Annual Report 2016

10. Labor practices (LA)

Geberit’s most important ambassadors are its employees. They represent Geberit in their day-to-day contact with customers and many other stakeholders. To do so, they need to be aware of what their company stands for and what its objectives are. Geberit’s central corporate and brand values are defined in the Geberit compass, which was updated in 2015. Geberit aims to act as a role model for ethically unimpeachable, environmentally friendly and socially res­ponsible operations. The Geberit Code of Conduct updated in 2014 and implemented in 2015 fills this objective with tangible content and offers an authoritative source of guidance.

Responsibility for all material aspects of the GRI guidelines with respect to labour practices at the Geberit Group lies with the Head Corporate Human Resources, who reports directly to the CEO.

Participation in the Group-wide employee survey carried out in the reporting year was an impressive 84%. The views of those surveyed on the topics of quality and innovation, team and personal goals can be considered entirely positive in comparison with the sector. The majority of employees believe that quality is very important at Geberit and that the company continually sets new trends in the industry. Geberit did very well with regard to team, teamwork and exchanging knowledge and information within the team. 74% of employees say that people in their team treat each other with respect and appreciation. Two material topics addressed in the survey were identification and engagement. Although the values here are below those of the last survey back in 2011, this comes as little surprise in view of the integration and the associated uncertainty. Nevertheless, most employees still have a positive attitude towards the company and are still proud to work at Geberit. When compared with the good results achieved in the other areas, the questions as to whether the management acts credibly and informs the employees in an understandable way only achieved an average level of agreement. There is also potential for improvement with regard to employee development.

10.1 Employment (LA)

Management Approach Employment

First-rate employees are key to the success of Geberit. Not only the best, but also the right employees are to be acquired and retained. Geberit sees itself as an attractive employer with an open corporate culture that offers international development opportunities at the interface between the craft, engineering and sales sectors, see > Career > What we offer.

Employees enjoy attractive employment conditions. In 2016, salaries and social benefits amounted to CHF 702.0 million (previous year CHF 671.6 million). The employees can also participate in share participation plans at attractive conditions, see Financial Report > Consolidated financial statements Geberit Group > Notes > Note 17 and Remuneration report.

G4-LA1 Employee fluctuation

The average fluctuation rate (in terms of employees with permanent contracts, without natural departures and long-term leaves of absence) was 11.3% (previous year 7.5%). Including natural departures, it was 12.7% (previous year 9.0%). For key figures on fluctuation by age group, gender and region, see Key figures sustainability > Employees and society.

G4-LA2 Benefits

Geberit essentially grants the same benefits to full-time and part-time employees. However, employees with temporary contracts are not always entitled to the same benefits as permanent employees. For example, employees in Switzerland with temporary employment contracts of less than three months are not insured in the pension fund. Geberit bases its employee benefits on country-specific standards.

G4-LA3 Return to work and retention rates after parental leave

Geberit implements the currently applicable legal framework conditions. It also attempts in individual cases to find solutions that are as suitable as possible for the affected person and their team.

100% of all permanently employed women are entitled to paid maternity leave, and 6.7% or 144 women made use of this in 2016. 67 or around 45% returned to Geberit following their maternity leave.

99% of all permanently employed men are entitled to paid paternity leave, and 3.1% or 214 men made use of this in 2016. 206 or around 96% returned to Geberit following their paternity leave.

10.2 Occupational Health and Safety (LA)

Management Approach – Occupational Health and Safety

The health and safety of employees is of major importance. Geberit’s vision is to be an accident-free company. Each of the 33 production companies and logistics has a safety manager. The sites Rapperswil-Jona (CH) and Pfullendorf (DE) also have an appointed health manager.

Using 2015 as the reference year, the aim is to halve the number of accidents by 2025. By then, the AFR (Accident Frequency Rate) is to be reduced to a value of 5.5 (accidents per million working hours) and the ASR (Accident Severity Rate) to 90 (number of days lost per million working hours). The key figures are reviewed on a monthly basis at the production plants. In addition, all plants are to implement the OHSAS 18001 standard for occupational health and safety by the end of 2018. Occupational safety has also been part of the annual appraisal of plant managers since 2013.

In the Geberit Safety System (GSS), processes are defined that are applicable throughout the Group and aim to enhance the operational safety of employees on an ongoing basis. The central elements of the GSS were also implemented at the plants of the former Sanitec in 2016.

As part of its Group-wide efforts to support employees’ health and well-being, Geberit also offers its employees precautionary healthcare opportunities through various offers and activities. A comprehensive vitality programme is established at the sites in Jona (CH) and Pfullendorf (DE). The focus is placed on promoting personal vitality strategies with an attractive range of offers in the five fields of action exercise, nutrition, mental fitness, energy and vitality.

For objectives and measures concerning employees and occupational safety, see also Sustainability strategy.

G4-LA5 Percentage of total workforce represented in health and safety committees

64% of all employees worldwide are represented through an occupational health and safety panel or safety committee at their site, in which employer and employee representatives can discuss occupational health and safety issues. The occupational health and safety panels are carried out on behalf of the General Management and involve all levels of the organisation as well as various specialist roles and areas (including company physicians, works council, occupational safety specialists, representatives of occupational health and safety unions).

G4-LA6 Accidents, occupational illness and lost time

The Group-wide absenteeism rate based on regular working hours for the reporting year was 4.60% (previous year 4.33%); illness-related absences accounted for 4.46% of this rate (previous year 4.20%) and 0.14% was related to occupational accidents (previous year 0.13%). The statistics show only those occupational accidents that occur during working hours or business travel and lead to lost working time of one working day or more. A total of 202 accidents were recorded (previous year 238 accidents), equivalent to 4,305 lost working days due to occupational accidents (previous year 4,314 lost working days). There were no serious or fatal accidents.

Employees at Geberit are not exposed to a particularly significant extent with regard to occupational illnesses. This category is therefore not covered statistically. However, the accident frequency rate (AFR) and the accident severity rate (ASR) are recorded in a standardised manner. These rates are calculated as the number of accidents or the number of lost working days per one million hours worked. The accident frequency rate (AFR) fell by 14.0% in 2016 to 9.8 (previous year 11.4). The accident severity rate increased slightly by 1.6% to 209.4 (previous year 206.2).

All key figures concerning the absenteeism rate by region can be found under Key figures sustainability > Employees and society.

G4-LA7 Assistance regarding serious illnesses

There are certain operational activities at Geberit, particularly in ceramic production, involving an increased risk of silicosis (dust disease). The risks lie particularly in the handling of raw materials, glazing and grinding. Geberit makes substantial efforts towards either avoiding the exposure of employees to these risks (e.g. through the deployment of glazing robots) or minimising this exposure (e.g. through the use of special extraction devices, dust masks or the provision of training in correct behaviour at the workplace). This topic is also systematically addressed as part of the Geberit Safety System and certification according to OHSAS 18001. Furthermore, Geberit participates in the NEPSI programme as a member of FECS, a sub-organisation of Cerame-Unie (European Ceramic Industry Association). This includes monitoring the exposure of employees to quartz dust and the implementation of best practices.

As part of its Group-wide efforts to support employees’ health and well-being, Geberit also offers its employees precautionary healthcare opportunities through various offers and activities. These include, for example, sports facilities, anti-smoking training, health check-ups, massage services, dietary and health tips, presentations on health-related issues and workshops on targeted and correct relaxation. They also include reintegration counselling, which aims to get people back to work as soon as possible in the event of long-term illness. Managers are specifically trained in this respect. Examples of individual support include counselling in Rapperswil-Jona (CH) to assist with problems ranging from on-the-job pressure, partnership and family problems to debt issues, and the telephone helpline created in the USA to discuss problems at work in complete confidentiality.

G4-LA8 Health and safety topics covered in agreements with trade unions

Geberit attaches great importance to a high level of health and safety for its employees. To this end, it cooperates with authorities, trade unions and employers’ liability insurance associations on a country-specific basis. Written agreements exist at the majority of production and sales companies with parties such as trade unions and employee representatives. These cover topics such as personal protective equipment, complaints procedures, regular inspections, education and further training and the right to refuse unsafe work.

10.3 Training and Education (LA)

Management Approach – Training and Education

Qualified and committed employees are essential for the future success of Geberit. The company therefore sets particular store on the solid education and further training of all employees and on equal opportunities.

Young people can start their careers at Geberit with a commercial, industrial or technical apprenticeship. The aim is to impart all the skills that are required for apprentices to pursue their chosen careers in a professional, independent and res­ponsible manner.

New employees are introduced to the company and its products through various job orientation programmes on joining the company. These range from individually designed introduction talks in various departments to the one-week basic course that provides practical knowledge about Geberit in small groups.

A focus is placed on the standardised global Performance assessment, Development and Compensation process (PDC). PDC has several goals: to reinforce the performance culture, increase transparency and better recognise and promote talent. Except for the employees who work directly in production, all employees of the original Geberit Group have now been incorporated into the PDC process. The circle of participants is currently being extended to include managers of the former Sanitec; their employees in non-productive areas are to be fully incorporated in the near future. PDC in practice means that the individual performance as well as the potential for future development are assessed by several supervisors. The direct supervisor then has to give employees feedback on their performance, development and compensation. As regards compensation, the standardised job assessments used throughout the Group provide a solid reference system.

G4-LA9 Employee education and further training

In the reporting year, employees across the Group attended on average around 10 hours of internal and external education and further training (previous year 14.5 hours). For key figures by gender and employee category, see Key figures sustainability > Employees and society.

The transfer rate of apprentices to a permanent employment relationship was 75%. The target remains 75%.

G4-LA10 Programs for skills management and lifelong learning

The Potentials Management Programme remains a priority. The aim is to selectively identify talents throughout the company and support them along their path to middle or senior management. Initial experience of managerial or project management responsibility are part of this. The problems compiled as part of the programme are geared towards the reality at the company and sometimes provide decision-makers with concrete bases for action. The programme is intended to help fill at least half of all vacant managerial positions within the company with internal candidates. In 2016, this was achieved for 88% of all Group management vacancies.

All apprentices are essentially required to work at several sites during their training. As a global company, Geberit promotes the internationalisation of employees. Experience abroad and the transfer of know-how 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. Such apprenticeship programmes took participants to the US, India and South Africa.

There were also 192 internships (previous year 158) and 37 diploma placements (previous year 47) offered in 2016.

For further information, see Business Report > Business and financial review > Financial Year 2016 > Employees.

G4-LA11 Performance and career development of employees

In everyday working life, the personal and professional development of each individual employee is encouraged in a variety of ways. This covers all areas of work, functions and age groups. Over 75% of all employees received appraisal interviews in 2016 (previous year around 70%) at which development opportunities were also identified and discussed. As part of the standardised global Performance assessment, Development and Compensation process (PDC), employees receive a performance assessment and/or agreement of objectives at least once a year. This process is gradually being introduced at the former Sanitec companies.

10.4 Diversity and Equal Opportunity (LA)

Management Approach – Diversity and Equal Opportunity

In its Code of Conduct, Geberit sets store on promoting diversity and creating a culture that enables all employees to contribute their full potential to the company. The company strives for diversity and promotes equal opportunities irrespective of gender, ethnic origin, skin colour, age, religion and nationality.

Geberit pursues a fair and non-discriminatory employment practice in accordance with prevailing national and international law. Recruitment, training courses and promotions depend solely on individual achievements, skills and potential regarding the requirements of the position in question.

G4-LA12 Workforce diversity

The proportion of female employees at the end of 2016 was 24% (previous year 25%), and for senior management this figure was 9.2% (previous year 8.2%). The six-member Board of Directors has one female member. No further data on minority group membership is currently being collected as Geberit and its stakeholders do not consider this to be relevant. For key figures on diversity in terms of gender and age structure, see Key figures sustainability > Employees and society.

10.5 Equal Remuneration for Women and Men (LA)

Management Approach - Equal Remuneration for Women and Men

Protection of the principles of equality is anchored in the Geberit Code of Conduct. This includes the prohibition of discrimination against any employee on the basis of gender. Fair and equal pay for women and men is guaranteed as follows:

  • Job assessment by function in accordance with the proven Hay method on the basis of know-how, problem-solving and accountability. All jobs are pooled in a Group-wide grading system. The resulting grade is the
  • Binding wage agreements with set pay grades at many Geberit sites.

G4-LA13 Gender-based differences in salaries

According to the annual survey of all Geberit Group companies, no differences between the basic salaries of women and men exist anywhere within the Group.

10.6 Supplier Assessment for Labor Practices (LA)

Management Approach – Supplier Assessment for Labor Practices

See chapter Suppliers

G4-LA14 Screening of suppliers using labor practices criteria

See chapter Suppliers

G4-LA15 Impacts for labor practices in the supply chain

See chapter Suppliers

10.7 Labor Practices Grievance Mechanisms (LA)

Management Approach - Labor Practices Grievance Mechanisms

Employees who openly address irregularities which represent breaches of applicable law, ethical standards or the Code of Conduct are acting correctly and in accordance with the Geberit Code of Conduct. The Group Executive Board of Geberit must be informed of problems in the area of integrity in order to be able to manage these swiftly and reliably. By openly addressing such issues, Geberit employees are contributing to their own protection, that of their colleagues and the protection of Geberit’s rights and interests.

As a general rule, employees should seek a personal meeting with their supervisor. The Geberit Integrity Line is available to all employees as a whistleblower hotline. The service is intended to enable employees to anonymously report cases such as sexual harassment or when a corrupt payment is being covered up. The Integrity Line is operated by an external company with experience in this area, and is available around the clock seven days a week.

G4-LA16 Grievances about labor practices

The Geberit Integrity Line reported a number of cases during the reporting year that were subsequently investigated. One of these cases resulted in the discovery of shortcomings at a local company, which ultimately led to changes in personnel.