Search Report
2016 Sustainability Report
published 2017/08/01

A foundation of trust

As for any interpersonal relationship in which trust plays a major role, trust and appreciation create the foundation of our unique corporate culture. Maintaining and continuing to develop this trust is an ongoing process that we are actively promoting with a great deal of dedication.

For us, trust begins with our view of human nature. We are fully convinced that our employees enjoy active participation at work. We want to create the best possible conditions for maintaining this commitment! Therefore, our culture of trust is also structurally anchored. We allow ourselves plenty of freedom in the pursuit of our objectives and avoid using control mechanisms when possible.

How do we do it?

  • We provide training for our employees and managers so that their collaboration is based on cooperation and equal standing rather than hierarchy and rigid rules. Designing relationships that are active and constructive is of central importance.
  • We emphasize transparency and the active participation of our employees. We make this possible through our social intranet (Camp), common open spaces, workshops and information events.
  • In March, Anselm Grün honored VAUDE with the Soul@Work Award for good leadership.
  • Everyone is invited to actively participate in our Idea Management Program.
  • We work together on a self-effective organization. This means, for example, that restructuring is usually developed and implemented with the participation of stakeholders rather than top-down.
  • Interdisciplinary, cross-hierarchy and self-organized collaborations are encouraged and promoted.

Want the specifics?

Yes, we trust our employees. Read on to find out more about our culture of trust.

VAUDE is a highly value-oriented company and we live out these values in our daily interactions. Trust is one of our core values: We trust our employees and support, encourage and challenge them so that they are able and motivated to perform their best.

This confidence is the foundation for a trusting and appreciative form of cooperation between companies and employees. At the same time, it facilitates growth and development on both sides.

Our culture of trust is based on the assumption that our employees will value this trust, will be committed to their work, and will act appropriately. Specifically, this means that we assume our employees will do justice to the trust that is placed in them and that they will in turn have confidence in the company. We reviewed these assumptions in a study by the University of St. Gallen in 2015, which – in their interpretation – identified VAUDE as a "Trust Organization." "Time spent at work is also time spent living"

Our "Wegweiser" Code of Conduct was jointly developed and made available to all employees in 2016.

»Our culture of trust is often real (and time-consuming) interpersonal work. It pays off in appreciative and creative working relationships.«

Antje von Dewitz, CEO

We trust all employees

By establishing a culture of trust, we are making a major contribution to securing the future of the company and toward employee satisfaction and retention:

  • We understand the fundamental importance of trust for a modern, innovative, and sustainably oriented company. Likewise, we understand the positive importance of trust for human development: Employees feel safe and comfortable when they experience trust. 
  • Our culture of trust is an essential part of our corporate culture and values and the two interact with each other.
  • We understand the diverse components that need to be established in terms of a lived culture of trust and are aware of the important role that the company management has in this process. 

We are aware that this makes us vulnerable as an organization. In this regard, we rely on our employees and count on them to return this trust. We also have the means to identify breaches of trust and can react appropriately when needed. In 2015 we developed a process with various focal points and escalation levels for our employees to identify potential conflicts and defuse them in dialog. This offer has been used successfully many times since then and is taken as indication that the defined process actually works. More drastic violations are processed with the current legal instruments for employees (warning, termination).

Furthermore, employees who have a high number of connections with others within the company participate in the training series "Self-efficacy as a basis for trust and innovation." The fundamental idea is that these “culture bearers” become established as trustworthy contact persons. Potential conflicts can thus be identified at an early stage. We have already had good experience with this. For example, in the past, conflicts could be identified in teams and defused by means of coaching and team development.

In 2016 we anchored the theme of trust even deeper at a structural level. An idea submitted in the new idea management program 'Steps' regarding the introduction of employee representation was implemented. Five employees were elected as representatives in December 2016.

Transparent communication

A culture of trust also requires that organizational changes affecting our employees be announced in a timely manner. 

All organizational changes such as new hires, internal job changes or reorganization of departments are published on the internal online communication platform (Camp), which all employees have access to. This is also where changes to occupational safety laws (automatically made available annually by the Arbeitgeberbibliothek, a German Internet platform), which require public notice, are published.

In addition, every employee can also actively participate in communication on our intranet. All content can be commented upon and rated. Furthermore, all employees are able to create their own content. Our employees are also very aware of this. Employees posted about 15000 times on Camp in 2016.

GRI:   G4-LA4
Minimum notice periods regarding operational changes, including whether these are specified in collective agreements
GRI:   G4-DMA Employment
Disclosure on Management Approach Employment
GRI:   G4-DMA Labor/ Management Relations
Disclosure on Management Approach Disclosure on Management Approach Labor/ Management Relations
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