Corporate Social Responsibility at Sonova


At Sonova, we foster a spirit in which shared engagement and personal responsibility are the driving forces for innovation. Inspired employees are our life-blood: with high agility and in self-dependent teams we work towards enhancing the quality of life of millions by bringing better hearing to people with hearing loss.

Our employees are key to our success

At Sonova, our employees contribute to something greater than themselves – they transform lives. We work towards enhancing the quality of life of millions by bringing better hearing to people with hearing loss. Our shared core values – innovation, engagement, and responsibility – shape the corporate culture that defines and unites us as a company across all brands and regions.

Global trends such as demographic changes, limited availability of specialist talent, and the need to adapt quickly to shifting markets highlight the importance of a proactive staffing strategy for Sonova. We strongly believe that developing talent with the goal of ensuring internal succession is vital to sustainable success. Appointing internally to key positions while retaining and developing skilled employees helps to ensure that Sonova’s specialist knowledge and intellectual property remain within the company, sustaining our competitive advantage. In 2015, we were able to fill 57% of our open leadership positions with Sonova employees.

Striving for engaged employees

Sonova prides itself on offering meaningful, interesting work, a transformational leadership style, and a feedback-oriented culture. By regularly reviewing the competencies, performance, potential, and career plans of our employees, we invest in the development of  each individual’s strengths. A fully integrated global talent management system supports all our activities through the complete career path. Our professional leadership culture, conscientious treatment of our workforce, and proactive approach to employee retention over the past years have combined to reduce our employee turnover to the very low level of 11.9%. 

Leadership is a critical factor for sustainable business success; we have therefore established a comprehensive leadership program. Through intensive feedback, coaching, and exercises we challenge our managers to become even more effective at leading and developing their employees, their teams, and their organizations.

Engaging diverse teams is another of Sonova’s keys to success. Our pleasant work environment helps us attract a well-balanced mix of different skills and personalities. We offer flexible working hours, part time work, job sharing, and home office work. Thanks to various family policy measures and a commitment to promote women whenever feasible, we are pleased to report that 39% of our leadership positions are filled by women.

Employees by region

 (full time equivalent) 2015/16 2014/15 2013/14
Switzerland 1,200 1,238 1,189
EMEA (excl. Switzerland) 3,452 2,919 2,531
Americas 3,622 3,585 3,451
Asia/Pacifics  2,620 2,442 2,358
Total  10,894 10,184 9,529


Ratio: Women in leadership positions

 (as a percentage of employees) 2015/16 2014/15 2013/14
Switzerland 21.6 23.5 21.3
EMEA (excl. Switzerland) 37.4 38.6 36.6
Americas 45.0 43.9 42.3
Asia/Pacifics 47.1 44.0 44.3
Total 39.0 38.8 37.2

Employee turnover rates

(in percent) 2015/16 2014/15 2013/14
Switzerland 10.3 5.2 8.8
EMEA (excl. Switzerland) 7.2 7.8 8.4
Americas 19.1 18.5 15.6
Asia/Pacifics 9.0 11.5 9.6
Total 11.9 12.2 10.2


Occupational health & safety

Sonova has established an effective occupational health and safety culture that supports and protects our employees. We regularly monitor and analyze the potential health and safety risks of our operations and implement both legally-required and voluntary occupational health and safety programs. Sonova’s operations have a relatively low exposure to health and safety risk, but we are committed to continuous improvement here as elsewhere. We therefore investigate each incident to determine its cause and to take steps to prevent any reoccurrence.


Injury and Lost Day Rate

Unit 2015/16 2014/15 2013/14
Injury rate (IR) 0.43


Lost day rate (LDR) 1.45



IR = the injury rate equals the total number of injuries / total hours worked x 200,000
LDR = the lost day rate equals the total number of lost days / total hours worked x 200,000

The injury and lost day rate cover data from the Sonova headquarters in Stäfa and the manufacturing sites in China and Vietnam.

Diversity and inclusion

Sonova is currently present in over 90 countries around the globe and has a workforce of 10,894 dedicated employees with a broad mix of experiences and backgrounds. We consider this diversity to be key to our success, since it represents our global customer base and fosters innovation. All facets of diversity are important to us at Sonova; we strive to create an environment where everyone – regardless of gender, language, age, ethnic origin, religion, or health status, – can contribute and realize their potential. Our commitment to diversity is recorded in our Code of Conduct and binding for all our employees.

Thanks to various family policy measures and a commitment to promote women whenever feasible, we are pleased to report that women now fill 39% of our leadership positions. In all our production sites, where shift work is standard, employees returning from maternity leave can choose to work at between 50% and 100% of their previous level during their first year back. We operate our own day care center at our headquarters in Stäfa and financially support lower-salary employees, as in our production center in Vietnam and in Stäfa, to help pay for day care.

Sonova provides reasonable accommodation in its job application procedures for qualified individuals with disabilities, or to enable otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

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