Our journey to become a High Performance Organisation (HPO) continued in 2020. The chart below shows the scores from our bi-yearly surveys and the target of 8.5 that we have set ourselves.
HPO survey scores
With the results of our last HPO survey, held in December 2019, we determined our areas of focus and prioritised our work and resources accordingly:
To become a High Performance Finance Function, creating a strong backbone for the business.
Within operations, to make one fan a day. The quality of the services we provide is our highest priority, and one of the ways we improve our services is through the creation of a service-oriented culture within Vesteda. The aim to make one fan a day, adds to this ambition.
To further increase our collaboration between departments and to find out how we can continue to work together in a new hybrid way. At the end of 2020, we started an initiative on employment engagement which will continue in 2021 through digital sessions with employees and managers, an organisation survey and round table sessions.
We continued our internal management development programme. This year, the emphasis was on skill building to further encourage and develop our managers in how to manage their employees (remotely) and to maintain frequent check-ins with their team members. This is the fourth area of focus as a result of our HPO survey.
This year has been a turbulent year for Vesteda, and not just because of COVID-19. We also insourced the property management activities of the Delta Lloyd portfolio and implemented a new ERP system. We continued to digitalise our business with the launch of the renewed and improved website and the use of big data. Our new website required some rebuilding after the ERP go-live date and this temporarily increased our telephone traffic from tenants. We are learning where and how to best apply new technologies to address everyday business issues. We also created a small data science and business intelligence team to explore the possibilities of advanced analytics. We will continue to work on our digital strategy in the years ahead.
At the same time, we were faced with the challenge of making sure everyone continued to work well together remotely, as we were all forced to work from home for a large part of the year. This required a great deal of effort and flexibility from our employees. In late 2020, we added a home working policy, recognising the benefits of allowing employees to work from home for a part of their working week.
This pandemic has clearly demonstrated that we, as an organisation, and our employees, can be highly flexible and act responsibly and decisively when faced with unforeseen circumstances. As a learning organisation, we put a lot of trust in our employees to be ambitious, to collaborate and to be service oriented. We can only achieve this when employees are and remain strongly engaged and committed to Vesteda's vision, and its purpose. Our internal communications were more frequently based. We ensured there were frequent moments of formal and informal touchpoints to remain in contact with our employees, know how they are coping during the crisis and learn what they needed from the organisation.
Vesteda continues to believe that the health of our employees is important. Therefore, we introduced Vesteda Vitaal in 2019 as a benefit to encourage employees to live a more healthy and balanced lifestyle. Since mid-2020 every employee has a personal budget in the Smartvitaal platform to spend on available offerings ranging from personal vitality plans, preventive health tests and a selection of vitality professionals in the fields of healthy nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress.
Within our Shared Service Centre, set up in May 2020, we continued to build and strengthen the teams with sessions using the RealDrives tool and the introduction of the LEAN method.
The second shift of our trainee programme started in September 2019 with three trainees. During the two-year programme the trainees are given various assignments, changing the departments they work for on average every six months. They also received a strategic assignment to develop their teamwork skills. One of the trainees also visited Vonovia in September 2020 as part of an exchange programme initiated the year before when a trainee from Vonovia visited Vesteda. The traineeship includes a personal leadership programme, with personal coaching, intervision and development workshops. In addition to the current trainees, nine young employees from across the organization participated in the ‘young development programme’ which started in November 2019.
Employees (number of FTEs / employees)
At year-end 2020, Vesteda employed 217 FTEs, an increase of 11.9% compared with the number of employees at year-end 2019 (194 FTEs). The number of employees increased to 234 at year-end 2020, from 211 at year-end 2019.
Our organisation has transformed significantly over the past few years due to market circumstances, strategic choices and in terms of how we operate the company. We invested in a new ERP system, which went live in June of last year. For the implementation, we needed to temporarily increase our number of interim staff to ensure the continuity of day-to-day operations and to be able to adapt to the new way of working. The implementation of the new ERP system means we made our targeted technological progress, which gives us a solid basis and has enabled us to automate a good deal of frequent, repetitive systematic work. The work will not stop here, as we will continue to develop and refine our ERP system to enable us to achieve our future goals.
Furthermore, we invested in:
Our corporate communications and marketing through the appointment of a Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing, to help Vesteda align communications, both internally and externally, with our stakeholders in all contact moments and business processes.
Our enabling functions, such as Legal, Compliance, Internal Audit, HR, Facilities, to continue to professionalise, maintaining our focus on becoming a HPO organisation and digitalising and upgrading our customer due diligence.
We also invested in a Quality & Improvement team in our Shared Service Centre to achieve our financial and administrative goals as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Temporary compliance resources, as Vesteda is a regulated entity and has to comply with a substantial number of (frequently changing) national and European rules and regulations and accommodate reporting and information requests from various regulators. Compliance with these regulations is supervised by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) as the main regulator.
Operations and asset management resources, by adding a new regional Northwest team based in Heerhugowaard and redistributing our portfolio over the regions. This enables us to absorb the increased portfolio due to the insourcing of the property management activities of the Delta Lloyd portfolio into our own organisation.
Temporary increase of our population of flex workers (+4 FTEs) to enable us to anticipate and respond appropriately to the current impact of COVID-19 on our daily business processes. This included an increase in the number of calls from tenants about the likes of neighbour-related nuisance complaints, the increased attention for reletting in the higher rental segment, and less consecutive rental and increased support to offer tailor-made solutions for tenants in financial difficulties.
Training and development
In 2020, Vesteda invested €327 thousand (or 2.3% of the gross payroll) in the education and development of individual employees, the teams, the new employee council members, trainee, young development programme and the ‘Vesteda Verbetert’ (Vesteda Improves) programme. This is a reduction of 52% compared with 2019 (4.8% of the gross payroll), mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic as many trainings were either postponed, cancelled or held online.
Workforce by age (%)
The average age of Vesteda employees rose to 41.1 years of age from 40.9 years of age in 2019. The largest portion (33%) of the workforce remains between 35 and 45 years of age (similar to 2019). The representation of the group older than 55 years of age increased to 14%.
Workforce by gender (%)
At the year-end 2020, 50% of the workforce were male and 50% were female.
In 2020, 46 new employees joined Vesteda (59% female/41% male) and 23 employees left the company (43% female/57% male). The employee turnover rate in 2020 was 10%, significantly lower than the 17% in 2019.
The male/female ratio within the statutory board is 100/0 and the male/female ratio within the Management Team, including statutory board, is 60/40. In 2020, Vesteda's Supervisory Committee consisted of five members: three male and two female. Vesteda recognises the importance of an equal distribution of male and female members of its Management Board and Supervisory Committee, taking into account that the candidate’s qualification and suitability for the function are always the leading principle.
At year-end 2020, 82% (97 males and 95 females) of Vesteda’s employees had indefinite contracts, while 18% of the employees of Vesteda had contracts for defined periods (19 males and 23 females). The percentages were the same for 2019.
At year-end 2020, 34% of Vesteda’s employees worked part-time (64 females versus 15 males). Most of Vesteda’s full-time employees are male (101 males versus 54 females).
The percentage of employees covered by collective bargaining agreements was 92% at year-end 2020.
Sick leave (%)
Absenteeism declined to 1.4% in 2020, compared with 3.5% in 2019.
Total remuneration amounted to €14.3 million (92% fixed and 8% variable) in 2020, an increase on the €13.2 million in the prior year.
Vesteda has a bonus scheme with a collective component that includes criteria such as the realised operational result, GRESB score, tenant satisfaction score and increase in gross rental income. The variable remuneration also includes an individual component and in some cases a team component. Variable remuneration is only paid, in full or in part, if the targets are met. In 2020, the targets were met for the most part.
During the year, the Works Council and the Management Board met on a regular scheduled basis. These meetings were constructive and subjects included but were not limited to employee communications during COVID-19, HPO, Vesteda Vitaal, the ERP system, funding and the home working policy. Two members of the Works Council left the company in 2020 and this resulted in new elections at the end of the year.