Stuck at the Airport:Improving Employee Mobility for a Healthy Workforce
Vebego International is a Dutch family-owned company operating in various service industries in Europe. The company acknowledges that as a service provider, people are its most important asset. Vebego has continuously invested in its employees and strived to create good work conditions for them. This case is about Vebego Airport Service, part of Vebego International that manages cleaning, security and facilities at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – one of the largest airport hubs in Europe. Given industry norms, workers operating on the floor at Schiphol are employed by a tender-winning service company. This means that even though these employees are permanently based at Schiphol, they may be switching official employers on a regular basis. As a result of historical management decision-making, salaries of Vebego employees in the security and facility management departments are significantly higher than industry averages. The salaries of the cleaning staff are not particularly high but these employees have a permanent full-time contract, which is rare in the industry. These factors, alongside a fixed location, a good pension scheme, excellent social security, and family-like work environment, have created a ‘Golden Cage’ for the workforce, resulting in a close-to-zero employee turnover for Vebego Airport Services.Low voluntary employee turnover is usually considered desirable, but this is not the case for Vebego. The low-skill labor in question, such as cleaning and regulating trolleys, is highly physical and strenuous. Employees are willing to work until their pension, even though this can be detrimental to their health. This also becomes the cause of a surge in sick leaves as the average age of the workforce increases, which has a noticeable impact on Vebego’s costs and performance quality. Vebego cares deeply for the well-being of their employees and seeks possible solutions to on the one hand, maintain quality and efficiency, and on the other, eliminate the ‘Golden Cage’ and help its employees not only safely reach pension but be able to fully enjoy their well-deserved retirement.