Healthy and committed employees – 2021 sustainability report

Healthy and committed employees – introduction

Our employees are the driving force behind V-ZUG's long-standing success story. With its focus on quality and reliability, our 2,200 employees achieve V-ZUG's vision and mission. We are proud of them and support them in reaching their full potential. 

Together for a forward-looking V-ZUG
In 2021, we launched the new mission statement containing the vision, mission and fundamental core values of V-ZUG, from which all the principles for our business activity are derived. We actively involve our employees in strategic developments and their operational implementation and conduct regular employee surveys. We create a sustainable work environment and an inspirational management culture that appreciates feedback from employees and promotes their well-being.

The maxims of diversity and fairness
V-ZUG employees bring an enriching diversity of life experiences, skills and cultural practices to the company. Our Code of Conduct ensures that we treat every individual with respect and tolerance. We do not accept any form of discrimination and firmly believe that diversity and inclusion make our company strong and attractive. As a fair employer, V-ZUG pays equal wages for the same work.

Lifelong learning 
Thanks to their expertise, our employees make a fundamental contribution to the success of V-ZUG. We invest in the employability of our employees and help them acquire future-oriented skills. Our further-education strategy and succession planning are based on an individual skills- and performance-based appraisal which underpins the internal competency model. We have the V-ZUGacademy, offering in-house courses, trainee and talent support programmes in addition to executive and management training. As a dynamic teaching entity, we also train young apprentices, with a total of 82 completing their training in 2021.

Health above all
As a responsible company, we have a certified health and occupational safety management process and, in cases of serious grievances, we work with external counselling facilities. We raise awareness of the issues of occupational safety and health through regular campaigns. Established in 2020, the internal Covid-19 task force continued its work in the reporting year and provided constant updates on the situation and the measures taken.

Healthy and committed employees – goals

Healthy and committed employees – key figures

Part-time: a popular working model
85% of V-ZUG employees work full-time. The number of part-time employees has barely changed. Part-time work still comes up during the recruitment process, and we also receive regular requests for it internally. V-ZUG tries its best to accommodate such requests, which change depending on an employee’s personal circumstances or stage of life.

Fig. 9: Employees by employment contract 

More women at top management levels once again
The proportion of women at top management levels in V-ZUG has risen steadily in recent years. The percentages shown relate to the total number of women on the Board of Management (BoM), Executive Board (EB) and in level 1 senior management. Since August 2021, following a new appointment for the Marketing department, the Executive Board comprises two women and six men. The BoM figures relate to V-ZUG Holding Ltd (as at June 2020). In 2022, the management levels are being redefined across the board and will be presented in the 2022 Sustainability Report.

Fig. 10: Women in management roles

Slight increase in the turnover rate
We welcomed 258 new employees to V-ZUG in 2021. During the same period, 218 people left our company. This equates to a turnover rate of 12.5% (excluding retirements and apprentices), increasing by 1.3 percentage points compared to 2020. Fixed-term employment relationships terminated in 2021 impacted the turnover rate.

Fig. 11: Turnover rate

Main cause of lost hours is illness
Illnesses are the most common cause of absenteeism, accounting for 82% of cases. The lost hours rate in 2021 was 3.8%, up 0.3 percentage points compared with the previous year. This is due to an increase in accidents at work with a protracted recovery process, caused by injuries to sensitive body parts (e.g. wrists and ankles). In 2021, 10% of lost hours were caused by leisure accidents (2020: 11%). Before the pandemic, this share was about 15%. We put this development down to the restrictions on sporting activities during the lockdown caused by the pandemic.
 

Fig. 12: Absenteeism rate by cause

Minor accidents also result in lost hours
V-ZUG recorded 89 accidents at work in the year under review. This resulted in around 9,500 lost hours, accounting for 0.27% of scheduled hours (2020: 0.20%). Around half were minor accidents requiring absences of less than three days (e.g. cuts, falls). Occupational health and safety remains one of our key focus areas. We are taking targeted measures and training our management staff and employees so that they are aware of occupational hazards and better equipped to take responsibility.
 

Fig. 13: Rate of hours lost due to accidents at work

Healthy and committed employees – stories

Our core values brought to life
As a company steeped in tradition and boasting a strong brand, we have deep-rooted core values and have always fulfilled our primary objective of keeping the quality promise we made to our customers with top-quality products and services. With the flotation on the stock market and the ongoing transformation of our company, it was time to formulate the vision, mission and fundamental core values of V-ZUG more clearly. But what does this mission statement mean for our employees' day-to-day activities?

“Our strategy and core values are not merely lip service – it is the duty of all of us to bring them to life,” says Christian Roth, Head of HR Development at V-ZUG. To embrace the mission statement in practice, we call on a cascaded and participatory implementation at all levels. To ensure the mission statement – adopted in spring 2021 – is known as widely as possible, we trained “ambassadors” who worked with the department heads to organise “town halls” with their teams. “The employees greatly appreciated the Executive Board wanting them to be actively involved in the thought process concerning the shared culture and vision,” states Roth enthusiastically.

From the summer, the management staff – who had been trained beforehand – held workshops with their teams on how to implement the mission statement. “They had to ask themselves: How do we contribute to the mission? How does our unit inspire customers? How do we embrace the basic principles of cooperation? And are our actions sustainable?” Roth explains. The results are now being incorporated into our cooperation structures, for example in the guidelines for appraisal interviews or the introduction of new team members. “This close and meaningful communication has noticeably strengthened the relationship between the management staff and the employees,” Roth is please to note.



“As an ambassador, it was inspiring to see how the employees could relate their activities to the vision and mission – many of them really blossomed in the workshops! One member of our Maintenance team, for example, noted that continuously maintaining the plants contributes to energy- and cost-efficient production, and thus to sustainable production. The sense of belonging was strengthened.”

Carina Heuberger, Coordinator of Lean Management and Strategic Projects

 

Checking in with our employees 
How much job satisfaction do our employees have? Do they value the management and cooperation culture at V-ZUG? And how well informed are they about the opportunities for personal career development? 

These and other questions were the subject of the employee survey conducted during the reporting year. “To check in with all our employees, we conducted the survey – containing more than 70 questions – across the entire V-ZUG Group for the very first time,” says Christian Roth, Head of HR Development, who was responsible for the survey together with Fabian Britschgi, Head of Corporate Health.

Measured using a score combining job satisfaction and employee commitment, V-ZUG made progress compared to the previous survey. “V-ZUG is perceived as a reliable employer with whom we identify and are proud to work for,” summarises Britschgi. 

“Naturally, we want to achieve an even better survey score in the future,” says Roth. The Executive Board decided to take group-wide measures with regard to the issues of leadership, collaboration, HR development and wages. Furthermore, the department heads were tasked with defining their own fields of action with their teams. “What is great is that the employee feedback is incorporated directly into strategic developments, for example in the current formulation of our management principles,” Roth adds.

Britschgi has another reason to be pleased: “In 2021, we were awarded the Employers We Trust quality label for the comprehensive methodology approach to our employee survey.” 

Warning! Tripping hazard!
One moment of inattention, the need to get to your next appointment as quickly as possible or a treacherous cable – and you trip. You often get away lightly when you fall, but worse-case scenario: you end up in hospital or on extended sick leave. Most people have tripped or fallen. According to the statistics of the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund SUVA, this is the most common cause of accidents, generating annual costs of about CHF 1.4 billion. One in four accidents at work are the result of a fall, and this is particularly common in winter or when taking the stairs. 

These figures are also reflected in the surveys of occupational accidents at V-ZUG. Accordingly, Cemal Yilmaz, Head of Global Quality and responsible for the Occupational Safety Unit, decide to launch a campaign against tripping accidents. From December of the reporting year, posters, flyers and an e-learning course raised awareness of the many tripping and falling risks and of how we can prevent these through our own behaviour as well as simple precautionary measures. Furthermore, mandatory signs have been put up in all stairwells in the V-ZUG buildings reminding people to use the handrail. 

While only time will show the impact of the prevention campaign, Cemal Yilmaz was pleased with the initial positive response to the campaign. More than 235 employees completed the e-learning course and took part in the prize draw. Individual departments have already improved the safety of their infrastructures accordingly. We expect the changes in behaviour to have a positive impact in people’s private lives too: “My daughter copies me and uses the handrail when going upstairs,” says Yilmaz.

Contribution to SDG 8 
Our approach to shaping working conditions, the working environment and where we create jobs means we have an impact on SDG 8. We adhere to high HR management standards and invest in secure, attractive jobs, as well as in the skills and employability of all our employees. In doing so, we aim to create exciting opportunities for them and offer first-rate apprenticeships and engaging development paths for young people in particular. We promote diversity and equal opportunities, we support social inclusion for people with disabilities and provide equal pay for equal work.

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