Best Practice | Addressing Staff Issues through Employee Experience Managers with Kaufland
Starting in 2018, certified Top Employer Kaufland began operating a network of employee experience managers across sites in Europe. These are trained HR liaison officers who work to address employee welfare issues and solve challenges that might be putting a drag on business or individual performance. In our latest best practice focus, we are focusing on what brought in these managers and how they’re changing the employee experience for Kaufland workers.
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Why the practice was needed:
It is challenging to keep an eye on employee engagement when an organisation like Kaufland has many employees scattered across many locations. For this reason, Kaufland introduced ‘employee experience managers’ (a Vertrauensperson, in German): a neutral, trustworthy, and independent liaison for all employees.
How the practice was implemented:
The primary objectives behind Kaufland’s practice of employee experience managers are:
- Anchoring of the corporate principles and leadership approach.
- Early detection of (potential) disputes.
- To better understand the atmosphere/mood among frontline employees.
- To provide support to employees in difficult situations.
In the European locations where Kaufland’s employee experience managers are active, every employee can freely contact a dedicated employee experience manager and access contact details for other employee experience managers via a page on the company intranet, should they prefer to speak to someone specific. Each employee experience manager acts as a confidante for receiving confidential feedback. Employees may remain anonymous if they wish to report a sensitive issue.
Employee experience manager responsibilities:
The main tasks of each employee experience manager at Kaufland are to:
- Attend stores daily: talk with employees about their jobs, work-related problems, the store environment, etc.
- Use employee feedback to identify work environment issues or business issues that could be improved.
- Assist employees in handling issues with co-workers or to tackle personal problems having an impact on their work.
- Improve employees’ perception of the company.
The typical employee experience manager:
- has an HR background,
- is skilled in psychology, mentoring and communication.
Kaufland offers special training, for instance, a mediation training course to support the work of the employee experience managers.
Each employee experience manager has a target number of conversations to be held each month (approx. 300). The rationale behind this (as opposed to a target number of employees to speak with) is that sometimes, one employee may require several conversations to be had until their issue is resolved.
As a result of the work of the employee experience managers, Kaufland has improved many of its operational and work-related issues based on employee feedback.
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