Our company is far more than just the sum of all our knowledge and skills. It is our culture, our DNA and our background, which all give our company its sense of cohesion and provide us with our identity.
"What sets us apart at Rhenus?"
Each of the almost 30,000 colleagues in the Rhenus world would probably give a similar, but very individual response to this question. We wanted to establish and extend precisely these common values, but it is possible that they will be interpreted in different ways. We have undergone an internal value process together with many German and international colleagues and managers and have continued to develop and specify our familiar values in a new way. You can find the results here:
The 5 Rhenus values.
We understand our customers‘ business and shape the future together with them. Our experience and flexibility enable us to create bespoke solutions for their individual requirements. We support these values with our decentralised organisation, our advanced IT competence, and the innovation of our employees.
Inspired customers form the basis of our success. We establish long-term and reliable relationships on a daily basis with a proactive approach and a high level of commitment. Our customers consider us as equal partners, because we add genuine value to their business thanks to our deep understanding of logistics processes. Our customers‘ individual requirements are a welcome challenge for our large number of focussed business divisions that confront them with great flexibility and IT skills. Past events or obstacles do not hinder us, instead we focus on finding the right, pragmatic solution for our customers. This determined focus on positive aspects and on the future is what strengthens us – externally and internally.
We make the difference because we are the heartbeat of the organisation. Each one of us contributes personally towards the combined success of the organisation. We achieve this through knowledge, motivation, and commitment. This is why mutual respect and appreciation are of the utmost importance to us.
Our key successes are the competence in our fields of expertise and our individual entrepreneurial energies. We provide the best possible environment for anyone who wants to develop or cultivate their abilities, reflecting a long established strategic goal dedicated to personal development. There are many of us and each one has his/her own special skills. This is why we perceive each other as members of a family business and treat each other with respect.
We develop ideas, provide suggestions, and take things under our control. Thanks to our decentralised structure, we are able to combine our resources to create a very dynamic way of working. In this way, we shape the future for us and for our customers.
As a family company, we promote the entrepreneurial spirit that is present in each one of us. Our decentralised organisation helps us with many market-focused areas of business. We believe in the intelligence of the community and make use of them to create pragmatic and results-oriented solutions for our customers. We try to make life easier for everyone by developing standards based on customised requirements. We encourage, support, and inspire confidence in order to allow your own initiative to develop. To do so, we accept that things occasionally don’t go according to plan in your quest to achieve more energy and performance for ourselves and our customers.
We have common values and we abide by them. This creates trust and generates security internally and externally. We establish long-term relationships and sustainable success - for ourselves and our customers.
In our family business, personal attention is of the utmost importance. The reason is that direct interaction with each other can develop solutions, simplify processes, and accelerate success. State-of-the-art IT systems help us in the process. However, ultimately it is our character that creates trust. Thanks to our pragmatism, honesty, and high level of commitment for the common cause, we instil the confidence in our customers and colleagues that we are the right choice of partner for them. This assurance and mutual trust enables us even to overcome challenges together, thanks to our overwhelming will to achieve common success.
We act with the future in mind. Throughout the generations, we have focussed on long-term relationships and ensured sustainable success. We continually shape transformation.
Our world is undergoing change, and it is happening in shorter cycles. For over one hundred years, our company has continuously evolved. For us, continuity means remaining curious and open to new concepts. In this way, we can provide the impetus for tomorrow. We do this with calm and farsightedness, and as a third generation family business, we are independent and well positioned. We take care of our customers and their partners in the long term - personally and with trust.
Five common values for one Rhenus world
The Rhenus Group’s annual management meeting in January 2017 proved to be particularly valuable, because it marked the starting point for developing the Rhenus values. The five essential values of the Rhenus Group were worked out and written down at a workshop that involved a large number of employees from very different units, countries or hierarchy and age structures. The values are: customer-focused solutions, employee orientation, entrepreneurship, integrity and continuity.
Rhenus represents more than 100 years of logistics, understanding customers’ needs, cooperation and experience. It is important to repeatedly ask important questions and continue developing in order to prevent coming to a standstill over such a long period. Who are we? What do we represent? And: where do we want to go in terms of developments? They are questions that link past traditions and the future very closely. About 160 experienced managers and 60 international junior employees from Rhenus came together in January 2017 in order to explore these questions.
Developing the Rhenus values
Rhenus has had values to dictate its actions and business at all times – but their essence had not yet been specifically worked out and defined in textual form. Employees from a very wide range of nationalities, business units and hierarchy levels developed ideas in a workshop on how they experience Rhenus on a daily basis, how they themselves leave their mark on the Rhenus culture and which values they wish to pursue with their managers. What has emerged are the five values that best describe the Rhenus Group:
- Customer-focused solutions: understanding requirements, offering solutions and shaping the future
- Employee orientation: showing respect, valuing skills, encouraging development.
- Entrepreneurship: developing ideas, bearing responsibility, creating success.
- Integrity: practising values, keeping promises, providing reliability.
- Continuity: acting in the long term, connecting generations, remaining independent.
Claus Eckmann, Head of Human Resources at Rhenus, accompanied the development of the Rhenus values, initially as a workshop leader and later as the chairman for the complete, developing process. “We knew from the outset that if we wanted to define the Rhenus Group’s values, it wouldn’t be enough to just write them down. Values need to be lived out. We therefore launched a communications process to actively involve our employees. We don’t want to communicate any abstract values as a modern and forward-looking company. We want to show our employees how they can use their skills and talents to benefit our customers and the whole Rhenus Group by living out our values.”
That is precisely the wish of Klemens Rethmann, the CEO of the Rhenus Group, too. “Our employees are our most valuable asset – their knowledge, their skills and their passion for what they do on a daily basis.”
However, it was not enough just to publicise the values. In the end, they need to be communicated via every management level to all the business units, countries, companies and departments and become an integral part of our employees’ everyday lives. “We’ve therefore developed a workshop concept so that each manager is in a position to pass on the content from one level to another. This provides the opportunity for reflection, communication, improvements and tapping into the potential for changes within Rhenus and introducing these very specifically. This is the aspect that makes us believe that we’ll continue to develop within the company,” Claus Eckmann explains.
Customers benefit from our view of ourselves
Dr Stephan Peters, a Rhenus Board Member, emphasises the following. “In the end, everything that we do at Rhenus is focused on one thing: our customers. We’re not the only ones to appreciate this passion and commitment that is expressed in this way – our customers do too.” Klemens Rethmann adds, “In the end, the goal of the Rhenus values is to show our customers once again who we are and what we stand for through actions that benefit them and with measures that continue to develop Rhenus.”
Broader significance of the Rhenus values
The values are also an opportunity to improve communications regarding the Group’s compliance, in the view of Gilles Delarue, the Group Compliance Officer at Rhenus. “At Rhenus, we abide by the laws and stipulations and keep the promises that we give to our customers, partners and employees. Compliance at Rhenus is directly mirrored in the five Rhenus values.”