Our employees

With numerous training opportunities for its employees and its customers, and a highly-established vocational training program, education is in Bühler’s DNA.


Our employees

With numerous training opportunities for its employees and its customers, and a highly-established vocational training program, education is in Bühler’s DNA.

Our employees are our key to success. They are our most important resource and our future profitability depends on what we do now to adapt to a fast-changing employment landscape. An increasingly digitalized business world means staff have to be adaptable and able to think creatively and strategically as technology drives both commercial opportunities and threats. It means getting the right people in the right roles to achieve maximum competitiveness.


According to a recent McKinsey report, women are a vast untapped resource, to the point where advancing women’s equality would lead to a massive USD 12 trillion being added to global Gross Domestic Product by 2025. For the second year running, Bühler has pledged, along with a hundred other Swiss-based companies, to support gender equality by improving its gender balance by 1 % year on year. We are all capable of unconscious prejudices, so in 2019 Bühler launched its Beyond Bias workshops to increase understanding of the different aspects and consequences of unconscious bias and to foster an inclusive environment. To date, over 300 top managers have attended the workshop. An unconscious bias awareness “Train the Facilitator” program is currently being rolled out to support workshops across the regions. The first training for facilitators took place in 2019 in Uzwil, Switzerland. Every region can tailor the training sessions to address local cultural circumstances.

Retaining and regaining talent is also part of the story. At the start of 2019, Bühler partnered with Women Back to Business, a continuous education program at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, to help support women back into the workplace after short or longer breaks. In September, Bühler hosted a Project Management module in Uzwil, where 33 participants from 21 nationalities participated. 

Bridging generations

All employees, regardless of age, nationality, gender, or circumstance, should feel their voices are heard. To support all employees, the Bühler Diversity & Inclusion initiative has been developing tools and events to ensure everyone is recognized and has the same opportunities for personal and professional development. In August 2019, over a dozen Generations Day events were held around the world in recognition of the need for greater collaboration between employees of all ages. Knowledge sharing across ages is especially important given the speed at which workplaces are currently evolving.

One challenge all employers face is that different generations often have very different expectations of their employers. For example, personal development is ranked far higher than progression among younger employees. The next generation is looking for more cooperative, transparent, and value-orientated management styles. Bühler recognizes the need to adapt to ensure it can meet these changing needs.


In October, Bühler sent 13 delegates to the One Young World Summit held in London as part of its collaborative approach to help tackle environmental challenges. Delegates took part in four days of speeches, panels, networking events, and workshops to discuss issues around climate change, human rights, governance, and business ethics. Talented young representatives from organizations based in 190 countries got the chance to listen and discuss contemporary concerns with world leaders and influencers. Delegates are encouraged to return to their workplaces as agents of change, emboldened with new ideas. 

Virtual learning and attracting talent

Every individual deals with different types of demands both in their professional and personal lives. It means learning programs have to be flexible, enabling employees to use whatever medium best suits their specific circumstances. Bühler has continued to develop B-Learning, a state-of-the-art learning platform that delivers a broad spectrum of learning opportunities through videos, e-learning, classroom training, webinars, or mobile apps. It provides the chance to expand and deepen knowledge anytime and anywhere. Moreover, thanks to its global accessibility it is helping to do away with geographical barriers to learning.

In 2019, Bühler launched its Next Generation Learning program to address how innovations shape the way employees are trained. In the fast-changing economy, new knowledge and skills are needed at a rate that changes quickly. The initiative was launched to strengthen a lifelong-learning and development culture at Bühler. The goal is to establish a recognizable “learning brand” whereby all employees are empowered and encouraged to continue learning and developing. Future training concepts have to be short and relevant, more engaging, personalized, and mobile for modern learners.

Bühler is working with learning professionals to create training formats that underscore those pillars and that foster a strong and unified learning organization. It offers high-end training programs not only to employees, but to customers as well. In its 25 application centers around the world, experts run practical tests with customers to help them develop and improve products.

Bühler has also established training centers across the globe, such as its milling schools in Switzerland and Kenya, chocolate and cocoa training centers in Ivory Coast, Indonesia, and Switzerland, and a rice milling academy in India.New advances in technology are requiring staff to adapt to increasingly complex markets. With this in mind, Bühler continues to develop its Service Excellence & Sales Leadership for Profitable Growth program, launched in 2017, to support front-line sales teams to become agents of change. The three-day program, designed and delivered by a leading global business school, provides service and sales leaders with the necessary skills to help customers navigate market complexities. Bühler also launched a new Value Selling E-Learning program to help staff further develop their sales skills. To date, over 1,000 employees have completed the curriculum.

Bühler improved its Employee Performance Management System for greater transparency, to discuss what is going well on the job and what requires improvement or a rethink, and to formally check in with employees to determine where they need support. The Employee Performance Management System is used for establishing targets for the next year, and for development and training plans. 

Vocational training going strong

Bühler reached a watershed moment in 2019 as the 8,000th  trainee began his vocational apprenticeship in Switzerland, along with 70 new apprentices who started in 2019. The new apprentices began their journey just six weeks after 83 students received their diplomas for completing three-and-four-year courses in a total of eight different professional fields. More than 70 % will continue their careers with Bühler. 


The program provides training to over 600 trainees worldwide each year. Sites offering vocational training include Switzerland, Germany, Austria, India, Brazil, the US, and South Africa. Currently, there are 269 apprentices in Switzerland, 214 across Europe, 14 in the Middle East and Africa, 20 in North America, 10 in South America, and 91 in South Asia. Under the Swiss model, apprentices receive a mix of practical and academic training.

Candidates are paid during their apprenticeships, with Bühler also providing the training, classes, tools, books, computers, and uniforms. The courses are designed to develop the skills that future employees will need to be able to adapt to often fast-changing work environments.

Bühler invests around CHF 30,000 per apprentice per year for training and education. The Swiss vocational training model is seen as a global benchmark and is being adopted by other countries. The global apprenticeship model is evolving successfully, ensuring our talent pipeline at the entry level. The participants will be supported with skills training throughout their careers with Bühler.

Harald Neelsen, Senior Automation Engineer, and Gospa Tesic, Assistant to Head of Project Execution Milling Solutions, in the CUBIC.

Succession planning and talent development

Bühler has a number of different initiatives designed to nurture the best talents from within the company into tomorrow’s leaders. One such pipeline, in its third year, is the Excelerator program, an initiative that tailors career development to the specific needs of an individual. With such a wide geographical spread, Bühler has access to some of the best talents the world has to offer. The aim of the Excelerator program is to ensure that these talents are first recognized and then enabled to mature and develop into leadership roles. The initiative involves employees being nominated for a two-day assessment program from which 20 candidates are selected. An individual development and coaching plan is then drawn up for each successful candidate to build on their strengths and develop their leadership abilities.

The Bühler International Management Trainee Program offers another pipeline into senior management and leadership. Designed to attract the best talents leaving universities and business schools, the three-year program takes seven trainees a year and fast-tracks them through the Bühler corporate experience. They have the opportunity to work with top management at the Executive Board member or regional head level, where they learn leadership skills. Candidates take responsibility for a major Bühler project and experience all the entrepreneurial challenges that go with a new business venture, such as a start-up. Management Trainees also have the chance to work abroad for one year as part of the program.


Key global positions are defined by the Executive Board and the global Human Resources team. The most important among these are reviewed and discussed by the Executive Board and Annual Talent Board. For each key position, an immediate replacement is nominated, along with mid- to long-term succession candidates. Two to three candidates are defined and developmental plans are established. 

Strengthening culture

In 2019, Bühler adapted its corporate values to ensure the right corporate culture is in place to meet current and future challenges. The foundation of our values remains, but we have made them more concise: “Trust, Ownership, and Passion” (TOP).

These are the guiding principles for everyone in the company. “Trust” relates to the integrity, partnership skills, and credibility required for Bühler to form collaborative networks with customers, start-ups, academia, and NGOs to address global challenges. “Ownership” is about taking responsibility for making decisions in the interest of customers, and “Passion” drives people at Bühler to live their intentions, to learn each day, to support others, and to drive success.

Bühler continues to build the strength of its employer brand to attract the best talent with the focus in 2019 on raising social media presence. The strategy has resulted in early successes, with more traffic directed to the Bühler website and a higher response rate to company job advertisements.


Bühler is delighted to have received the prestigious Swiss Leading Employer Award in 2019, ranking it among the top 1 % of nominated Swiss employers. The judging process involved a thorough evaluation of employee assessments, studies, and public surveys, resulting in Bühler achieving first place within the mechanical and plant engineering sector.


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