professionals who support our employees along the employee experience lifecycle, making METRO a very special place where people enjoy working and are productive.
  • Master in Store Operations prepares our store managers for their role as regional managers. Through selected topic areas and international project work, they learn about the key factors in a customer-oriented sales and service organisation.
  • In the purchasing organisation, the ‘Next Generation Offer’ programme was launched in September. It prepares participants for senior roles in offer management by developing functional know-how, international project work, customer-focused thinking and international networking.

This offer is complemented by cross-functional talent programmes for various seniority levels:

  • The international management trainee programme METRO Potentials is aimed at career starters and leads through various stations in the store and headquarters, both in Germany and abroad. Participants master ambitious challenges during the 2-year programme and are supported by mentors to assist in their development to become managers at METRO.
  • ‘Future Leaders’ offers proficient experts, project managers and middle management the prospect of advancing to the second management level and beyond.
  • ‘Accelerate!’ is designed for our managers at the second management level with potential for a role in national subsidiary management. Besides leadership topics, it also focuses on strategy, implementation strength and digitalisation. Mentoring is provided by operating partners, national subsidiary CEOs and group directors of METRO AG.
  • At the top of our international talent programmes is ‘Booster’ with the aspiration of coaching our most promising members in the national subsidiary management teams to become national subsidiary CEOs. Mentoring for this programme is provided by the Management Board of METRO AG.
Training courses at METRO Wholesale


Individual learning (e.g. e-learning, videos, materials)

Instructor-guided learning (face-to-face and virtual training)






Participant hours




Training courses at METRO AG


Individual learning (e.g. e-learning, videos, materials)

Instructor-guided learning (face-to-face and virtual training)






Participant hours




Diversity and inclusion

METRO strongly believes 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. The goal is to create an open work environment in which individual differences are respected, valued and promoted. In this way, the course is set for a workforce, in which all employees can develop and use their unique potential and strengths.

Equal opportunities in the workplace

Equal employment opportunities are promoted for all employees. METRO aims to further increase the proportion of women in managerial positions. 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. At the end of financial year 2020/21, a share of 18.8% of women were employed in the first management level below the Management Board and 31.3% in the second management level below the Management Board. Furthermore, we voluntarily set a target for the share 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 management) of METRO locations worldwide is to be 30% by September 2025. At the end of financial year 2020/21, the percentage of women in management positions at levels 1 to 3 (including store managers) is 25.2%. 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.

To support these goals, the Women Leadership Programme (WLP) was launched 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.

Another cornerstone of the diversity strategy is the commitment against discrimination of people who identify as part of the LGBTIQ community and their inclusion in society and the company. To this end, a global LGBTIQ strategy was developed in financial year 2020/21 and external and internal communication support was provided in Germany and 7 other METRO countries for both IDAHOBIT1International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia. Day and PRIDE Month in June. Furthermore, an LGBTIQ awareness training programme was conducted with regional management from the various countries. In the external conducted by the UHLALA Group, METRO AG received the PRIDE Champion employer seal gold status of the UHLALA Group.

In 2020, METRO established one contact person for diversity and inclusion in each METRO (national subsidiary) company via a task force. This task force continues to monitor the company-wide diversity and inclusion strategy with key figures.

METRO is a member of various initiatives such as the LEAD Network, BeyondGenderAgenda, UHLALA’s ‘We Stay PRIDE’ programme and the PROUT AT WORK foundation as well as the LGBTIQ Rhine-Ruhr network. Moreover, METRO has been a signatory of the Diversity Charter since 2007. 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. To this end, we began the conversion of our Occupational Health and Safety Management System in 2020, based on the principles of ISO 45001. In financial year 2020/21, we also established a group-wide Operational Safety Management System (OSMS) for METRO.

Occupational safety reporting

To continue and strengthen consistent occupational safety reporting, we continue to develop our work-related injury management tool to align with METRO unit needs and our occupational safety standards (language setting, additional forms, etc.).

KPIs for occupational safety and health

Safety is always a top priority for METRO. The operational safety strategy aims to raise awareness among employees that each individual bears responsibility for occupational safety. Furthermore, we are continuing to work on a transparent 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 METRO companies in financial year 2020/21 was 7.062Excluding the national subsidiary in Japan. (2019/20: 6.783This ratio has not been subjected to the limited assurance business audit under 3000 by auditing firm KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft. Furthermore, the number excludes the national subsidiary in Japan. ). Apart from that, we carried out the first ‘Review of Operational Safety at METRO’ audit in the current financial year. The objective of the audit was to review the implementation of the Operational Safety Management System (OSMS) and to support the organisation in the transition from traditional occupational safety to a more comprehensive approach to occupational safety.

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.


In addition to all occupational safety measures, we launched an initiative in financial year 2020/21 to support keeping employees healthy. In the first phase, we adopted a framework which can be used to record all activities that contribute to keeping employees healthy at METRO.

Depending on the topic, the activities are assigned to a category. We distinguish between the categories of mental health, physical health and social health. Another category is financial health: it includes all relief efforts that reduce financial stress factors, such as help with managing finances in different phases of life and assistance in crises. The final category is formed by all topics that tie in with the company’s purpose and support implementation of the company’s values. Here we distinguish between basic, medium and mature in terms of the maturity of the implementation of all initiatives.

In the next phase, the national subsidiaries are tasked with filling the framework with their activities that are most relevant for their country and their employees. For example, METRO AG, METRO Poland and MAKRO Spain offer telephone counselling for concerns and problems in the professional and personal environment. Online training sessions on mindfulness and meditation are offered in Germany, India and Turkey. These are good examples of mental health support. To support physical health, METRO India and METRO DIGITAL, for example, offer online sports and nutritional advice for their employees. Many initiatives are available to promote togetherness and connectedness, that is, social health. Examples of welfare in relation to financial health include appeals for donations to support victims of the flood disaster at METRO Germany.

In order to offer even more for the health maintenance of our employees in the future, we nominated Well-being Champions all over the world. They are expected to further promote initiatives for health maintenance in their sphere with the support of the HR department.

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 METRO and its 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 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, but also showed potential for improvement, in particular in the area of occupational safety. In the area of occupational safety, a group-wide Operational Safety Management System was implemented in the reporting period. 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.

Since financial year 2019/20, we have changed our procedure in the METRO companies due to Covid-19. Surveys on the principles on fair working conditions and social partnership (FWC & SP) are conducted online. The goal is to assess the current implementation status of the FWC & SP principles in key units and to make recommendations for improving the FWC & SP process. In financial year 2020/21, we added FWC & SP to our Risk 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 MEF and up to 3 times a year with the steering committee of the MEF and management representatives. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these meetings were held virtually in financial year 2020/21. 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 International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia.

2 Excluding the national subsidiary in Japan.

3 This ratio has not been subjected to the limited assurance business audit under ISAE 3000 by auditing firm KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft. Furthermore, the number excludes the national subsidiary in Japan.

A procedure that assesses an organisation’s processes and structures according to previously formulated standards and guidelines. For example, an audit provides information 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.
ISAE (International Standard on Assurance Engagements)
Standards for the procedure of auditors for assurance engagements published by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board and intended for uniform application worldwide.
All measures specifying compliance with legal requirements as well as social guidelines and values by a company and its employees.
A procedure that assesses an organisation’s processes and structures according to previously formulated standards and guidelines. For example, an audit provides information 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.
Statutory and factual regulatory framework for the management and supervision of a company.

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