Business and financial review


Growth in the number of employees

The number of employees rose once again in the year under review. As of the end of 2011, the Geberit Group had a total of 6,004 employees worldwide. This represents an increase of 184 individuals, or 3.2% in comparison to the prior year. This increase is mainly due to the adjustment of capacity in the production plants to meet the growth in volume, focused growth initiatives in individual markets and setting up own production facilities for the AquaClean shower toilet, which was previously manufactured by a subcontractor.

Based on the average number of 5,992 employees, sales per employee amounted to TCHF 354.2, or 4.4% less than in the prior year. After currency adjustments, however, this corresponds to an increase of 5.9%.

In terms of structure according to business processes, the share of employees in Marketing and Sales rose from 27.9% to 28.8%, due to the increased activities in the markets. As a result of the disproportionate share in the increase of the number of employees, the share of employees in production decreased in turn from 55.0% to 54.4%. There were no significant changes in terms of percentage distribution for the remaining employee categories. At the end of the year under review, 3.5% of the workforce was employed in research and development, 3.9% as apprentices and 9.4% in administration.

Dialog with the employees of today and tomorrow

First-class employees worldwide are the most important potential for the success of a sustainably successful company. Geberit would like to obtain and keep not only the best but also the right employees for the Company. Employer branding as a component part of the higher-level corporate branding makes it possible to create an unmistakable employer identity. In order to achieve this purpose, the Company wishes to become better known as an employer and to draw potential candidates to the Geberit career pages on the Internet. This will be helped by the fact that the Group website was completely redesigned in terms of both content and layout and went online at the beginning of August 2011. The redesign of the local country sites will take place over the course of 2012. In addition, posters, brochures, trade fair modules and job advertisements are currently being revised in accordance with target group and medium.

For internal communications with employees, the priority here is interactive, real-time communication accessible to all. The Intranet that was newly introduced in 2009 is of central importance to these objectives. For production employees, special solutions are being developed with newsletters and/or large screens for group use. CEO Albert M. Baehny assesses the current state of the Company, the economic framework conditions and the outlooks for the future on a regular basis in a video that is available on the Intranet to all employees worldwide.

In the summer of 2011, the first global employee survey since 2004 was carried out. The very high response rate of 87% shows how strongly the employees are interested in such survey topics as organization, structures and processes, corporate culture, leadership, objectives and performance incentives, knowledge transfer and in general in the opportunity for expressing their opinions. Two aspects were illuminated in particular during the evaluation: the identification with Geberit as a company and the satisfaction of the employees. The results were gratifying. Those surveyed are proud to work for Geberit, have a strong commitment and enjoy their work. The identification value with the Company is at 78%, which is considerably higher than the external benchmark of 68%. External comparison of the results also revealed above-average values with respect to employee satisfaction. For 82%, Geberit is a reliable employer, 79% appreciate the careful handling of environmental resources, and 82% regard Geberit as innovative. 79% feel that they receive excellent support from the Company for the achievement of their personal goals as a contribution to the success of the Company as a whole. Potential for improvement was seen, for example, in connection with the promotion of professional development: 64% feel themselves to be actively encouraged, which is still higher than the benchmark figure of 63%. As a reaction to the employee survey, concrete measures are currently being formulated on the basis of benchmark studies and analyses in the individual local sales companies. An initiative has already been triggered by the Group Executive Board for the purpose of establishing the philosophy of continuous improvement processes not only in the production companies – which received good marks from their employees in this area – but also to anchor it in the administration and sales units, where the evaluations were more restrained.

Focus on advancement

Geberit offers its employees attractive terms and conditions of employment. Salaries and social benefits amounted to a total of CHF 435.6 million in 2011 (prior year CHF 447.1 million), see also the  explanations for the income statement. The work force can also participate in share participation plans at attractive conditions, see:  Financial Statements of the Geberit Group, 18. Participation plans and  Corporate Governance, 5. Compensations, shareholdings and loans.

Equality of opportunity and equal pay for women and men are a matter of course. The proportion of female employees as of the end of 2011 was 29% (prior year 28%); in upper management this figure was 5% (prior year 5%). The six-member Board of Directors consists of one woman and five men.

Investment in employees also remains a central topic for the Company, also with respect to education and further training. In the year under review, employees attended internal and external education and further training events for around 15 hours on average (prior year 18 hours). In 2011, 232 apprentices were employed (prior year 226). Project management competencies are learned in an atmosphere of play at the apprentice camp at the headquarters in Rapperswil-Jona (CH) with participants from all education areas. Furthermore, a new project is being developed to promote mobility: During or subsequent to their education, apprentices should have the opportunity, on a voluntary basis, of gaining work experience abroad. Short assignments are planned that last from a few weeks up to half a year.

In the case of the management team, Geberit relies on continuity and sustained advancement of its own employees. The “Potential Management” process supports the selected internal candidates on their way into middle or upper management or to initial supervisory, project manager or specialist functions and comprises both individual development measures and collective modules. The collective activities might include, for instance, measures from the areas of communication and conflict management or in the form of networking opportunities and company tours through to fireside chats with the Group Executive Board. This is intended to ensure that at least half of the open management positions can be filled with internal candidates. Currently, as many as 70% of all positions in Group management can be filled internally.

Active promotion of health and low absenteeism

Following the participation of 54% of all employees in Switzerland in a health survey by a specialist external company at the end of 2010, preliminary measures were initiated as a result in the year under review. The employees were first provided with a direct personal feedback regarding the state of their health and possible risks. The anonymous results of the survey were presented at the beginning of 2011 to the Health Team, the Corporate Human Resources Department and afterwards to the Management Board in Switzerland. During the survey, good health was attested in general for the employees, with the main areas of impact being back problems and psychosocial factors (such as exposure to stress and noise). A package of measures was assembled on the basis of the findings. It was decided that, for the year under review, emphasis would be placed first of all on the topic of back health. Specialist talks and the possibility of in-house physical therapy sessions and fitness club discounts were offered. In addition to these, measures for the reductionof noise in production, improvements in ergonomic workplace design and a further training measure for 22 employees from the 3-shift operation in production on the subject of shift work and sleep were also instituted.

In Austria – and in a very similar way in Germany as well – the Vital program includes, among other things, support for memberships in fitness centers, healthy nutrition in the employee restaurant, the providing of water and fruit, as well as inoculation campaigns and health examinations. This standard program is supplemented by annual focus campaigns such as non-smoking, eye examinations or computer glasses.

The Group-wide absenteeism rate for the year under review was 3.2% (prior year 3.2%); illness-related absences accounted for 3.0% (prior year 3.1%). 0.2% (prior year 0.1%) was due to occupational accidents. The fact that, as before, these values are all at a low level is the result of permanent efforts on the part of all production plants for safe working conditions and of various health care projects. In addition, the two Chinese production plants have been certified in accordance with OHSAS 18001 since 2009, the sales company in the UK since 2010 and the production company in Givisiez (CH) since 2011.

Clear behavior standards for employees worldwide

Geberit aims to be a model of ethically unimpeachable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible operations. The Code of Conduct for the employees and the Geberit Compass serve as definitive orientation aids in this regard.

The  Code of Conduct for Employees summarizes the basic principles to which the behavior of the employees at all levels is to be oriented. It is valid worldwide and is available on the Intranet in 14 languages. In the year of introduction, already more than 98% of the employees have been informed of and trained in the Code of Conduct. With the aid of short films (“Animatics”), the training focuses on gray areas in four significant topics: bribery, sexual harassment, workplace bullying and IT misuse. As was previously the case, new employees were also sensitized accordingly in 2011 under the auspices of welcome events. Additional communication measures for training with respect to the Code of Conduct are in preparation and will be started at the beginning of 2012. The Code of Conduct was also addressed in the employee survey of 2011.