Number of employees increased
At the end of 2021, the Geberit Group employed 11,809 staff worldwide, equivalent to an increase of 240 employees or 2.1% compared to the previous year. This increase was due to – mainly temporary – capacity adjustments in production and logistics, which were necessary for handling the high demand, as well as – to a lesser extent – the expansion in research and development. The closure of three smaller production plants had a reducing effect.
Based on the average headcount of 11,821, net sales per employee amounted to TCHF 293 – 13.6% more than in the previous year.
Broken down by business process, staff numbers were as follows: Production employed 60% of the staff members, with a further 27% in marketing and sales. Additionally, 8% of the employees worked in administration, and 3% in research and development. The share of apprentices was 2%.
In 2021, personnel expenses amounted to CHF 812 million. Once again, the employees were able to take part in share participation plans, see Financial Statements of the Geberit Group, 17. Participation Plans and Remuneration Report.
Equal opportunities and equal pay
There are equal opportunities for women and men at Geberit. The proportion of female employees at the end of 2021 was 24% (previous year 24%), and for senior management this figure was 11% (previous year 11%). The six-member Board of Directors has two female members.
In 2021, an equal pay analysis was carried out in all Swiss Geberit companies in accordance with the provisions of the Equal Opportunities Act. The results confirmed that equal pay between female and male employees is upheld and that the legal requirements are met. The certified auditors PwC checked and confirmed that the analysis was carried out correctly.
Employee survey with high participation rate
In the spring of 2021, a worldwide survey was carried out among the employees. The Group-wide participation rate was a high 79%. The results confirmed that Geberit offers attractive working conditions and that the employees demonstrate an above-average level of both motivation and loyalty.
According to the comparative values of the independent consulting firm Korn Ferry, which accompanied the survey, the Geberit results are well above the average in the industrial sector. Furthermore, they are also better overall than the results of the comparison group of particularly high-performing companies, which have an above-average score in terms of employee commitment and empowerment.
Above-average employee satisfaction and identification
An overwhelming majority of the employees identifies very strongly with Geberit. Four-fifths of all those asked are proud to work for the company and would recommend it as an employer. 80% plan to work at least another five years at Geberit. In particular, the colleagues at work, the management and the corporate culture are seen as very positive.
Great trust in innovative strength and management
The employees believe in Geberit’s very high innovative strength and a positive development in the future: more than 90% of the participants believe in the future of the company and in its innovative strength in the area of product development. Furthermore, almost 80% feel that the company is also innovative in terms of new working methods. And something not to be underestimated: four out of five employees see Geberit as an environmentally conscious company.
The survey also confirms the employees’ trust in the leadership. Over 70% trust the management team and feel supported by their direct supervisors in terms of training and development.
Action plan developed
Among other things, there is potential for improvement in the work-life balance perceived by employees – an effect of the high level of orders since the start of the pandemic; nevertheless, 60% of the workforce still finds the ratio of working time to private life appropriate. As this is not the only area where there are significant differences between the individual Geberit sites, measures for improvement will be defined and implemented at local and departmental level following consultation with the employees.
Education and training continue to gain in importance
The search for young talent was further intensified during the reporting year. Locally, the Geberit companies are in contact with institutes of technology and universities regarding project-related collaborations to supervise Bachelor and Master theses and to gain students for internships. Geberit is also part of international engineer networks such as UNITECH, which unites renowned European universities, corporate partners and engineering students. Furthermore, 2021 saw the start of a collaboration with BEST (Board of European Students of Technology). This non-profit organisation networks engineering students from 33 European countries.
The Operations Development Programme initiated in 2020 gained further significance in the reporting year. The goal of the programme is to ensure that the Geberit production locations and logistics sites also continue to have highly trained managers at their disposal in future, who have already gained experience at the respective site. The company is looking for talented external prospects with an engineering or technical background who want to head up strategic projects and take on responsibility during and following the four-year internal training. In the reporting year, an extensive international recruiting process for the programme took place for the second time.
The two internal Potentials Management Programmes – on a regional and Group level – aim to identify talents in the company and support them along their path to middle or senior management. In the reporting year, around 80 employees took part in these programmes. These internal development programmes are intended to help fill at least half of all vacant managerial positions with internal candidates. In 2021, this was achieved for 50% of all Group management vacancies (previous year 47%).
Geberit employed 278 apprentices at the end of 2021 (previous year 262). The transfer rate to a permanent employment relationship was 85% (previous year 86%). The apprentices should already have the opportunity to get practical insights at other sites during their training. During a six-month assignment abroad, they work on various projects or support day-to-day business at a foreign site. Geberit is convinced that experience abroad and the transfer of know-how are an advantage for both young employees and the company alike.
International training initiative for the new appraisal process
At the end of 2020, a new performance management system (“valYOU”) was launched for performance assessment, professional development and compensation management. In the reporting year, management training sessions were organised worldwide on the subjects of employee appraisals and feedback in order to promote communication between line managers and employees as well as professional development. The two-day training sessions were carried out by an external partner throughout the Group. Feedback from the participants was largely positive, with the combination of theory and real-life examples being particularly appreciated.
Guiding principles for all employees
Geberit aims to act as a role model for ethically unimpeachable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible operations. The Compass – a guide for employees on the mission, values, operational principles and the success factors of Geberit – and the Code of Conduct for Employees serve as the applicable guidelines.
Dealing with COVID-19 in everyday work
The coronavirus and associated protection against COVID-19 infections continued to affect both business development and everyday work at Geberit in 2021. The protective measures in place to keep the risk of infection as low as possible for employees and to avoid operational breakdowns were maintained and further sharpened. The idea was to strictly adhere to the applicable official regulations and recommendations on a local level and, for example, implement the prescribed hygiene and social distancing measures consistently. Other measures, such as the obligation to wear masks, rapid tests or directives for business trips as well as for carrying out meetings, were also adapted according to local regulations and the development of the pandemic. Wherever permissible by law, employees were vaccinated against COVID-19 at the sites or were given time off work to have their vaccinations. During 2021, there were only a few proven infections at the workplace. Business activities could be maintained to the full extent.
Geberit has regulations in place to allow employees to work from home if their work and circumstances permit. The regulations also apply in non-pandemic times and increase the attractiveness as an employer.
Focus on occupational health and safety
Occupational health and safety has a very high priority within the Geberit Group. The aim is to halve the number and severity of accidents by 2025 based on the reference year 2015. The AFR (Accident Frequency Rate) is to be reduced to a rate of 5.5 accidents per million working hours. The ASR (Accident Severity Rate) is to be reduced to below 90 days lost per million working hours. In the reporting year, the accident frequency fell to a value of 7.9 (previous year 8.9), which corresponds to a reduction of 11.2%. The accident severity decreased by 11.1% to a value of 152.8 (previous year 171.9) in the same period. There were no fatal accidents.
All production plants and the central logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE) are certified in accordance with the occupational health and safety standard ISO 45001. The Geberit Safety System defines occupational health and safety concepts as well as processes that are applicable throughout the Group. There are safety managers at all production plants and the central logistics centre. The Group-wide Geberit Safety Team also plays an active role in systematically developing occupational health and safety across the entire organisation by defining key topics or promoting the exchange of best practices between plants, among other aspects. The creation of safe, clean workstations at the production plants is pursued consistently. Equipment and processes are constantly being optimised, hazardous substances replaced and dust and noise emissions reduced. Additionally, the increasing use of robots or lifting aids improves the working conditions in terms of ergonomics. As the majority of occupational accidents and time lost are still attributable to carelessness, great importance is attached to long-term training and raising employee awareness. An eLearning programme supports these efforts and helps to correctly identify danger areas in the workplace and rectify them consistently.
It is a matter of great importance to Geberit that employee health should be actively promoted, thus ensuring employees remain fit and able to work. With this in mind, a diverse vitality programme is offered at 18 production and sales sites in the fields of exercise, mental fitness, nutrition and the working environment. This comprehensive programme “Geberit Vital” can be accessed by around 40% of the workforce. The programme was additionally adapted to the needs of the ceramics plants in the reporting year, presented internally and gradually rolled out.