Employees – 2020 sustainability report

Employees introduction

Our employees’ strong commitment is the main driver of our company’s success. It is important to us that they feel happy, at home and able to thrive. Our relaunched principles of cooperation provide the basis for this, and these are: ‘Teamwork’, ‘Responsibility’, ‘Respect’, ‘Trust’, ‘Appreciation’ and ‘Passion’.

Graphic: Principles of cooperation

Communicating and participating – our most important tools
We attach great importance to engaging in dialogue as equals, sharing prompt feedback throughout the organisation and having a respectful management culture. V-ZUGconnect is central to this, providing a framework for discussing how employees are feeling as well as their performance, skills and perspectives.

We also want our employees to get involved with strategic topics. For instance, various experts work in the Sustainability Workforce to advance our sustainability commitments and to inspire employees to be sustainable at work and at home.

Diversity as a success factor
Our company is home to people with a wide range of skills, cultural backgrounds and personal circumstances. When it comes to driving innovation and motivation, we believe that a good generation mix among our employees is just as important as their skill, culture or gender mix. We cater to our employees’ individual needs, offering flexible working models such as part time, job sharing and the mobile office. At V-ZUG, we also promote a healthy work-life balance.

Making V-ZUG and our employees fit for the future
We want to use our company’s expertise to develop and guarantee future-proof skills and employability for our employees. Our training strategy follows our in-house skills model. It reflects an individual evaluation based on skills and performance. We have the V-ZUGacademy, offering in-house courses, trainee and talent support programmes in addition to executive and management training. We also provide support for external training and offer new talent the chance to join an external mentoring scheme.

Health and safety – in times of crisis and beyond
The Covid-19 pandemic has really brought the subject of health to the fore. During the crisis, V-ZUG was able to draw on its well-established occupational health and safety management, which is certified to the ISO 45001 standard. With V-ZUGvitality, we regularly draw attention to physical and mental health and offer our employees support services for specific circumstances.

“V-ZUG stands for reliability, authenticity and high quality standards, as a company and as an employer. It’s no accident that our employees are happy and our corporate culture inspires and encourages innovation – my team work hard together with managers every day to make it happen.”

Sandra Forster-Bernacchia, Director of Human Resources at V-ZUG


Employees stories

50 years old and 20 years with the company – what’s next?
Usually in your career, your next step follows on (seemingly) logically from the last. Many people love what they do and do it well, but who determines where they are headed? And does the direction meet their expectations? We want to motivate employees to take control of their professional development and work with V-ZUG to shape their career paths. In the context of digital transformation and globalisation, we offer targeted support to strengthen the employability of our employees. After all, employees with skills like these ensure that V-ZUG is fit for the future. As part of the ‘Career check’ pilot project with the Zug careers information centre (BIZ Zug), 38 employees from the Service team in German-speaking Switzerland took part in a review, updated their CVs and evaluated their careers. At a meeting with experts from BIZ Zug, they then discussed interesting findings and development paths. “The career check gave me the push I needed to sort out my work situation and make a conscious decision about my future – for me, that’s the path that I’ve taken with V-ZUG,” says Albert Sutter, Team Leader and Head Technician in Fabric Care, who has worked at V-ZUG for 21 years. He neatly sums up the aims of the project as making a complete career change conceivable. The emphasis, however, is on exploring where our employees are in their career and the different paths they can take so they can make an informed choice about their career path. The final evaluation by the University of Bern yielded positive results. The project will now be rolled out more widely and used for individual career planning at V-ZUG from 2021.

Mobility for employees and the environment
Mobility is one of the major sources of pollutant emissions. As a way to raise awareness about this among our employees, an in-house task force drew up a modern, flexible mobility concept. We are encouraging employees at our headquarters to rethink their mobility habits by offering financial incentives and additional green services. We aim to reduce private motorised transport to below 40 per cent by 2022 at the latest.
Employees without a company car have been receiving a mobility subsidy since July 2020. In fact, if it takes longer than 25 minutes for an employee to travel door to door and they leave their car or motorcycle at home, then they will receive an additional eco-bonus, which changes depending on what they choose to do each day. “I used to take my car, but now I cycle to work in all weathers. It’s good for my health, and I get to work feeling much more relaxed,” says Fabian Langenegger, Head of Electronic and Control Maintenance at V-ZUG. We also support hybrid solutions: thanks to our collaboration with nextbikes, bicycles in Zug and other towns and cities in Central Switzerland can be rented free of charge. Our partnership with Mobility also allows employees to use our company cars privately too, and on favourable terms. “This flexibility is a key success factor that is usually seen as a benefit of owning your own car,” explains Christian Roth, Head of HR Development at V-ZUG and task force member.
The launch of the mobility concept went very well. We have yet to see whether we will reach our target, including outside of the advice to work from home. Regardless, we are continually developing the policy and service in line with our aims for a sustainable future.
Achieving balance in life
It is important that we always keep ourselves well-balanced between work, family and leisure time – physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and financially. Since our employees spend a lot of time at work, we can help them stay in balance. According to the results of our latest life-balance survey, around 76 per cent of employees said that they managed to keep a good work-life balance. The survey revealed that childcare is also a major hurdle for parents and that more employees than expected have family members that they need to care for and support. It also appears that staff are largely unaware of the various support on offer, such as the counselling service, family support service and flexible working models. To raise awareness among our employees and to keep improving their work-life balance, we designed a flyer detailing information about V-ZUG’s employee benefits and distributed it to all employees. We also made the information easier to find on the intranet and included the main points in our in-house introductory training for employees and managers. In addition, we have resources that allow employees in similar circumstances to learn from one another: V-ZUG is a member of [email protected] to support peer-coaching among new parents within the company, for instance. Fabian Britschgi, Head of Health Management at V-ZUG, explains: “We offer support where it’s needed, but we do use ‘empowerment strategies’ whenever we can. That means we empower employees to find their own ways and means of achieving balance.”

Employees key figures

Part-time: an increasingly popular working model
85% of our employees work full-time. The share of part-time employees rose again in 2020 to 15% (2019: 14%). Part-time work often comes up during the recruitment process, and we even 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. This also fosters a healthy mix of generations: 18% of our employees are below the age of 30, 50% between 30 and 50, and 32% over 50. We are making a deliberate effort to employ people across the full range of ages, and we are investing specifically in the employees’ education, further training and employability.


Graphic: Employees by employment contract

More women at top management levels
The share of women at top management levels in V-ZUG has risen steadily over the last few 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. This places V-ZUG above the Swiss average (according to the 2021 Schilling Report, 18% of top management are women).

The share of women working at V-ZUG in total (including BoM) has stood between 20.5% and 22.0% over the last three years. In the last two years we have managed to increase women’s representation in management positions to match the proportion of women in the workforce overall. The share of women in management roles, i.e. BoM, EB, heads of department, project managers and senior management levels 1 to 3, was 17.1% in 2018 and increased to 20.3% by the end of 2020.

In addition to achieving a healthy gender mix equally distributed over all levels, equal pay for equal work is also a priority for V-ZUG. That is why we have an external body check our equal pay. The L&M-Aba-24® certificate, which is valid for four years, confirms that there is no discrimination in the pay levels of our employees. It is next due to be renewed in 2021.

With regard to the BoM figures, it should be noted that V-ZUG Holding Ltd was founded on 28 November 2019 and was entered on the commercial register on the same day. Gender balance on the Board of Management is therefore only shown for the end of 2019 and 2020.

Graphic: Women in management roles

Turnover rate fell slightly
We welcomed 246 new employees to V-ZUG in 2020. During the same period, 194 people left the company. This is equivalent to a turnover rate of 11.2% (excluding retirements and apprentices), falling 0.8% compared to 2019. We consider the slight upward long-term trend in turnover to be connected to the ongoing transformation process, which impacts the organisational structure, processes and the areas and scope of work.


Graphic: Turnover rate

Occupational accidents: a rare cause of absences
V-ZUG recorded 75 occupational accidents in the year under review. These caused around 7,000 hours to be lost and accounted for almost 7% of all hours lost, remaining unchanged from 2019. Around half of them were minor accidents (e.g. bruises and cuts requiring absences of less than three days). They occurred most frequently in production and service and usually because of negligence and stress. Occupational health and safety is therefore one of our key quality concerns. We are taking targeted measures, raising awareness and training our employees so that they are well informed about occupational hazards and better equipped to take personal responsibility.


Graphic: Rate of hours lost due to accidents at work

Lower absenteeism thanks to fewer accidents occurring outside of work
The lost hours rate in 2020 was 3.5%, down 0.2% compared with the previous year. The reason that the figure fell despite an increase in employment at V-ZUG in the same period is due to the unusually low number of hours lost caused by non-occupational accidents. In 2020, 11% of accidents occurred outside of work; in 2018 and 2019, this figure was around 15%. We put this decline down to the restrictions on sporting activities during lockdowns related to Covid-19. Illness was the most frequent cause of absence, accounting for 83%. The share of illness-related absences rose by 4.5 percentage points in 2020, but this increase is put in perspective when we consider the fact that the number of employees at V-ZUG rose by around 3% in the same period.

Graphic: Absenteeism rate by cause

Impact on 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.