2018 Integrated Report – On track towards a better Railway


DB Group is transforming

On April 1, 2018, DB Group was one of the first large groups in Germany to create a new change management division, which reports directly to the member of the Management Board responsible for HR, in order to provide a solid foundation for the DB Group transformation within the organization. DB Group is undergoing a fundamental transformation process: the new division will support the fundamental change of our business processes to increase performance capability (OPEX) and drive both the digitalization of DB Group and transformation within the Group by hiring about 20,000 new employees per year over the coming years. The division will define requirements in areas such as staff planning, onboarding, further qualification and working conditions, and set guidelines and provide tools for professional change management on-site. If the transformation is to succeed, we will need executives and employees who strive for operational excellence and work enthusiastically to advance the digitalization of DB Group. Empowerment and the development of competence are therefore essential factors for success in terms of the effectiveness of process excellence, performance and change management.

Expansion of performance management

We are working hard to improve performance management in DB Group sustainably. To further increase effectiveness, we are linking performance management more closely and rigorously to concrete responsibility at the individual level. A solution for this has been developed within the My Performance Management project that makes goals more action-oriented, puts the focus squarely upon feedback and ensures that performance is always on the agenda. This creates an alternative to the current dialogue between em­­ployees and management and to the management planning process. This approach has been piloted in five different business entities, where it has been well received. The pilot of the new performance management system with about 2,500 employees was successful and the system will therefore be gradually rolled out in the integrated rail system over the coming years.

Shaping digitalization

In March 2018, we concluded a digital agreement with the Group Works Council: the new framework Group Works Council Agreement (Rah­men-Konzernbetriebsvereinbarung; R-KBV) set down guidelines for rapid changes in today’s work environment due to digitalization. The R-KBV “Shap­­ing progress and our future together” aims to give our employees guidance and security.

Virtual Reality

In the year under review, we used our virtual reality (VR) application EVE (Engaging Virtual Education) – which we developed in-house – to enhance the qualifications of about 1,000 on-­board service staff. VR glasses allow them to familiarize themselves with new functions of the ICE4 without actually being on board. The Munich-based start-up VISCOPIC has developed a virtual training course with re­­alistic switch holograms in DB StartupXpress that was used to help about 400 employees learn to rectify faults in switches more quickly and easily in the year under review. DB Schenker uses the 3D technology to train logistics personnel. A VR version is planned.

Digital devices for all DB employees

To enhance digital skills, all DB employees in Germany are to be issued with smart­­­­­phones or tablets no. 102. This program will be rolled out by the end of 2019. This will mean that em­­ployees who previously could not be contacted electronically when at work will have elec­­tronic access to work orders and will be able to document processes electronically.

The Railway of the Future tour

The Railway of the Future tour 2018 used interactive stations and discussions with experts to highlight areas DB Group is working on to meet the challenges posed by digitalization, operational excellence and performance capability. Be­­tween April 26 and July 26, 2018, about 17,500 employees (and their families) visited the exhibition in a total of 16 towns and cities.

New corporate wear

At the end of March 2018 we presented the first prototypes of the new corporate wear for customer-facing employees, which was developed with designer Guido Maria Kretschmer. From August 2018, about 250 employees participated in wearability tests. The new collection comprises about 80 individual items. For the color, we chose the new shade of burgundy, whilst the DB logo and cap remain in the fa­­miliar red. Significant improvements in functionality, ap­­pearance and comfort affect employee satisfaction and identification with DB Group.

Agility and self-organization

Since the middle of the decade, a dynamic, bottom-up process has been underway in DB Group, with staff adopting agile methods or organizing themselves more autonomous­­ly. We expect more than 5% of employees in Germany to be working in agile structures or teams by the end of 2020, half of these due to large transformation projects and the other half due to teams of up to 100 employees trying out agility, self-organization and distributed management. The shift to agility and self-organization does not follow a generic model. It should always start from a strategic challenge or a problem that has been identified, for which suitable an­­swers are sought from the agile method set. In the year under review, a virtual and cross-functional team stepped up its work to promote agile and self-organized structures and remove obstacles to their establishment.

Promoting diversity

We believe that diversity is about more than just gender, generation, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation and physical or mental abilities. It’s also a question of different personalities, life plans, skills and professional experience. In particular, we are committed to increasing the proportion of women in the workforce and encouraging intergenerational cooperation.

In April 2018, about 500 female DB executives met at the second DB Female Managers Lounge on the subject “More women at the top – how we can help promote change.” This initiative aims to promote networking and increase the visibility of female executives.

The new Generational Contracts project is aiding the transfer of technical knowledge and professional skills between DB employees, with about 500 generational contracts having been concluded by the end of 2018.

As a member of the Diversity Charter, we use the 6th German Diversity Day 2018 to raise awareness of the subject amongst DB employees.

Share of women as of Dec 31 (%)





DB Group




     in Germany




The proportion of women rose slightly.

Employee satisfaction stable

Employee satisfaction 




 Employee satisfaction (SI)



Follow-up workshop implementation rate (%)


The employee satisfaction survey is conducted every two years. If no survey has been conducted, the key figure Follow-up workshop implementation rate is used.

The fourth Group-wide employee survey was conducted between September 26 and October 26, 2018. This is an essential part of DB’s corporate culture, which relies heavily on personal participation, empowerment and employee responsibility. Over 330,000 employees in 76 countries were invited to participate, with more than 200,000 taking up the offer. The participation rate was 60.0% (2016: 60.7%). The employee survey was once again conducted and evaluated by the independent external service provider GfK and showed that employee satisfaction has remained stable. Positive trends can be seen in emotional attachment, with 62% of employees (2016: 60%) feeling strongly at­­tached to the company and their job. There were also im­­prove­­ments in areas such as enjoyment of work at 69% (2016: 68%), integration at 64% (2016: 50%) and error culture at 60% (2016: 50%). Critical feedback was received on Group-wide cooperation and strategic issues, and perception of own motivation remained unchanged at 49%. Based on the results, there are four areas for action:

  • Strategy: Employees and managers are slightly more optimistic about the future, but the value lies significantly below that for satisfaction in the working environ­­ment. The desire for a clearer strategic focus is evident.
  • Railway of the Future: Although half of all employees are aware of the content and goals of Railway of the Future, belief that the project can be successfully implemented is receding. There is a need for visible improvements across the board.
  • Company-wide dialog: Many employees expect more guidance from their management. The survey shows that satisfaction increases when dialogue and communication are perceived as open and honest.
  • Group-wide cooperation: Improving Group-wide cooperation is a key task. 40% believe this works well with other divisions. A key theme was structure of work se­­quences and the excessive number of interfaces in the Group.

The trend for employee satisfaction thus lies slightly below our forcecast from the 2017 Integrated Report.

At the end of January 2019, all executives received their individual results reports. Team workshops and follow-up activities begin in March 2019.