Our Employees

Staff structure and length of employment

As at 31 December 2017, the Messer Group had 5,675 employees, 77% of whom were male and 23% female. There were a total of 610 new entrants. A total of 2,854 employees work in the commercial areas. 300 members of staff are first- and second-tier managers – 23% of whom are female.

The number of part-time employees dropped from 140 in 2016 to 121 in 2017. The number of employees on fixed-term contracts also fell from 235 to 204. Our entire staff includes 28 people with disabilities. In total, 69 employees are actively involved in supervisory bodies.

Across the Group, the average length of service of our staff since the date of joining was 10.6 years in 2017. Total staff turnover thus increased slightly, from 5.6% to 6.9%. Likewise, the number of sick days per employee increased slightly, from 3.8 in 2016 to 4.2 in 2017. This does not include employees who have been off sick for more than six months.

Training and Professional Development

Messer employees are encouraged to make suggestions regarding their own advancement in the regular employee appraisal. In 2017, the average amount spent on training and professional development was 272 euros per employee. In the previous year, the  gure was 296 euros. The average number of train- ing days per employee stood at 3.38 per year. The proportion of apprentices and trainees fell again, however. In 2017, Messer trained a total of 41 employees; the  gure for the previous year was 49.

There are separate training plans at Group level for young executives. The Academy Messer Group launched its third “Junior Circle” international support programme in 2017. The concept comprises intercultural training and a focus on a variety of topics for staff working in different  elds. 70% of lectures are given by Messer’s own experts while about 30% are provided by external speakers. The “Junior Circle” extends over a period of two years and involves  ve one- week training courses. More information on training opportunities at Messer and the “Junior Circle” programme for young exec- utives can be found in the af liated Group Management Report 2017 for Messer Group GmbH.

Messer Group “Junior Circle 2” graduation

Employee Orientation and Integrity

Financial parity

Our salaries are based on an employee’s function, the market, performance, training, experience and seniority and, where indicated, on collective agreements and inflation compensation. Equal treatment of the sexes is self-evident.

Equal treatment and anti-discrimination

If employees feel discriminated against or that they are not being treated equally, they can, at any time, turn to their local human resources manager or the Group Compliance Manager, who are obliged to deal with the matter and ensure that equality is maintained.

The employee may also choose to put this on record during his or her annual appraisal. In such cases, provided it is a minor infring ement, the possibility of resolving the problem through mediation or equivalent coaching is discussed in consultation with the parties involved. A serious violation may, however, result in the person who committed the violation having their employment terminated. One case of discrimination was reported in 2017.

Internal social partnership

1.4% of our employees are members of a works committee. At most of our Eastern European national subsidiaries, the local management negotiates joint pay agreements with trade unions. The relationship between our workforce and the management is one that is characterised by trust, resulting in not a single strike or anything similar within the Messer Group in 2017.

Employee motivation and integration

Hungary: Team building out in the open

‘Our team spirit makes us strong’ and ‘We enjoy the freedom we need to achieve’: these Messer employer branding statements are consistently applied in practice at Messer Hungarogáz – including through initiatives that are slightly out of the ordinary. On 25 May 2017, a staff picnic was organised on the grounds of our head office in Budapest. Such measures allow us to boost staff motivation and commitment, support the integration of new employees and reinforce the Messer employer brand.

France: Welcome to Messer

As a partner in the joint venture Soprogaz, Messer took over operation of the air separation plant at the Beauvais site in June 2017 – and five new employees, too. An informal breakfast and orientation seminar were organised so everyone could get to know each other. The new employees learned much about the history, the structure and the values of Messer as a family business. At the end, each employee received his or her personal protective equipment, a Messer backpack and a T-shirt sporting our Employer Branding statement: “That’s Messer. That’s our way.”

Visible success: the employee picnic at Messer Hungarogáz

Cooperation in the network

Working together to find the best solution is a typical approach for Messer. Many employees have met for network meetings in the past year precisely with this objective in mind. These meetings – held throughout Europe – have helped our colleagues deal with the technical, strategic and logistical challenges facing them. They also ensured that all the participants got to know each other even better.

China: Management conference 

The Management Meeting of Messer China took place in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on 9 March 2017. Over 100 executives from 25 Messer companies in China took part in the meeting. As in previous meetings, all the participants were involved in assessing past performance and events as well as looking at the company’s future. They also had the opportunity to share and exchange experience and best practice as well as discuss problems and look for possible solutions. A special feature of this year’s meeting was the contribution made by an external consultant, who presented a tool for identifying and assessing behaviour patterns. It is designed to help get a better understanding of employees’ fundamental attitudes and show ways in which different personalities can work well together in a team.

The executives from 25 Messer companies in China took part in this year’s management conference.

Croatia: Meeting of filling plant managers

Led by Alexander Kriese, Vice President Filling Plants/Cylinder Technology, more than 40 participants from all of Messer’s European subsidiaries had the opportunity to share their experiences and exchange views. One of the main topics was “optimising the cylinder stock” at our own plants as well as those of our partners. In particular, the role of available IT tools and key performance indicators was discussed. In a workshop, the participants looked at possible ways of improving our pallets, which led to more than 20 concrete proposals.

Belgium: Chemistry/Environment network meeting

The network meeting for Application Technology Chemistry/Environment took place in Belgium from 17 to 19 May 2017. Colleagues from 14 countries presented and discussed the latest customer projects and developments in chemical, paper and water applications. Furthermore, they shared their experience of day-to-day business at the national subsidiaries.
A visit to a customer in the chemical industry provided an opportunity to get first-hand experience of a successful example of “cross-selling”: the customer uses gases and hardware from Messer for a number of applications. The latest one to be added is neutralisation with CO2.

Spain: International communication meeting

In May 2017, the Messer World’s communications managers (ComManagers) visited Messer Ibérica in Spain. A total of 32 ComManagers from 20 countries devoted their attention to topics such as social media and crisis communication.

ComMeeting in Spain

Austria: Experts exchange helium know-how

In February 2017, Corporate Logistics and Central Sales Functions organised a meeting of international experts for the purpose of exchanging helium know-how and best practice. The technical managers who deal with helium filling at all the Messer national subsidiaries took part in the event. The plan is to hold the event on a recurring basis at other plants and in other countries as well so as to work together to find best-practice solutions.

Croatia: Meeting of the CO2 plant managers

In mid-May 2017, all 30 of Messer Group’s CO2 plant managers met in Zagreb, Croatia – including the plant managers of the three new CO2 plants in China. The plant managers’ meeting takes place every eighteen months and provides an ideal platform for exchanging experience and discussing operational as well as technical issues. A tour of the CO2 plant in Kutina was also on the agenda.

Vietnam: Know-how transfer

In July 2017, Tony Low and Martin Zeller of Messer Cutting Systems (MCS) led five days of training for the Messer Haiphong and Messer Vietnam sales and engineering teams. The training focused on oxyfuel technology. Over and above that, our colleagues provided training to various Messer customers in Vietnam in the safe, secure and efficient use and handling of our oxyfuel and GFILAM products such as line or ring burners with automatic flame monitoring. This know-how transfer and our future range of special and complete solutions will also help us win new customers in Vietnam.

Martin Zeller (2nd from left) and Tony Low (3rd from left) of Messer Cutting Systems as well as Vu Thi Mai (right) of Messer Haiphong talking to the maintenance manager (left) at Nui Phao Mining in Thai Nguyen.

Poland: “Food” Network

This year’s Messer Group “Food” Network Meeting was held in Cracow at the end of September 2017. The meeting focused on cooling and freezing applications. One of the highlights of the event was the workshops: theoretical calculations were first performed in groups before validating them in practical tests.

Food Network Meeting in Poland 2017

Digital learning platforms

Own eLearning platform at Messer

Messer Group invites all of its national subsidiaries to use the company’s own web-based eLearning platform. The user interface of this tool is available in more than 20 languages. At no additional user-license cost, online training courses can be organised and carried out with externally purchased and own training content. An eLearning template is available for this purpose. A team consisting of employees from the corporate areas of Human Resources, Legal, Medical as well as IT/Data Protection launched this project in 2015. The test run conducted in 2016 of a self-produced online training course on antitrust and competition law was a success. The Messer Group’s eLearning platform was used in 2017 for a brief online training course in the Messer companies on pharmacovigilance in the area of CSF Medical, Pharma and Food Gases.

China: Learning via live stream

Messer China is using the “WeChat” social app to provide flexible and cost-effective training to its employees: internal live-stream lessons are used for training and practice in the presentation of sales, application and engineering topics.

Employees can take part in the lessons wherever they are via their smartphone. And it is not a problem if someone misses a course because all the lessons are recorded.

Grace Zhang, HR Manager at Messer China, moderates the internal live-stream course.
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