People & culture

At Bachem, we believe that our employees make the difference. People & Culture is one of five strategic foundations central to Bachem’s success. We therefore strive to attract, retain, and develop highly motivated, well-qualified individuals. Bachem offers a wide range of professional development and further training opportunities as well as a competitive remuneration and incentive system. Our own apprenticeship center provides first-class industrial training in various apprenticeships. We guarantee equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or nationality, and we do not tolerate any discrimination.

Our unique corporate culture is characterized by a spirit of partnership, both within the company and with other stakeholders. Openness and a pronounced team spirit are at the forefront. We are enthusiastic about technology and constant innovation and at the same time proud of our reliability and our solution oriented, hands-on mentality. Enabling our customers to bring medical advances and new innovative treatments to patients is the motivation that drives us every day.

Being an attractive employer

Bachem is a market leader and relies on the best employees to maintain this position. The Group engages the world’s largest workforce of qualified specialists devoted to the field of peptide chemistry, expanding the number of employees to 1,529 (in 1,475 full-time equivalent positions) in 2020 from 1,257 (in 1,209 full-time equivalent positions) in 2019. This workforce requires being passionate to innovate and meet the future needs of customers. The company consequently offers an attractive working environment and compensation model and adheres to its principles of fairness and honesty.

Providing highly qualified jobs: Bachem’s industry leadership is predicated on very high educational attainment of workforce members at every level and high subject area specialization. The growing complexity of the products the Company manufactures and the services it is expected to provide, and even more decisive the increasing requirements of customers and official bodies in terms of production and regulatory processes call for a highly qualified workforce throughout the organization. At the Bachem Group, 30% of the employees have earned a degree from a university and another 21% have earned a degree from a university of applied science. Over 37% of Bachem’s employees worldwide have completed a vocational apprenticeship, while this figure stands at 54% for employees in Switzerland.

Engagement with educational institutions: As part of a leading life sciences cluster in Switzerland/Basel region, Bachem regularly engages with educational institutions such as Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, University Basel, ETH Zurich or EPFL Lausanne. We also encourage and support individual contributions by bachelor and master students for their degrees within the context of our chemistry and production units where feasible and applicable.

 

VOCATIONAL TRAINING & ENTRY-LEVEL OPPORTUNITIES

Commitment to entry-level job opportunities: Bachem offers entry-level job opportunities for people in numerous STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) professions, both through vocational training and as a practice of hiring graduates directly from university or college to provide them with immediate opportunity to enter the job market. In doing so, Bachem wants to make a contribution to providing young people an opportunity to learn on-the-job skills swiftly and early, a practice that is unfortunately not always applied industry-wide.

Vocational training in Switzerland: Vocational apprenticeship training has a high priority at Bachem. The Swiss dual system of education provides young school graduates at the Group’s sites in Bubendorf and Vionnaz with an excellent opportunity to gain specific vocational training once they finish their compulsory schooling and strive to enter the working population. Apprentices acquire theoretical knowledge and general education at a vocational school and gain practical experience working at the Company. In providing these apprenticeships, Bachem is both discharging part of its social responsibility towards society and also making an important contribution to the maintenance of non-academic professional training in Switzerland. At the Bubendorf site, Bachem operates a teaching laboratory with two full-time instructors specifically for the practical instruction and training of qualified chemical lab technicians. At the two Swiss locations operated by Bachem, 46 young people were enrolled in three- or four-year vocational apprenticeship programs as of the end of 2020; this represented 3.1% of the workforce.

Vocational training in the United States: Bachem Americas offer a program of mid and long-term vocational training and participates in the Bio-Flex Apprenticeship program whereas at Bachem UK vocational training is organized in summer internships for undergraduate students. In addition to the professional qualifications of its workforce acquired through a vocational apprenticeship or university degree program, the Company attaches great importance to providing employees with training and continuing education. The high level of specialization and increasingly tough requirements pertaining to quality and operating procedures call for additional specialist expertise. Bachem provides opportunities for continual professional development to employees as appropriate through internal programs and external providers.

 

Occupational Health and Safety

Bachem has set a goal of reducing Lost Time Incident Rate to ≤ 1.0 by 2026. It is Bachem’s ambition to guarantee a high level of safety and health for all persons working at its premises. This is achieved through appropriate training for new employees that is refreshed addressing all employees at intermittent intervals. New and changing operations are assessed concerning employee health and safety risks. Emphasis is placed on measures for safe handling of chemicals and hazardous substances and the provision of appropriate protective equipment. According to its Health and Safety Policy Bachem strives to avoid all accidents and injuries. With this maximum target in view, the 20% decline in the number of work-related injuries, from 1.33 to 1.07 per 100 employees in 2020, was a welcome result. With only 0.03 lost workday per employee (previous year 0.07), Bachem further ameliorated its excellent safety performance. The number of staff assigned to health, safety and environment (HSE) increased from 10.5 to 15 full-time equivalent positions.

 

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Bachem is committed to increasing the proportion of women in workforce & management by 10% by 2026 and to take steps to reflect the local communities we are part of are represented in Bachem’s workforce. Bachem provides equal opportunities and terms of employment to all employees, irrespective of age, sex, religion, ethnic background or nationality. This principle is not only stated in charters and handbooks but also lived by in hiring and remuneration practices. In particular, this equality of opportunity applies unconditionally with regard to the terms of employment, the principle of equal pay for equal work, performance incentives and the Group’s professional development and promotion policies.

 

Labor Rights and Fair Working Conditions

Bachem is committed to providing a work environment free of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and disrespectful or other unprofessional conduct. The corresponding principles are put down in Corporate Guidelines and handbooks, and are trained on a regular basis. To that end and in addition to the instructions provided already, a training video “[email protected]” was launched in 2020 covering the topics information security, corruption and bribery, discrimination and harassment as well as whistleblowing. The training is a global standard, has to be completed annually by each Bachem employee and is publicly accessible through the corporate website. In accordance with its zero tolerance policy, Bachem cooperates with the authorities in their investigation of an age discrimination complaint filed in 2020 with the State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

 

Personal Development of Employees and Vocational Training

Bachem’s claim to be the “Leading Partner in Tides” is predicated on very high educational attainment of workforce members at every level and high subject area specialization. The growing complexity of the products the Company manufactures and the services it is expected to provide, and even more decisive the increasing requirements of customers and official bodies in terms of production and regulatory processes call for a highly qualified workforce throughout the organization.

At the Bachem Group, 30% of the employees have earned a degree from a university and another 21% have earned a degree from a university of applied science. Over 37% of Bachem’s employees worldwide have completed a vocational apprenticeship, while this figure stands at 54% for employees in Switzerland. Vocational apprenticeship training has a high priority at Bachem. The Swiss dual system of education provides young school graduates at the Group’s sites in Bubendorf and Vionnaz with an excellent opportunity to gain specific vocational training once they finish their compulsory schooling and strive to enter the working population. Apprentices acquire theoretical knowledge and general education at a vocational school and gain practical experience working at the Company. In providing these apprenticeships, Bachem is both discharging part of its social responsibility towards society and also making an important contribution to the maintenance of non-academic professional training in Switzerland. At the Bubendorf site, Bachem operates a teaching laboratory with two full-time instructors specifically for the practical instruction and training of qualified chemical lab technicians. At the two Swiss locations operated by Bachem, 46 young people were enrolled in three- or four-year vocational apprenticeship programs as of the end of 2020; this represented 3.1% of the workforce.

Bachem Americas offer a program of mid and long-term vocational training and participates in the Bio-Flex Apprenticeship program whereas at Bachem UK vocational training is organized in summer internships for undergraduate students. In addition to the professional qualifications of its workforce acquired through a vocational apprenticeship or university degree program, the Company attaches great importance to providing employees with training and continuing education. The high level of specialization and increasingly tough requirements pertaining to quality and operating procedures call for additional specialist expertise. Bachem provides opportunities for continual professional development to employees as appropriate through internal programs and external providers.

 

Talent Management

Bachem aims to be a place where people can have a lasting impact in the world and directly shape both the company’s future and their careers. Given the importance of peptide- and oligonucleotide expertise we aim to offer leadership and development opportunities for talent within our organization as an incentive to remain with the company. As a company, with the ambition to grow strongly over the coming years, Bachem realizes that upscaling its people and culture practices is essential to the success of the company.

Succession planning & people development: For succession planning and development a system is in place where talents are identified and nominated as successors to certain positions. In 2021 Bachem launched a people development program to train leaders how to better recognize and foster individual talent and help counsel people in building their careers at Bachem. The program will continue to expand through 2022 and beyond. Similarly, Bachem is expanding its approach of providing specialist career paths for individual contributors to offer a wider pool of career opportunities. It will offer experts and specialists an alternative career opportunity with fewer or no management tasks.

Performance system: Bachem provides regular systematized performance appraisals through an annual feedback mechanism. Employees and their line managers discuss goals for the year and review performance both at half-year and annual intervals.

Employee retention: These efforts help to attract, retain and develop talented and committed staff. Global rate of employee turnover in 2020 was kept at a low 11.9% (2019: 11.1%) whereas the proportion of internal promotions was at 23.2% – a key performance indicator tracked in 2020 for the first time and defined as the ratio of vacancies filled internally to the total number of filled vacancies.

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