Grundfos Hungary – Employing Disadvantaged People in Plants

The Danish Grundfos is a multinational company and one of the world’s leading pump unit manufacturers, operating over 80 companies in 55 countries. In Hungary, Grundfos has three companies with a workforce of 2200 employees. At its Tatabánya plant Grundfos manufactures electronic and submersible motors, as well as sewage pumps, circulators and construction pumps. In the Székesfehérvár plant centrifugal waste water pumps, as well as giant individual pumps in a one-piece production system.


Detailed description of practice and its goals

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sustainability and corporate management based on diversity are of great importance to Grundfos Hungary Kft. The company aims to promote diversity within the company with respect to generations, gender equality and the employment of people with disabilities. In an attempt to foster gender equality, specific goals have been defined globally for women in management positions, which is underpinned by training, mentoring and career planning. With respect to the company’s global workforce, the goal is to reach 3% with respect to employees with altered working capacity, and at least 25% of managers should be female by 2017.

Background, participants and their responsibilities

A vállalat alapítója Poul Due Jensen 1968-ban hozta létre az első műhelyt Dániábana megváltozott munkaképességű munkavállalók számára. A fogyatékos személyek alkalmazására vonatkozó szándék már a vállalat alapító okiratában nevesítve lett. Ez a felelősségteljes, elkötelezett vállalati kultúra a mai napig jellemzi a nemzetközi céget.
A magyarországi vállalat 2001 óta, azaz a magyarországi gyártás kezdetétől alkalmaz megváltozott munkaképességű munkavállalókat. Jelenleg a vállalat létszámából, 2200 főből 116 a megváltozott munkaképességű munkavállaló, akiket egy dedikáltan rájuk figyelő segítő támogat. Az alkalmazottak rugalmas, négyórás és többműszakos rendben dolgoznak, a munkafolyamatok a munkavállalók képességeinek megfelelően lettek kialakítva.

A nemzetközi vállalatok esetében (is) meghatározó, hogy az anyavállalat, illetve a tulajdonos számára a célcsoport foglalkoztatása milyen prioritással bír.


Nehézségek, pozitívumok, eredmények és kulcs sikerfaktorok

The company’s founder, Poul Due Jensen, established the first workshop for people with disabilities in 1968 in Denmark. The intention to employ people with disabilities had already been laid down in the company’s statutes. A socially responsible and dedicated corporate culture has been characteristic of the company ever since.
The Hungarian branch has been employing people with altered working capacity since 2001; i.e. since the start of manufacturing in Hungary. At present the 2200-strong workforce incudes 116 employees with disabilities, who are supported by a dedicated member of staff. Employees work in flexible four-hour shifts and work processes have been shaped to fit employees’ capabilities. The priorities defined by the parent company related to the target group are key in the case of subsidiaries (as well).

A person is considered to have altered working capacity if they – as a result of a congenital disorder, an accident or illness – are incapable of performing their tasks in the same manner or to the same extent as other people of the same gender, similar age and qualifications would generally be able to.


At present the degree of a person’s reduced capacity to work is determined during the course of an expert examination by the Specialized Rehabilitation Service (Rehabilitációs Szakigazgatási Szerv, RSZSZ). After the examination the committee issues a document for the person, stating the level of reduction in their working capacity, the degree of overall damage to health and an assessment of the person’s health condition. It also determines whether the change in the person’s condition is permanent, or if it requires further review.
Previously, the following bodies were responsible for determining the above: the National Institute of Medical Experts (Országos Orvosszakértői Intézete, OOSZI), the National Institute of Rehabilitation and Social Experts (Országos Rehabilitációs és Szociális Szakértői Intézet, ORSZI) and the National Office of Rehabilitation and Social Affairs – NORSA (Nemzeti Rehabilitációs és Szociális Hivatal, NRSZH).
According to Act 4/1991 on employment and unemployment benefits, a person with altered working capacity is “a person with physical or mental disability, or someone whose chances of retaining a place at work have been considerably reduced following medical rehabilitation, as a result of bodily or mental damage”.

Forrás: 4M Tájékoztató füzet munkáltatóknak, Zalaegerszeg, Zala Megyei Kormányhivatal Munkaügyi Központja, 2013.


Difficulties, strengths, results and key success factors

In order to ensure the smooth integration and employment of people with altered working capacity, it is important to make sure that all the work processes are reorganized and the job descriptions are adjusted. It is also crucial to have an accessible space, which may in some cases generate costs. As for Grundfos, its plants have been built to be completely accessible, potential further adjustments do not (as a rule) imply significant extra cost.
The key to the successful employment of people with altered working capacity is commitment. Another success factor is sensitization, which ensures that other company employees are prepared, their questions are answered and doubts or negative stereotypes related to people with altered working capacity are dealt with. Enduring change rarely happens without changing corporate attitudes and without bringing the new kind of approach to a strategic level.

Assessment of the practice and its results

The success of the best practice is manifested in the high number of employees with an altered working capacity and the length of their employment. Employee satisfaction and the level of loyalty among employees with an altered working capacity is high. This is proven by the fact that in 2015 the number of direct applications to the rehabilitation unit was one third of all applications; in addition, employees with an altered working capacity awarded the company higher marks than the average for all employees for the commitment indicators in the framework of Aon Hewitt’s 2013 Best Workplace survey.

“These people bring colour to the grayness of the daily grind. They bring all the advantages that the relevant literature describes”

(a member of the HR personnel responsible for supporting and representing employees with changed working capacity)

The effectiveness of the programme is confirmed by the fact that the company was awarded the Disability-friendly Workplace award on several occasions.


The key to long-term employment in the case of Grundfos is that commitment is deeply rooted in the company culture and is explicitly declared in its statutes.