The directors of the group are responsible for relationships with our suppliers. Our way of working can be summarised in a few simple principles:
• We work with a medium or long term vision.
• We are transparent with our suppliers, and tell them clearly what we expect of them.
• Price is not the only criterion of supplier selection.
• We pay close attention to their long-term existence, the quality of the products and services they propose, their transparency, commercial policies and reactivity. We visit production sites ourselves which allows us to check that our suppliers’ employees are well treated.
No director, manager or supervisor is alone in Thermador Groupe. Each can exchange with his or her peers within inter-subsidiary workgroups. This is particularly true in the area of human resources, and the sharing of good practices seems to us a very effective method to help everyone grow and ensure overall cohesion.
Sharing good practices in the HR field
However, there is no HR group. Within each of the group’s companies, each subsidiary CEO and each local manager must assume full responsibility for their teams.
It all starts with recruitment, a complex art that we approach with humility and simplicity. Our conclusion is that collegial decisions seem the most reliable.
The induction of new people within the subsidiaries requires structured training and time. We think that it takes a new employee one year to acquire minimum independence and efﬁciency. This explains why it is impossible to suddenly adjust staff structure to changes in the marketplace. We need to anticipate and act with conﬁdence.
Throughout people’s careers, we try to allow everybody to develop their talents according to their own merits and capabilities. We cultivate virtues of exemplarity, transparency, respect and a fair share of proﬁts from our work.
The choice of proximity with our employees
Our management teams are clearly responsible for the quality of the labour relations in our companies, and we promote care, conviviality, simplicity and serenity. To this end, our minimalist organisational structure, limited to four hierarchical levels, promotes proximity between managers and all employees of the group.
‘Communication from management was very fluid throughout the period, because of a tight organisation chart and natural proximity between managers and subordinates. The crisis was well managed, the whole team was committed to customer satisfaction and constantly reacting to keep up with demand.’ *
* Testimonial of Jacques Schiele (Head of the motorised valve assembly workshop at Sectoriel) made following the COVID-19 crisis (see letter to shareholders n°100 available on our website).
Very short reporting chains
However, this proximity is no longer sufﬁcient to gather all ideas, comments, suggestions and sources of discontent from the men and women who work in each of our subsidiaries. It is for this reason that in 2017 we decided to send them a questionnaire entitled ‘Employee survey on the quality of life at work’. They obviously bought into this new form of expression, given that the response rate was 94%!
This ‘barometer of the quality of life at work’ survey will concern all employees in 2021, including those of recently-acquired subsidiaries: Ets Edouard Rousseau, Distrilabo and Thermacome.
We think this helps us to gather behind us staff who are committed, conﬁdent, efﬁcient and generally loyal.
When a departure seems inevitable, we attempt to be as fair as possible.
Focus on exemplary behaviour and transparency
All this allows us to be very demanding at every level of the company, and indeed requires us to be so for the beneﬁt of the group.
With the acquisition of 9 companies and one business since 2015, we now face the challenge of opening up to other corporate cultures whilst progressively disseminating our key values. Those values must continue over time and represent the cornerstone of our group.
Fundamental training and continuous training allow people to adapt more quickly to the world they live in and to company changes and operations; the company is the ﬁrst to beneﬁt from the practical use of knowledge, know-how and behaviour. Thus, promoting training to upskill the company’s employees is a key factor of long-term success (adaptation, competitiveness, efﬁcacy, etc.).
Our "training budget" represented in 2020 1.63% of the payroll.
The training budget does not include the cost of time spent (salaries + charges) on internal training.
In 2020, we kept up our training drive and took advantage of a quieter business period to train our teams, of which 60% are non-managers. As a reminder, in 2019, we had trained all the management committees of our subsidiaries, i.e. more than 90 people for a total of 360 hours of training.
Seminars for the sales team, training for local managers, personal development courses, language training, safety training… we regularly call on outside agencies to maintain and develop the levels of our teams.
As in 2019, we made Ecole de la Bourse online training available to all of our employees under the heading ‘The secrets of smart investment in shares’.
We have a huge pool of knowledge internally about our professions, which is passed on by our experts to new arrivals. This is done via chalk-and-talk, practical work, accompaniment, and bespoke written formats.
Inter-subsidiary training sessions are also held, particularly for teams working in export.
Finally, Jetly, Sferaco and Thermador have developed training modules for customers in dedicated training rooms, and are ofﬁcially recognised as a training organisation.
The annual review is a precious moment of exchange to identify expectations in terms of training and upskilling. 84% of employees were able to spend time with their direct supervisor during an annual assessment. This generally takes place during the ﬁrst quarter.
We do not require managers to ﬁll in standard forms or follow a standard format. We allow them manage their teams according to their preferred practices, and note that some have favoured a permanent dialogue rather than a formal annual review. In addition, and in accordance with the law, all employees have had a professional interview over the last two years.
Our subsidiaries pay particular attention when taking new employees on board. Each employee follows an induction programme allowing him/her to discover all the services provided by the company he/she is joining.
The programme lasts several weeks. In order to better understand what really goes on in the field, our ofﬁce-based salespeople and buyers sometimes accompany our travelling sales reps to our customers’ premises. In the same way, travelling and ofﬁce-based salespeople spend a few days with our logistics team preparing customer orders. This process allows each person to understand the constraints faced by other departments in the company to enhance efﬁciency and mutual respect.
In our subsidiaries we also welcomed 25 sandwich course students and 7 trainees during 2020. This allowed our team to play a role in the training of these young people in a caring, professional environment.
Our directors and managers are constantly attentive to their teams’ feedback to improve working conditions. Most of the ofﬁces in our subsidiaries are now equipped with acoustic ceilings. We are looking to combine the advantages of open ofﬁces, which promote good communication between people, and of controlled sound levels so that everybody can concentrate on their work. A large proportion of our ofﬁce-based sales staff ofﬁces, where they take telephone calls from our customers, are also equipped with acoustic partitions.
On a permanent basis, each warehouse manager is accredited to take immediate decisions to guarantee the safety of teams working in the warehouse. In our profession, it is undoubtedly here that we run the greatest risks of accidents. We pay particular attention to the strict respect of instructions, to ﬂooring quality to limit noise, vibration and dust, to cleanliness, to the condition of fork lift trucks, and to lighting levels inside the warehouses. This results in practical decisions such as:
• choosing LED technology lighting in 6 warehouses representing 59% of warehouse space,
• the decision to own all our handling equipment, which is regularly maintained to ensure safe driving for our logistics people,
• handling equipment with lifting platforms selected to allow our warehousemen/order-preparers to access high picking racks in total safely,
• equipping our elevated handling equipment with cameras,
• training all our logistics teams in safe driving and gestures and postures.
With the publication of 6 new arduous working risk factors on July 1, 2016, we have conducted arduous working studies covering each logistics team task. Repetitive movements have been analysed internally by our teams, using the services in certain cases of the medical services’ ergonomics expert. In 2020, we undertook the launch of a new form of postural training for our logistics teams.
We also started equipping our storekeepers with ergoskeletal equipment to combat musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). In 2020, Sferaco ordered 4 models, 2 for shoulder support (for order picking) and 2 for back support (for receptions).
E-PARCOURS & prevention pathway
A tailor-made programme has been devised with the SQUARECHAMPS team in order to meet the challenges of prevention but also of employees’ Quality of Life at Work. After the audit carried out in 9 of our subsidiaries by sports scientist Anaël Aubry, an e-conference will be led by Charles Pagès. The course will come to an end during the first half of 2021, marked by the return of the two speakers.
In 2017 each subsidiary took the initiative to submit a questionnaire entitled ‘Employee survey on the quality of life at work’. They obviously bought into this new form of expression, given that the response rate was 94%! The exercise was carried out by an inter-subsidiary steering committee and a specialised agency (Optim Resources) and guarantees the anonymity of participants.
In total transparency, the results of the employee survey were presented at a general meeting in our subsidiaries. Workgroups were set up to tackle the progress points raised during the survey and to draw up an action plan per subsidiary.
Our subsidiaries FGinox and Sodeco Valves also carried out employee surveys in 2018.
We are planning to repeat this exercise in 2020 and 2021 so as to measure the impact of decisions taken.
In response to employee requests, the subsidiaries have introduced more initiatives to allow them to wind down during breaks: relaxation rooms, table football, table tennis, boule strips, qi gong, Pilates, body balance and yoga, picnic areas, the loan of sun loungers, etc.
Our subsidiary Jetly has a sports hall open to all Saint-Quentin-Fallavier subsidiaries.
Our subsidiaries abound with initiatives throughout the year, helping to liven up the company. This was notably the case of our subsidiary Axelair, which organised a ‘Quality of Life at Work Week’.
In the wake of the unusual experience of lockdown, and to onboard new arrivals, Axelair put Quality of Life at Work in the spotlight for a week, from July 20 to 24. It featured a week of activities promoting conviviality, and living and working together.
This was an opportunity to share the 2020 strategy and Axelair’s extra-financial performance document (EFPD). On the programme, one theme per day: Positive attitude, Wellbeing / Meditation & relaxation, Environment / Sustainable development, Nutrition & balance, Care. The employees really loved it, and are already asking for weeks like this more often.
A FESTIVE, SPORTY VIBE
In 2020, we were planning to organise a mont Ventoux cycle tour, but Covid-19 put a stop to that team outing. The employees of our subsidiary Sodeco were in serious training for the event, and so on September 25, they organised a 50km tour with 1,000m positive elevation as an alternative to the climb up mont Ventoux.
Sixteen of our subsidiaries employ over eleven people, and three of them employ over ﬁfty. Of these subsidiaries, ten have a social and economic committee.
Within each subsidiary, a monthly information and dialogue meeting takes place bringing together all personnel.
The management team presents and comments on the current situation: turnover, margin, costs and results, and answers employees’ questions. If turnover is down, sales people are called in; if there is stock-out, the purchasing department is questioned; if costs increase, we look for and analyse the reasons why; if proﬁts are down, everyone will be thinking about their end-of-year bonuses…
In the bigger subsidiaries, departmental meetings are also held to allow people to have their say. Experience tells us that it is difﬁcult for some people to express themselves in big groups. The role of managers and supervisors is crucial in this respect, in ensuring that questions and remarks are brought to the surface to provide collective answers.
Our ﬂat organisation charts promote good circulation of information.
The key is dialogue and transparency.
In April 2016, the Annual General Meeting appointed an employee to the Board upon a suggestion from the Board of Directors.
From being just 178 employees on a single site in 2004, Thermador Groupe now employs almost 670 people dotted around 10 sites. This new scale implies using new internal communications tools.
Our collaborative platform THERMALINK has been live since September 2019 for all Saint-Quentin-Fallavier employees and for FGinox, Mecafer/Domac, Sodeco and Ets Edouard Rousseau. The employee directory offers new functionalities such as contact details and photo updating and employee search functions. This collaborative platform is a real corporate social network allowing us to communicate, and share documents and best practices.
Respect for the private lives of our employees
They are invited to respect working times and not go beyond them. For those who are paid by the day, we check that they do not exceed the working time authorised by law and that they do not misuse remote connections.
Implementation of the day-worker allowance through company agreements in ten of our subsidiaries meets our employees’ expectations on flexibility of working hours.
Our ofﬁce-based teams comply with the working patterns of their customers who contact them during ofﬁce hours by telephone, fax and email for advice, deadlines, price proposals, equipment choices, after-sales service and orders. Our logistics team starts very early in the morning to prepare the early pickups for our transport partners.
Working hours vary from 35 hours per week at Ets E. Rousseau to 40 hours at Sodeco. Elsewhere, our Saint-Quentin-Fallavier based subsidiaries work 37 hours, Brignais 37.5 hours, Valence and Vierzon 39 hours. Under the 35-hour working week law, 2-4 hours per week are paid as overtime.
The number of overtime hours worked in 2020 in the group was 43,321 hours, accounted for primarily by the 2 or 4 extra hours mentioned above. Overtime represented 3.7% of total hours worked.
All part-time positions in the company are chosen by employees who opt for that format.
Following our Quality of Life at Work survey, employees expressed a desire for more flexibility in their working hours, in some cases with recourse to home-working. The Covid-19 crisis led us to propose home-working. Company agreements and home-working charters are currently being drawn up to be able to offer this flexibility to our employees who wish to work in this way.
As a reminder, at the time of recruitment or during salary reviews, only skill, experience, interpersonal relations, efficiency, creative capacity, discernment, sense of synthesis and commitment are taken into account. On the basis of these criteria, and irrespective of sex, ethnic origin or any other discriminating criteria, employees of Thermador Groupe or its subsidiaries receive similar fixed salaries for directly comparable positions within each company.
Our employees must sign an IT charter which specifies the rights and duties of each individual in the use of the company’s IT tools.
STOCK MARKET CHARTER AND RESPECT OF ‘MARKET ABUSE REGULATION
In keeping with our policy of transparency, each employee of Thermador Groupe or its subsidiaries, whatever their level of responsibility, has occasional or permanent access to classified information. Consequently, all employees signed a stock market charter detailing their duty of confidentiality and the conditions governing Thermador Groupe share sales and purchases, in line with European ‘market abuse regulations’. The charter is also presented in the form of a graph to make it easier to understand.
GOOD CONDUCT CODE
Company savings scheme (PEE)
In January 2001, we set up a Company savings scheme (PEE), open to all employees of the subsidiaries and 95% invested in Thermador Groupe shares.
Until 2012 the top-up was 100% of the amount put in by the employee, with a cap of €1,000.
The maximum contribution then changed year-on-year.
In 2020, the contribution was 300% for the first €300 invested, 150% for the €301-1,000 tranche, and 30% for the €1001-1500 tranche, i.e. a maximum of €2,100. The total amount contributed by the employees was €2,057k and the amount of the employer’s contribution was €794k. 453 employees (out of 566) subscribed to a 1% capital increase reserved for them. Taking advantage of the possibilities provided by the PACTE law, employees benefited from a 40% discount on the purchase of shares in exchange for 10-year holding commitment.
At December 31, 2020, the Company savings scheme (PEE) held 322,000 shares, i.e. 3.5% of the capital.
Earnings and individual bonuses are calculated at subsidiary level, as are salaries. The sharing of information and good practices between subsidiary executives ensures coherency.
In the group’s longstanding subsidiaries, the ﬁxed component of earnings is paid over 13 months (the extra month paid half in June and the other half in November). Salaries are revised annually, taking into account each individual’s development in their function and the cost of living. We pay particular attention to the lower salaries, which are much higher than average for our sector.
At FGinox and Sodeco Valves, the ﬁxed component of earnings is paid over 12 months.
Since the beginning, Thermador Groupe subsidiaries’ proﬁts have been shared with employees. Even before statutory proﬁt sharing, we introduced our own brand of proﬁt sharing in Thermador, the ﬁrst company created in the group’s history. This virtuous practice spread to the other subsidiaries subsequently.
Sharing proﬁts come with the results of the year’s work, during which the management teams present the operating accounts of each subsidiary on a monthly basis.
Everybody can understand how the annual result is put together, and what mass of proﬁt sharing will be distributed.
The distribution of that mass is decided by the management team, and takes into account each individual’s performance as fairly as possible.
In each subsidiary, the variable proﬁt sharing amount therefore depends on proﬁt, which means there are major differences between the companies of the group. It varies from 1 to 33% of overall earnings. The average for the group is 18% of gross annual salary.
For Jetly, Sferaco and FGinox, i.e. 179 employees, the annual bonus and proﬁt sharing are paid in February of the following year.
For the other subsidiaries, bonuses appear on the December pay slip. They are not subject to any conditions, and are therefore immediately available.
On our trading accounts, the wage bill represents around 11.7% of turnover (see table, page 112).
At the time of recruitment or during salary reviews, only skill, experience, interpersonal relations, efﬁciency, creative capacity, discernment, sense of synthesis and commitment are taken into account. On the basis of these criteria, and irrespective of sex, ethnic origin or any other discriminating criteria, employees of Thermador Groupe or its subsidiaries receive similar ﬁxed salaries for directly comparable positions within each company.
We have always been very transparent on the subject of salaries. In each subsidiary, once a year, we post up all the monthly and annual salaries, including those, of course, of managers. This has the great advantage of limiting the spread of rumours, and means that we all have to show great coherence in decision-making in this area. We are striving to share this good practice with the companies that we have acquired since 2015, whilst leaving them time to prepare for this new practice.
The range of gross salaries in Thermador Groupe is between €21,000 to €311,500 per year (12 months’ presence) with an average annual salary of €50,300.
For equivalent positions, men and women with the same training and similar experience earn the same amount.
DEVELOPMENT OF ONE PART OF THE THERMADOR GROUPE FCPE (MUTUAL FUND)
Our staff are at the heart of our value chain.
Our staff are at the heart of our value chain. On December 31, 2020 the group had 668 employees, 230 women and 438 men.
Of those 668 employees, 650 were on permanent contracts and 18 on ﬁxed term contracts. 603 work in France and 65 outside France..