In the latest Innovating Business Ethics blog, Dr. Ronja Müller-Kalkstein, Head of Engagement within the Together4Integrity Program at Volkswagen AG, outlines the programme and its impact at VW.
Since its start in 2018, we at Volkswagen combine all integrity and compliance measures in our groupwide program, Together4Integrity or T4I. Its aim is to protect the company from risks in the long term.
As a holistic program, T4I works with consistent processes and implementation standards. It collects relevant content and processes from 16 specialist areas – including Integrity, Compliance, Risk Management, Production, Technical Development, Procurement or Sales. The teams across the world check, consolidate and coordinate the content with each other, put together packages of measures (concept), distribute them throughout the Group (roll-out), monitor successful implementation (quality control) and measure effectiveness (performance measurement).
T4I comprises appropriate packages of measures rolled out at over 800 companies in around 70 countries. Thereby reaching almost every corner of the Volkswagen Group. The roll-out of T4I is mainly complete, and implementation will run until 2025, with the Board of Management department Integrity and Legal Affairs taking responsibility.
Together4Integrity – the holistic integrity and compliance management system in the Volkswagen Group
Sustainable success through long-term monitoring in “Perception Workshops”
An effectiveness assurance process checks the quality of the T4I rollout. This checks the quality of implementation and how the measures are working. Kick-off events and Perception Workshops supplement the instruments at the local company level. They primarily measure the rollout's effectiveness and involve selected employees and managers across the hierarchy as stakeholders in the change process. The aim is to raise awareness of the valuable contribution made by everyone.
Since the launch of the T4I program in 2018, more than 680 (689) workshops and sessions have been conducted until this autumn (2022). More than 40.000 managers and employees have already taken part. The regular repetition of the events enables us to deepen the dialogue on T4I topics further and thus raise awareness of the importance of the change process.
In this manner, we ensure the company's continuous progress and facilitate its specific measurement: almost 90% (88%) of those surveyed this year agreed that the company's anchoring of the T4I program is progressing successfully. This represents a further increase compared with the previous year (83%) and a significant increase compared with the first measurement point in 2018 (65%).
I would like to point out that to implement strategic and sustainable change it is essential for us to measure the progress of the perception of the initiatives of the Together4Integrity program on a worldwide scale. With the Perception Workshop, we can evaluate how the processes and measures expand into the working life in each Entity and can define actions to react and correct the course where necessary.
Foster change and agree on appropriate measures
The Perception Workshops are conducted regularly for each Entity and measure whether and how the employees perceive Integrity and Compliance in their daily work. Within the result analysis, we distinguish between the four dimensions "Must", "Can", “Social Environment”, and "Want", regarding the implementation of the Integrity and Compliance topics within everyday work. For me, the Perception Workshop is a way to foster a cross-hierarchical speak-up culture and to raise awareness for the important topics of the program. Everyone who attends a Perception Workshop will hopefully be a multiplicator of those topics within their Entity.
The data collected over the last four years show continuously increasing results with an especially high approval rate for the dimensions "Must", “Social Environment”, and "Want", and we strive to maintain these rates. However, regarding the dimension of "Can", employees worldwide see growth potential. Concerning the Engagement Journey, the results show that most Entities start their journey by building up and strengthening the extrinsic motivation and existing knowledge of T4I (“Must”-dimension) and by living the T4I values in their daily work (“Social Environment”- dimension). Additionally, right from the start the participants of the Perception Workshop show a high intrinsic motivation to T4I conform (“Want”- dimension).
Moreover, the results on the regional level show the lowest agreement scores on average in the North American region and the highest agreement scores on average in the Middle East region.
To foster further change and acknowledge the specific local needs of the Entities, they are free to agree on appropriate measures based on the discussion in the Perception Workshops. Since local needs vary widely, the T4I program has compiled a variety of result-specific measures that are recommended individually for Entity-specific results. However, even in this case, it is evident that the greatest potential for development is usually in the dimension “Can” and most of the recommended measures contribute to this area. Measures that we typically recommend for this dimension deal with fostering the internal speak-up and appreciation culture as well as increasing the psychological safety of all employees.
For example, the involvement of managers in Integrity and Compliance actions can be strengthened, or they can also be integrated into continuous internal communication activities. All in all, we aim at constantly simplifying processes without reducing their effectiveness: Within the framework given by the T4I program, Entities can focus on their key topics and shape them according to their individual needs. Thus, results are tailor-made per Entity but comparable across the group simultaneously.
More information on Volkswagen’s T4I program is available here:
Dr. Ronja Müller-Kalkstein
Head of Engagement within the Together4Integrity Program, Volkswagen AG
Dr. Ronja Müller-Kalkstein is the Head of Engagement within the Together4Integrity Program at the Volkswagen AG. Dr. Müller-Kalkstein started her current role this year and has worked for the Together4Integrity Program since January 2019. Before, she had many years of experience in the public sector and the field of academic research.