Code of Conduct
With this Code of Conduct we are establishing a binding foundation for behavior, which contains guidelines for ethical, social and legal aspects. From working student to manager, from employee to freelancer, from Munich to Singapore – this Code of Conduct is binding for every Retarus employee at every Retarus company around the world and at the same time bonds them together. In the following we use the term “employee”, “member of staff” and “we” to refer to all Retarus workers, no matter whether their work tasks are performed as permanent employees, as freelancers, as temporary workers, etc. The term “business partner”, on the other hand, encompasses all persons, with whom Retarus is engaged in a business relationship. This includes customers, partners and suppliers.
This Code of Conduct was developed from the bottom up, by members of staff from all parts of the company, with the aim of considering as many differing perspectives in order to create a common basis for conduct.
Integrity and Prevention of Bribery and Corruption
For Retarus the responsible behavior and a high level of integrity of our employees in their daily dealings with each other and in business relationships are important components of our compliance with corporate guidelines. The actions of our employees are based on respect. We always comply with the applicable legal regulations and company-internal guidelines. Other basic principles underlying our dealings with others are transparency, equality, confidentiality and mutually-beneficial collaboration. We appreciate and value being perceived as a loyal and trustworthy company by our business partners. A high level of integrity with regard to conduct serves as the supreme maxim for all our businesses around the globe. This we also expect, in return, of our business partners. Cooperating with business partners who have little integrity or honesty in their dealings and conduct is not an option for us.
Preventing and combating corruption
Dealings and misconduct which are punishable by law, particularly corruption, are actively prevented and combated at Retarus. Conflicts of interest which may occur in this context are actively and transparently resolved. The prevention of corruption is a basic and global prerequisite for Retarus’ success in business.
Granting of undue advantage – Offering or providing advantages
The offering or granting of undue advantage – no matter which form this may take – is not tolerated at Retarus. In performing our tasks and duties we do not promise to provide nor grant to any other persons any unauthorized and undue services or objects of value in order to influence them to make a decision in favor of Retarus. This prohibiting of undue advantage applies in equal measure to those in a position of authority, i.e. government officials, judges or other persons working in an official capacity, as well as Retarus’ business partners. Gifts and other gratuities or donations to officials are not permitted. It is allowed to give minor gifts (with a low value) and sundry gratuities to business partners, as long as they are appropriate and selected in such a way as to preclude any semblance of dishonesty or impropriety. In general, typical or common marketing giveaways or occasional gifts are permitted, as well as gifts which are in accordance with local customs and courtesy in the respective country. The upper limit for the value of gifts for business partners can vary according to country and should be requested from the responsible supervisor. Invitations and corporate hospitality from business partners – regardless of the upper value limit – are considered minor gifts and gratuities as long as they are appropriate and within generally accepted limits for business. In cases of doubt it is necessary to consult the responsible supervisor. For corporate hospitality which exceeds a certain upper value limit (per invitation/per person) it is essential that approval be obtained from the supervisor. These upper value limits also may be subject to local differences and are communicated by the respective local supervisor. Under no circumstances may payments in cash or any other money payments be offered or granted.
Requesting and accepting undue advantage
No personal advantages may be requested from or accepted by our employees. Minor gifts (with a low value) and sundry gratuities may be accepted in general. Minor gifts (with a low value) are defined as gratuities and sundry advantages of which the value does not exceed a specific amount per gift/person – which varies according to location. Gifts which are not considered minor gifts (with a low value) must be declined. Should declining a gift be considered impolite in general business conduct in a specific country, then gifts exceeding the value of minor gifts must be donated to charity. Under no circumstances may payments in cash or any other money payments be accepted. Invitations to entertainment events and restaurants may only be accepted if they serve to build up or improve business relationships, in no way inappropriately influence business decisions made by Retarus and are in keeping with business customs in that particular country. Other business partners may not be disadvantaged unduly as a result. This means that restaurant invitations and minor gifts from business partners may only be accepted if the occasion and extent of the hospitality is appropriate, the gifts are occasional and of minor value and declining the offer of hospitality would be considered impolite. This guideline especially applies to the awarding of contracts.
Retarus does not make donations to political parties or foundations and institutions with close ties to a political party.
Behavior and communication
Successful together. This motto lays the foundation for our thoughts and actions in dealing with our business partners. In this regard, our behavior is marked by professionalism, respect, fairness and reciprocity. As a communication company we value responsible, exemplary and professional communication with our business partners very highly – irrespective of differences in culture and language. No matter whether in person, in writing or by phone: We interact with each other in a friendly way and live out the positive image of the company by expressing ourselves in a respectable, precise and reliable way. We also expect all business partners to satisfy these expectations.
Quality standards and long-term orientation
We ensure the highest levels of customer satisfaction, through the efforts of Retarus employees on four continents to ensure efficient communication processes with immediate success checks day after day. We have this checked and documented by means of regular audits. Within the scope of our high-quality services and smooth processes we set great store by long-term, sustainable business relationships. Moreover, we understand the needs of our customers and partners, also with regard to sector-specific requirements. We respond proactively to changes in markets and developments in the general constraints and conditions. Transparency and openness form the basis of trust in regular discussions with our business partners. These discussions serve as a cause and motivator for the ongoing development and improvement of our services. We lay great emphasis on assisting our customers in reaching decisions by providing them with top-notch consultancy. Our high quality standards are coupled with engaged and committed conduct, which is reflected in our communication with our customers.
Our collaboration is characterized by respect and trust. We place great emphasis on hierarchies that are as flat as possible, and teams that are manageable in size. We deal with one another fairly, openly and honestly. We value our local and international colleagues and business partners. As part of this value-oriented collaboration, each and every employee is encouraged to get involved in what goes on within the company. It is our responsibility to provide a working environment that fosters productivity and fun within the workplace. Employees with a handicap are welcome at any time. It is important to us to devote particular consideration to individual needs and requirements. We believe efficient teamwork is the key to success and are proud of our performance. In doing so, we look beyond the scope of our own work and consider the consequences of our actions on others. The company’s overarching goals and objectives are our main focus. To this end, we work together beyond the scope of our own teams and departments, while also thinking interdepartmentally and internationally. In order to facilitate an interdepartmental understanding and respect for different perspectives, we have an internal Customer Experience project in place, for example, where every member of staff has the opportunity to meet our customers and attend appointments with customers. We do not accept partial optimizations that are a detriment to the company as a whole.
We place great emphasis on responsible, exemplary and professional communication; this also extends to internal collaboration and collaboration spanning different cultures and languages. We are aware of cultural differences when dealing with colleagues and business partners from other countries and backgrounds, which is why we mutually strive to meet the individual needs of our counterparts and show a great deal of understanding if they have little intercultural experience. Communication takes place in respectful and honest language. We attach great importance to an open communication culture, value the free exchange of ideas, and involve employees when looking to come up with ideas, take decisions and solve problems. We communicate promptly, time, clearly, directly and in person. Our communication culture is relaxed and authentic, yet reliable and precise.
Methodical Way of Working
We approach our tasks and duties in a sufficiently methodical manner, think holistically about potential consequences, and are always in a position to offer information about the current status of our projects.
In meetings at Retarus, collaboration both between departments and within a department are bindingly organized and continually optimized as part of an ongoing process. In line with our meeting culture, meetings start and end on time, and are always oriented around an objective that has been clearly defined in advance. Here we attach importance to open and respectful collaboration, while observing the applicable meeting and communication rules.
Our managers actively promote collaboration within their teams as well as with other areas of the business. On top of that, they continually develop their own team in line with the corporate strategy. They reinforce our identification with and loyalty to the company. Our managers communicate unambiguously and provide their team with comprehensive information about all major topics in good time. They actively foster awareness for customer focus among their employees, and delegate tasks, competence and responsibilities in a clear and unequivocal manner. Furthermore, they support their employees in regards to the organization and management of their tasks and ensure a methodical way of working. They provide a fair and regular assessment of their employees, and support their development on an individual basis. Sensible delegation is a managerial task that helps to ease the burden on the manager while expanding the scope of responsibilities of the employees themselves.
We assume responsibility: Observations made during the course of our collaboration are actively discussed, providing impetus for future actions. We consider feedback to be a form of support and use it to improve ourselves. Our collaboration is defined by reliability, willingness to help, and by providing feedback without being prompted to do so. We listen to one another and openly discuss conflicts that arise during our collaboration. We provide constructive criticism that is never personal and use conflicts as a stimulus for improvement. We live a cooperative and respectful culture of discussion. We immediately discuss conflicts and handle them by using facts to find a suitable solution. Superiors or mediators can be called upon should the need to escalate a conflict arise.
Promotion and Development of Competencies
Competence, willingness to perform and responsible behavior by our employees constitute a significant prerequisite for our success. Promoting the creative and innovative competencies of our employees is therefore of strategic importance. Retarus uses its organization to support the development of its employees, not only professionally but also personally.
We ensure high-quality vocational training and support our apprentices. For Retarus apprenticeships, and the planned employment following the apprenticeship, are basic building blocks in a sustainable staff policy which has a long tradition. For instance, Retarus was one of the first companies in Germany to offer a successful apprentice program for IT specialists.
The consistent training and further education of our employees secures our position as a market leader. Retarus employees benefit from a broad range of internal (Retarus Academy) and external options for training and education. This includes, for instance, the Development Academy, sales training, certifications, communication and presentation training, as well as language courses. Retarus also provides individual support for external training courses by agreement, especially by means of flexible working times and holiday planning, as well as financial support for studies in parallel to employment through Retarus’ Education Support (Rafög). With Retarus’ expat program we also offer our employees the opportunity, by agreement, to gain experience working in foreign countries and to develop intercultural competencies. Moreover, we counter the complexity of cooperation between our international subsidiaries with regular and mutual visits. This facilitates the necessary transfer of knowledge and culture. Within the scope of regular staff dialogues, binding measures are agreed for the further development of personal, professional and expert competencies. The basis for a uniform understanding is provided by Retarus’ catalog of competencies.
Managers at Retarus regularly receive targeted training and coaching; potential managers participate in our leadership development program. Managers at Retarus take responsibility for the continuous, individual advancement and development of their employees. In this regard, we value intensive and unambiguous communication.
Proactive conduct and individual initiative
As Retarus employees we take responsibility for ourselves:
Oriented to future requirements, we use our own initiative to develop our own competencies. Through selfreflection and a positive attitude towards criticism we continually improve ourselves. We know that we can learn from our mistakes. We readily share our knowledge and acknowledge the competencies of others. We learn not only for ourselves, but also for the benefit of the company and as a result also for our customers.
Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Our everyday conduct is characterized by sustainability. We view sustainability in a holistic manner. We see no contradiction between commercial success and socially or ecologically responsible behavior. Only a harmonious combination of economy, ecology and social responsibility lays the basis for sustainable success in business and facilitates a stable, secure and safe work environment. As an owner-managed company, our company strategy aims for healthy, long-term growth. Social responsibility and engagement are important cornerstones of our corporate culture and key components of our company strategy. In this way projects are set up, which provide a lot of positive outcomes for people, the economy and the environment.
Sustainability of our portfolio
Retarus Messaging Services serve companies by optimizing their communication processes, reducing their costs and lowering transport costs for electronic data and documents over the long term. We consciously provide and develop approaches together with our business partners, which deliver maximum benefits to all parties over a very long period of time.
Living out sustainability and social responsibility
Since 2007, a green IT policy has consistently been implemented at Retarus’ data centers by means of hydroelectric power and effective energy management. Under the banner “Retarus hilft“ (Retarus helps) our employees also provide ongoing support for regional social projects, such as “Lichtblick Seniorenhilfe” or “Fluchtpunkt Jugendhilfe”, and so take on responsibility for others. Retarus, as a commercially successful enterprise, moreover supports local schools and facilities for the common good, as well as aid organizations. In this way, we combine continuous growth of the company with long-term social engagement. Fostering and developing our employees has a special and central significance for us. Retarus creates workplaces for individuals around the world who contribute and develop themselves, while working with each other successfully in a responsible and respectful way. We highly value education and training, whilst actively supporting the development of young employees, and actively including staff in the development of the company.
Data Privacy and Confidentiality
We consider the data of our employees and business partners to be valuable property and protect it globally, while considering all locally applicable laws and regulations. We consistently comply with all relevant data privacy regulations and commit ourselves to handling confidential information with great care.
Data reduction, data economy and transparency of data processing
The protection of the right to privacy of our employees and business partners is of the highest priority. Personal details which have been provided to us are only collected, processed or used to the extent that it is necessary, but also permitted by law or where consent has been provided by the persons concerned. The safeguarding of confidential information, business documents, know-how and corporate secrets is essential for our collaboration with our business partners. This does not only apply to our own data, but also to the information that we have received from our business partners for the purpose of performing contractual services for them. We commit ourselves to only using the data and information which has been gathered in the course of our operations, exclusively within the authorized scope and for the defined purpose. Prior to transferring data within and outside of the company, we commit ourselves to verifying whether the recipient is entitled to receive the data. In this way, we pledge to uphold the basic principles of data reduction and data economy, as well as transparency in the data processing. With this aspiration we ensure a uniform and appropriate level of data privacy and protection throughout the corporation. Through regular, mandatory training courses for data privacy and data security we are able to react quickly to new or amended requirements and regulations. As a result, we can ensure that all confidential data and information is handled in an appropriate manner.
Data privacy officer and reporting of violations
We have appointed a data privacy officer to advise the management in matters relating to data privacy and to support the departments with the implementation of data privacy measures. Should an unauthorized person attempt to obtain confidential information from a Retarus employee, then the employee is required to inform the Data Privacy Officer and/or the IT Group Compliance/IT Security of the attempt without delay.
Innovation and Inspiration
We are an innovation leader that shapes markets. As a strategic partner, we develop forward-thinking technology and services that provide greater value and substantial benefits – together with and for our customers. We draw inspiration from the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge with our customers and research institutions, such as universities.
We promote research by providing time and resources for development. By adopting new perspectives we create new approaches. We are inspired by bold and outstanding ideas. Retarus employees are regularly provided with the opportunity and freedom, in co-ordination with their supervisors, to develop and pursue their own creative ideas. Our flat hierarchy means that every member of staff can and should contribute their own ideas and suggestions. We are convinced that innovation arises from each and every mind. We all contribute to innovation.
Understanding and importance of Health
At Retarus we place a great emphasis on employee health. Every member of staff takes responsibility for caring for his or her own mental, physical and social wellbeing. Retarus has various measures in place to provide support in this regard.
The health of every employee is underpinned by the Retarus culture, which was jointly developed and is put into practice on a daily basis. A healthy work-life balance plays an important role in this. When assigning tasks and responsibilities to employees, care is taken to ensure that their workload and working hours are in line with personal resources and private obligations. Assigned tasks and duties are selected in such a way that employees are neither overexerted nor under-challenged. Managers are charged with ensuring that members of staff are given sufficient periods of rest and recovery, as these are essential for maintaining employee health in the long term.
Additional measures to promote health and safety
Safety in the workplace and accident prevention play important roles in every Retarus office space. Retarus also has a team of first-aiders who are specially trained. Beyond the scope of these minimum standards, the offices for most of Retarus’ members of staff are equipped with a defibrillator. In some of the offices we also have a doctor who visits the premises on a regular basis, and we organize health days that cover topics such as ergonomics and stress management. Interested members of staff are also able to take part in sports events organized by the company. Ergonomics and individual employee needs are taken into consideration when setting up workstations. We also set great store by aesthetics and design, which is why we have various works of art around our offices, for example, to ensure a pleasant office environment. Retarus also has its own bistro that provides employees with a relaxed atmosphere where they can chat with one another, exchange ideas, and shift down a gear. The bistro always has a fresh fruit basket available. Interdepartmental exchange is also encouraged by Meet & Eat events along with various other company events regularly held in all our global offices.
Implementing this Code of Conduct
Every Retarus employee is therefore obliged to comply with the guidelines set out here. This also means that employees should make an ongoing effort to learn about content relevant to their duties, guidelines that apply to them and any changes that are made to the guidelines. All of the managers see it as their duty to ensure that this Code of Conduct is complied with by their team or department.
Employees can address any questions they may have about this Code of Conduct to their supervisor or the HR department at any time. Any (potential) infringements or risk of infringement should be immediately reported to a manager, the HR department or Martin Hager. Anonymous reports can be submitted in writing to the “complaints box” in the bistro at the headquarters in Munich. In addition, a digital “Messaging Box” on the intranet is at our employees‘ disposal. By using this tool, employees can send an anonymous email to the HR department. To enable us to investigate the anonymous messages, it is particularly important to describe the facts in as much detail as possible. Any information submitted will always be dealt with in confidence, and employees who report a (potential) infringement in good faith have absolutely no reason to be concerned about being disadvantaged in any way. If necessary, employees can request a meeting with the HR department, which can be confidential if desired. The HR department is responsible for following up on the information provided, evaluating it and initiating and implementing appropriate sanctions in the event of infringements.
We will not tolerate any infringements of this Code of Conduct and reserve the right to initiate labor law-related sanctions in case of any infringement. Depending on the type and severity of the infringement, sanctions under labor law may follow, such as work instructions, warnings and even termination of the employment relationship.
Overt commitment to and compliance with this Code of Conduct are paramount to our public image and help to build trust in Retarus and our services. Compliance with legal requirements and the guidelines set out here, moreover help us to ensure our high quality standards. Infringements of applicable law and this Code of Conduct, on the other hand, could have severe material and immaterial consequences for Retarus. As mentioned at the beginning, the Retarus Code of Conduct applies to every Retarus employee worldwide. Legal requirements and local customs may of course vary from country to country. National law always supersedes this Code of Conduct, but the guidelines set out in this Code of Conduct shall prevail over any differing local customs.
The Retarus Code of Conduct does not expressly repeat all of the other existing regulations, for example the Retarus Policies. The terms and guidelines provided therein shall continue to apply alongside this Code of Conduct.