Healthy and engaged staff members
Growth in number of employees
Our workforce grew by 8%, from 359 to 389 employees, in 2017. 208 employees work in Gorinchem, 77 in Nijkerk, 67 in Scharsterbrug and 37 in Barneveld. At the end of 2017 the average employment duration was 9 years. 30% of our employees are over 50 years of age and 18% are women. 54% of the women work part-time and 82% of them have a permanent contract. 5% of the men work part-time and 92% of them have a permanent contract. 70% of employees are subject to the collective bargaining agreement for the dairy industry. In 2017, the employment conditions for employees not subject to the collective bargaining agreement were harmonised. This creates more clarity and transparency about employment conditions and growth opportunities. Since 2016, our production locations in Gorinchem and Scharsterbrug are SMETA pillar 4-certified. SMETA is an independent and internationally recognised standard for employment conditions.
Lost time accidents
As in 2016, there were 13 lost time accidents in 2017, with the number of days absence varying from one to several days. Unfortunately, the measures we have taken have not resulted in a decrease yet. Measures taken in 2017 include the hiring of experienced safety experts who focus solely on safety, ongoing counselling by an external consultancy, and encouraging the reporting of dangerous situations (which has led to an increase in the number of reports). Moreover, all shift and management consultations have safety as the first point on their agendas. We also share photographs of improvement with colleagues by means of narrowcasting and also communicate the number of days without accidents of each site by means of narrowcasting. We decided in 2017 to have all locations certified in accordance with the international safety standard ISO 45001. We intend to have the first site certified by the end of 2018.
Sickness absence in 2017 was 3.7% (compared to 3.5% in 2016). As such, we once again attained our 2020 goal: sickness absence lower than 4%. Increased attention to sickness absence by management, HR, and the working conditions service contributed to this.
Vreugdenhil wants to be a place where people enjoy working in good health, helping to create a successful company. Against this background, we launched a health project in 2017 that is set to continue in 2018. This health project emerged as the winning idea from a sustainability competition amongst employees. The health needs ensuing from the 2016 employee survey served as input for this programme. In cooperation with an external organisation, we offer health checks at each of our sites as well as workshops. Topics include: stress prevention, exercise, healthy diet, manners, sleeping and working in shifts. In 2018 we will also start a leadership programme to enhance the personal leadership of all employees. We will offer a menu of support activities, such as training and coaching. In 2018 or early 2019, we will repeat the employee survey we conducted in 2016. At the time, we scored 8.2 for general satisfaction (compared with 7.8 for the industry and production benchmark), while 66% of employees indicated they are involved in sustainability in their work.