Water Cooler Atmospherics

Germany's Top Model is Daimler Financial

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I just can't stop loving work.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    For the first time, a German company made it into the top 25 in a best-places-to-work ranking.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Daimler Financial, a part of automaker Daimler, was ranked 19th globally.
    • The survey is open to companies in 43 countries with more than 50 employees.
    • Google was ranked No. in the global ranking.
  • Audio

    Audio

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The best place to work in Germany is Daimler Financial Services, based in Stuttgart, according to the most recent survey by Great Place to Work, a global research and management consultancy that ranks the quality of workplaces in 45 countries.

Daimler Financial, which provides auto financing and other financial products as a subsidiary of automaker Daimler, made it to 19th on the global list.

The ranking released Friday, which is based on employee responses, ranks the world’s top 25 companies to work in.

Most companies that made it into the top 25 list came from the United States, followed by two companies from Spain.

A total of 6,200 companies took part in the survey, 90 of which were based in Germany or have offices there. Other finalists with a presence in Germany include auto maker Volkswagen, health insurer Techniker and the German unit of Dutch electronic maker Philipps.

The poll, which began in 1997 in New York and first included German companies in 2003, surveys employees about their workplace in areas such as team spirit, flexible working hours, young professional recruitment and consensual decision making.

Tabea Wagener, 28, who has worked in Daimler Financial’s corporate social responsibility team for the past one and a half years, credits her employer with building an internationally diverse atmosphere where employees are given full responsibility for their projects.

“In the beginning I wondered about why the door knobs in our company were so low until I found out that this was done to accommodate wheel chair users,” Ms. Wagener said. “On our floor you hear many different languages from French to Spanish. I have colleagues with head scarves.”

Andreas Spannbauer, a Daimler Financial spokesman, said that employees are invited to participate in a global quiz that teaches about diversity and cultural differences. “The other day, I received a request from one of our colleagues in China to play the quiz with me,” Mr. Spannbauer said. “There are questions like: ‘What color does a Chinese bride wear at her wedding.” (The answer: red.)

 

Source: Daimler
Source: Daimler

 

At Daimler Financial, 93 percent of its 8,107 employees responded to the survey saying that “employees are treated independently of their sexual orientation.” The company’s management board regularly attends Christopher Street Day in Berlin, a street parade advocating the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, according to the company.

Ms. Wagener said that she finds it comforting that employees at all levels say “Du”, the less formal translation of “you” in German, a level of informality seldom found in the workplace there.

“There are very flat hierarchies at Daimler and this helps to establish a completely new level with people,” she added.

The top 25 list ranked Google at No. 1 globally, which Forbes in a separate ranking also honored earlier this year. Overall, the current top 25 list features 18 U.S. companies such as SAS Institute, EMC and Microsoft, two from Spain, and one each from France, Canada, United Kingdom and Peru.

 

Franziska Scheven and Sarah Mewes are editors at Handelsblatt Global Edition in Berlin. Ms. Scheven is covering companies and markets at the Global Edition and Ms. Mewes is covering lifestyle issues and politics. To contact the authors: scheven@handelsblatt.com and mewes@handelsblatt.com

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