Annual Report 2015/16 Annual Report 2015/16

TUI is a colourful mosaic, composed from an array of different countries and cultures. When Dr Elke Eller was appointed to the TUI Group’s Executive Board in 2015 to lead Human Resources, her mission was clear: to build a shared Group culture. A conversation about the road to “oneCulture” and the challenges on the way.

» Contented employees
create unique holidays.«

Dr Eller, human resources is a business management concept. What is it about?

Elke Eller: Actually the concept of human resources is fairly outdated. It dates back to a time when corporate management was all about making optimum use of capital. As if all you have to do in order to get optimum results is make optimum use of your employees. That view completely ignores personal needs. And given the far-reaching processes of change that TUI Group is currently undertaking, it would be foolish not to see our employees as people with their own individual expectations, skills and ideas. Our task in people management is to strike the balance between the needs of employees on the one hand and commercial requirements on the other.

Why are good people management and employee satisfaction so crucial to TUI?

It is our employees who create the product. They are the ones in direct contact with customers. Customers are happy with their holiday if the people who guide and accompany them are fantastic. So TUI has a vested interest in employees who feel good about the company and engage. But people will only engage if they know why. They need and want meaningful jobs. But for that they need to be aware of the big picture and sign up to it.

HR strategy is built on our business
strategy for the Group and the key driver
of employee engagement.

Our Vision

Think travel.
Think TUI.

Our Strategy

Integrated content-centric tourism!
Scale with global platforms!
Beat competition locally.

Our Values

Trusted Unique Inspiring

Our Leader

Our leaders act according to
the TUI leadership model VIBE.

Vision Execute Inspire Build Teams
Our People
The best company to work for!
Living a high engagement –
high performance culture.

That leads straight to the question about corporate culture. Is it feasible to unite all the many cultures within the TUI Group?

You can’t measure everything by the same yardstick. It makes more sense to ask about our common DNA: what is it and what would we like it to be? Our corpor­ate values Trusted, Unique and Inspiring reflect the common ground very nicely. They are so global that they can be understood anywhere, regardless of cultural or regional differences. TUI Group is undergoing a wide-ranging process of transformation. That makes it all the more important to define cultural foundations for our partnerships and convey them to our employees. I see them as an essential springboard for the current challenges – and even more for what we want to achieve together in the future. You only need to look at how differently our online competition operates. That’s why we need people whose minds are open to new things, who have the enthusiasm to contribute to TUI’s success, and who inspire others on their team. That’s the only way we can develop.

How have you translated those challenges into a new HR strategy?

If the aim is to achieve a balance between the commercial requirements and the needs of our employees, naturally you need to analyse both those things very carefully. When I arrived, various countries had already been doing some good and very good HR work in many respects. But a company needs to apply a global framework if it wants to get more than 60,000 people pulling in the same direction. That is why we have begun at Group level to define some cornerstones and fences within which we can move around freely. We call this approach “freedom within a framework”. Once a month we meet up with all the regional HR managers. We analysed best practice from the regions together, and then thought about the aspects where we need a Group-wide framework. TUI is an agile company with so many countries, regions and functions. We don’t want to micromanage everything in a top-down, centralist manner. If it’s a regional matter that we need to nego­tiate with the regional works council, there’s no point in trying to do that from Hanover.


stands for a range of measures to strengthen
the open feedback culture at TUI
and enhance employee engagement.

Annual survey of all employees worldwide.
Findings from the first survey
also delivered fundamental input for
the new group-wide HR strategy.

Action by the Group Executive Committee (GEC)
Members of the Group
Executive Committe
answer questions at
monthly video chats on
the Intranet.
GEC members invite
local employees to open
discussions in a personal
CEO Fritz Joussen and
HR Director Elke Eller visit
countries twice a year
for an Employees’ Day.
Initiative enabling executives
to gain authentic experience
from direct contact with
customers in travel shops.

Before you joined, there was a broad-based employee survey.

The first TUIgether survey in 2014/15. When I joined TUI, it had just been evaluated. A fantastic basis for me and my team to work with! All Group employees had a chance to participate. Employees used the sur­vey to provide feedback for their direct line managers, the regional Boards and the Executive Board of the Group. There were some very specific questions about the work environment, right through to the question about whether we Board members had done enough to put across the new corporate strategy.

And what happened to the findings from that questionnaire?

What was important to me was to turn the “employee questionnaire project” into a process that facilitates continuous dialogue between employees and management. In the meantime, we have established suitable formats. The questionnaire showed that the role our executives play in the company and what we do at TUI in terms of people development were important issues for our employees – and so we adopted them as two focal themes for our HR strategy. The survey itself is part of the third focus, engagement. Number four follows from the existing, overarching Group strat­egy: a single and effective organisational structure. Another focus we included in the strategy is what we intend to do about developing our own function: what kind of people management do we need in an integrated tourism group?

How are you implementing those five focal themes?

Last year, drawing on the various themes, we defined a total of 15 projects, which we are now successively implementing with priority. I have already mentioned the formats for dialogue. In addition to that, in the next financial year we intend to roll out oneShare, a Group-wide scheme for employee shares. That is a very pragmatic approach: we will be strengthening people’s participation and emotional ties with their employer. Employees will be able to share in TUI’s success.

Do you have a favourite among those 15 projects?

I think our “Global 60” project is especially interesting: TUI wants to be an international travel group, but at the moment it is more like an aggregation of different countries. To speed up progress, we want to trigger 60 international careers in the space of a year. That means that we will be giving employees the opportunity to make their next career move in another country and gain some experience there. We are targeting people who don’t just think in German or English, for example, but are cultivating an international perspective. The spin-off effect is that this initiative will make things more international for everyone: teams will also have to speak more English and demonstrate how open they are. So with the first 60 careers, we will be triggering a cultural change from which the whole company will benefit. In fact, we began with ourselves: in HR we were recently joined, through oneShare, by a colleague who used to work in TUI Poland.

Careers/Global 60

TUI wants to encourage and facilitate more global
careers. To accelerate the process, 60 TUI employees
will have an opportunity, in the space of one year,
to make their next career move in another country
and gain experience there.

»Turning theory into practice
is the essential process.
And I look forward to it.«


The next financial year will see the roll-out of a single employee shares scheme for the whole of Europe; in the longer term, every employee in the world will have this opportunity. There used to be two separate success-sharing schemes – but only for the United Kingdom and Germany.

Have the projects generated any measurable results yet?

Well, for example, we had a substantially higher response rate for our TUIgether survey. Ten per cent more employees participated this year. That is definitely because there was a more dynamic follow-up process. We made a point of chasing things up and presenting initial solutions. I think our employees now feel that they are being taken more seriously. It is clearly reflected in the Employee Engagement Index, which rates job quality in the company. Last year we scored 73, which is not a bad result in itself. But we wanted to see a tangible improvement. Why? TNS, the institute that carries out this survey for over 3,000 companies, worked out that very successful companies have an engagement index of 80 or more. Of course, we won’t hit that mark overnight. But this year we have already managed to score 77. Those are the first steps and achievements on the road to our goal, which is to be top employer.

So that was the start. What else do you want to achieve?

We have defined the focal points for our strategy and agreed on common corporate values. Now we have to breathe life into the strategy. To turn theory into practice, we need concrete action. I look forward to it. I want to see the satisfaction level among our employees rise even further as they discover the advantages of working for an integrated tourism group for themselves, recognise the opportunities for their own personal development, and engage. In the final analysis, it is this positive attitude that carries over into customer satisfaction.

“Our strategy is proving to be robust and future-proof” – Fritz Joussen, CEO of TUI Group, answers questions.
To the story arrow-right-tuiCreated with sketchtool.
Year-round destinations: Why TUI is expanding in the Maldives.
To the story arrow-right-tuiCreated with sketchtool.