Deutsche Bahn drives HR process development with Oracle HCM

German railway company delivers more efficient performance and succession management processes and improves employee engagement with Oracle Cloud HCM.


We had a vision that didn't exist in any standard. What moved us forward to work with Oracle was that we could implement our requirements more flexibly. That was a big reason that inspired us to go in this direction.

Olaf PetersenHead of Manager and Employee Development Policy, Talent Management, Performance Management, Deutsche Bahn

Business challenges

Deutsche Bahn is Germany’s national railway and the country’s top supplier of mobility and logistics services. It is a part of the Deutsche Bahn Group, a private joint-stock company that additionally serves passenger transport and infrastructure services—supported by 330,000 employees in more than 2,000 locations across 130 countries.

As part of its corporate mission, “Strong Rail,” which is oriented toward climate protection and growth, Deutsche Bahn required a new HR performance management system—one that could integrate HR and business operations, map the major goals of this strategy to staff members’ objectives, and increase performance at the individual and company level.

Deutsche Bahn also wanted to create an instant feedback tool so that employees at all levels could give and receive feedback and prompt valuable discussions.

In addition, the company needed to improve succession planning, which should be an ongoing process and focus on candidates from all business units within the group. The search for suitable successors needed to be accelerated to avoid monthlong gaps, as well as the loss of specific, relevant knowledge between former and new job holders.

Another challenge that Deutsche Bahn faced was limited employee movement across the organization. To overcome this challenge, the organization needed to increase transparency when it came to pursuing career opportunities outside of the employee’s own network, and also provide the opportunity for employees to self-nominate.

Why Deutsche Bahn chose Oracle

Key factors in Deutsche Bahn’s decision to deploy Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) were its security, flexibility, and scalability. The system also offered staff members the option to access the fully digital platform at any time and from anywhere to perform HR tasks from end to end.

The expertise of Oracle Consulting in delivering the project from idea to implementation was also important, as was the open and trustful relationship already established with Deutsche Bahn.


To achieve HR transformation, Deutsche Bahn created a system for tracking employee performance against strategic goals—MyPerformance Management (mPM)— based on Oracle Performance Management. Running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), the application offers the security and performance required by Deutsche Bahn to serve around 200,000 employees.

Deutsche Bahn additionally partnered with Oracle Consulting to build MyImpuls Feedback, an integrated application aimed at strengthening the open feedback culture within the organization. It enables employees to offer spontaneous constructive feedback at any time—regardless of location, hierarchies, and areas. Employees can deliver feedback in various forms, including nominating and awarding badges when they see fellow employees performing commendable acts or demonstrating exceptional behaviors. The number of feedbacks reached 57,000 since the application’s launch in January 2021.

With Oracle Succession Planning, the company shortened the time to fill vacancies by more than half and strengthened cross-divisional staffing. About 80% of managers got to know candidates they did not know before by using Oracle Succession Planning. “To date, our employees have nominated themselves around 10,000 times for over 1,000 successor functions in management, 75% of them for another business area. That is a great interim result,” says Olaf Petersen, head of manager and employee development policy for the railway company.

The HR transformation will help staff combine knowledge and experience from diverse business areas to offer a positive customer experience. It strengthens the collaboration between the organization’s business units and allows managers to gain experience across divers business units.

“Consider a train ride from Berlin to Frankfurt to illustrate the complexity,” says Tim Winter, head of the succession planning project. “Numerous business areas need to work optimally together to provide that customer experience. You buy a ticket in our sales department. You walk through a clean and safe train station. You are greeted by a crew at the train, which has been serviced overnight. And in Frankfurt, you descend at a nice train station again, serviced by our teams. In other words, what we are aiming for is precisely that managers can penetrate and understand this system network.”

To ensure that Deutsche Bahn’s multinational and mobile workforce could successfully adopt Oracle Cloud HCM, Oracle University provided role-based in-application guidance through Oracle Guided Learning, which was fully configurable and localized to the company’s mPM solution. This enabled 200,000 of its employees to learn how to use Oracle Cloud HCM at their own pace. “Oracle’s Guided Learning was key for qualifying our blue-collar staff,” Olaf Petersen said.


Deutsche Bahn rolled out its MyPerformance Management (mPM) solution in two phases. The first phase was targeted at 3,000 top executives and went live in July 2019. The second phase was launched for 200,000 employees in Germany and Europe in January 2021. To accomplish this, over 1,000 team sessions and workshops were held, both virtually and in-person, to determine the implementation steps and concept delivery. Throughout the entire project, Oracle Consulting was the preferred partner.

Published:November 18, 2021