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The strength of family

News | 07. July 2022.
After an eventful history, EVVA has been firmly in the family since 1973, currently in the third generation. Just like nine out of ten companies in Austria and very many EVVA Partner companies. What is the strength of this company structure and what are the particular challenges?

According to an analysis by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, family businesses shape the Austrian economy. In 2018, the roughly 157,000 family businesses employed around 65% of employees throughout Austria, accounting for 1.8 million jobs, and generated sales of around 393.5 billion euros. However, family businesses are as diverse as their areas of operation: they range from small skilled crafts businesses to large globally successful corporations. 

What constitutes a family business?

The current study by the Austrian Institute for SME Research shows that around 88% of companies in Austria are family businesses according to the EU definition*). If we disregard the one-person companies, the proportion of family businesses according to the narrower definition is still more than half of Austrian companies at 51%. 

Other structures in the family?

According to PWC’s 2018 Family Business Survey, family businesses have a reputation for prioritising the company’s interests and long-term development over short-term results. Stefan Ehrlich-Adám, CEO of EVVA, can back up this assessment from his own experience: “On the one hand, we have a long-term view of the company’s development, sometimes even spanning generations. On the other hand, we can also reach decisions very quickly if necessary thanks to the short lines of communication. In any case, we take corporate risks with sound judgement.”

Strong into the future – with the right strategy

EVVA’s corporate strategy and the company’s market positioning are crucial for the continued successful development of the company. The management cannot achieve this alone. This is why a collaborative network of internal and external experts was established at EVVA at an early stage to put the future of the company on a strong footing. In addition to the Supervisory Board, the Management Board and regular reporting, EVVA has a carefully considered cycle of control elements: “We have developed an annual cycle that includes an annual strategy meeting and, building on this, divisional workshops that take topics from the strategy workshop. The managers then develop the goals for the individual organisational units and down to the individual employees,” explains Nicole Ehrlich-Adám, Chief People Officer and member of the EVVA Management Board. Subsidiary conferences are also held at the headquarters in Vienna twice yearly to focus the subsidiary heads and all market activities on the strategic alignment. 

Connecting values – focusing on people

People are the focal point at EVVA, whether they be our customers, partners or our employees; personal needs and requirements are always considered. Appreciation, respect and fairness characterise the way we treat our employees. “I think employees enjoy working in family businesses because there is a more attentive approach and a greater closeness between the employers and employees” says Nicole Ehrlich-Adám and concludes from this: “Our success factors are passionate employees who want to make a difference and at the same time are committed to EVVA and the company’s vision. This makes us unique and we rely on it to continue to inspire the best people to work for us in the future.” 


*)Definitions “Family business”

According to the EU definition, a business is a family business if
› the majority of the decision-making rights are in the possession of the owner family (people who established or acquired the firm, children, heirs, etc.) and
› at least one representative of the family or kin is involved in the governance of the firm.

The narrower definition of a family business includes, according to the EU definition, businesses that have more than one employee.


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