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31st July 2018

Hager Group building bridges around the world

It all started with a big dilemma. In 1955, Oswald and Hermann Hager, along with their father, founded their small elektrotechnische Fabrik, which produced new meter and distribution boards. The location of the new Hager general partnership was Ensheim in Saarland, a region which, at the end of World War II, was first made a protectorate under French control. Then, in 1957 following a referendum, the Saarland became German again. A result of this was that France would become a sovereign neighbouring state with all the border controls, customs provisions and bureaucratic obstacles that greatly complicated cross-border trade at the time.

Our company founders had two choices: integrate into the French market or move across the border. In the end, they created a third option: operate successfully in both Germany and France. While Oswald oversaw the main factory and distribution in Ensheim, Saarland, Herman Hager, the more technical of the two, built the company’s second foothold in the town of Obernai, in the Region of Alsace, France.

It was one of the best decisions in our company’s history. Thanks to this option, they were able to operate across borders, effortlessly crossing from one side to the other and throughout Europe.

This ability to adapt and be understood as well as embrace rather than deny our identity is more crucial today than ever before. Without these abilities, we would never have achieved our current size and scope. In keeping with this, we try to support the mobility of our employees today, regardless of hierarchy, length of service, work area or origin. This includes postings several months in length, as well as ‘localisations’, whereby employees move to a new location in the long term. We support employees in looking for somewhere to live, language acquisition, finding a school for their children, intercultural training and almost everything that helps them integrate into their new home and will make their stay abroad a success.

Since 2015, the number of employee postings has almost doubled, increasing more than five-fold in comparison to 2013. In future, there may be even more. "The goal of our mobility policy is to promote international careers and build bridges between the various Hager Group sites," says Anne Girault, in charge of international mobility at Hager Group. "This enables us to share knowledge and common processes within the company."

You can read the full story about Borders are no obstacle in Hager Group Annual Report 2017/18.

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