Case study: How to get the right people for the right jobs?

Applying HR values in recruitment


Established some 100 years ago, Sika is a globally active Swiss company in the specialty chemicals sector; it has been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich since 1974. It is a supplier to the building and manufacturing industries (automotive, bus, truck, train, solar and wind-power systems). Sika is a leading manufacturer of processed materials for sealing, bonding, damping, reinforcing and protecting load-bearing structures. Countless engineers, technical consultants and application instructors advise and support their customers from a project's preliminary study stage through to its realisation. Continuity and retaining acquired knowledge are of the utmost importance for this company, which is why employee retention is so important for Sika.

Identifying any discrepancies

Sika relies on recruiting talented individuals. To remain attractive to potential staff, it is essential to reduce fluctuation rates and keep them as low as possible at the different Sika companies. The selection process had to be reviewed and optimised in order to achieve this aim. This enables the identification of any discrepancies between the values that Sika communicates and the expectations of applicants as early as the recruitment stage.

Pursuing a common goal

Sika staff should be able to identify with the Sika spirit. Values, expectations and career development opportunities at Sika must not only be clearly communicated but should also be clearly perceived by staff and applicants. The company and its staff can only pursue a common goal and demonstrate a common spirit if both share the same understanding of what this involves.

Our collaboration with PwC has given us valuable information about how our staff perceive Sika as an employer and, more importantly, about the values that are important for them in the workplace.

Peter Ziswiler, Leiter Human Resources


In order to achieve its goals, Sika decided to conduct a PeopleValue™ project in collaboration with PwC. As a first step, qualitative interviews defining the Sika spirit were carried out and the application process was analysed. Then staff working in three departments at Sika Switzerland were surveyed on their preferences and value drivers in order to identify any discrepancies in perception. PwC used this survey to formulate recommendations on how to improve the recruitment process and maybe change some of the current staff’s scope of activities. These were then tackled and implemented in collaboration with Sika.

The staff view

It was of major importance for Sika and the PwC team that staff were involved in the process in order to find out their views. An internal survey aimed at casting some light on the value dimensions of work, leadership, environment, development and image was therefore set up. The results of the survey were compared with Sika’s values, thus bringing to light possible discrepancies.

A complete success

PwC’s close collaboration with Sika fostered mutual trust, making this project highly successful. The PeopleValue™ project has improved the recruitment process at Sika and has further reinforced the relationship between Sika and PwC.


Thanks to the close collaboration between Sika and PwC experts, it was possible to integrate HR values into the recruitment process in accordance with the client's wishes.

Long-term views

Sika was able to realise its goal of successfully integrating HR values and will profit from an improved recruitment process going forward. The findings from the PeopleValue™ project were also discussed at some Sika subsidiaries outside Switzerland and changes have already been launched. In addition, by taking part in the survey, staff felt integrated into the company's processes, which in turn allowed the Sika spirit to be better expressed, motivating staff to pursue a common goal.

Valuable collaboration

PwC put together an experienced team of HR specialists who, with commitment, much energy and enthusiasm, skilfully reached one milestone after another right through to the project's successful conclusion. Even when bottlenecks appeared, the team was able to draw on a network of experienced experts who provided valuable input based on best practice from previous projects. The solution implemented by PwC ensured that the long-term needs of Sika could be met in a sustainable manner at all times.


Urs Brügger

Partner Tax and Legal Services, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 45 10