In the reporting year, which was still affected by COVID-19, GF employees demonstrated a renewed spirit of collaboration. “Going Forward” brought together employees from all levels, fostering new approaches for successful cooperation within GF, while supporting individual professional growth.
A green light for a new culture
2021 marked the start of the new strategy cycle. With the Strategy 2025, GF also unveiled its vision to become a sustainability and innovation leader providing superior customer value. The Strategy 2025 focuses on three strategic areas:
- Driving profitable growth
- Increasing robustness
- Evolving into a performance and learning culture
Employees are set to play a leading role in the realization of this five-year roadmap. To achieve this, GF is establishing a culture of performance and learning by setting up a number of initiatives. One of the highlights during the year was the largest-ever hybrid town hall meeting, which kicked off the Culture Movement at the end of November. Around 3’000 employees from around the globe joined corporate management for the online event and shared their questions and thoughts on GF values.
The new corporate culture is a means to encourage all employees to shape the future together and implement the Strategy 2025 according to our three new values. The GF culture is strongly focused on building highly efficient teams, creating a caring environment, and encouraging learning to unleash the full potential of our employees for speed and excellence. The Culture Movement includes all employees at all seniority levels and strives to anchor these new corporate values in their daily activities. This objective is to be achieved in two ways. The first is through a range of communication initiatives and a multi-day leadership training course for upper management that is geared towards the new culture. The second is from the ground up, as every individual employee takes on an active role in the change process. Selected employees are working as “change agents” to help convey the new values and behaviors to their local teams.
Our three new values
+ Performance is about speed and excellence.
+ Learning is about having an open mind.
+ Caring is about being part of a team.
Standardization of HR processes
In the previous strategy cycle, GF began to put in place digital solutions that are aimed at standardizing and modernizing strategic HR processes. As part of this new platform, HR successfully launched a new process for internal training that combines seminars such as 4DX, 7 Habits, and the GF Academy offering. In the future, company-wide training, including online and offline training, will be held on this learning platform.
A focus on personal responsibility
Employees’ personal responsibility has become more and more important in recent years and this trend will continue in the future. At GF, employees can take their development into their own hands. They are supported by a range of programs and processes such as the Talent Management initiative that kicked off in 2021. The aim of this initiative is to motivate employees to take the next big step in their careers at GF. In this way, the company wants to foster the commitment of employees and hopes to discover those talents who are looking to learn and advance on their own initiative.
An attractive environment
As a progressive employer with a focus on sustainability and innovation, GF strives to promote a team-oriented corporate culture. This also includes employment conditions that are in line with the market. In the reporting year, the company carried out a large-scale study aimed at helping it to consolidate its position as an attractive employer. This will now serve as the basis for new and modernized employer branding. With measures such as participation in job and student fairs, an open day for schools, and apprentice exchanges between divisions, GF presents itself as an attractive and forward-looking company. Furthermore, the company is cooperating with universities and advanced technical colleges around the world to attract new talent.
New ways of working, new generations of talent
Younger generations bring with them a new understanding of work in terms of qualifications and work styles, as well as their expectations of their employer. Achieving a basis of trust for fruitful cooperation between different generations of employees requires new ways of thinking and greater flexibility, while at the same time enabling younger employees and more experienced staff to benefit from one another. GF strives to foster this mutual learning, among others in the form of diverse mentoring and coaching processes.
Employees per division
Employees per region
Number of apprentices
Number of apprentices per country
GF has been training apprentices in technical and commercial professions for over 100 years. This dual education system approach is pursued at its Swiss, German, and Austrian locations, as well as in the US. Alongside the talent search at universities and colleges, this model is an important instrument for promoting our own young talent over the long term and for familiarizing young people with the corporate culture at an early stage. Dual training is one of the significant strengths of the Swiss economy, which is why GF is expanding the Swiss model of apprenticeship to other global locations.
Well-trained employees are a competitive advantage
The training and ongoing professional and personal development of employees are of high importance. The GF Academy offers broad internal training and development opportunities that help every employee to grow in their careers. A centralized learning platform enables employees to learn flexibly from and with each other. Moreover, thanks to its many locations around the world, GF can help talented employees gain experience abroad, which is always a formative step in their development.
number of participants in 2021
Diversity as a source of inspiration
The diversity of nationalities, cultures, religions, genders, and age groups is a valuable source of creativity and innovation. In the course of the reporting year, a seminar was launched with the aim of raising awareness of the benefits of diversity for the company.
Safeguarding gender diversity and equal pay
By 2025 (the end of the current strategy cycle) and within the framework of GF’s sustainability goals, the proportion of newly appointed female managers is expected to reach 25%. This is one of several measures for promoting diversity. The federally funded wage equality analysis underscores GF’s fair and equitable wages across the genders. In addition, special attention is being paid to succession planning for, and the development and promotion of, female employees. The regular exchanges with the two Board members, Eveline Saupper and Jasmin Staiblin, which are open to all interested employees, have been especially well received. A further sign of evolution is the nomination of 39-year-old manager Ayano Senaha from Japan to the Board of Directors. This nomination was made on the basis of her international experience and extensive competence in the fields of digitalization, sustainability, and governance. Furthermore, the expanded regulations for remote working, which were introduced in the summer of 2020 and permitted more flexible forms of work, met with broad approval.
In the course of 2021, the digitalization of many work processes that accelerated as a result of COVID-19 restrictions has continued apace with the aim of giving employees the greatest possible flexibility and facilitating cooperation. It was also possible to deepen expertise in the utilization of digital tools and techniques for training and professional education. In addition, GF has invested in media showrooms that will professionalize webinars. Among other activities, the HR team produced and streamed the annual company-wide summit in a broadcast format from the new auditorium of the Klostergut Paradies training center in Schlatt (Switzerland).