Human Resources

As a group of around 8000 employees, the Arbonia Group assumes its social responsibility to the best of its abilities.
Once again, the reporting year has yielded a variety of examples demonstrating how the Groups size offers employees a great deal of potential for development – both via the conventional route of moving up the ranks into management roles, and through the opportunity to change from one Group company to another.

Increase in employees by 29 percent

At the end of 2016, the Arbonia Group employed a total of 8057 employees, compared to 6231 at the end of 2015. This 29.3 % increaase primarily stems from the takeover of the Koralle Group in the summer and the Looser Group at the end of 2016. Without these acquisitions, there would have been a 3.1% decline in the number of employees – something that is chiefly due to the completed relocations of special radiator production from Arbon (CH) to Stříbro (CZ) and vinyl window production from Villeneuve (CH) to Pravenec (SK), plus the downsizing measures carried out as part of this.

Reconciliation of work and family life

A positive working environment has a direct impact on employee performance. The reconciliation of work and family life is also an important contributing factor in this environment. For this reason, the companies in the Arbonia Group offer their employees solutions that are tailored to their family needs. As an example, Kermi is working with a daycare centre near its plant in Plattling (D) in order to provide employees with childcare facilities for preschool-age children.

Outstanding social benefits

In Switzerland, Arbonias outstanding social benefits make it an attractive place to work. Employees benefit from a tiered holiday entitlement system that can allow them up to 6.5 weeks per year. Private insurance ensures that employees are covered world wide in case of occupational and non-occupational accident. As an employer, Arbonia takes on a bigger proportion of savings contributions in workplace pension schemes. Employees aged 35 and over also have the voluntary option to pay more than the fixed premiums into their retirement savings, and increase their capital as a result. Where retirement provisions are concerned, Arbonia offers customised pension solutions including semi-retirement and bridging pensions.

Area-specific development, education and training options

The Arbonia Group offers its employees a wide range of development opportunities. Thanks to the Group’s size, employees are able to not only pursue the conventional route of moving up the ranks into management roles, but also move from one Group company to another. Elevating suitable junior employees from among our own ranks to higher positions, or bringing them into other Group companies, will have a lasting impact on safeguarding the specific knowledge that we possess in-house. Good examples of this include moving the former Head of Strategic Planning at Arbonia Holding to an operational role as Head of Integration in the Doors Division, and the former EgoKiefer employees’ transfer to the Shared Service Center at Arbonia Services AG.

With the aim of establishing a sustainable leadership concept focusing on the long term, 2016 saw the formulation of MDP II (Management Development Programme II) as a follow-up to MDP I. This is set to launch in 2017. The extensive training involved in this is specifically designed to promote team performance, the ability to handle periods of transition, and awareness of emotional intelligence.

In addition to role-specific development, the companies in the Arbonia Group also offer learning opportunities that can be harnessed outside the workplace. As an example, Kermi in Plattling (D) uses its MittelpunktMensch (People in Focus) platform to provide an extensive range of courses and training on a variety of subjects.

Uniform performance process for the Group

In the past, the approach to employee discussions varied from company to company. For the first time, 2016 saw the Arbonia Group launch a performance process for employee discussions (EDs) that is applied uniformly to all the companies in the Group. The ED is a vital management tool for identifying the stage an employee has reached. The previous year is reviewed by both parties, objectives and tasks are agreed upon, and personal development prospects and measures are discussed. The process focuses particularly on employee development and on any psychosocial risks so that preventative measures can be introduced if necessary. The ED promotes dialogue between employees and supervisors and offers the opportunity for a constructive feedback discussion.

Simplified time recording

During the reporting year, a simplified system of time recording was introduced with the aim of providing more safeguards for middle and lower levels of management. Employees at these levels only record the actual time they spend working, but are required to adhere to statutory break times and maximum working hours. This gives them greater autonomy with regard to their working time, as well as the opportunity to allocate 25 % of this time as they wish.

Further support measures

The downsizing measures announced in 2015 for Arbonia Solutions in Arbon (CH), as well as EgoKiefer in Altstätten (CH) and Villeneuve (CH), were launched and implemented over the past year. The employees affected by this were given active support. The redundancy programme developed with the Personnel Commission, plus the package of support measures set out, ensured the successful integration into the job market and made it easier for them to find a new position. These measures included an advice service, helping employees to pinpoint where they stood in their professional lives, as well as career counselling and job coaching. An internal job centre was put in place, as were professional education measures for helping employees improve their qualifications.

Cooperation with an external case management partner

With the aim of creating a reduction in both absences due to illness and sick pay insurance premiums over the long term, in 2015 the Group Management initiated cooperation with an external case management partner. Since then, SIZ Care AG has been assisting the Swiss companies in the Arbonia Group in all aspects relating to absence and health management. Over just this short period, the cooperation has already yielded positive, successful results. Employees who have been unable to work for an extended period have in particular viewed this step in a highly positive light, and are pleased with the increased attention it has given them. It has also been possible to reduce the number of employees who are regularly absent. SIZ Care AG provides support not only when it comes to existing absences, however, but also in the area of prevention (for example, avoiding cases of burnout).

Code of Conduct

The Arbonia Group and its divisions are aware of their economic, environmental and social responsibility towards capital providers, employees, customers, business partners, the state, society and the environment. They hold the strong belief that ethical conduct represents an indispensable part of ensuring that their operating activities remain successful over the long term. The Arbonia Group lives up to this responsibility by demonstrating ethical conduct in every one of its operating activities.

With this in mind, the Group-wide Code of Conduct was developed and brought into force in 2013. It outlines binding guidelines for the activities of all Arbonia employees around the world, including those in the companies that were newly acquired in 2016.