Case Study | RAG

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Ever since the implementation of the German Hard Coal Financing Act in 2007, RAG AG (largest German coal mining corporation) has been downsizing. However, despite a steadily shrinking workforce, employee satisfaction and motivation have actually increased – the result of a respectful open and dialogue-oriented leadership culture.


Since the implementation of the variable remuneration system in 2002, an annual 180-degree feedback survey has been used to evaluate a minimum of 800 feedback recipients, based on around 7,000 pieces of feedback. The allocation of feedback providers and recipients was decentralized, but the evaluation of the feedback itself was conducted automatically and centrally. "This makes the process as convenient and effortless as possible,” says Bergmann.

In addition to 180-degree feedback surveys, RAG uses Questback’s software to run company-wide employee surveys as well as ad hoc projects, team checks and internal customer surveys. "Without this feedback, we wouldn’t be able to take action as quickly,” says Bergmann. Over the years, these survey results have been used to take the necessary organizational and leadership development steps to achieve a fundamental cultural change within RAG.


Although the last mine will be closed in 2018, RAG has experienced continuous improvements in performance, engagement and motivation, with a high participation rate of over 90 %. For example, in 2013, 79 % of employees answered "agree” or "strongly agree” in response to the statement, "I am proud to work for RAG”. In 2009 the equivalent score was 7 % percentage points lower. Overall, every index value has either improved or stayed constant since the 2009 survey.

And significant improvements have been made in the indices for leadership quality within the company, climbing dramatically since alarmingly low values recorded in 2003. This is proof that a fundamental change in leadership culture has been achieved. Thanks to feedback and dialogue, and the organizational development measures taken as a result, RAG has decoupled the organizational and performance environment from the company’s challenging circumstances.

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