Our Statement on the Hans Böckler Foundation Study

BERLIN, NOVEMBER 19, 2019 // Zalando strongly objects to the results of the Hans Böckler Foundation study on our performance and development tool, Zonar. The Böckler study is based on only "ten interviews with Zalando employees" (p.10 of the study) and, according to the study leader, is "limited in scope, completeness and generalizability" (p.9). Zalando has a total of around 14,000 employees, of which 5,000 are eligible to take part in the Zonar process. The panel of participants on which the study is based represents merely 0.2 percent of that population. Therefore, this study is not representative.

The Böckler study also contains gross factual errors. For example:

  • Zalando employees were "not involved in any processes of co-determination" (p.44). In fact, the introduction and further development of Zonar is subject to co-determination under the Works Constitution Act and was co-determined by Zalando works councils and therefore also by Verdi. 
  • Zalando's top management had "partly dissolved works councils again later on [...]" (p.46). This is nonsense and never happened; Zalando welcomes any kind of corporate co-determination. As the law stands, a dissolution by the employer would not be possible. 

To the main points of criticism of the study:

Work atmosphere
At Zalando, transparency and an open feedback culture is a daily reality. For this reason, we conduct voluntary employee satisfaction surveys four times a year. In the most recent survey, conducted in September 2019, only 13 percent of the employees surveyed stated that they would like to work outside Zalando within the next one to two years. 67 percent would recommend Zalando as a good employer.

Data protection
Zonar meets the legal requirements of the GDPR. Performance appraisals of employees are an important, legally recognized and permissible purpose of data collection, both for us as a company and for our employees. At Zalando, personnel-relevant decisions are not made fully automatically, but by the respective manager together with an independent committee. In addition, our employees have been and are continuously informed about Zonar and its functions in the form of detailed documentation.

Zalando rewards its employees fairly and lets them participate in our growing entrepreneurial success (see Quarterly Report Q3/2019). The average company-wide salary increases in 2018 and 2019 were significantly above the German average of 3.1 percent. 

Zalando welcomes all forms of corporate co-determination. It is currently taking place at various levels throughout the company:

  • Employee representatives on the Supervisory Board
  • SE Works Council, consisting of eight representatives of national and international Zalando companies elected by the employees
  • Works councils at Zalando Studios and Customer Care International, Zalando Logistics Erfurt, Monchengladbach, and soon also in Lahr
  • Zalando Employee Participation (ZEP), an alternative representative body elected by employees 

In Spring 2018, Zalando was asked to participate in the study by the study leader. We decided not to participate because of the lack of neutrality of the study, which could already be seen at the time of the request, i.e. before the start of the study.