Human Resources

The corporate success of the Arbonia Group is highly dependent on the work of skilled and highly motivated employees who are passionate about and demonstrate their long-term loyalty to the company. Given the ever-decreasing availability of skilled workers and ever-increasing competition to find the right employees for the company, to motivate them and retain them over the long term, it is becoming more and more important to be seen as an attractive employer. In addition to a fair compensation policy, the Arbonia Group provides a number of incentives including a range of employee programmes, professional development measures and alternative development models to promote the careers of its employees in various fields of activity.

Workforce development

As of 31 December 2018, Arbonia incl Vasco and Tecna had a workforce of 7874.5 employees (full-time equivalents), representing an increase of 9.5% (previous year: 7193.4 FTE's). This growth primarily stems from the takeover of the Vasco Group in May 2018.

Introduction of company health management scheme

As an attractive employer, the company should work to promote the health, motivation and personal responsibility of its employees. In the reporting year, Arbonia has therefore introduced the company health management scheme known as "FITGSUND" at all its Swiss locations. The programme brings together all measures relating to preventive healthcare – from managing daily schedules to workplace equipment. In addition to courses on avoiding trip hazards, training is also offered on ergonomics in the workplace, accidents during leisure time and stress management. By providing courses on the subject of "healthy management", Arbonia is also ensuring that its managers understand the importance of health management for the benefit of their employees. Further aspects on the agenda in this regard include programmes to help employees quit smoking, information on medical check-ups and the provision of water coolers and fruit to encourage employees to follow a healthy diet. The long-term aim is to roll this programme out across the entire Arbonia Group.

Evaluation of roles

Over the past year, all key roles and top performers in the Group and the companies have been evaluated and a new Arbonia grading system has been developed. This provides a basis for strategic HR development and enables further applications to be established in HR management.

Shortage of skilled workers in Eastern Europe

Over the past two years, Eastern Europe has experienced an economic boom. This is also reflected in wage growth, lower staff retention rates for the company and a general shortage of workers. During the reporting year, this new situation also heightened the demands placed on Human Resources at Arbonia, particularly in the Windows Division, as its centres of production expertise are located exclusively in Eastern Europe.

The unemployment rate in Thuringia (D) – the location of the wood competence centre for the Windows Division – has reached its lowest level since Germany's reunification. As is the case throughout Germany, skilled tradespeople are in particularly short supply and are highly sought-after. In order to position Wertbau as a more attractive employer among its existing employees, a range of measures were introduced, including revising the wage system, holding events and offering small loyalty rewards. To recruit new employees, the division also turned to Poland and the Balkans, where it got in touch with local carpentry associations and also looked to contact tradespeople directly.

In the vinyl competence centre in Slovakia too, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fill vacancies in production and administration roles, as the unemployment rate at this location has also fallen to a historic low. To mitigate this situation to some extent, the centre was able to recruit production employees from Serbia with the assistance of a specialist agency.

For the competence centre in Poland, the division primarily recruited production employees from Ukraine. In addition, workers from Nepal, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus and the Philippines were employed on a short-term basis. However, the integration of employees with different geographical and cultural backgrounds required a very high level of support to be provided – from both an administrative and cultural perspective, which is why the division has primarily focused on recruiting personnel in neighbouring countries. As the recruitment measures described were not sufficient to fill all existing vacancies and prevent further vacancies, however, retention measures were also initiated at Dobroplast, with the aim of retaining existing employees over the long term. For example, a sport and insurance programme has been set up and open days for schools and representatives from authorities have been introduced.

Professional development measures in the Doors Division

Promoting the appeal of Arbonia as an employer is also an important core element in the Doors Division. During the reporting year, it carried out extensive and structured succession planning for the first time for its first and second tier management levels, with the aim of continually expanding this across all locations and updating it on a regular basis. Furthermore, the division made preparations in relation to HR development to bring managers specifically from German and Polish locations into the management development programme of the Arbonia Group. In addition, it developed a specialist further training scheme for executives of RWD Schlatter to provide them with professional and personal development measures which better prepare them for the increased requirements in the market.