Search Report
2017 Sustainability Report
published 2018/08/01

Training and professional development for all employees

In order to be successful in the dynamic competition of the outdoor industry, it is essential that all of us are prepared to learn new things and also prepared for change. Therefore, opportunities for training and professional development have a high priority at VAUDE.

Here are few figures on our commitment to the issue of training and professional development:

  • Employees spent nearly 3000 hours in 45 further education courses at the company.
  • On average, each employee participated in 5.6 hours of further education in 2017. (women: 4.5; men: 7.8)
  • During the reporting period we had 17 apprentices and 6 dual-study higher education students 

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

Education as an investment in competitiveness

We are committed to enabling our employees achieve their full potential and to their continued development; 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 retaining competent, experienced employees in the many highly specialized fields within the company is important to remain 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. This is why we invest in good training and professional development.

General and target group-specific in-house training: The VAUDE Academy

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 training courses and workshops in our VAUDE Academy to help us achieve this. The VAUDE Academy also gives our employees a chance to exchange information and develop relationships. The Academy program is available to all employees via our social intranet. Specific groups of employees can also take advantage of highly targeted specialist training and further training in methodological skills. A few examples:

  • Product managers with specific managerial tasks
  • Project group members with higher needs for adaptability
  • Non-German native speakers in our Manufaktur with the challenge of being able to communicate professionally and interpersonally in the German language

Positive response

The strength of our exceptional and comprehensive training program is shown in the numbers of participants: each of our employees participated, on average, in 5.6 hours of in-house training in 2017.

Our focus in 2017 on target groups with specific needs meant that in this year, more men than women took advantage of our training opportunities. On average, our male employees participated in 7.8 hours of training and our female employees in 4.5 hours. This is because the professional development groups we focused on in this year had a higher concentration of men than our overall company workforce. For example, a time-consuming "German as a foreign language" course for Manufaktur employees was mainly attended by male refugees. In most other groups, however, there were equal numbers of male and female participants, and our Talent Program (see below) consisted of six women and two men. 

The differences in the distribution of professional training hours among employee categories can also be explained by our precise priorities within the year. For example, while in some years we support our strategy of leadership and organizational development with intensive training for managers, in other years the focus is particularly on topics that affect all levels of the hierarchy equally. In 2017, this was particularly beneficial to employees without management responsibility.

Training and professional development per 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 

These figures are based on the professional development offered as part of the VAUDE Academy program. Not currently included in the 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.

Broad range of subjects

The courses at the VAUDE Academy are free of charge and available to all employees. They offer training on a broad range of subjects including: the conveyance of our vision and values, branch and market content, business management content; issues regarding organization and management, knowledge of products as well as quality and environmental management. Dealing with personal strengths and needs in working life and beyond is an important focus – as a basis for the success, health and satisfaction of our employees.

Talent Program

We offer the VAUDE Talent Program for a select group. In this program eight employees are given intensive support and coached through their career path for two years. Employees can apply for the program and must present their personal development goals and their career vision at VAUDE, among other things. Selection is made by the Divisional Management Committee on the basis of the perceived development potential. The second run of this program was completed in early 2018.

Professional Programs

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, the various foundations and facets of a culture of trust, above all the concept of self-efficacy, form decisive focal points, for example in training courses for managers.

We also offer training courses on these topics for all employees without management responsibility, for example in internal one-day intensive workshops. Our goal is that all employees at VAUDE share the same understanding and can exchange ideas as equals. In this way, we want to further develop and sustainably strengthen our culture of trust and innovation. MANEMO eG has been supporting us in this process since 2013.

»Trust-based cooperation requires a very personal commitment. Trust can only be created by people – the effect then unfolds, for example, into innovation.«

Lissi Reitschuster, MANEMO eG

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 fulfilled or not fulfilled.

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

Operational training as part of the personnel strategy

VAUDE is a training company. Each year, between six and eight 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.

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 experience the outdoors, 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.

Throughout the training period, VAUDE provides extensive insight into the sustainability activities of the company. In this way, trainees can regularly participate in projects on sustainability topics and thus distinguish themselves particularly well.

Dual Studies at VAUDE

Since 2016, we have been offering dual study placements in cooperation with a regional institute, DHBW Ravensburg University of Applied Sciences. In 2016 and 2017 we hired one student for each of the following fields: Business Information Systems, Business Administration Industry and Business Administration Retail Textile Management.

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

The Spirit of VAUDE
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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