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More employees once again

At the end of 2013, the Geberit Group employed 6,226 people worldwide – 92 persons or 1.5% more than in the previous year. This increase is primarily due to the – to some extent temporary – adjustment of capacities in the production plants, the start of operation at the new plant in India and the development of various emerging markets. A reduction in capacity in the Chinese plants offsets this growth slightly.

Based on the average number of 6,219 employees, sales per employee amounted to TCHF 368.5 or 3.6% more than in the previous year.

In view of the increase in market activities, the number of em­ploy­ees in marketing and sales business processes rose from 29.1% to 29.6%. In contrast, the share of employees in pro­duc­tion dropped from 54.8% to 54.0% as a result of the below-average share among new employees. The other employee categories did not see any material changes: At the end of 2013, 9.0% worked in administration, 3.6% in research and development and 3.8% were apprentices.

Improving the profile as an attractive employer

First-rate employees are key to the sustained success of any company. Not only the best, but also the right employees are to be acquired and retained. The implementation of the employer branding concept was successfully continued in 2013 and the presence at job fairs intensified in particular. In doing so, Geberit sharpened its profile as a company with an open corporate culture that offers attractive international development opportunities at the interface between the craft, engineering and sales sectors.

For internal communication with employees, there is a focus on interactive, real-time communication that is accessible to all. The intranet plays a central role here, while special solutions involving newsletters and/or communal large-screens provide the production employees without access to personal computers with the information they need. The CEO, Albert M. Baehny, regularly informs the employees on the current state of the business, the economic parameters, the future prospects and general topics of interest in videos that are accessible on the intranet as well as via electronic newsletters. The employee magazine is published four times a year and contains articles on issues relevant to the world of Geberit.

In-depth employee surveys are used to evaluate their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and satisfaction with the company. The most important findings from the 2011 survey revealed that employees identify with the company to a high degree and are very satisfied with their employment conditions. Areas from the survey with room for improvement such as personnel development have been tackled as part of a range of optimization measures. For example, the standardized global performance assessment, development and compensation process (PDC) started in 2012 was continued. The goal here is to reinforce the performance culture, increase transparency and better recognize and pro­mote talent. Remuneration policies are based on stand­ard­ized job assessments and salary levels for the relevant country. A central element of the process is that several supervisors assess the performance, development and salary of an em­ploy­ee together. The process is concluded with a feedback interview between the employee and their direct supervisor. The upper hierarchical levels – a total of around 1,000 employees or 15% of the entire workforce – are involved in this PDC process.

International opportunities for apprentices and management development

Geberit offers its employees attractive employment conditions. In 2013, salaries and social benefits amounted to CHF 475.4 million (previous year CHF 469.3 million), please also refer to the  Notes to the Income Statement. The employees can also participate in share participation plans at attractive conditions, see  Financial Statements of the Geberit Group, 18. Share Purchase Plans as well as  Corporate Governance, 5. Renumeration, Shareholdings and Loans and the  Remuneration Report.

Equal opportunities and equal pay for women and men are self-evident. The proportion of female employees at the end of 2013 was 31% (previous year 31%), and for senior man­age­ment this figure was 7% (previous year 7%). As of 2013, the six-member Board of Directors no longer has any female members.

In 2013, regional minimum wages were defined in Switzerland as part of the revised collective employment contract. In doing so, differentiations were made between three regions according to their respective economic strength.

Investment in employees with regard to education and further training continues to be of central importance. In the reporting year, employees attended around 17 hours of internal and external training and further education courses on average (previous year 17 hours). Additionally, 234 apprentices (previous year 229) were employed. The transfer rate of apprentices to a permanent employment relationship was 59% (previous year 92%). The target is a rate of 75%. Generally speaking, all apprentices should work at several different locations during their apprenticeship. As a global company, Geberit promotes the internationalization of employees. Experience abroad and the transfer of expertise are an advantage for both employees and the company. Therefore, apprentices have the option of working abroad for a period of six months on completion of their apprenticeship. While the greatest demand for these young professionals comes from China, similar apprentice programs are also in place in India and the USA. The Group trainers have been made aware of the importance of internationalization.

The Potentials Management process was continued. The goal here is to identify talent within the company and support selected candidates on their way to middle or upper man­age­ment, or to their first management, project management or specialist functions. These measures are intended to ensure that at least half of the open management positions can be filled by internal candidates. In 2013, it was even possible for 70% of all positions in Group management to be filled internally (previous year 54%).

The management training program at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne was continued in 2013 for the 160 members of Group management worldwide. The course was tailored individually to Geberit’s needs and included topics such as strategic management, leadership and finance. As of the end of 2013, 130 employees had completed this program.

Systematic process for improving occupational safety

Group-wide, the absenteeism rate was 4.1% for the reporting year (previous year 3.5%). Of this, 4.0% (previous year 3.4%) was due to sickness and 0.1% (previous year 0.1%) to occupational accidents.

The health and safety of employees has the highest priority. Geberit has formulated the vision of an “accident-free company”. Currently, over 60% of occupational accidents are due to carelessness and account for just under 50% of the lost working time. Therefore, changes in behavior will focus on this area. To meet the Group’s ambitious standards, the objective is to reduce the accident frequency rate (AFR) and accident severity rate (ASR) by 5% per year and thus by 50% between 2010 and 2020. For this purpose, a comprehensive master plan for occupational safety including a package of measures for the period 2013 to 2015 has been developed and adopted. This will be implemented and checked as part of the Geberit Safety System (GSS). Since 2013, occupational safety has also become part of the annual assessment for the responsible managers in the plants.

The implemented measures are proving effective – in 2013, the AFR decreased to 10.2 (previous year 11.7) and the ASR from 202.6 to 124.3.

The two Chinese production plants have been certified ac­cord­ing to OHSAS 18001 since 2009, the sales company in the UK since 2010, the production plant in Givisiez (CH) since 2011 and the production plant in Pottenbrunn (AT) since 2013. By mid-2016, all plants including logistics are to be certified ac­cord­ing to OHSAS 18001 in combination with ISO 9001/14001.

The largest Geberit Group site in Pfullendorf (DE) has set itself the target of creating a working environment that promotes health. For some years, employees have been able to take advantage of a range of offers focusing on health, nutrition and relaxation. In 2013, a comprehensive concept was developed based on the following essential pillars: Making each employee increasingly responsible for their health, training and raising the awareness of supervisors (“health-oriented management”), creating incentives for employees and providing broad internal communication. The concept will be implemented on a step-by-step basis.

Integrity Line introduced

Geberit aims to act as a role model for ethically unimpeachable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible operations. In this regard, the Geberit Compass – which formulates the self-image of Geberit (what we do, what motivates us, what is responsible for our success, how we work together) – and the Code of Conduct for Employees serve as the applicable guide­lines. Revision of the Code was started in 2013 and will be com­pleted in 2014. The Code applies worldwide and is available on the intranet in 14 languages. New employees were intro­duced to the most important topics at the Welcome events, such as bribery, sexual harassment, workplace bullying and IT misuse.

The Geberit Integrity Line (whistleblower hotline) has been available since the start of 2013 and allows all employees to anonymously report internal irregularities either by phone or online in their mother tongue (35 languages). This makes an important contribution to the maintenance of high  Compliance Standards within the Group. No major cases were reported through the Integrity Line in 2013. The few registered complaints were all dealt with and issues were settled swiftly.