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Company News, 2006-12-20, 11:00 AM

Family-friendly company

ThyssenKrupp Steel AG has put together a package of measures aimed at making the company even more family-friendly: since the beginning of October, employees have had free access to the services of an organization known as “B.u.K.” which helps parents find the ideal day care solution – such as child minders, nannies, au pairs or places at public or private childcare facilities – for their children. For employees in Duisburg, the company has also reserved five so-called emergency care places at a private day care center in Duisburg-Marxloh. Parents faced with a sudden emergency – for example because they have to go into hospital or on an unexpected business trip – can leave their children at the center for a limited period.

“Our efforts to create a family-friendly company are also a response to the demographics of our company and society as a whole: unless we continue to take countermeasures such as our “Program Future”, we face the threat of an aging workforce and a dramatic shortage of skilled personnel,” explains ThyssenKrupp Steel HR Director Dieter Kroll. “So it stands to reason that we are striving to be an attractive employer, especially for young, well-qualified employees, and to retain or attract top performers at all levels.” As Kroll points out, employee satisfaction has been shown to depend largely on achieving the right balance between work and family life. “ThyssenKrupp Steel is trying to ensure that we get this balance right. Although the results of our latest employee survey show a pleasingly high level of identification with the company and its goals, I feel there is still room for improvement, to strengthen the ties even further. The B.u.K. initiative is one measure aimed at achieving this.”

He sees the services provided by B.u.K. not as a social measure but more as a business necessity, a service which can also pay dividends for the company. Given the demographic trend in Germany, companies can no longer afford to lose highly skilled women and men for several years because they have to devote all their time to bringing up their children. “Our initiative will also give employees greater time flexibility to utilize and even improve on their development opportunities in the company. The benefits are very high for both sides,” says Kroll.

Supported by Förderverein für Kultur and Soziales e.V., a charity sponsored by ThyssenKrupp Steel AG, the initiative will initially run until fall 2008, at which point ThyssenKrupp Steel will review the cooperation to see whether and how it should be continued. “Judging by the initial figures, we have every reason to be optimistic – there has already been a lively response in the first two months and numerous inquiries from employees,” says Kroll. A decision on further collaboration with B.u.K will be made in two years based on the company’s analysis. In parallel with this, ThyssenKrupp Steel is continuing to work on further ways of becoming a “family-friendly company”.

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