Search Report
2019 Sustainability Report
published 2020/08/01

A foundation of trust

Just as trust is of great importance in any interpersonal relationship, trust and appreciation also form the basis of our unique corporate culture. Maintaining and further developing these is a continuous process that we actively promote with a great deal of dedication. 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 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. 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 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.
  • We set great store by transparency and the active participation of our employees. We make this possible through our social intranet (Camp), common open spaces, workshops and information events.
  • We involve our employee representatives in personnel policy developments and decisions.
  • Everyone can actively participate in our Idea Management Program, “Steps”.
  • We work together to create a self-directed organization. This means, for example, that restructuring is usually developed and implemented with the participation of stakeholders rather than from the top down.
  • Interdisciplinary, cross-hierarchy and self-directed 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 values-based 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 live up 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, Switzerland, in 2015, which – in their interpretation – identified VAUDE as a "Trust Organization." Time spent at work is also time spent living.

In order to provide better guidance regarding what appropriate behavior within the context of our culture can mean in different contexts, we provide all employees with our Wegweiser Code of Conduct, which was drawn up together with employee representatives and is regularly updated. This also provides our employees with support and guidance regarding compliance with the law and ethical conduct (e.g. anti-corruption). 

»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 towards 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 through dialog. This process has been used successfully many times since, and is an indication that the defined process actually works. More drastic violations are treated with the current legal instruments for employees (warnings, termination).

Furthermore, most of our employees have participated in the training series "Self-efficacy as a basis for trust and innovation." (Training and professional development) and some groups, such as our employee representatives, have also taken part in an enhanced, role-specific form. 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.

Transparent communication

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

There are no minimum notification periods for this. All organizational changes such as new positions, 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 which require public notice, are automatically made available every year by the Arbeitgeberbibliothek (a German Internet platform.)

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 and they take advantage of this opportunity regularly.

Data protection at VAUDE

Because our corporate culture entails a high degree of transparency, it is important to raise people’s awareness of the legal conditions and requirements of the Basic Data Protection Ordinance (DSGVO) and to ensure that it is complied with. For this reason, we received intensive professional support from our external data protection officer Ulrike Eben in 2018 and 2019.

In 2018, a total of 17 workshops were held with employees from all areas in which the main features of the DSGVO and its relevance for VAUDE employees were communicated. The workshops enabled us to reach approx. 85 % of all employees. The workshops were continued in 2019. If necessary, employees are retrained or the training is repeated with updated content. In addition, individual areas or projects were accompanied more intensively, particularly the DSGVO-compliant implementation of technical changes by our IT department. All corporate divisions were able to obtain needs-based advice at all times and this was actively used.

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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