Number of employees down slightly

At the end of 2019, the Geberit Group employed 11,619 staff worldwide, equivalent to a small decline of 11 employees or 0.1% compared to the previous year. An increase in personnel in various sales companies and an increasing number of apprentices in Germany and Switzerland were slightly offset by a net reduction in staff numbers in production, which was primarily attributable to the termination of the remaining employment relationships as part of the closure of two ceramics plants in 2017.

Based on the average headcount of 11,631, net sales per employee amounted to TCHF 265, or 1.5% more than in the previous year.

Employees by countries
(as of 31 December)
  2018 Share
in %
in %
Germany 3,282 283,26728
Poland 1,655 141,65814
Switzerland 1,395 121,43512
Ukraine 660 66395
Austria 557 55555
Italy 520 45335
China 530 55315
Others 3,031 263,00126
Total 11,630 10011,619100

Broken down by business process, staff numbers were as follows: production employed 60% of the staff members, with a further 26% in marketing and sales. Additionally, 8% of the employees worked in administration, and 4% in research and development. The share of apprentices was 2%.

Employees by business processes 2019

(as of 31 December)

Increasing use of digital channels for reaching employees

Committed, well-skilled employees with comprehensive know-how are decisive to the company’s future success. With this in mind, efforts continued in 2019 to position Geberit on the job market as a progressive employer with an open corporate culture and international development opportunities at the interface between craft, engineering and sales. Potential employees are increasingly being addressed via digital channels. Whilst classic job advertisements are still used, employee portraits and success stories are also utilised. Here, employees detail their everyday tasks and explain why they consider Geberit to be a good employer – increasingly via short films. In addition, campus recruitment activities were continued in 2019 with appearances at trade fairs and an increased digital presence. There was a special focus here on universities of applied sciences who offer education and further training in the field of ceramics manufacturing.

In 2019, personnel expenses amounted to CHF 752 million. Once again, the employees were also able to take part 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 2019 was 24% (previous year 24%), and for senior management this figure was 11% (previous year 9%). The five-member Board of Directors has two female members.

Further expansion of education and training

Geberit employed 264 apprentices at the end of 2019 (previous year 247). The transfer rate to a permanent employment relationship was 85% (previous year 89%). As experience abroad and the transfer of know-how are an advantage for both young employees and the company alike, all apprentices should have the opportunity to gain insights into several sites during their training. Additionally, apprentices have the option of working abroad for a period of six months on completion of their apprenticeship.

A two-stage Potentials Management Programme aims to identify talents throughout the company and support them along their path to middle or senior management. The programme includes topics such as strategy, digitalisation, the management of change processes, leadership skills and culture. Furthermore, the issues investigated as part of project work are geared towards strategic tasks of relevance to Geberit and provide the decision-makers involved with concrete bases for action. Part of the programme was carried out for the second time in collaboration with the University of St. Gallen (CH). The Potentials programme is intended to help fill at least half of all vacant managerial positions with internal candidates. In 2019, this was achieved for 58% of all Group management vacancies (previous year 57%).

In 2019, the ceramics plants in Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Finland, Italy, France and Portugal saw the continuation of an initiative aimed at improving leadership skills at various hierarchical levels. This initiative is planned at Group level, adapted to local requirements and put into practice in multi-day workshops involving local coaches. Furthermore, training courses targeting the development of managerial staff were implemented within the sales organisations in the European countries. The aim of these courses is to strengthen the leadership skills of the regional sales managers.

New appraisal process launched

valYOU – a new Performance assessment, Development and Compensation process – was developed in the reporting year. A new, key element of valYOU is succession planning for each individual position. Furthermore, the further development of individual employees is also actively supported through systematic feedback discussions. At the end of 2019, management personnel from the participating pilot companies visited a two-day workshop and became familiar with the new processes, the underlying concept and the new IT tool.

Guiding principles for all employees

Geberit aims to act as a role model for ethically unimpeachable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible operations. The 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 Code of Conduct for employees serve as the applicable guidelines.

Occupational health and safety campaign started

Occupational health and safety has highest priority within the Geberit Group. 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 also to be reduced to a value below 5.5 (accidents per million working hours) and the ASR (Accident Severity Rate) to below 90 (number of days lost per million working hours). At 9.8, the accident frequency was virtually unchanged in 2019 (previous year 9.7). The accident severity rose slightly by 3.4% to 187.6 in the same period (previous year 181.5). There were no severe or fatal accidents.

26 of the 29 production plants are certified in accordance with the new occupational health and safety standard ISO 45001. The Geberit Safety System (GSS) defines occupational health and safety principles as well as processes that are applicable throughout the Group. All production plants and the central logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE) have a safety manager. Since the beginning of 2017, a “Geberit Safety Team” has also been playing an active role in systematically developing occupational health and safety by defining key topics and highlighting best practices, among others.

In terms of occupational health and safety, special attention is paid to changes in behaviour, as the majority of occupational accidents and time lost are still attributable to negligence. A campaign on occupational health and safety was started in 2019 focusing on training and raising awareness on this topic. A programme based on eLearning aimed at employees in production and logistics should help to correctly identify danger areas in the workplace and rectify them consistently, among other areas.

The active promotion of employee health – thus ensuring they remain fit and able to work – is very important at Geberit. With this in mind, a diverse vitality programme is offered at 17 production and sales sites in the fields of exercise, mental fitness, nutrition and the working environment. The most comprehensive programme here is “Geberit Vital”, which can be accessed by around 40% of the workforce.


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