Reduced work capacity
Grundfos has a long history of social responsibility. It started out in Denmark in 1968 with a flexible workshop. Since then, we have been employing people with reduced working capacity all over Grundfos, including in production and office areas.
Anja: I have the freedom to be independent
At work, Anja prefers to sit at her desk in the corner, and do her work alone and in silence. She likes things orderly and finds it hard to deal with changes and unpredictability. She is diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which are ‘invisible’ disorders that almost prevented her from finishing her vocational training for adults in industrial engineering.
“I had many sick leaves. One year, before school ended, I reached out to Grundfos’ social worker at an open house event. Luckily, there was a shortage of apprentices at that time, so I was signed immediately,” she says. “During my apprenticeship, I worked in different departments. After finishing my apprenticeship, I was employed in the flex workshop, and this is also where I work today,” she continues.
Anja has now been working for more than 11 years assembling pump strains to be used as spare parts. “The job suits me perfectly, because I have the possibility to organise the tasks myself and take on responsibility. As a matter of fact, I can use my ADHD in my job to detect possible errors in products that other employees may not find,” she explains.
“Unpredictable things overwhelm me, but here I can take a break without anyone questioning me. Because of this opportunity, I do not have a lot of absence due to illness,” she points out-
In her spare time,Anja likes to be creative and she does different hobby projects. One of the things she remembers the best and which has made a big impression on her was when she created Grundfos-blue stars for Niels Due Jensen's 70th birthday. “No one knew the gift was from me. Later, I discovered that a person had been assigned to find out who had made the stars, because Niels wanted to give the designer a personal thank you card. This meant a lot to me,” she smiles.
Anja is employed in a job for persons with reduced work capacity of more than 50%. The job requirements are individually tailored to her needs. She works at the Spare Parts Production, a self-manufacturing plant which has its own goods receipt and shipment. In collaboration with our dedicated colleagues in the flex department, Anja contributes in the manual production.
Darko: Grundfos has turned a kid into a man
Darko, who works in our flexible department in GMS, Serbia is a real example of how one’s determination and initiatives go a long way.
"January 25, 2012. That was the day I started working at Grundfos, yet I remember that day as if it was today,” says Darko. "I had been listed in National Employment Service (NSZ) for a year, but I only had one interview, until Grundfos offered me one. I was so excited to receive the call I said I could be there in 15 minutes! It was funny to think about it now. I had the interview the next day and went home fueled with positive energy. Not long after I got home, I received a phone call and was offered a job. I signed the contract on my birthday and I had the greatest gift that I had never dreamed of. From then on, my life has been thriving,” continues Darko, with a big smile on his face.
One thing that sets Darko apart is his remarkable enthusiasm and endless curiosity, which are reflected when he describes his growth in the company and his colleagues. “I started with taping stickers to boxes. I noticed a colleague who was doing a different task than I was, so I approached him and asked if he could teach me. My supervisor noticed that and I was promoted to handle that task. The same thing happened when I learned to operate machinery. I currently oversee a team of four; I mentor new colleagues, lead some training and take part in numerous projects concerning work quality manufacture,” continues Darko, smiling.
“I consider Grundfos as a school where one’s initiative is encouraged. Challenges come and go, and they are part of a job. But when colleagues support you, solving problems become easier. To me, this company has turned a kid into a man. I can only thank Grundfos and wish it stays to be such company forever.
Do you have a memory that you hold dearly? We ask. After a long silence, we managed to get his answer and it was his trip to Denmark for Grundfos Olympics. "The trip to Denmark for Grundfos Olympics was something I believed would never happen to me. thought I would faint from happiness and excitement!" says Darko.
Ivan: I am up for anything!
“When I was 21 years old, I was involved in an accident. I was hit by a truck. I suffered a brain injury and was in a coma for a month,” says Ivan Laursen, an employee in the flex department. Since then, everything went downhill. His relationship ended, and the factory that he worked for closed down. Ivan went through a deep depression and had to consume anti-depressant pills to deal with his painful condition.
“I needed to find a new job. I went to Grundfos and was hired immediately. I started in the CR factory, but after more than a year, Grundfos found that I could not do general production work. My severe drug consumption made me feel like a zombie. I did not feel like interacting with my colleagues and withdrew myself from society. I isolated myself completely,” he continues.
It was only after a piece of advice from a new doctor, who suggested Ivan to reduce his use of medicine, that he got a whole new perspective on life. “I was frightened and I thought how can I survive without my pills? But I decided to follow his advice, and slowly reduced my dosage. I started in the flex department, which is a department for employees with different illnesses and disabilities. We are very good at taking care of each other here. I had several periods of illness, but I received tremendous help from my colleagues and now I am fully recovered. When I lost both my mother and brother with only two weeks apart in 2015, It helped me to go to work and talk to my colleagues. Eventually, I got back up on my feet again,” he adds.
Ivan has been working for Grundfos for more than 30 years. “After becoming medicine-free, I am capable of handling more tasks than before. I do not have any primary duties, but I carry out different tasks which do not require fine motor skills. These tasks offer me different challenges which I truly enjoy. I am up for anything!” he says with a big grin. When being asked about his most memorable moments in Grundfos, he smiles. “Well, I have been singing for many years, and when the flex department celebrated its 40th anniversary, I ended up on stage singing with Danish pop singer, Birthe Kjær!”
* * *
We have standardised the definition of people with reduced work capacity globally. There are currently 2.2% of employees with reduced work capacity globally and our aim to reach the 3% target in 2020.
Lászlóné: Equality is Key
Listening to 51-year-old Lászlóné, one of our operators in Grundos Hungary, tell her story was truly inspiring and fascinating. This lovable, positive person joined the company in 2003. “My husband works here and knew about the flex department. He encouraged me to apply,” she says.
At the facility, she helps with production, performing tasks such as cutting cables and other operations related to the production of our motors. “I had a problem with my lower back and had several operations, so it is crucial that I have flexibility at work. The company understood my situation and I went straight to being an operator. I had two training courses and a mentor who supported me,” she says.
“I really pay attention to my health and well-being. I want to keep my health level as it is now and stay in a positive and meaningful relationship with my colleagues. Grundfos is a family-oriented company that believes in equality. Here, I am not treated like a sick person, but I am treated the same as the others and I appreciate that.
One of my most memorable events was the Western-themed Family Day in 2017. We had great music and it was such a fun day!”Lászlóné adds shyly: “Aside from the atmosphere and the relations I have with my colleagues here, I must say having my husband here is a big plus.”
Concern for people runs deep in our veins. Other than the employment of workers with reduced work capacity, one of our salient initiatives is to run tailor made programmes for individuals from marginalised groups who need support to gain experience in the labour market. We want to upgrade their personal and professional capabilities because we understand that sometimes, a chance is all we need.
Ehab: I am living the dream
From a trainee to a paralegal and now to strengthening our new digital offerings, Ehab is an asset who keeps on growing. “When I worked as a paralegal, I mainly focused on reviewing Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and working related to export control and sanctions. Frankly speaking, reviewing NDAs excited me the most as I had to find the right balance between Grundfos and its business partners," explains Ehab about his previous position as a Paralegal at the Legal Department at Grundfos Head Office.
His strong willingness to learn, wit, persistence and perseverance have brought him to a new and exciting challenge. "I recently got the opportunity to join DTO (Digital Transformation Office) and working with Future Lab project. Its main goal is to explore how the global challenges impact our customers and end-users we serve today and the future. My role is to develop the knowledge and materials and train our colleagues around the globe who will present it to our customers and visitors," he adds explaining about his current position as Associate Assistant at DCO.
Ever since he was a child, Ehab had always wanted to be a lawyer, “I enjoy finding solutions to challenges, knowing that I have a chance to make a difference. I was already a Law student at Aleppo University for two years when the war in Syria broke out and I had to stop. It was devastating,” he reminisces.
He started to work as a truck driver and eventually left Syria for Egypt, determined to continue his study. “It was extremely difficult to find a good job, and I ended up being a truck driver again; this time travelling between Egypt and Iraq. It was the deadliest route I had ever encountered. I had to pass some posts where militant groups were based. Eventually, I decided to seek for asylum in Denmark. I knew in advance that I had to start from zero, but it was my only option.” At that time, Ehab did not speak Danish nor English. Now he speaks both languages fluently.
After seven months at a refugee camp, he moved to Viborg. Along with other refugees, he was suggested by the municipality to join Grundfos’ 13 weeks training programme. “When I joined, I told myself that my colleagues would be busy doing their tasks, so I was surprised to find out that they took me under their wings anyway – a trainee with no degree and no knowledge of what I was supposed to do. They gave me notes to further develop my skills and room for improvement; they even created tailor-made courses just for me! And I did my best to learn. Grundfos extended the training from 13 weeks to seven months and in August 2016 I became a full-time employee,” says Ehab.
"If I had the chance to say something to my manager and my colleagues," says Ehab, "I would like to say thank you for everything. Literally, thank you for everything."
We provide tailor-made programmes as well as professional and personal skill enhancement to individuals in order for them to gain work experience. We screen candidates, match them with relevant jobs and set individual targets in close collaboration with the departments and mentors.
Inclusion at Grundfos Mexico (MXP)
Inclusivity is one of the core values of the Grundfos Mexico company culture. They currently run two ongoing initiatives: the hiring of workers with reduced work capacity and offering employment opportunities to first offenders accused of minor crimes to re-integrate through work.
Long-term sick leave
Without our employees, none of our work is possible. To the widest possible extent, we retain employees on long-term sick leave and ensure that the sick leave is short and as active as possible.
Hanh: My team and managers supported me through my battle
In June 2017, Hanh started to fall ill with several bouts of colds and coughs. As it felt nothing out of the ordinary, she treated herself with medicine from a drugstore near her home, as per the norm in Vietnam. However, the sickness seemed to persist and she started to develop stronger and more frequent coughs and even mild fevers during the afternoon.
Worried, she decided to visit the hospital for a checkup. And as Hanh described, ‘What will be, will be’, she was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). Upon receiving the diagnosis, she nearly collapsed from the initial shock and she was at a loss for words. Due to the infectious nature of TB as an airborne illness, Hanh would not be able to share spaces with other people in the initial phase of the treatment. In addition, she would also need to follow a strict and regimental treatment schedule, in order to recover.
After regaining her composure, her first worry was her job. ‘Will I lose my job?’, 'How can I work when I have this
disease?’, ‘If I lose my job, where will I find the money required for my treatment?’; these are some of the many worries that popped into Hanh’s mind.
Hanh’s first action was to communicate the news about her health situation and treatment schedule to her line manager, hoping to seek support from her manager and their team.
"Understanding my worries, my line manager had discussed with the board manager about my case. They decided to allow me to work from home, so that I could undergo my treatment and recovery process. When I received this news, I felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders," recalls Hanh.
"During my recovery period, I received much support from my team in particular and from Grundfos in general. The Board management had approved the decision for me to work from home, so that I could undergo my treatment and recover. The HR department also supported me immensely by helping me to get the best possible option of insurance policy. My team also helped to reduce the workload for me, so that I would have more time to rest. All in all, it was great support for me, both in terms of spiritually and also mentally, by reducing my workload. In addition, I also received monetary support from all GPV colleagues in this period, that made me feel warmth from their good intentions."
Gordana: I beat a terrible disease with the support of my colleagues
“If you should ever find yourself in a situation like the one I had to face, you will soon find out that it is extremely important you do not feel alone, and I was definitely not alone,” starts Gordana, our product operator at GMS, Serbia, who bravely beat cancer.
“After surgery in 2013, I was on sick leave for a month and a half. During that period, Grundfos checked up on me every day, and colleagues dropped by to keep me company. When I came back to work, I could barely walk. I only worked for four hours, yet I received full salary. I only did tasks that I was physically capable of doing, and the company offered me transportation between work and home. Colleagues sat with me, making sure I ate enough. They held my hand and helped me to the dressing room. Only a person who has been through a similar situation knows how important such support is to survive a terrible crisis both physically and emotionally,“ explains Gordana thankfully while thinking back at what she now considers to be happy memories.
“To me it was a lifesaver that the company organises free medical evaluations, including specialised examinations that might not be affordable to all and to which one must otherwise wait for months to go to due to massive queue. If I had not visited the doctor in time, I might not have been here today. I am grateful to the whole staff; to management and the colleagues at the line. They have helped me beat cancer. They are my heroes,” continues Gordana.
“In Grundfos, we can speak our mind, share our challenges and give input to solutions. Our voices are heard and to me it is highly motivating. I have been working at Grundfos for six years in a small but perfect team in a large company. We value good interpersonal relations. We are one soul.”
Health and well-being
Aiming towards a greater quality of life, we want our employees to take ownership of their health and mental well-being through various activities and facilities.
Health and Safety Week at Suzhou
As part of Safety Week 2018, Grundfos Suzhou organised several information sessions on ergonomics, hazard identification, risk assessment, first-aid training and more. With the majority of the staff working on the shop floor at Grundfos Suzhou, safety awareness on the part of every employee is crucial to preventing injuries on the job.
Rebecca Zhang, EHS Manager at Grundfos Suzhou, explains: “We would like all employees to be aware that risk assessment is an essential part of our everyday life; all of us have the power to influence the health and safety of ourselves and our colleagues.” More than 600 shop-floor workers participated, while the office staff did an online training course.
As working on the shop floor often involves physical exertion, Grundfos Suzhou invited a doctor to give guidance on back and cervical vertebra health. The doctor provided professional advice on how to reduce injuries to these parts of the body and showed our colleagues the proper way to handle heavy objects.
As our colleagues are the people most familiar with their working environment, they themselves evaluated their workspaces to identify hazards and risks assessment on the production line. The staff brainstormed ideas about potential risks and this feedback was used to further improve workplace safety. “We have a miss/hazard observation card on the shop floor. Everyone has the opportunity to write down their observations and suggestions, which will be followed up in our Daily Action Meetings,” Rebecca says.
To end off the Safety Week, many employees symbolically signed their names on a poster, pledging their commitment to take responsibility for safety.
Grundfos Argentina: Healthy Mind, Body and Soul
Argentina – the land of football, steak and tango – is home to Grundfos Argentina (BGA), where about 120 of our colleagues are based. With 15% of them working on the assembly line, the company ensures its staff stay on top of health issues.
“Every year we do a clinical study, or general check-up, to obtain a complete assessment of every employee’s health; from checking their heart rate and lung capacity to running blood tests,” says Verónica Malm, Finance Supervisor. “The employee can use the results as a reference when they meet their personal doctor. All the employees have to do is register with HR. Aside from that we also give free vaccinations against influenza,” says Verónica, who is active in BGA’s health and well-being and CSR activities.
As part of Grundfos’ regular Health & Safety Week, which is held every year in April and promotes knowledge-sharing and the activities of our Health and Safety Community, Grundfos Argentina held a workshop on How to Control Stress at Work. “We had an expert in reiki healing and meditation who shared on how we can control our stress,” Verónica says. One of the participants in that session, process engineer Nicolás Canusso, said: “I often do yoga, so I am quite familiar with reiki and meditation. It was done in teams, so I found the session was a good team-building exercise and very helpful.”
“Here at Grundfos Argentina, it is all about closeness; most of us know each other and our respective families. Our future initiatives include on how our colleagues can cope if they are taking care of elderly parents, or how to deal with their teenagers.” She says around almost half of BGA’s employees are below 35 years old. “They are very conscious about being healthy and are practising healthy lifestyles. This is another focus that we want to move forward with,” Verónica adds.
Togetherness at Grundfos Netherlands
Grundfos Netherlands is more than just a place to work for around 80 employees, it is also a place where colleagues treat each other as part of a community and care for each other. When someone is absent from work for a long period of time, it is common for their colleagues to visit them during holidays like Christmas to spread festive joy, bring them Christmas gifts and check on how they are doing.
“When employees are on long-term sick leave, we make sure to stay in contact with them; call or drop by and ask if there is anthing that we can do. Besides being a source of help, maintaining communication allows these employees to better re-integrate into the workplace afterwards,” Vivian Fingerhut van Kalken, HR employee at Grundfos Netherlands explains.
In a scenario where an employee needs further help, HR can help to forward them to a company psychiatrist or doctor.
Besides the availability of a company doctor for medical check-ups (by illness) and on a voluntary basis, a preventive medical check-up, Grundfos Netherlands also has several initiatives on ergonomics. For example, in June 2018 two consultants held information sessions on workspace ergonomics for employees. In addition, they also visited the workspaces to evaluate the office furniture and advised people on proper sitting positions.
“On top of that, we also have a training course about discrimination and bullying because we know that these are also a source of stress. For us it is an act of prevention, because we want to put employees’ health and happiness first,” Vivian says.
Grundfos India: Focus on preventive healthcare
From a team of seven based in a small apartment in 1998, to a Certified Green Building company with more than 350 employees in 2018, Grundfos India (GIN) has certainly grown. However, one thing has remained the same: the company’s rigorous attention to employee health and well-being. “Here at Grundfos India, our main purpose is to ensure that our employees are healthy,” says EHS & Quality Manager Ramesh Kannan Chinnasamy.
“In 2018, we started to provide a basic general check-up for all employees. We believe it is crucial that employees pay close attention to their health. An in-house doctor is on stand-by during the day shift every working day, and we have regular health campaigns focusing on employees’ dental, eye, and ear, nose and throat issues. We make sure the doctor keeps health records for all employees, and we can refer to this data when necessary,” Ramesh explains.
Taking care of employees is not only about treatment but also prevention. GIN has an in-house gym, complete with indoor games and regular classes for employees to maintain their health and boost their stamina. “We have recently initiated a daily mail-list health initiative, focusing on ideas and tips to become and stay healthy. For instance, today’s health tip is: if you are in a bad mood, walk until you smile! Studies show that even a 10-minute walk can immediately boost brain chemistry to increase happiness,” Ramesh says.