Search Report
2019 Sustainability Report
published 2020/08/01

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 is an overview of our commitment to training and professional development:

  • Our employees spent a total of over 1,674 hours in 15 in-house training courses (no longer taken into account: occupational safety training and instruction). On average, each employee participated in 3.0 internal training hours offered centrally by the human resources department in 2019 (women 3.0; men 2.9). In addition, specific technical training courses were offered by several company divisions.
  • We invest in the individual qualification of dedicated professionals. Employees were given paid time off work for over 370 hours for external training and courses.
  • Within the company-wide knowledge management system, there are many opportunities to obtain information on technical and strategic subjects.
  • In fall 2019, at the beginning of the new academic year, we had 16 apprentices and 4 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

VAUDE has a number of highly specialized professional fields and target groups that require focused support. We provide such support through internal or external training as well as internal workshops with the people involved. We also set high standards on the social skills of our employees, based on our corporate culture. This is why we also promote self-efficacy to a very high degree.

General and target group-specific in-house training

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:

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

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.

Positive response

Our internal training courses are always very popular. Because of our desire to work economically and efficiently, we are pleased when these courses are fully booked with highly motivated groups of participants. By carefully identifying the needs of our employees in a continuous dialogue with them, 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 2019, we conducted a total of 15 in-house group training courses, (plus instructions in occupational safety, fire protection and first aid, which from 2019 we will no longer report as professional training but as an occupational safety measure) generating 1,674 participant hours - an average of 3.0 hours per female employee and 2.9 hours per male employee. The primary focus in 2018, which is also reflected in the number of hours attended (see below: "Training and further education by employee category"), was on supporting our (primarily junior) managers and the joint ongoing development for training officers and trainees.

Training and professional development (in-house) 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 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.

Individualized Advanced Training

We are sharpening our focus on promoting individual 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 concrete 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. In 2019, for example, at least 12 employees took part in such measures and were granted paid leave for more than 46 days. Since no binding company-wide reporting process has yet been established for individual training, the actual figures are probably higher.

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.

Culture of trust and self-effective organization – from the 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 sustainably strengthen our culture of trust and enable all employees to play an active, responsible role in shaping our organization.

»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

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.

Feedback is anchored in the corporate culture

Giving and receiving constructive feedback is firmly rooted 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. Instead of distrusting employees or making them afraid to make mistakes, we rely on trust and the development of shared solutions. “VAUDE managers – and VAUDE employees – deal with the mistakes of employees (or colleagues) constructively: they give constructive feedback. VAUDE management and VAUDE employees admit their own mistakes and accept constructive feedback.

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.

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

In cooperation with the regional DHBW Ravensburg University of Applied Sciences, we offer dual study positions in Business Information Systems, Business Administration Industry and Business Administration Textile Management. In 2019, we employed a total of four dual-study students.

The Spirit of VAUDE

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

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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