For us, trust begins with our understanding of human nature. We are fully convinced that our employees want to participate actively at work. We want to create the best possible conditions for maintaining this willingness to perform. That is why our culture of trust is also structurally anchored throughout the company. We allow ourselves plenty of freedom in pursuing our goals and avoid using control mechanisms whenever possible.
VAUDE is a strong values-based company. Trust is one of our core values. We trust our employees and support, encourage and challenge them so that they have the motivation and ability to perform their best. This is how we enable growth and development on both sides.
Our culture of trust is based on the assumption that our employees value this trust, are committed to their work and will act accordingly. In concrete terms, this means that we assume that our employees will live up to the trust we place in them and that they will in turn have confidence in the company.
In order to provide better guidance regarding what appropriate behavior looks like in different contexts, we provide all employees with our “Wegweiser” Code of Conduct (which you can read about here). These guidelines were drawn up with employee representatives and are regularly updated. The Wegweiser also provides our employees with support and guidance regarding compliance with the law and ethical conduct (e.g. anti-corruption).
»Our culture of trust often requires considerable interpersonal work. This pays off with appreciative and creative working relationships.«
We are aware of the many challenges that a successfully practiced culture of trust poses for us and that managers have an important role to play in this process. Therefore, we launched our organizational development and training program "Trust, Self-Efficacy and Innovation" back in 2014. The program has helped us raise the awareness of our managers to the special role they play in our company culture. It also provides us with a platform for offering all employees regular opportunities to take a hard look at the most important principles of this culture and what that means for everyday life at work. The fundamental idea is that our employees (and their primary contacts as well) have a framework for identifying potential conflicts at an early stage and addressing them constructively.
We allow our employees unrestricted access to most company departments and information, including new developments, company-owned work tools, etc. in order to support interdisciplinary understanding, cooperation and identification with VAUDE. We are aware that this also makes us vulnerable as an organization. We rely on our employees to live up to the trust placed in them. However, we also have the necessary means to identify serious breaches of trust and to be able to react appropriately. Severe violations are dealt with using the usual instruments of personnel law (warning, termination).
For several years now, we have offered the option of working from home or other locations. Since the pandemic started in 2020, it has been standard for around 220 employees to choose their working location based on the current situation – depending on requirements or personal preferences and in careful consultation with managers and their colleagues. High flexibility in the allocation of working time promotes creativity, productivity and life balance of our employees (see also: Work and private life).
Because our corporate culture entails a high degree of transparency, it is important to raise awareness of the legal conditions and requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and to ensure compliance with them. For this reason, we have been receiving intensive professional support from our external data protection officer Ulrike Eben since 2018.
Extensive workshops were held in 2018 with employees from all divisions. These workshops provided information about the main features of the GDPR and its relevance for employees at VAUDE. Since that time, new employees have been retrained as needed and the training courses have been repeated with updated content. In addition, individual departments or projects have been given more intensive support; this primarily concerned the DSGVO-compliant implementation of technical changes by our IT department. An opportunity for needs-based consulting has always existed for all company divisions. In 2022 our data privacy officer trained a total of 40 employees in basic and refresher courses and conducted refresher training with a total of 112 employees.