Talent development intensified

Employee satisfaction at SFS remains at a consistently high level. For example, around 80% of employees are satisfied with SFS as an employer and 87% rate the company as attractive. Further expansions were made in the area of personnel development, particularly in middle management and through the Advanced Leadership Development Program (ALDP). The accident rate was reduced by just –1.4% in 2022 compared to the previous year. This means that SFS must make great efforts to achieve its goal of halving the accident rate by 2025 compared to 2020.

Employee promotion and engagement
Talent development expanded
The topics of “Training and Education” and “Diversity and Equal Opportunity” were identified as material during a stakeholder workshop. SFS covers both of these topics under the broader term of “Employee promotion and engagement”. In the area of “Training and Education”, SFS sees enormous potential in continued support for and the international expansion of both dual-track education and training as well as leadership training. In the area of “Diversity and equal opportunity”, the first step is to create a pool of data that can be compared at the international level in order to deduce where action may be needed and ultimately to be able to define measures and targets.

SFS is heavily involved in training and continuing education. The enormous importance that corporate management attaches to this topic is clearly reflected in the fact that the topic is firmly incorporated into both the corporate strategy and the long-term targets.

SFS’s Corporate Principles are aligned with the values of “Partnership”, “Engagement”, “Success” and others. Achieving those values hinges on having employees with above-average qualifications, commitment and integrity – qualities that can only be facilitated through genuine appreciation, solidarity and fairness. That makes employee satisfaction of pivotal importance to SFS.

The topic of sustainability is becoming an increasingly important priority among employees as well. In the past year, for example, our employees submitted more than 100 ideas for promoting sustainable corporate development. On top of that, people just getting their professional careers off the ground are increasingly interested in finding an employer that enables them to make a positive contribution to the environment, society and the company through their job. For this generation, SFS’s active examination of the broader topic of sustainability boosts its appeal as an employer.

SFS promotes diversity and equal opportunity. The promotion of diversity and the equal treatment of all employees and business partners are important components of our sustainability guidelines and our Code of Conduct. SFS views greater diversity as an opportunity to counteract the shortage of skilled labor and increase the performance of its teams. Neither the Group Executive Board nor the divisional management teams are very diverse yet. As a result, future recruitment activities will attach greater importance to this topic, particularly with respect to the composition of the various teams. That means, given equal qualifications, preference is more likely to be given to women. Additionally, SFS will also deliberately hire more candidates over the age of 50 in order to promote a diverse age structure as well. When selecting participants for leadership training courses, SFS is vigilant about ensuring equal treatment among the regions and divisions. At the same time, a larger number of young managers will be trained in order to lay the cornerstone for greater diversity in management-level positions. Dual-track education and training is also an effective tool for opening up new development opportunities for our talents – regardless of gender or origin – and promoting diversity at the same time.

Promotion of dual-track education and training
SFS is convinced of the enormous importance of the dual-track system of education and training and its impact on the economy and society. We are committed to strengthening the dual-track system and have a variety of measures in place to achieve that goal. These include the financial support of the Hans Huber Stiftung (Hans Huber Foundation), our partnership with the Stiftung FH Schweiz (Foundation of the University of Applied Sciences Switzerland), the presentation of the SFS Apprentice Award as well as the 12 apprenticeship programs that SFS offers in Switzerland. SFS also creates attractive dual-track education opportunities at various sites around the world and promotes cooperation with schools and parents in order to offer young professionals a valuable and hands-on alternative.

The organization’s long-term goal is to have 5–7% of permanent employees worldwide participate in dual-track education and training programs. SFS was able to reaffirm its stated target of 5.4% in 2022 (PY 5.1%). The report encompasses around 90% of the workforce.

Filling key positions
SFS implements suitable further training measures to achieve its goal of providing employees at all levels with targeted support to help them develop their potential. That will further expand the pool of talented individuals that can be tapped to fill key positions or find replacements internally when the need arises. SFS not only plans to train internal managers – this is actually a clearly defined goal that the Group has been monitoring for years: 70% of upper management positions are to be filled with internal candidates. 100% of the key positions (members of divisional management and site managers) were filled by internal candidates during the period under review (PY 100%).

Divisional management is responsible for filling these key positions together with the HR team. Potential candidates are identified and the talents are promoted through the Group-wide Structured Employee Development Program (SEDP). The CEO and CHRO are responsible for reviewing individual target achievement, informing the Nomination and Compensation Committee and the Group Executive Board of the degree of target achievement and drawing up proposals for measures.

The success story on the right shows how SFS promotes its employees and trains them to become leaders through level-appropriate development programs.

High level of motivation thanks to engaged and satisfied employees
Only satisfied and engaged employees can make extraordinary achievements. That is something confirmed by our employees, our value creators, not only through the creativity and innovative solutions that they use to create sustainable value added for our stakeholder groups but also through their responses to employee surveys. SFS conducts this Group-wide survey every two years. The survey was conducted in the Electronics and D&L International divisions in the year under review, while all other divisions conducted the survey in 2021. Here, too, the results are very encouraging and comparable with those of the rest of the Group: Around 80% of employees are satisfied with SFS as an employer. Not only the above-average response rate but also the frequent use of the comment function were testimony to the fact that the Group embraces a culture of feedback and has highly engaged employees. The concerns and key topics with potential for improvement that were addressed come from the following areas or can be broken down into the categories as follows:

  • Work-leisure balance
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Career and development opportunities
  • Workflow and process optimization

All feedback from both the 2021 survey and the survey of the most recent reporting year were compiled and evaluated to extrapolate measures aimed at boosting SFS’s attractiveness as an employer even further.

Regular performance review identifies need for training
For the regular employee performance review, SFS has set up a globally valid MbO process (Management by Objective) with the following objectives:

  • Implementation of overarching objectives (corporate targets)
  • Review of employees’ performance and conduct
  • Employees’ degree of identification with the corporate targets
  • Employee engagement
  • Identification of training needs and verification of the training program’s effectiveness

The percentage of employees with a performance review was increased to 66% in the year under review (PY 63%). The increase in full-time equivalents (FTEs) is primarily attributable to the expansion of the scope of the report. The majority of this is related to the integration of Hoffmann. Approaches for increasing the performance review rate going forward will be discussed by the HR Peer Group in 2023. In addition to the performance review, the Group-wide MbO process will also be used for determining specific training requirements. For this, the manager works together with the employee to agree which training measures are to be implemented.

Percentage of employees with a performance review in the reporting year (GRI-404–3)
Female Male Total
Percentage of employees with a performance review 63% 67% 66%
(Prior-year figure) (64%) (63%) (63%)
Number of employees with a performance review in FTEs 2,133 6,199 8,332
(Prior-year figure) (1,880) (4,772) (6,652)

Occupational health and safety
Accident rate too high
The SFS Group had 13,282 employees (FTE) at the end of 2022 (PY 10,509). The reporting entities comprise 12,617 FTEs (PY 9,455). The strong growth is attributable to the completion of the transaction with Hoffmann, which had 3,082 employees at year end. On a like-for-like basis, the headcount declined slightly by –2.9%. The number of accidents per million hours worked was reduced by –1.4%. While this might put the organization somewhat closer to its goal of cutting the accident rate in half by 2025, the Group is not expected to reach the goal. Based on the 2020 figure of 4.7 accidents per million hours worked, that puts the target for 2025 at 2.35 accidents per million hours worked.

Certification of the production sites to ISO 45001 (occupational safety and health management system) is part of the management approach with the aim of continuously reducing the incident rate. During the reporting period, five additional sites were certified to ISO 45001. Certification is currently planned for 17 further sites.

Work-related injuries (GRI-403–9)
In million hours




Change to
Employee development (FTE)1 FTE 12,617 9,455 8,956 33.4%
Total hours worked hours 25,233,800 20,230,895 18,183,174 24.7%
Permanent employees (hours) 23,650,800 17,494,478 35.2%
Temporary employees (hours) 1,583,000 2,736,417 –42.2%
Occupational accidents ≥1 day2 # 10.2 82.0 85.0 24.4%
Permanent employees 92.0 80.0 15.0%
Temporary employees 10.0 2.0 400.0%
Accident rate ≥1 day2 #/million hours 4.0 4.1 4.7 –1.4%
Permanent employees (million hours) 3.9 4.6 –15.4%
Temporary employees (million hours) 6.3 0.7 802.4%
Occupational accidents >3 days # 69.0 63.0 57.0 9.5%
Permanent employees 66.0 62.0 6.5%
Temporary employees 3.0 1.0 200.0%
Accident rate >3 days #/million hours 2.7 3.1 3.1 –11.8%
Permanent employees 2.8 3.5 –20.3%
Temporary employees 1.9 0.4 373.8%
Work-related injuries with serious consequences3 # 3.0 2.0 50.0%
Permanent employees 3.0 1.0 200.0%
Temporary employees 0.0 1.0 –100.0%
Rate with serious consequences #/million hours 0.1 0.1 18.9%
Permanent employees 0.1 0.1 26.8%
Temporary employees 0.0 0.4 –100.0%
Work-related injuries resulting in fatalities 0.0 0.0 0.0
Permanent employees 0.0 0.0
Temporary employees 0.0 0.0
Rate of deaths #/million hours 0.0 0.0 0.0
Permanent employees 0.0 0.0
Temporary employees 0.0 0.0
Total number of days lost # days 2,217 1,580 1,904 40.3%
Days lost per 1,000 employees Days/1,000 FTE 176 167 213 5.2%
Occupational accidents per 1,000 employees #/1,000 FTE 8.1 8.7 9.5 –7.1%
Days lost due to work-related illnesses # days 268
Days lost due to work-related illnesses per 1,000 employees Days/1,000 FTE 21.2

The number # refers to the absolute number of incidents in each case
1 Number of employees in the entities currently reporting
2 Occupational accidents are based on the number of work-related injuries resulting in an absence of at least one working day
3 Work-related injuries with serious consequences resulting in a recovery period of at least 6 months (not including fatalities)

Overview of employee figures by employment relationship (GRI-2–7/GRI-2–8)
Employee structure of all reporting units in FTE at the end of the reporting period
Female Male Total
Total number of employees 3,407 9,210 12,617
(Prior-year figure)* 2,929 7,581 10,509
Employment relationship indefinite 3,051 8,375 11,426
(Prior-year figure)* 2,554 6,807 9,361
Employment relationship definite 100 250 350
(Prior-year figure)* 40 417 456
Employment relationship definite – external 256 585 841
(Prior-year figure)* 335 357 682
Employees with non-guaranteed working hours n/a n/a n/a
(Prior-year figure)* n/a n/a n/a
Employment relationship full time 2,439 7,196 9,635
(Prior-year figure)* 2,397 6,690 9,087
Employment relationship full time – external 256 685 841
(Prior-year figure)* 331 666 997
Employment relationship part time 712 1,429 2,141
(Prior-year figure)* 190 212 402
Employment relationship part time – external n/a n/a n/a
(Prior-year figure)* 11 13 24

*Change from previous year: Measurement not on the basis of legal entities, but on the basis of the individual sites included in the group of reporting entities

Overview of employee figures by region (GRI-2–7/GRI-2–8)
Employee structure of all reporting units in FTE at the end of the reporting period
Americas Asia Europe Switzerland Total
Total number of employees 1,644 3,402 5,260 2,311 12,617
(Prior-year figure)* 1,853 3,992 2,330 2,334 10,509
Employment relationship indefinite 1,563 2,796 4,773 2,293 11,426
(Prior-year figure)* 1,754 3,108 2,191 2,309 9,361
Employment relationship definite 81 606 486 18 1,191
(Prior-year figure)* 99 885 140 25 1,148
Employees with non-guaranteed working hours n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
(Prior-year figure)* n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Employment relationship full time 1,631 3,402 3,338 2,104 10,475
(Prior-year figure)*
Employment relationship part time 12 0 1,922 207 2,141
(Prior-year figure)*

*Change from previous year: Measurement not on the basis of legal entities, but on the basis of the individual sites included in the group of reporting entities

Diversity helps boost employee satisfaction
Diversity is about overcoming the many differences that exist between people: not only differences in outward appearance but also differences that are perceived subjectively including gender, ethnicity and religion as well as age, physical disabilities and sexual orientation. Integrated diversity management not only helps create a more positive overall atmosphere within the company but is actually a success factor. At SFS, where diversity is already reflected in the Group’s international corporate structure, many examples can be found in the individual companies of extremely different people working together and benefiting from their diverse environments. The following success story tells about just such an environment at the site in Valence (France).