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09-Sep-2016  Düsseldorf / Germany

Exciting professions at Henkel

What’s that job?

Electronic Data Interchange Consultant, Computer Emergency Response Manager, Principal Architect for Business Intelligence – many job titles are less than explicit nowadays. Could you describe exactly what a Contract Manufacturing Supply Planner does, for example? In our article series, “What’s that job?”, we want to let you in on a few secrets and present some of the more unusual professions at Henkel.

What’s a Corporate Citizenship Manager?

In Heiko Held’s office, there are stacks of boxes full of drinking bottles, folders and pens. These are donations that Henkel employees made in the context of a start-of-school drive – although Held doesn’t usually let temporary stockpiles amass next to his desk. “That being said, I do like it when employees come knocking on my door,” the 47-year-old corporate citizenship manager explains. “Donations manager” is the title that was once written on the door of his office, but it doesn’t really get to the core of the position that he has held at Henkel for the last five years. “I’m not Santa Claus, who just goes around handing out gifts,” he says with a grin. Held’s job is actually to make sure that Henkel’s social commitments follow a certain strategy. “The support we give to particular causes has to be in line with both the company’s interests and legal regulations,” he explains. Henkel supports initiatives in the fields of education and social services, as well as providing non-bureaucratic humanitarian aid. The foundation Fritz Henkel Stiftung serves as the umbrella for the company‘s social engagement and supports the social commitment of Henkel employees and pensioners. The company doesn’t only offer financial aid, but also makes donations in kind – such as cleaning and personal hygiene products – to projects and institutions near Henkel sites around the world. To ensure these donations are distributed appropriately, there are a few rules that must be observed.

Charity must be sustainable

Held receives several requests a day, by e-mail, fax or even snail mail. He sorts the applications and presents them to a jury, which then decides what resources will be awarded to whom. The most important criterion in this process is sustainability. “We really want to make a difference with our donations,” Held emphasizes. That’s why impact assessment is one of his key tasks. “We examine the projects we support very closely, and even carry out further investigations ourselves.” Held remains in contact with the beneficiaries of donations, has them send him final reports and works out an effectiveness index. He even visits projects nearby in person. “This isn’t always possible, because we support causes all over the world out of Düsseldorf, but keeping in close contact with our project partners is important to me,” he says. This is especially true of strategic partnerships like the educational project “Teach First”, of which Henkel is a long-term donor.

Held is celebrating his silver jubilee with the company this year. “I know a lot of people here, whose expertise I can count on,” he says. This helps him in his job. Many Henkel employees also get in touch with him directly when they want to start volunteering – for example taking care of athletes at the Special Olympics or building a house in Romania for an entire week as part of the “housing project”. Held was even able to get personally involved there, which he says changed his perspective on his own life. “My job at Henkel is very important, as we have the capacity to make a real difference with our donations. But, of course, there are other things in life, too.” For Held, these other things are children and family. In his personal time he volunteers as president of the parent-teacher association – only in the evenings, though, once he’s left the office and distributed all those boxes full of donations.