Dec 29, 2014  Düsseldorf / Germany

Idea management at Henkel

Active contribution

Idea management plays a major role at Henkel and is continuously being optimized. It is also well accepted by the employees: approximately 4,000 suggestions for improvements are submitted every year in Germany.

It all started with a single suggestion in 1942: Mr. Peter Evertz came up with the idea to replace standard brooms with bristles used in the production site by homemade brooms composed of waste rubber – with a higher durability and a longer life span of seven months. This idea was highly valued and laid the foundation of the awareness of employee’s ideas.

Henkel still sees the management of its employees’ ideas as a crucial element to reach the company’s strategic and sustainability targets and to maximize its competitiveness. That’s why Henkel set up an idea management department in 1972. It deals with suggestions submitted by Henkel employees to improve processes, resource efficiency and health and safety protection at the workplace.

Idea management is very well accepted among the employees. Their engagement is reflected by a significant number of submissions, especially in Germany: approximately 4,000 suggestions for improvement are submitted every year, with 2 out of 3 ideas being put into practice. It is also interesting, that the majority of the suggestions implemented strengthens at least one of the six defined areas of sustainable development of Henkel and supports the achievement of the company’s goals for 2016.

Henkel employees are continuously motivated to become actively involved in the innovation process and improving Henkel as a workspace. “It is important to us that our employees see continuous improvements as a chance to facilitate work and to create a comfortable work environment”, says Bodo Wagner, director of the production of adhesives for consumers, craftsmen and building business in Europe. Holger Traugott, key account manager at Henkel’s Corporate Idea Management, adds: “Besides the economic value that is generated by our employees’ ideas one should not underestimate the positive side effects with regard to safety protection, environmental impact and corporate culture with employees contributing their experience and innovative capability.”

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