We look back on an eventful year with major challenges. A corona year in which our clients had a difficult time and we suffered loss of revenue at several companies. Fortunately, we were able to compensate those losses within our group. As a result, on balance, we achieve slight growth with a positive result for 2020. We are proud of this result and happy with it. However, it is not the greatest profit for us. In 2020, more than ever before, flexibility and caring for each other were called upon – important values for Vebego and for the people who work there. People helped each other at all levels of our company. Due to our familial and social culture, we have been able to take a stand against the coronavirus. For us, that is the greatest achievement in 2020. The same is true for the increased appreciation in society for the work that our people do. That is the kind of impact we want to make, now and in the future.
Hygiene as a highly valued weapon
It was quite a shock in 2020. More and more, the coronavirus began to take control over our lives. The cleaning work at large customers such as NS, Ziggodome and the airports in Amsterdam, Zurich and Brussels, came to an abrupt halt. The continuity of our companies and the future of our work were suddenly uncertain. What are the consequences of the pandemic for our sector? But also: how do we guarantee valuable jobs for our people? There were major concerns, but also new opportunities appeared: hygiene turned out to be one of the most important weapons to beat the virus. Cleaning was an essential profession. This fact was further emphasis in the Netherlands by the King, who specifically thanked cleaners in his Christmas address. Our work received respect in society. This public appreciation made our people even more proud. We want to maintain and further stimulate that appreciation and pride, as part of our goal to provide meaningful work to people.
Flexible pool helps reduce the pressure on healthcare
After the corona crisis broke out, initiatives were started at almost immediately at all levels within Vebego. The crisis exposed what we actually already knew: we are close to each other and close to the customer. We work on the basis of strong values, with the freedom to also act as we see fit. By setting up a flexible pool, we have tried to deploy elsewhere, as effectively as possible, the approximately 1,000 employees whose work was cut. Many employees, who would otherwise have had no work, were able to still do important work. For example, people who worked at Rotterdam Ahoy supported the Erasmus UMC cleaning team. In this way, we could also immediately contribute to helping healthcare.
The year demanded a lot of flexibility from everyone. As a company, we weathered the storm due to the resilience of our own employees, but also due to all of those customers who remained faithful and open to innovative solutions. At the same time, the contrast was sometimes great. Painfully enough, many employees in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland ended up (temporarily) unemployed. Many sectors in the Netherlands came to a standstill, while healthcare had an acute need for cleaners.
Increased awareness for social return
An important goal for the coming years is to further increase Vebego's impact on people, environment and society. We set high standards as the ‘most inclusive employer’. We want everyone to participate, including people who with distance from the labour market and people with a migrant background. More women deserve a place in managerial positions. Not only do we want to make an impact, we also want to be able to measure it effectively. We sought collaboration for this purpose with the Impact Institute in 2020. Together with the Institute, we will express in hard figures the creation of meaningful work and the active contribution to a circular economy. It is the beginning of a larger movement in which we learn to better value the social return of business activities such as ours, literally and figuratively, both inside and outside of Vebego.
Towards a new structure
At Vebego, we consider a family value such as caring for each other, to be self-evident. We saw this year what you can accomplish when you support each other on the basis of common values. At Vebego, we want to further embed such cooperation. We made strategic choices in 2020 with “Designing our Future” that will take shape in 2021 and beyond. We are working towards larger companies. By sharing knowledge and organising work processes more efficiently, we can offer customers more added value and, at the same time, build strong brands. As a result, we become more attractive as employer. The ultimate goal is to make more impact.
One family. One culture. One language.
Ton Goedmakers, Chairman