Human Resources

The corporate success of the Arbonia Group is highly dependent on the work of skilled and highly motivated employees that take an interest in the company and demonstrate long-term loyalty to it. In an environment characterised by a shortage of skilled workers and the resulting intense competition, the Arbonia Group must position itself even more as an attractive employer. In addition to a fair compensation policy, it 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 2019, the Arbonia Group had 7'955.5 full-time equivalents, representing an increase of around 1.0% compared with the previous year. There were changes especially in the HVAC Division, as employees were laid off in Belgium due to the consolidation of the production volume of steel panel radiators in the highly automated sites and the associated closure of a production site. In Russia, on the other hand, new employees began work following the commissioning of the new production plant. The Doors Division also hired additional employees in Germany and Poland as a result of capacity expansions. The number of employees of the Windows Division increased in Poland and Slovakia but decreased in Switzerland as the relocations were completed.

Company health management scheme

Safety and health at work are of great importance to Arbonia and are ensured by various measures. The “FITGSUND” (fit-healthy) label established in 2018 was continued in the Swiss companies in the reporting year. This allowed employees, for example, to have flu vaccinations administered by their family doctor reimbursed by their employer. Outside Switzerland, investments were also made in employee health management in order to ensure knowledge of occupational health and safety.

Vocational and further training

Group-wide, Arbonia currently has around 160 trainees (mostly in Germany at Kermi, Prüm and Garant) in a variety of occupations. The following training courses are among those offered: commercial clerks, foreign language industrial clerks, electronics technicians, computer scientists, IT specialists for system integration or application development, industrial mechanics, wood mechanics, technical product designers, machine and plant operators and mechatronics technicians.

One of the objectives is to counteract the shortage of skilled workers and to cover the demand for new employees in the future. In addition, Arbonia also invests in further training measures for current employees. Specialist training ensures that employees are optimally prepared for the constantly changing requirements and technical innovations. For example, technical training for employees is held on the Kermi Campus of the HVAC and Sanitary Equipment Divisions. The opportunity to learn about products during operation has proven to be particularly helpful not only for the technical departments but also for sales.

The relocation and automation of manufacturing to and within Eastern Europe also required a comprehensive transfer of knowledge and expertise between the sites. Project management was also used and expanded across brands and divisions in the reporting year, so that the continuously increasing number of projects can be processed as efficiently as possible.

“Arbonia Academy”

The existing management development programmes at the Swiss companies were expanded in 2019 and also implemented in Germany for the first time. The objective of these programmes is to give managers within the Arbonia Group the same management basics. The new “Arbonia Academy” was designed and approved by the Group Management and the Nomination and Compensation Committee. The “Arbonia Academy” represents the entirety of all training measures managed by the Group to achieve a uniform understanding of leadership within Arbonia and to increase the quality of leadership. The “Arbonia Academy” will also be used in the future to pursue internal employee development programmes. The preparations for this have been made and will be implemented for the first time in 2020.

Employee satisfaction

With the objective of promoting employee satisfaction, individual actions will also be carried out in the companies in addition to the Group-wide HR development measures. At Kermi in Germany and the Czech Republic, idea management is a tool that has been established for many years. Here, suggestions for improvement and input from employees are rewarded with attractive bonuses and, if implemented, also with appropriate compensation. Regular departmental rounds with a targeted exchange of information have proven to be a useful way of observing the opinions and mood of the workforce. In addition, events (e.g. hikes) or lectures outside of working hours provide a platform for getting to know each other and cooperating better. It is becoming increasingly apparent that employee satisfaction is more dependent on the ability to influence individual working hours. We want to meet this requirement – where possible – through flexible working hours, the possibility of part-time employment and mobile working.

In Eastern Europe, where there is still a shortage of skilled workers and nearly full employment, the salary policy of the companies is regularly reviewed on the basis of market value and political requirements and adjusted where necessary. Employees in production, for example, can achieve significantly higher salaries than the market value would suggest through individual, targeted further development opportunities and skills enhancements.