Sep 12, 2016  Düsseldorf / Germany

A journey back through 140 years of company history

Employees make the difference – for 140 years

It’s employees around the world who give Henkel a face and pour their hearts and souls into the company. They are our interface with our customers, and it’s thanks to their knowledge and creativity that good ideas become success stories. To shape our common future, employee support and development is firmly embedded in Henkel’s corporate culture – and it has been for 140 years. Let us take you on a historical journey…

A tradition of social welfare

Social welfare for employees has always played a big role at Henkel. As early as 1900, a massive housing shortage led the company to intensify its social commitment: Company founder Fritz Henkel had the first two company apartment buildings built in Düsseldorf. Just a few years later, in 1915, Fritz Henkel opened the first canteen kitchen on company premises, equipped with the most modern fittings of the time: The growing number of employees, which reached 1,200 round about then, called for more professionalism in the meal services offered during work hours. Proving himself to be a visionary, Fritz Henkel then set up a pension fund for employees in 1918.

Hugo Henkel followed in his father’s footsteps and had an infirmary set up in 1910, where nurses took care of employees’ health. Today, the company medical service, made up of 21 doctors and assistants, cares for employees at the Düsseldorf headquarters and offers occupational medical care as well as health-promoting services. Making physical well-being a priority, Hugo Henkel also funded a private swimming pool on company premises in 1930, in which many employees’ children learned to swim.

Reliable support in all walks of life

Henkel has a longstanding tradition of family-friendly policies: What started in 1912 as company welfare and two in-house nurses has now evolved into Social Services, a professional counseling facility in Düsseldorf. The team advises employees anonymously during working hours, thereby making an important contribution to their work-life balance. For example, it offers support to employees who experience stress or conflicts at work, and to those who have to care for relatives or find daycare solutions for their children.

Mastering the balancing act between work and family

Balancing work and the personal life is a challenge for many employees. This is why Henkel makes a priority of creating supportive framework conditions that take its employees’ various needs into account. The company already opened its first company Kindergarten in Düsseldorf in 1940. Today, there are three daycare centers and a total of 240 spots available for children from four months to six years.

For employees to be just as successful at work as in their personal lives, flexible worktime models such as part-time and home-office arrangements are vital for parents. In 2012, Henkel’s Management Board and top executives signed the “Charter for Work-Life Flexibility”. In doing so, all of the company’s top managers committed to improving the acceptance and implementation of flexible worktime models and promoting flexible working even further.

You’ll find more historical milestones in our jubilee timeline.