Annual Report 2023

Education and personnel development

Audit with limited assurance

HHLA invested a total of € 5.0 million in educating and training staff at its locations in Hamburg in 2023 (previous year: € 5.1 million). As an integral part of HHLA’s HR strategy, the personnel development strategy plays a significant role in the areas of action “Develop Further” and “Work Together”. This centres on four key action areas:

  • Making employees fit for the future
  • Identifying and further developing talent
  • Promoting networking and cooperation
  • Making a contribution to the organisation and corporate culture of the future

A key objective of HHLA’s personnel development is to ensure that employees have the skills they need in the short, medium and long term. This is achieved through various apprenticeships and dual-study programmes, suitable qualifications by means of training tailored to both target groups and needs, and the establishment of underlying conditions that are conducive to learning. In addition, it is important to support and empower employees and executives at the various subsidiaries with regard to strategic projects and transformation processes.

In 2023, HHLA’s personnel development department further consolidated its role as a strategic partner for all parts of the company. Established talent and management development programmes (e.g. young leaders programme, international leadership programme, segment-specific leadership programmes) were continued and are now dovetailed more closely with strategic personnel planning programmes. As part of the IHATEC collaborative project “PortSkill 4.0 – Training hub of German port operators – establishment of a digital testing and training centre (DTTC) for the companies and employees of the German port sector”, interim results were achieved and work got under way on the design and development of new training programmes for job profiles in technical areas and on the setting up of a digital testing and training centre. In terms of qualification management, Group-wide access to training and professional development programmes was significantly expanded through the roll-out of an SAP-based learning management system. The new learning platform “Lernen@HHLA” now incorporates multilingual and collaborative digital offerings, making it possible to manage offerings flexibly and in line with requirements while establishing a low-threshold range of qualifications as the “new normal”.

Training and studying at HHLA

As of 31 December 2023, 50 apprentices and 26 students were receiving training in Germany in twelve different professions and eleven dual study courses. 30.3 % of the 76 apprentices and students were female. Among the students, the proportion of women was 42.3 % in 2023 (previous year: 46.2 %). The range of apprenticeships and study courses in the technical and IT division was further expanded to reflect needs, and the new study course “Technical Informatics” was introduced. This is intended to meet future personnel requirements at the interface between technology and informatics that will emerge in the context of increasing port digitalisation and automation.

Of the 30 apprentices who successfully completed their training in the course of the year, 27 were given permanent contracts. A total of 28 new apprenticeship contracts were signed in Germany in the 2023 training year, of which 25.0 % were female apprentices. In the commercial sector, the share of female apprentices for the start of training in 2023 was 66.7 %, in the technical sector 16.7 % and in dual study programmes 12.5 %.

In addition to the acquisition of professional qualifications, HHLA attaches great importance to the acquisition of interdisciplinary skills, e.g. social skills, during its education programmes and enables its trainees and dual students to get involved in various projects. For example, 2023 saw HHLA dual students take second place in the Diversity Challenge competition, organised by Charta der Vielfalt e.V., with a pop-up exhibition container. In this Germany-wide competition, young employees implemented a project to promote diversity and inclusion at their company.

Learning and further education at HHLA

The increasing intensity of change and continuing need for complexity management place demands on managers and employees alike. Specialist and leadership skills must be continuously expanded and adapted as a result, in order to meet new requirements and successfully shape transformation projects within HHLA.

In general, HHLA’s heterogeneous employee groups require training programmes that are tailored to the specific needs of the target groups concerned. While training programmes for operational staff are designed and implemented via the HHLA Technical College for technical commercial further training including GHB (Gesamthafenbetriebs-Gesellschaft, personnel service provider for the Port of Hamburg) on a tried and trusted basis, strategic personnel development is dedicated primarily to development programmes for talented individuals and managers as well as the establishment of professional further training processes and structures. In addition, HHLA’s personnel development assists with all major transformation programmes – e.g. through team workshops and coaching/advisory offerings  – and is responsible for the resulting personnel development programmes. The company thus ensures that internal skills acquisition is in line with the common strategic objective and that a long-term culture of learning is fostered.

With regard to the training programmes, more than 698 events lasting one or more days were held in the reporting period. These included more than 484 in-house vocational courses conducted by HHLA’s own trainers over 2,015 training days. In addition, 214 events lasting one or more days with 1,365 participant days were organised as part of the company’s cross-segment seminar programme. Of the participants, 38.0 % were women.

In the reporting year, HHLA also successfully continued its range of management development programmes, newly developed in 2022. New content was added both to the programmes for new managers and to the modules for experienced managers in 2023. This included the addition of a module entitled “Basics of labour law” for new managers and a training programme on “Remote leadership” for experienced managers. As part of the transformation process in the Container segment, a multi-event series on successful leadership in change processes was also held for managers. To date, more than 50 % of all managers have participated in the various leadership development programmes and modules.

Moreover, the range of in-house seminars focuses on skillset clusters that are crucial for successfully handling current and future challenges as well as on basic skills with wide application possibilities. In addition to tried and trusted training programmes such as language courses, IT training and sector-specific knowledge, the portfolio of offers primarily comprises the issues of “Change, projects & strategy development”, “Learning and problem-solving expertise”, “Communication and cooperation”, “Digital expertise” and “Leadership”. The range of in-house seminars is supplemented by external training opportunities in cooperation with training providers and universities, which also specifically support networking with managers and experts at other companies.

In order to meet the needs of HHLA’s growing internationalisation, international seminars and talks, sometimes virtual, were held for the first time in 2023. In addition to the already established one-year international leadership programme for young managers at HHLA’s international locations, these will further strengthen international development and networking. This is also supported by the consistently high number of language courses completed at the company’s German locations.

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