Fostering sustainable relationships

– Most people associate the term «sustainability» with nature and the environment, but we think that’s too limited: Zurich Convention Center attaches great importance to applying sustainability to more than just ecology – and above all, embodying it too.

«Sustainability has a great deal to do with valuing, and doesn’t only relate to the environment,» says CEO Roger Büchel. What’s he thinking of? «Our employees are our most important capital, so we have to act just as sustainably in this respect. In its wider sense, this also includes our partners and suppliers.» Acting sustainably duly means that the Convention Center is actively working on fostering relationships and partnerships that are positive for both parties in the longer term. «We’d like our employees to be so satisfied and enthusiastic that they radiate this to our guests and event organizers,» says the CEO. The same principle can be transferred to partners and suppliers: if they’re enthusiastic too, then everyone will benefit from this.

Satisfaction and enthusiasm as a result of valuing

Actually achieving this satisfaction and enthusiasm isn’t really that hard, because ultimately it’s all about genuine appreciation. For example, employees of the Convention Center are given lots of opportunities to influence things: they should be able to have their say and be heard. This motivates them, and teams are correspondingly organized too. Furthermore, a good team spirit is deliberately nurtured. At least three times a year there’s a meeting for every employee with information and a social element – yet an appreciative attitude in everyday working life is much more important. This spirit should already be noticeable when people are learning the ropes: employees aren’t simply ‹let loose› on their daily work routine, but are comprehensively informed, inducted, and integrated into the team.

«Sustainability has a lot to do with valuing, and doesn’t only relate to the environment»

Roger Büchel, Chief Executive Officer, Zurich Convention Center

Everyone is part of the team

Even the 400+ temporary employees aren’t merely workers who are just available ‹on call›: «We’re also trying here to create relationships that are as stabile and positive as possible – so their next assignment is tackled with the same level of enthusiasm as the last one,» says Roger Büchel. The Convention Center team also includes external workers who for the most part are present from the outset. They might be individuals or – in the case of marketing – an entire team. Thus these partners are part of the sustainability concept: in addition to their professional expertise, partners and suppliers ranging from technicians and facility management to marketing and wine merchants are above all chosen in accordance with how well they fit with the Convention Center and its spirit, and the extent to which they share its values. They can be major partners or very small family-run companies.

A partner is there when things occasionally don’t go well

Only in this way is it possible to enjoy long-lasting, mutually valuing and fruitful relationships. Our collaboration with these partners is very close and requires a great deal of trust because we want them to think critically and creatively, be enthusiastic, and get involved – and not simply process or fulfil orders. You particularly benefit from good relationships if things occasionally don’t go so well – if, for example, a mistake has occurred or we need some special input.
Conversely, this principle also applies to the Convention Center’s business clients: the event organizers. An event at the Convention Center ought to run as smoothly and pleasantly as possible, and it ought to be possible to detect passion as well as proactive and creative thinking. Only in this way will event organizers want to pay us a return visit and maybe even recommend the Convention Center to others – just as we recommend our partners and suppliers on the basis of our positive experiences with them!

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