Volkswagen places tremendous value on facilitating the flow of ideas and improvement suggestions from its employees into the work organization and production process. The input of employees is screened and evaluated by Volkswagen Ideas Management, which is represented at all German locations. The origin of the suggestion system at Volkswagen goes back to 1949. Since then, involvement in the improvement of products and processes has been a firm indicator of the creativity, expertise and motivation of our employees. Furthermore, Volkswagen offers training in order to promote the ideas culture systematically throughout the business. Ideas Management also gives supervisors and managers an important leadership and motivational instrument.

In 2011, Volkswagen employees throughout the Group submitted a total of 475,073 improvement proposals. The implementation of 340,960 of these suggestions in the reporting period helped to improve the quality of our products and the efficiency of our processes, and helped to reduce costs in the Group by €325.5 million. Employees who submitted the ideas received bonuses worth some €32.7 million in acknowledgment of their creativity and contributions in shaping the Company.

Another instrument in which the involvement of employees has special significance is the “Volkswagen Way”, which has the comprehensive optimization of all business processes as its goal. It is centered on the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) that aims to achieve continuous improvement in productivity and efficiency as well as communication, teamwork and leadership. Since the start of the “Volkswagen Way” in 2007, Volkswagen employees have been trained in how waste can be recognized and eliminated. In 2011 it focused primarily on optimizing processes – particularly with regard to product and work quality. The Volkswagen Group’s other brands have similar efficiency enhancement programs.

A now proven and extensively used tool for the removal of flaws in work processes is the “opinion survey”. The opinion survey was conducted for the fourth time in 2011 as a unified, Group-wide employee questionnaire. 77 locations and companies in 26 countries were included in the survey. Of the over 346,000 employees invited to participate, more than 308,000 took part. This was a participation rate of 89%. The survey results for 2011 reveal a positive trend in comparison to the previous year. Over 60% of employees see the opinion survey as helpful or very helpful for improving their work. In the opinion of the respondents, the discussions about the results assist teams and organizational units in achieving sustainable improvements in job satisfaction.

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