Best Practice: Involving the Works Council


This article provides you with useful approaches on how to successfully involve your works council in implementing Personio – from setting up your account all the way through to rolling out Personio. 

Please note that we do not provide any legal advice, but only share recommendations based on experience.


Works Council and Introducing a New Software

So your company has decided to use Personio, and you want to start implementing the tool. Note that introducing this type of software may require your works council's approval in some countries, as is the case in Germany, for example (Works Constitution Act S. 87, ss. 1, No. 6).The works council represents employees' interests vis-à-vis the company management. It is therefore an important employee voice that is also critical for you.

Your goal should be to build a positive attitude toward the introduction of the software and get the works council to support it.

The main concerns regarding the implementation of a software usually relate to the protection of sensitive personal data and the potential for monitoring employees' performance and conduct. As a result, it is essential that the works council and employer work together for the benefit of all staff. Unrelated future processes between the HR department and the works council, for example works council hearings on salary negotiations, transfers etc., should not be a focus and should instead be dealt with separately.


Cooperating With the Works Council

If your works council is to develop an understanding of Personio and agree to the introduction of this software, you need to create a basis of trust from the very beginning. If your company has a data protection officer, it makes sense to make them part of the working group right from the start. Creating an understanding of Personio's functionalities and account settings is a first step.

On the employer side, good planning and solid preparation of specific steps are just as important for effective cooperation. Before you start discussing specifics of the implementation, you should define several organizational issues to ensure that the process runs smoothly. The following overview provides you with useful pointers:



Communication Plan and Works Agreement

Inform your works council as early as possible that you are planning to introduce Personio and what steps this process will involve. Note that this will most likely be the first time that works council members encounter Personio. Clear expectation management and transparent communication right from the start build trust and a sense of security. The meetings and Q&A sessions during which you introduce Personio to your works council are very valuable, and you may gain helpful insights and information regarding your settings and processes as a result.

The sample communications and project plan below outlines how you could approach the implementation project:



Kick-off Meeting

It is recommended to plan a kick-off workshop with works council members right at the start of implementation. This workshop, which serves to create transparency about the implementation process, the scope of functionalities used and the next steps, then forms the basis for ongoing cooperation.


Introducing Functionalities and Processes

Subsequent meetings then gradually introduce works council members to Personio and establish an understanding of the software. Consider introducing multiple functionalities only after the implementation process has been completed: You are only just familiarizing yourself with Personio, and you should also leave scope for setting up your account in keeping with your needs. The works council will be mainly interested in the result, which will form the basis for your negotiations and will need to be evaluated. If you present settings before they have been finalized, you may confuse rather than add value.

Schedule enough time for internal consultation rounds and configuration changes that may become necessary.


First Online Demonstration

Start your first meeting with a general introduction to Personio, where you present the navigation and dashboard, and perhaps share an initial insight into the employee profile. An explanation of access rights in terms of data visibility and the allocation of employee roles, and of approval processes is also helpful. Avoid going into too much detail – you'll be able to address specific issues of your account setup during subsequent meetings.


Follow-Up Meetings

Use follow-up meetings to introduce processes and functionalities for the employee, supervisor and HR manager roles. The aim here is to introduce works council members to basic considerations regarding access rights and to establish an understanding of future processes.

Use previously created test employees for demonstration purposes to avoid unwarranted changes to an actual employee's data history. Complete the profile with relevant sample data as best you can. The more tangible a test profile you create, the clearer and easier it will be to understand.

The issues listed below are commonly raised by works council members. They are best agreed on at the beginning of the implementation phase.

  • Visibility and modification of employees' personal and salary data
  • Request processes for vacations, sickness and other types of absences
  • Process for time tracking and monitoring overtime
  • Target agreement and performance review process
  • Standard reports in Personio and additional data evaluation options
  • Training and communications plan for the introduction of Personio

Visit the Downloads section for a sample file that you may find helpful for documenting open issues and feedback centrally.

We recommend that works council members are given early access to their own employee profiles. This allows them to familiarize themselves with Personio and gain confidence in working with the tool.

Keep in mind that you have only made preliminary account settings at this stage, but have not yet negotiated the rules for using Personio.


Company Agreement

In the first step, you introduced Personio to your works council in detail and answered all open questions. If you need to create a company agreement for the use of Personio, we recommend that you start working on its draft in parallel to your meetings. You can then use the draft to document and subsequently finalize all rules for using the tool as you negotiate them.

Don't underestimate the time you'll need for drawing up, reviewing and amending the company agreement.


Communication and Cooperation After Going Live

Once you have invited your employees to Personio with your works council's approval, you continuously need to inform the works council about changes.

You will configure your Personio account for the first time as part of the implementation. These settings will change over time, as they need to be adjusted in line with your company's changing needs, and the works council must be kept up to date about modifications and any introduction of new functionalities. Ideally, you'll define a frequency and a process for this purpose, which should also be documented in the company agreement.




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