As at the end of 2020, the HOCHDORF Group had a total of 391 employees, around 40% less than two years previously. This reduction in the number of employees is primarily related to the restructuring and the associated disposals and liquidations of individual business areas and HOCHDORF Group companies, both in Switzerland and abroad.
Women and men have been treated equally at the HOCHDORF Group for years. The proportion of women in the workforce at HOCHDORF is around 30%. Around 20% of the positions in middle and senior management are filled by women and this has not changed in the last two years. A woman is also now represented in Group Management again with the appointment of Nanette Haubensak as Chief Financial Officer since 29 June 2020.
HOCHDORF employees come from diverse social backgrounds, drawn from over 20 countries and different age groups. The workforce is a good mix of young and more experienced employees. At HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd, for example, most employees are aged between 50 and 59 (around 28%), closely followed by around 23% aged between 40 and 49. The gradual rejuvenation and associated qualification of our workforce as a result of the foreseeable wave of retirements represents a major challenge for the coming years.
HOCHDORF offered 18 apprenticeships in seven professional disciplines as of the end of 2020. As well as providing our apprentices with suitable training, we also see the importance of offering them permanent employment at the end of their training. This provides them with the valuable professional experience they need for their future careers. Due to the restructuring and the coronavirus crisis, HOCHDORF has only been able to support limited or internal further training. However, it attaches great importance to lifelong learning. As soon as the COVID-19 restrictions allows this again, internal and external further training will be offered more frequently. We aim to have agreed on a training and/or development plan for all employees by 2025 and to fill vacancies, especially management positions, with internal candidates whenever possible.
HOCHDORF and its employees have experienced two difficult years. 2019 was characterised by a strategic restructuring of the company and the associated major changes. Restructuring, disposals and closures of business divisions and companies led to increased uncertainty among employees and, as a result, to increased fluctuation at all levels in the Group.
We were able to turn the corner in 2020, our 125th anniversary year. In the second half of the year, the newly formed Board of Directors and Group Management who took up post on 30 June 2020 focused on stabilising the company and shaping its future. The Board of Directors and Group Management greatly value the participation of employees at all management levels. To this end, the employees were also involved in the strategy process. In parallel, a series of workshops with employees was launched in autumn 2020 under the banner "Future 2030 - what does HOCHDORF stand for?" The aim of these workshops was to develop HOCHDORF’s corporate purpose, vision and mission, as well as its corporate and leadership values. The results of the "Future 2030" process have been incorporated into the strategy and future positioning of the company.
The restructuring of the Employee Commission (Miko) began in mid-2019. The commission currently consists of eight employees from both locations. They are the link between employees and management. One of the goals of the commission is to promote a relationship of trust and good understanding between the Group Management, managers and employees. Another objective is to further build the sense of community among all employees. Through its work, the commission has also set out to increase employee satisfaction in the workplace and to strengthen employee participation and co-responsibility in the company.
The pension fund of HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd has operated successfully over the past two years and is in a very solid position. The staff pension fund is managed by a committee of employer and employee representatives. The cover ratio as of 31 December 2020 is 114.9 %, and the savings balance earned interest at 2.2% in 2020. Employees have flexible retirement options from the age of 58 to 70.