Search Report
2020 Sustainability Report
published 2021/08/02

A foundation of trust

Trust and appreciation form the basis of our unique corporate culture. Maintaining and developing this culture is an ongoing process that we are all committed to. Our culture of trust makes us flexible and strong for the future so that we can respond to the needs of our customers in the best possible way, even in times of rapid change.

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.

Want to know how we do it?

  • We have had a horizontal company culture since the company was founded. Our informal and personal approach across all hierarchies contributes to an atmosphere of closeness and equality.
  • 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. Creating relationships that are active and constructive is of central importance to us.
  • We set great store in transparency and the active participation of our employees. We make this possible through our social intranet (Camp), workshops and informative events.
  • We involve our employee representatives in personnel policy development and decisions.
  • We work together to create a self-directed organization. This means, for example, that restructuring is usually developed and implemented with the participation of those involved rather than from the top down.
  • Interdisciplinary, cross-hierarchy and self-directed collaborations are encouraged and promoted. The option of mobile working, (which is based on a trust-based workplace) and trust-based working hours are standard in large parts of the company. This makes it easier for many employees to achieve a good work-life balance.

Want to know the specifics?

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

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. 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.«

Antje von Dewitz, VAUDE Managing Director

Our culture makes us strong for the future - as shown by the "New Work Award" 2020

By establishing a culture of trust, we are making a significant contribution to securing the future of our company.

We understand the fundamental importance of trust for human development. Employees feel safe and comfortable when they experience trust, and they remain loyal to us so that their valuable skills and experience remain with the company long term.

We are aware of the fundamental importance of the issue of trust for a modern, innovative and sustainably oriented company. We can respond flexibly and quickly to new challenges and generate the best possible solutions together. Our success in linking a culture of trust with a modern, people-friendly and highly performance-enhancing working environment was honored in 2020 with the "New Work Award". The New Work Award has been presented annually since 2013 to companies that have developed and implemented innovative work concepts. This year, the eleven-member expert jury of the New Work Ideas Lab received over 360 applications. A total of almost 32,000 votes were received for the finalists.

We invest in the culture of trust and take challenges seriously

We are aware that a culture of trust demands our constant attention and careful policy-making, and we gladly invest our time and energy in this issue.

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).

Transparent communication

Our culture of trust includes the fact that organizational changes affecting our employees are announced in a timely manner. There are no minimum notification periods for this. Our management and executive bodies are committed to disclosing relevant information as early and comprehensively as possible.
  • All organizational changes such as new hires, internal job changes or the reorganization of departments are published on our social intranet "Camp".
  • Every employee can actively shape company communications on our intranet. All content can be commented on and rated. In addition, all employees have the opportunity to create their own content and they take advantage of this opportunity regularly.
  • Our quarterly exchange (which was originally reserved for managers) takes place every three months and has been open to all employees since 2019. This gives everyone the chance not only to become informed, but also to participate directly and actively in the dialog on important issues.
  • The intranet is also where we, as required, post amendments to occupational health and safety laws that are automatically made available to us each year by the employer library.

Data protection at VAUDE

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, 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 and it is frequently taken advantage of. In 2020, our data privacy officer trained a total of 300 employees on issues related to data privacy.

GRI:   103-1
Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary
GRI:   103-2
The management approach and its components
GRI:   402-1
Minimum notice periods regarding operational changes
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