“Those who come to the Vaillant Group stay here.”
Anniversaries are normal in our family-owned company: many people have already been working here for 25 or even 40 years. Even Vaillant Group Managing Director Sales, Marketing and Service Dr Andree Groos has been part of the team for over ten years.
“I have already celebrated my first major anniversary – as I have been with the Group for more than ten years.”
Professional profile: Dr Andree Groos, Vaillant Group Managing Director Sales, Marketing and Service
Dr Groos began his career at the Vaillant Group in 2002 as Assistant to the Management Board – at the age of 28, straight after completing his business degree at the University of Rostock and his PhD at the University of Innsbruck. He was instantly impressed by the straightforwardness of the Remscheid-based family-owned company and its short decision-making routes.
Since Dr Groos joined the company, the Vaillant Group has experienced huge growth. Yet despite its current size, the “hands-on” culture has still been retained.
When Dr Groos joined the Vaillant Group, a wind of change could be felt among those who worked there: the takeover of the Saunier Duval brand group had only just been completed and there was a strong push for internationalisation.
“I find it fascinating that, even today, the new corporate direction has not affected the company’s strong local roots.”
Professional development and opportunities from day one
Dr Groos quickly worked his way up the ladder in the Vaillant Group. The company actively supports its young talents with its junior management circle and a whole range of customised CPD measures. The young assistant to the Management Board also benefited from these. After all, it is the Vaillant Group’s specified aim to recruit 65 per cent of its managers internally.
“Right from the outset, I was given the opportunity to take on responsibility – for example, through special tasks or within the scope of demanding projects. As the company is centrally managed from here in Remscheid, you can quickly draw attention to yourself.”
“Of course, you should try to only make each mistake once.”
The Vaillant Group also has plenty to offer higher-level employees:
Even today, I regularly use the management coaching opportunities, as these continually benefit me.
Dr Groos has now been with the company for well over a decade, thus complying with the rule of thumb: those who come to the Vaillant Group stay here. Major anniversaries, including 25th and even 40th ones, are almost an everyday event.
Travel within Europe, plus trips to Russia and Asia
“If I am honest, I did not find it easy when I first came to Remscheid. In Innsbruck, I could pursue my passion for skiing right on my doorstep. Here in Bergisches Land, that is naturally not quite as easy as in the Alps.”
Although Dr Groos finds the company’s fitness offers attractive (whether trainees or managing directors, employees from all areas of the company exercise side by side in Zumba or yoga classes, for example), he prefers heading out into the many nearby forests for long hikes or bike rides.
One thing I have discovered in Bergisches Land is mountain biking. With its low, forest-covered mountain ranges, the region is almost made for this sport
Dr Groos has settled into his new surroundings and likes the Bergisches Land region, even though he cannot go hiking and skiing as often as he would like, since the mountains are far away. His role as Vaillant Group Managing Director involves frequent travel, but the father of three tries to have breakfast with his children regularly and avoid leaving for business trips at the weekend.
As well as overseeing the most important key figures for sales and service with the colleagues responsible for the different regions, his duties also include developing new potential for growth in Germany and abroad. This involves visiting customers and business partners and lobbying for climate protection and sustainability through energy efficiency. In particular, Dr Groos is involved in the Federal Expert Commission on Energy Efficiency of the Economic Council, a German business association.
“Sustainability is a core objective of the Vaillant Group. It is a theme that can be seen in all our activities and defines our products – by which I mean the entire life cycle of every product. As I feel very strongly about this topic, I am even more committed to it. Our products not only fulfil the basic need for warmth and hot water but also do far more – for example, by helping to protect the environment through high efficiency and sustainable production.”
Of course, sustainability is about far more than just environmental protection; it also means taking responsibility for society and employees. At the Vaillant Group, this is an established practice. One example is how family friendly the company is: young parents can flexibly reduce their working hours, take time off or leave their children in the Hoppelhasen childcare centre just a short walk from their place of work.
“It is the little things that the company does that I find so great: renting out a Remscheid theatre for a Christmas party for employees with children or sending a cuddly hare to every newborn Vaillant baby, for example.”
“Nothing has changed”
Small and big tokens of appreciation and activities that benefit all employees are characteristic of the Vaillant Group and help boost the feeling of being part of a team. The extraordinary sense of solidarity is a key feature of the Remscheid-based family-run company. One particular story springs to mind for Dr Groos:
“Our exhibition ship, the MS Vaillant, spent months sailing along Europe’s rivers. Huge numbers of employees flocked to the ship’s launch in Düsseldorf, many of whom had travelled a long way to be there. One colleague who stood next to me commented: ‘Nothing has changed’ – and she knew what she was talking about as she had been with the company for more than 40 years.”
Dr Groos can also think of far more stories in this regard: in his many years with the Vaillant Group, he has compiled a whole repertoire of anecdotes.
“I could tell you plenty of stories, but most of them would not be suitable for publication.”
There is no doubt: Dr Groos still has plenty of time to collect more stories – he has every intention of remaining a member of the Vaillant Group family for many years to come!
- Vaillant Group sustainability report 2013 pdf, 9.53 MB
- Vaillant Group sustainability brochure 2013 pdf, 2.76 MB
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