Search Report
2020 Sustainability Report
published 2021/08/02

Training and professional development for all employees

FormOur goal is to meet the high demands of our customers. This involves a willingness to learn new things and adaptability, and we have many opportunities for professional development at on-site at VAUDE. We are committed to supporting our employees in developing their full potential and continuously improving their skills. This is a crucial prerequisite for being well positioned for the challenging market conditions of the outdoor industry and for social and technological change. It also helps us to continue offering our customers what they want in order to live out their dreams with extraordinary products, a spirit of sustainability and inspiration for enjoying the great outdoors.

Our commitment to training and professional development:

  • Our employees spent a total of over 1,370 hours in 10 in-house training courses or modular training programs. On average, each employee participated in 2,4 hours of in-house training offered centrally by the human resources department in 2020 (women 2.5; men 2.1). In addition, specific technical training courses were offered by several company divisions.
  • We invest in the academic qualification of dedicated professionals. For example, we support employees who undertake studies alongside their jobs, take external specialist certificate courses or other further education by providing time off with pay or covering the costs of the training, depending on the agreement.
  • There are many opportunities to learn about professional, strategic, social and day-to-day issues offered on our intranet as well as events that are open to all.
  • In the fall of 2020, at the start of the new apprenticeship year, we had 13 apprentices and two dual-study students.


Find out more about our training and professional development opportunities here.

General and target group-specific on-site training on a broad range of subjects

The aim of human resources development at VAUDE is both the personal and professional development of our employees, as well as genuinely embodying and anchoring our corporate culture throughout the company at all levels. We offer many training courses and workshops to help us achieve this.

Our continuing education activities also give our employees a chance to exchange information and develop relationships. These training opportunities are available to all employees via our social intranet. These cover a broad spectrum: communicating our vision and values, technical and industry knowledge, business management content, self-management, communication and collaboration. Specific groups of employees can also take advantage of highly targeted, needs-specific training courses and advanced training for methodological skills. Examples include:

  • (Junior) managers with a special need for guidance in the leadership role as well as effective management tools
  • Project group members with higher needs for adaptability
  • Employees with the task of conducting sensitive discussions in a solution-oriented and respectful manner

Training for all on our culture of trust and self-effective organization

For all employees (whether they have management responsibilities or not), we offer training courses on our culture of trust and self-efficacy, for example in one-day intensive workshops. Our goal is for everyone at VAUDE to share the same understanding and be able to communicate as equals.

In this way, we want to sustainably strengthen our culture of trust and enable all employees to play an active, responsible role in shaping our organization. One important aspect is raising awareness of our own role in this context – for example, we rely very much on managers being role models and multipliers.

»Our positive understanding of human nature is an important pillar of our corporate culture. The ability to give and take as equals both requires and strengthens our mutual trust.«

Miriam Schilling, Head of Personnel & Organization

Needs-based training is in high demand

Our internal training courses are always very popular. By carefully identifying the needs of our employees with open communication and while aligning ourselves with our binding corporate goals, we can also meet the most important concerns in terms of ongoing education with a lean portfolio.
In 2020, we conducted a total of ten in-house group training courses, some of which consisted of modules that build on one another, generating over 1,370 participant hours – an average of 2.5 hours per female employee and 2.1 hours per male employee. A major focus in 2020, which is also reflected in the participant hours (see below: "Training and development by employee category"), was on supporting our (primarily junior) managers.

Training and development (in-house) by employee category** 

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** Employee categories:

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

These figures are based on the numbers of participants in training courses that were offered through our personnel department as in-house events. Not currently included in this evaluation are training courses autonomously organized by the company divisions, as well as external professional training courses for individuals supported by VAUDE both financially and with paid leave for the duration of the training, although these account for an increasingly high proportion of our training activities.

Personalized Advanced Training

We are sharpening our focus on promoting personalized advanced training that our employees complete with external providers. A prerequisite for this type of training is that the skills acquired or strengthened by the employees can be used to create value for VAUDE.

The results are far reaching, especially when it comes to qualifying employees for advancement (e.g. business administration courses run by the chamber of industry and commerce and comparable courses), which enable our dedicated professionals to fill positions that are higher up the ladder within the company. On the basis of individual agreements - and within the framework of the available resources - we finance these advanced training courses partially or in full and grant paid leave from work in some cases beyond the statutory entitlement to training time. Currently, 12 - 15 employees are taking part in external professional development courses each year, ranging from half-day motivational workshops to higher education courses of study – with correspondingly varying levels of time investment. We estimate the proportion of paid time off during regular working hours at around 60 hours per year. Since no binding company-wide reporting process has yet been established for individual training, we can only provide estimates at this stage.

As an intensive opportunity for individualized advanced development, we offer individual coaching sessions in which a small circle of external coaches support us; we have been working together with these coaches on a trust-based level for years. Approximately 10 employees benefit from this annually.

In-service training under pandemic conditions

The Corona pandemic had a major impact on our working lives in 2020 and required adjustments and new solutions. Of course, this also applied to in-house training. We opened up new digital training formats while also reorganizing so that we were able to hold important face-to-face meetins in the summer months when the pandemic was weak.

Training courses during the pandemic

Learning together while keeping a distance – in our spacious, well-ventilated sports room, we can conduct training courses while maintaining high hygiene standards.
Learning together while keeping a distance – in our spacious, well-ventilated sports room, we can conduct training courses while maintaining high hygiene standards.
During the pandemic, we learned to carefully distinguish between training courses for which on-site learning is crucial and courses that could be (and may continue to be) accomplished online. We reorganized face-to-face training sessions scheduled for last spring and rescheduled them under strict hygiene conditions in our large sports room for the summer months when the pandemic was weak. We replaced other courses with video conferencing formats. At all times, we were careful to comply with current pandemic events, legal requirements and scientific recommendations on infection control, and to fulfill our duty of care to our employees. Ultimately, our employees did not have to forgo their company training in 2020; our participation hours were the same as in the previous year. Approximately 20 % of all training hours were completed in digital formats.

In addition to expanding our repertoire of methods for continuing education, we also recognize the rising use of digital collaboration as an important learning environment. Successfully using online channels for future professional development is a priority.

Regularly scheduled appraisal interviews

Each employee, regardless of their hierarchical level, has an annual appraisal interview with his or her manager. Here, they both review the past year, discuss successes and special challenges and to what extent the respective expectations were met or not met.
In this way, employees receive comprehensive feedback from their managers. They receive orientation as to which skills they can further develop and what opportunities exist at VAUDE. In addition, personal annual targets are agreed in these meetings. Our target agreements and appraisal interviews are based on templates that are available to all managers and employees.

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

Feedback is anchored in the corporate culture

Giving and receiving constructive feedback is firmly anchored 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 errors happen, we analyze the underlying conditions together and use the information to find ways to improve and avoid them in the future.

Operational training as part of the personnel strategy

VAUDE is a training company. Each year, between five and seven new trainees start a training program to become industrial clerks with or without additional qualifications in international business management, IT clerks, warehouse logistics specialists or alteration tailors. In total, we supervise around 15 trainees on an ongoing basis, the majority of which are subsequently hired by the company. VAUDE is a state-recognized training company. Every year, between five and seven new apprentices start, whom we train as industrial clerks with or without additional qualification in international business management, as specialists for warehouse logistics, and as alteration and tailors. In total, we have 12-15 trainees on a permanent basis, most of whom are taken on directly afterwards. In addition, we offer training in the dual course of study in Business Administration/Retail - Fashion Management; in 2020, we supervised two students in this program.

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

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

In addition to the job-specific training content, VAUDE offers a extensive insight into the company's sustainability activities as part of the training. For example, trainees can regularly work on projects related to sustainability issues and thus make a special mark. 

Apprencticeship training under pandemic conditions

We feel strongly about the welfare of our apprentices and protecting their health. In 2020, for example, it was important to us to enable (or at times strongly encourage) trainees to work from home in order to protect them from Corona. All apprentices are provided with their own laptops and can digitally access everything they need to participate in working life, such as our video conferencing platform, filing systems etc.

In general, we consider personal contact and the experience of the physical workplace to be important prerequisites for sound and motivating training . Until 2019, home office options for trainees were only an exception. In 2020, when on-site training would have been difficult to justify, we used all digital means available to us, video conferencing in particular, to fully integrate trainees into their workplaces and provide them with important insights into their work. At times ,when the pandemic situation was moderate, we gave priority to supervising trainees in line with our requirement that employees should only work on site when urgently necessary, naturally in compliance with strict hygiene regulations.

Apprenticeship training under new conditions

Closely connected even at a distance – Digital exchange is also proving its worth for our trainees. Home office video conferencing supplements our indispensable in-person training program .

GRI:   103-1
Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary
GRI:   103-2
The management approach and its components
GRI:   404-1
Average hours of training per year per employee
GRI:   404-2
Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs
GRI:   404-3
Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews
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