HELLO! HEI! XIN CHAO!
Voices from the different RKW countries
Respect is an important success factor at RKW – both internally among the workforce and in business relationships with the customers. Yet how is this important term actually embraced? We take a journey around the different countries in the world of RKW.
Respect is . . . always seeing the person
“Hej!” That is how most RKW employees greet one another in Sweden. One of 20 global locations of our family-run business is based here. The language may be different at almost every one of them, but respect and mutual appreciation are considered to be the basis of any form of cooperation all over the world. And rather than just paying lip service to these ideals, they are actually embraced, as the Swedish plant can confirm: “The most important thing is to see the person – not their gender, ethnic background, or age. In order to make it clear that we are all equal, it is not about what we say to our employees, but rather the example we set them.”
At the German plant in Wasserburg, for example, it goes without saying that colleagues with disabilities are integrated and – if necessary – supported. “To us, one example of respect is putting the disabled person on the day shift so that they can keep their area of responsibility and maintain their relationship with their colleagues without having the additional stress of rotating shifts. Or accepting that a colleague with a disability may sometimes need an extra break.” This team spirit among the 3,000 people who work for RKW around the world also helps us to consolidate our position as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of excellent film solutions.
Respect is . . . integrating new staff members
We can only continue to write our success story if we integrate new employees as a matter of course and welcome their uniqueness and diversity. As is the case at RKW in Finland, for example: “Showing respect isn’t about keeping your head down or giving in. If someone feels appreciated, then they can also appreciate others. We attach great importance to the attitude that new colleagues bring valuable knowledge with them. They see things differently and can even teach us something.”
At RKW in Vietnam: “Respectful cooperation is enhanced by induction programs for new employees, training courses, and our own in-house communication.” It goes without saying that the managers have a particular duty of responsibility in this regard. “To managers, for example, respect means liaising closely with the employees, understanding their needs, and being willing to listen.” Those are the principles adopted in China, among other countries.
“I studied plastics engineering and wrote my master’s thesis at RKW in Pori. This provided a good opportunity to make contact and I was able to prove myself in initial projects.”
(Head of Production at RKW Pori, Finland)
Respect is . . . providing opportunities to move up the career ladder
This approach is precisely the right catalyst for boosting not only the performance of our employees, but also their career opportunities – like at the RKW plant in Kentucky, USA: “Everyone is different. It is therefore important to approach each employee and their needs differently. We advertise vacant positions internally to give our employees a chance to move up the career ladder. We help the applicants who miss out by advising them on how they can improve their qualifications and offering them support. In addition, our employees are given evaluation forms every year in order to allow us to determine the areas in which they would like to receive training.” That is how respect becomes the most important success factor.