Growing up - with a backbone

As a company, we want to make our contribution to a better world and take as many people as possible with us on our journey. This starts with Mer's employees: Emmanuelle Legay (Team Lead Finance, Controlling & Compliance) and Benedikt Kaul (Process, Risk & Compliance Manager) talk about topics such as diversity, social responsibility and compliance.



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4 min


Mer Solutions GmbH


Mer Solutions GmbH

What measures does Mer take to ensure that employees feel integrated as quickly as possible?


Emma: It starts with onboarding. In the first two weeks, we initiate half-hour meetings for new employees - from interns to managers. This gives them the chance to see the faces behind the work areas and get to know each other personally. These are informal meetings that are not just about work. We also organise regular "offsites", where the focus is on team building and developing our strategy and company culture. On top of that, every two to three weeks we have a brownbag lunch where we present new concepts and ideas to each other. The topic does not necessarily have to have something to do with one's own area of work, but can be chosen completely freely.


Benedikt: In Process Management, understanding the company structure, activities and interfaces is extremely relevant. I've only been with the company for a few months and the initial conversations Emma told me about have helped me personally a lot. For each function in the company, there are certain stakeholders that I have interacted with. This has opened up a network for me in the first few weeks that I can now build and expand on my own. As a result, I quickly find the right contact person in the respective department and the communication channels are very short.


Keyword "promoting diversity": How is this implemented at Mer?


Benedikt: I think anyone who applies here really wants to work in an intercultural environment. I talk to people from different countries every day because our company is represented several times in Europe. We work with many different nationalities and communicate in English. When I was looking for a job, it was very important to me that I work in a place that stands for diversity.

Emma: For me, diversity also means supporting people from different backgrounds. We have a number of colleagues here who come from the Berufsförderungswerk and want to undergo further training or retraining. Another plus point is that I've noticed that Mer has a lot of women in senior management positions.


Do you have guidelines against discrimination and harassment in the workplace? And: Are there specific measures to raise awareness among the workforce?


Benedikt: For us, it is now also a matter of complying with the specified conditions and guidelines of our parent company Statkraft. Through Statkraft, we already have a documented system at Group level, which we make use of. For some time now, we have been mirroring this through an additional compliance network where the officers interact with each other - and that's where I come in. I am the first point of contact for compliance at Mer Solutions and ensure that we implement, monitor, control and constantly improve the entire set of rules. What is always important to me is to make knowledge transparent. In addition to internal communication and our knowledge base, we have introduced various training courses, one at onboarding and the other as a refresher. Towards the end of the year, we will launch an e-learning platform with additional material.

Emma: We want to enable transparent exchange through communication and reporting, for example through a whistleblowing system. All employees can call the system anonymously and report critical cases. We are now considering whether to introduce this system at the Mer Group level as well. In addition, there are other instructions for the workforce, such as from our Health & Safety Officer, as well as first aid courses and fire protection courses.


Why do you think the topic of "compliance" is becoming increasingly important for companies? 


Benedikt: If you look at the definition, it's about complying with internal and external rules and conditions. These can be self-imposed guidelines, state regulations, antitrust reports, topics such as diversity and inclusion, and of course the General Data Protection Regulation. Then it comes down to the company itself to set the right priorities - that depends on the risk assessment. Since 2018 at the latest, the topic of data protection has become even more important because companies have had to implement the requirements of the GDPR by law. This is particularly important for us because, as a charging station operator, we store personal data of drivers, among other things. In addition, we need certain consents when we work with external partners, which involves a great deal of organizational effort. Within the sister group, we have a joint-controller agreement: this means we don't have to redo the order processing contract every time there is a change of purpose. As you might have gathered, data protection management is an independent subsystem of the compliance management system.


What options do employees have when it comes to time off, e.g. parental leave for fathers, sabbaticals, etc.?


Emma: This is always possible with us and is discussed individually with HR. When our male colleagues take parental leave, we don't get any critical comments, quite the opposite: for us, it's a reason to celebrate and we're happy for the new parents. The additional work that arises from absences is to be transferred to freelancers and external people in the teams. We are at a stage where we want to encourage more ownership. An example of this is our colleague Katharina, who is now on maternity leave. There is no replacement for Katharina because her team shares the work among themselves.


Doesn't that lead to more work every day?


Emma: Yes, but after prior consultation. Together with HR, Katharina organized a workshop a few months ago and explained her different roles and responsibilities. Then she asked her team: Do you feel like taking on new tasks? It was about product management or expanding the European network, for example. This worked really well, Katharina's team was enthusiastic. On the one hand, this approach benefits Katharina because after a year she can continue working exactly where she left off. On the other hand, her colleagues learn new skills in sales & marketing and can develop themselves further. I think that's a nice message because the team supports and trusts each other. However, it is first a test: we want to see if this format is successful and works well for the team in the long term.


What fascinates you personally about Mer?


Benedikt: I previously worked in the aerospace sector. There I had to deal with companies where "greenwashing" would be a strong understatement. In addition, the vertical and horizontal structures were very rigid. I worked in process and quality management, where it was more about analyzing and improving what was already there. At Mer, it's about really modelling all the management systems and processes, in other words: my potential impact is more significant. I also chose Mer because I find the intersection of the two industries - energy and mobility - very exciting.


Emma: I felt a lot like Benedikt. I used to work for a company that was obviously greenwashing and that didn't feel good. I want to see a deeper meaning in my work and make a positive difference. It's exciting here because we're a growing company and there's always something new happening. You can still feel the emotionality here that resonates from the startup phase, and at the same time we are now part of a corporation and can make bigger steps. You think: Wow, we've grown up. We have made it.

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