8.1 Employees

Geberit’s most important ambassadors are its employees. They represent Geberit in their day-to-day contact with customers and many other stakeholders. To do so, they need to be aware of what their company stands for and what its objectives are. Geberit’s central corporate and brand values are defined in the Geberit Compass. Geberit aims to act as a role model for ethically unimpeachable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible operations. The Geberit Code of Conduct fills this objective with tangible content and offers an authoritative source of guidance.

Responsibility for all material aspects of the GRI Standards with respect to labour practices at the Geberit Group lies with the Head Corporate Human Resources, who reports directly to the CEO.

Committed, well-trained employees are a key prerequisite to the company’s future success. With this in mind, efforts continued in 2018 to position Geberit on the job market as a progressive employer with an open corporate culture and international development opportunities at the interface between craft, engineering and sales. The new look given to the company’s employer brand was put into action in job advertisements in print and, above all, digital media. In general, focus is switching more to digital media, with the use of videos and other footage playing an increasingly prominent role. For example, the company launched a new video during the reporting year to promote apprenticeships. Other videos for target groups in the sales and engineering sectors are to follow. In addition, Geberit intensified its campus recruitment activities in 2018 by appearing at trade fairs and increasing its digital presence, working here in close collaboration with a number of renowned universities.



Geberit’s prime objective is to acquire and retain the right employees for the company. Geberit sees itself as an attractive employer with an open corporate culture that offers international development opportunities at the interface between the craft, engineering and sales sectors, see www.geberit.com > Career > What we offer.

Employees enjoy attractive employment conditions. In 2018, salaries and social benefits amounted to CHF 744 million (previous year CHF 747 million). The employees can also participate in share participation plans at attractive conditions, see Financials > Consolidated financial statements Geberit Group > Notes > Note 17 and Remuneration report.


The average fluctuation rate (in terms of employees with permanent contracts, without natural departures and long-term leaves of absence) was 9.0% (previous year 9.0%). Including natural departures, it was 10.6% (previous year 10.9%). For key figures on fluctuation by age group, gender and region, see Key figures sustainability > Employees and society.


Geberit essentially grants the same benefits to full-time and part-time employees. However, employees with temporary contracts are not always entitled to the same benefits as permanent employees. For example, employees in Switzerland with temporary employment contracts of less than three months are not insured in the pension fund. Geberit bases its employee benefits on country-specific standards.


Geberit implements the currently applicable legal framework conditions. It also attempts in individual cases to find solutions that are as suitable as possible for the affected person and their team.

100% of all permanently employed women are entitled to paid maternity leave, and 5.6% or 122 women made use of this in 2018. 72 women or around 59% returned to Geberit following their maternity leave.

99% of all permanently employed men are entitled to paid paternity leave, and 3.6% or 254 men made use of this in 2018. 253 men or almost 100% returned to Geberit following their paternity leave.



The occupational health and safety of employees is of major importance. Geberit wants to gradually get nearer to the target of having healthy employees within an accident-free company. Each of the 30 production plants and logistics has a safety manager. The sites Rapperswil-Jona (CH) and Pfullendorf (DE) also have an appointed health manager. Since the beginning of 2017, the Geberit Safety Team – a team of experts from all production areas – has also been playing an active role in addressing the issue of occupational health and safety.

Using 2015 as the reference year, the aim is to halve the number of accidents by 2025. By then, the AFR (Accident Frequency Rate) is to be reduced to a value of 5.5 (accidents per million working hours) and the ASR (Accident Severity Rate) to 90 (number of days lost per million working hours). The key figures are reviewed on a monthly basis at the production plants and are part of the annual appraisal of plant managers. The Group Executive Board is also provided with a compact report on a quarterly basis and a comprehensive report at the end of the year. 29 of the 30 production plants are certified in accordance with OHSAS 18001. All plants will implement the new ISO 45001 standard for occupational health and safety by the end of 2019.

The Geberit Safety System (GSS) defines occupational health and safety principles as well as processes that are applicable throughout the Group for promoting the continuous improvement of work processes and workplaces. Special attention is also paid to elements of changes in behaviour, as the majority of occupational accidents and time lost are still attributable to carelessness. The focus in the reporting year was placed on the consistent implementation of the two processes “Risk assessment of workplaces” and “Safe handling of quartz dust”, which were introduced in 2017. A comprehensive awareness programme was also launched at four of the ten ceramics plants. This includes an extensive analysis of the occupational safety level, workshops with the management and executive staff, and the introduction of awareness-oriented site visits. The software-based solution for capturing and systematically analysing accident data implemented in 2017 was rolled out at nine production sites, the aim being to create a sound, comprehensive stock of data and a more efficient process.

As part of its Group-wide efforts to support employees’ health and well-being, Geberit also offers its employees precautionary healthcare opportunities through various offers and activities. These include, for example, sports facilities, anti-smoking trainings, health check-ups, massage services, dietary and health tips, presentations on health-related issues and workshops on targeted and correct relaxation. A comprehensive vitality programme is established at the sites in Jona (CH), Pfullendorf (DE), Pottenbrunn (AT), Ruše (SI), Kolo and Wloclawek (PL), which represent around 40% of the workforce. The focus is placed on promoting personal vitality strategies with an attractive range of offers in the five fields of action exercise, nutrition, mental fitness, energy and vitality. Furthermore, reintegration counselling is offered, which aims to get people back to work as soon as possible in the event of long-term illness. Managers are specifically trained in this respect. Examples of individual support include counselling in Rapperswil-Jona (CH) to assist with problems ranging from on-the-job pressure, partnership and family problems to debt issues, and the telephone helpline created in the USA to discuss problems at work in complete confidentiality. For objectives and measures concerning occupational health and safety, see also Sustainability strategy.


84.4% of all employees worldwide are represented through an occupational health and safety panel or safety committee at their site, in which employer and employee representatives can discuss occupational health and safety issues. The occupational health and safety panels are carried out on behalf of the General Management and involve all levels of the organisation as well as various specialist roles and areas (including company physicians, works council, occupational safety specialists, representatives of occupational health and safety unions).


The Group-wide absenteeism rate based on regular working hours for the reporting year was 4.89% (previous year 4.76%). Illness-related absences accounted for 4.77% of this rate (previous year 4.62%) and 0.12% was related to occupational accidents (previous year 0.14%). The statistics show only those occupational accidents that occur during working hours or business travel and lead to lost working time of one working day or more. A total of 191 accidents were recorded (previous year 205 accidents), equivalent to 3,584 lost working days due to occupational accidents (previous year 4,065 lost working days). A standard definition of severe accidents has now been drawn up for the entire Group. Two accidents occurred according to this definition. There were no fatal accidents.

The accident frequency rate (AFR) and the accident severity rate (ASR) are recorded in a standardised manner. These rates are calculated as the number of accidents or the number of lost working days per one million hours worked. The accident frequency rate (AFR) fell by 5.8% to 9.7 in 2018 (previous year 10.3) and the accident severity rate (ASR) by 10.9% to 181.5 (previous year 203.8). Geberit thus moved closer to meeting its target.

All key figures concerning the absenteeism rate by region can be found under Key figures sustainability > Employees and society.


There are certain operational activities at Geberit, particularly in ceramic production, involving an increased risk of silicosis (dust disease). The risks lie primarily in the handling of raw materials, glazing and further processing (e.g. grinding). Around 50% of employees in ceramic production are regularly exposed to increased levels of quartz dust. Technical, organisational and personal protection measures are implemented for the protection of these employees. The employees also regularly undergo occupational medical examinations (including X-rays and lung checks). Geberit makes substantial efforts towards either avoiding the exposure of employees to these risks (e.g. through the installation of glazing robots) or minimising this exposure (e.g. through the use of special extraction devices, dust masks or the provision of training in correct behaviour at the workplace). This topic is systematically addressed as part of the Geberit Safety System and certification according to ISO 45001. Furthermore, Geberit participates in the NEPSI programme (The European Network on Silica) as a member of FECS, a sub-organisation of Cerame-Unie (European Ceramic Industry Association). This includes monitoring the exposure of employees to quartz dust and the implementation of best practices.


Geberit attaches great importance to a high level of health and safety for its employees. To this end, it cooperates with authorities, trade unions and employers’ liability insurance associations on a country-specific basis. Written agreements exist at the majority of production and sales companies with parties such as trade unions and employee representatives. These normally cover topics such as personal protective equipment, complaints procedures, regular inspections, education and further training and the right to refuse unsafe work.



Qualified and committed employees are essential for the future success of Geberit. The company therefore sets particular store on the solid education and further training of all employees and on equal opportunities.

Young people can start their careers at Geberit with a commercial, industrial or technical apprenticeship. The aim is to impart all the skills that are required for apprentices to pursue their chosen careers in a professional, independent and responsible manner.

New employees are introduced to the company and its products through various job orientation programmes on joining the company. These range from individually designed introduction talks in various departments to the one-week basic course that provides practical knowledge about Geberit in small groups.

A standard Performance assessment, Development and Compensation (PDC) process has been in place since 2012. PDC is about reinforcing the performance culture, increasing transparency, and recognising and promoting talent more effectively in order to make the organisation future-proof. Except for the employees who work directly in production at the plants, all employees have been incorporated into the PDC process.

For further information, see Business Report > Business and financial review > Financial Year 2018 > Employees.


In the reporting year, employees across the Group attended on average 13.7 hours of internal and external education and further training (previous year 11.1 hours). More training at the ceramics plants was the primary contributor to this increase. The above-average increase among men is attributable to the fact that the share of men at the ceramics plants is very high. For key figures by gender and employee category, see Key figures sustainability > Employees and society.


A two-stage Potentials Management Programme aims to identify talents throughout the company and support them along their path to middle or senior management. The issues investigated in project work as part of the programme are geared towards strategic tasks of relevance to Geberit and provide the decision-makers involved with concrete bases for action. During the reporting year, part of the programme was developed and carried out for the first time in collaboration with the University of St. Gallen (CH). The Potentials programme is intended to help fill at least half of all vacant managerial positions with internal candidates. In 2018, this was achieved for 57% of all Group management vacancies (previous year 76%).

In 2018, the ceramics plants in Germany, Poland and Ukraine saw the implementation of an initiative aimed at improving leadership skills at various hierarchical levels. This initiative was planned at Group level, adapted to local requirements and put into practice in multi-day workshops involving local coaches.

During the reporting year, a programme targeting the development of managerial staff was implemented within the sales organisations in the European countries. The aim of these courses was to strengthen the leadership skills of regional sales managers on one hand and, on the other, to standardise the role of these managers in order to drive sales as a whole.

All apprentices are essentially required to work at several sites during their training. As a global company, Geberit promotes the internationalisation of employees. Experience abroad and the transfer of know-how are an advantage for both employees and the company. Therefore, apprentices have the option of working abroad for a period of six months on completion of their apprenticeship. There were also 101 internships and 27 diploma placements offered in 2018.

For further information, see Business Report > Business and financial review > Financial Year 2018 > Employees.


In everyday working life, the personal and professional development of each individual employee is encouraged in a variety of ways. This covers all areas of work, functions and age groups. Just under 80% of all employees received appraisal interviews in 2018 at which development opportunities were also identified and discussed. As part of the standardised global Performance assessment, Development and Compensation process (PDC), employees receive a performance assessment and/or agreement of objectives at least once a year.



In its Code of Conduct, Geberit sets store on promoting diversity and creating a culture that enables all employees to contribute their full potential to the company. The company strives for diversity and promotes equal opportunities irrespective of gender, ethnic origin, skin colour, age, religion and nationality.

Geberit pursues a fair and non-discriminatory employment practice in accordance with prevailing national and international law. Recruitment, training courses and promotions depend solely on individual achievements, skills and potential regarding the requirements of the position in question.

Protection of the principles of equality is anchored in the Geberit Code of Conduct. This includes the prohibition of discrimination against any employee on the basis of gender. Fair and equal pay for women and men is guaranteed as follows:

  • Job assessment by function in accordance with the proven Hay method on the basis of know-how, thinking ability and accountability. All jobs are pooled in a Group-wide grading system. The resulting grade is the basis for determining an employee’s pay. This guarantees gender-neutral, fair salary structures.
  • Binding wage agreements with set pay grades at many Geberit sites.


The proportion of female employees at the end of 2018 was 24% (previous year 23%), and for senior management this figure was 8.6% (previous year 8.4%). The six-member Board of Directors has one female member. No further data on minority group membership is currently being collected as Geberit and its stakeholders do not consider this to be relevant. For key figures on diversity in terms of gender and age structure, see Key figures sustainability > Employees and society.


According to the annual survey of all Geberit Group companies, no differences between the basic salaries of women and men exist anywhere within the Group.



The Geberit Code of Conduct forbids discrimination as defined in the ILO core labour standards. Geberit does not tolerate either discrimination or workplace bullying on the basis of race, gender, religion, creed, nationality, disability, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, marital status, political views or other characteristics protected by law. Geberit aims to ensure a safe working environment for its employees. All forms of workplace violence, including threats, threatening gestures, intimidation, attacks and similar forms of behaviour are forbidden. Compliance with the Code is verified annually as part of a Group-wide survey. The Geberit Integrity Line is available to all employees as a whistleblower hotline, see GRI 102-17.

According to the Geberit Code of Conduct, employees who openly address irregularities which represent breaches of applicable law, ethical standards or the Code of Conduct are acting correctly. The Group Executive Board of Geberit must be informed of problems in the area of integrity in order to be able to manage these swiftly and reliably. By openly addressing such issues, Geberit employees are contributing to their own protection, that of their colleagues and the protection of Geberit’s rights and interests.

If issues should occur, employees should seek a personal meeting with their supervisor. The Geberit Integrity Line is available to all employees as a whistleblower hotline. The service is intended to enable employees to anonymously report cases such as sexual harassment or when a corrupt payment is being covered up. The Integrity Line is operated by an external company with experience in this area, and is available around the clock seven days a week.


According to the annual Group-wide survey, there was one case of discrimination and one case of bullying in 2018, both of which have not yet been settled. There were also two cases of sexual harassment. Both cases have been investigated: one resulted in termination of employment and in the other case an internal commission concluded that the accusation was unjustified.



Employees are completely free to join trade unions, associations and similar organisations. No rights with respect to exercising freedom of association or collective bargaining as defined in the ILO core labour standards and the UN Global Compact are subject to restriction at the Geberit Group.


According to the annual Group-wide survey, no infringements of the guarantee of freedom of association and collective bargaining were identified in 2018.


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