Search Report
2015 Sustainability Report
published 2016/07/13

Training and professional development for all employees

In order to maintain our survival in the dynamic competition of the outdoor industry, we need highly qualified employees. That's why we invest in good training and professional development opportunities.

Education as an investment in competitiveness

We are committed to the further development of our employees' potential and their continuing training; this is a crucial prerequisite to successfully positioning ourselves as a mid-sized family-owned company in the highly competitive outdoor industry over the long term. Finding and keeping competent and experienced employees in the many highly specialized professional sectors is important to remaining competitive in the market.

Specialization and social skills in demand

At VAUDE there are highly specialized professional fields that often require internal professional development and corresponding specialization. Furthermore, our corporate culture puts equally high demands on the social skills of our employees. That is why we invest in good training and professional development.

VAUDE Academy as educational center

A key element of our training and professional development is the VAUDE Academy program which offers over 120 events annually. Since the beginning of 2012, we have employed a consultant for human resources development who sets the focus of our training program and expands its conceptual development.

The goals of human resources development are both the personal and professional development of our employees, as well as authentically exemplifying and anchoring the corporate culture throughout the company at all levels.

Broad range of issues

The VAUDE Academy, whose events are primarily free of charge and available to all employees, offers training on a broad range of issues: the conveyance of our vision and values, “who's who” in the industry and the market, branch and market content, organization and leadership, product knowledge, quality management, environmental management, production and production sites, mountain and bike tours, safety training, health promotion with cycling, swimming and running clubs, rock climbing and yoga.

VAUDE Academy program available for all

Participation in our Academy events is documented and evaluated at the end of the current program. Based on this data, a program for the upcoming year is developed. The Academy program is available to all employees on our social intranet.

Talent program and training to become project managers

For our young professionals, we have offered a talent program since 2012 in which six to eight young employees are intensively supported and coached on their career path over two years at VAUDE.

Since 2013, the focus has been on project management, with a qualification program for future project leaders.

Since 2013 we have also launched a qualification program on the theme project management. With internal and external monitoring, we are training seven employees to become project managers. Thus, we are laying the foundation to ensure that complex, cross-departmental projects, which are becoming more common, can be managed more efficiently.

Professional programs

Currently, seven colleagues are in training to become professional project managers.

Trust and innovation – from management to employees and back:

Our values and understanding of leadership, which is based on trust, can only be anchored in the company when it is borne and lived by the company’s executives. Therefore, we provide training for the VAUDE executives as well as selected employees on our trust-based values and management style several times annually on this theme. These events – which are mandatory – take place both on an hourly basis at our facilities in Tettnang-Obereisenbach and over two-day outings in a rented mountain cabins or other premises. They are designed not only for professional development, but also to develop and strengthen our culture of trust and innovation over the long-term. In this process, we have been accompanied by MANEMO eG since 2013.

In the coming years, the measures in this area will be extended to a majority of our employees.

Lissi Reitschuster

Lissi Reitschuster, MANEMO eG:

"Value oriented leadership, which is based explicitly on trust, requires a very personal commitment from the VAUDE managers and employees. Confidence can only be felt and conveyed by people - the effects then unfold on structural and strategic level, for example, in the company’s innovative capacity."

Positive resonance

The strength of our exceptional and comprehensive training program is shown in the numbers of participants: each of our employees participated, on average, in over 10 hours of internal training in 2015. Men averaged 11 hours of training while women averaged 9.7 hours.

Training and professional development per employee-category**

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* Employee Categories:

  • E.C. -Category 1: upper management - executive board, executive management and division management
  • E.C. Category 2: middle management - all division managers
  • E.C. -Category 3: lower management - all team leaders
  • E.C. - Category 4: all other permanent employees (permanent = open-ended contract), all employees with a limited contract
  • E.C. - Category 5: apprentices, interns

These figures are based on the professional development offered as part of the VAUDE Academy program. They are primarily cross-divisional or cross-departmental courses that are open to all employees, as well as our departmental and division-specific training.

The strong difference in the average number of hours between management and employees is due to multi-day management training, in particular – on the theme Culture of Trust. In 2016, this training will be expanded to a majority of our employees.

VAUDE further expands the training

VAUDE is a training company. Each year between six and ten new apprentices begin working at VAUDE and are trained to become industrial clerks, IT specialists, computer scientists, warehouse logistics specialist or alteration tailors. Overall, we supervise 15 trainees on a long-term basis, of whom about 50% are employed directly afterwards.

Once per year at the beginning of the new academic year, we have “Azubi-Tage” to prepare our trainees for their shared time together at VAUDE. For three days, our trainees intensely experience outdoor themes, get to know each other, participate in team building exercises and become familiar with the VAUDE Spirit that will accompany them throughout the upcoming year.

During their training period at VAUDE, they regularly attend feedback sessions with our consultant for personnel development, which cover the issues of academic performance, work at VAUDE and commitment within the VAUDE Community.

Throughout the training period, VAUDE provides extensive insight into the sustainability activities of the company. In addition, the trainees can earn the certificate “Core Competence Sustainable Business” with additional project work. More on this:

In order to make our training selection even more differentiated, more effective and more up-to-date, starting in 2016 we will also rely on a Dual Studies Program in co-operation with the regional university DHBW Ravensburg in addition to classic professional training. Within this framework, VAUDE will be the work/study location for a university degree in the academic fields of Wirtschaftsinformatik (Business Informatics), BWL Industry (Business Administration) as well as BWL Handel-Textilmanagement (Business Administration Trade and Textile Management). The first three dual study university students will begin their studies with us in the Winter Semester 2016/17.

The Spirit of VAUDE

At VAUDE, a good training program is not just about professional development; it’s also about personal growth.

Regular feedback meetings

Each employee, regardless of their hierarchical level, has an annual feedback meeting with his or her manager. In 2014, this method of employee review was expanded to a uniform employee evaluation system. Each employee is evaluated by his or her manager not only on aspects such as work efficiency and effectiveness, but also regarding their handling of responsibility and implementation of the VAUDE values. Building on this, yearly goals are agreed upon. There are guidelines available to all managers and employees for these target agreements and employee reviews.

These meetings are documented, goals are defined and possible action for the coming year is determined.

Regular feedback discussions

Giving and receiving constructive feedback is firmly rooted in our understanding of good leadership; our culture of trust creates the foundation that we start from – the understanding that every person intuitively wants to do his or her best. When mistakes happen, we analyze the underlying conditions together and on this basis look for improvement potential in order to avoid them in the future. Instead of distrusting employees or making them afraid to make mistakes, we rely on trust and the development of shared solutions. “VAUDE managers – and VAUDE employees – deal with the mistakes of employees (or colleagues) constructively: they give constructive feedback. VAUDE management and VAUDE employees admit their own mistakes and accept constructive feedback."

GRI:   G4-LA9
Average hours of Training per employee by gender, and by employee category
GRI:   G4-DMA Training and Education
Disclosure on Management Approach Training and Education
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