History Employees


Increased number of employees

At the end of 2017, the Geberit Group employed 11,709 staff worldwide, which is 117 employees or 1.0% more than in the previous year. On the one hand, this is mainly due to more people being employed in the production plants in order to deal with greater sales volumes, and, on the other, to various sales companies expanding in connection with specific sales activities. However, the divestment of Varicor as well as synergies and efficiency-enhancing measures had a reducing effect on employee numbers. The closure of the two ceramics plants in France was completed in the reporting year, although most individual employment relationships will only be terminated in 2018 and were therefore not included in this calculation. Based on the average headcount of 11,726, net sales per employee amounted to TCHF 248.0, or 5.7% more than in the previous year.

Employees by countries
(as of 31 December)
  2016 Share
in %
2017 Share
in %
Germany 3,282 28 3,329 28
Poland 1,515 13 1,603 14
Switzerland 1,336 12 1,362 12
Ukraine 627 5 638 5
China 637 5 565 5
Austria 532 5 551 5
France 691 6 539 5
Italy 434 4 509 4
Portugal 435 4 450 4
Others 2,103 18 2,163 18
Total 11,592 100 11,709 100

Broken down by business process, staff numbers were as follows: marketing and sales employed 24.3% of the staff members (previous year 24.5%). 62.3% worked in production (previous year 61.7%). Additionally, 8.0% (previous year 8.2%) of the employees worked in administration, and 3.4% (previous year 3.6%) in research and development. The share of apprentices was 2.0% (previous year 2.0%).

Employees by business processes 2017

(as of 31 December)

Geberit as an employer also positioned on digital channels

Motivated, well skilled employees guarantee the company’s success in the future. With this in mind, efforts were again made in 2017 to position Geberit on the job market as an attractive employer with an open corporate culture and international development opportunities at the interface between craft, engineering and sales. To lend this endeavour even greater visibility, the Geberit employer brand was also given a makeover as part of the new corporate design – focusing on employees at the workplace, with the aim of enhancing the image further. The new presence will concentrate on digital platforms and social media.

Geberit offers its employees appealing employment conditions. In 2017, personnel expenses – adjusted for special effects in connection with the Sanitec acquisition and integration – amounted to CHF 707.6 million (previous year CHF 696.2 million). The employees can also participate in share participation plans at attractive conditions, see Financial Statements of the Geberit Group, 17. Participation Plans and Remuneration Report. Equal opportunities and the same salaries for women and men are embedded in the corporate philosophy. The proportion of female employees at the end of 2017 was 23% (previous year 24%), and for senior management this figure was 8% (previous year 9%). The six-member Board of Directors has one female member.

Education and further training – an important success factor

Geberit employed 235 apprentices at the end of 2017 (previous year 233). The transfer rate to a permanent employment relationship was 83% (previous year 75%). The target is 75%. All apprentices are in principle required to work at several sites during their training. Experience abroad and the transfer of know-how are an advantage for both employees and the company. Apprentices also have the option of working abroad for a period of six months on completion of their apprenticeship.

The two-stage Potentials Management Programme aims 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 investigated in project work as part of the programme are geared towards the reality at the company and provide the decision-makers involved with concrete bases for action. The Potentials programme is intended to help fill at least half of all vacant managerial positions within the company with internal candidates. In 2017, this was achieved for 76% of all Group management vacancies (previous year 88%).

An event at the ceramics plant in Wesel (DE), which focused on personal development as well as leadership skills, provided an example of the importance of education and further training. This multi-day series of training sessions also gave participants a closer insight into the corporate culture as well as a shared understanding of what leadership means. In future, this training opportunity will also be offered to managers of other ceramics plants within the Group.

Transparent appraisal system

The standard Performance Assessment, Development and Compensation (PDC) process has been in place since 2012. This standardised process enables the company to gain an overview of the available potential. PDC has several goals: reinforce the performance culture, increase transparency, and recognise and promote talent more effectively in order to make the organisation future-proof. Except for the employees who work directly in production at the plants, all employees have now been incorporated into the PDC process.

Identity and Code of Conduct provide guidance

Geberit aims to act as a role model for ethically unimpeachable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible operations. The Geberit Compass, which formulates the identity of Geberit (“What we do, what motivates us, what is responsible for our success, how we work together”), and the Geberit Code of Conduct for employees serve as the applicable guidelines (see also Compliance).

Focus on occupational health and safety

This area has highest priority within the Geberit Group. The extension of the production network following the integration of the Sanitec plants and the resulting increase in staff numbers led to the adjustment of the targets in 2015. 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 accident frequency went up to 10.3 (previous year 9.8), an increase of 5.1%. In contrast, the accident severity decreased by 2.7% to 203.8 in the same period (previous year 209.4). Special attention continues to be paid to changes in behaviour, as the majority of occupational accidents and time losts are still attributable to carelessness. Occupational safety has been part of the annual appraisal of plant managers since 2013. Since the beginning of 2017, the “Geberit Safety Team” – a team of experts from the production plants – has been playing an active role in addressing the issue of occupational health and safety. Representatives from different production areas ensure that uniform guidelines and standards are applied, so that Geberit gradually gets nearer to the target of having healthy employees within an accident-free company.

To promote the health of every individual, Geberit enables employees at a total of 13 production and sales sites to participate in a vitality programme consisting of sports and preventive healthcare. At the sites in Rapperswil-Jona (CH), Pfullendorf (DE), Pottenbrunn (AT), Ruše (SI), Kolo and Wloclawek (both PL), a comprehensive occupational healthcare management is established.