Employee engagement

Within our company, our bond – in its elemental form – is unbreakable; because we share the same goals, we support each other to achieve them. Motivating and inspiring our global workforce is instrumental to our success, and learning how our employees feel is crucial for understanding how we are developing as an organization. We have a diverse workforce with a broad geographical spread, and we seek to engage all our people as we support them and their lifestyles.

Our approach to engagement

We have introduced a new KPI to track employee engagement across Birla Carbon globally. Engagement is assessed through Vibes and Team Vibes surveys and results are compared with both the Global High Performance Norm1 and the Global Chemical Company Norm2, which in FY2018 stood at 80%.

Progress towards target

Target: Remain above chemical industry annual benchmark for employee engagement.

FY2016FY2017FY2018FY2030 target
80%89%92%80%3

3 The industry benchmark will evolve year on year; in FY2018, it remained at 80%.

One Voice

We conducted our first survey covering all employees in FY2017. Called One Voice, the survey was accessible at all levels with questions prepared in 12 different languages and implemented across 15 plants and four regional offices.

One Voice achieved an outstanding response, with 96% of employees participating. The results showed that our people are willing to give extra effort to achieve our goals (94%) and most are proud to work for Birla Carbon (89%). A notable result was that most respondents (87%) believe that safety is a priority for their immediate supervisor – which counts as a real step forward for our safety culture. We also scored well in engagement and alignment. Although there were few areas of real concern, we performed less well in terms of development and work execution. During FY2018, we applied the lessons learned to the development of improvement action plans.

Vibes

By encouraging continuous dialogue with our employees, we gain a better understanding of their expectations and track our progress with regards to employee engagement. The Vibes survey is conducted at management level by an external provider every two years. It provides valuable feedback which helps us develop and execute action plans in specific areas that are tracked at a local, regional and global level.

We conducted our most recent Vibes survey in FY2017, with a 98% response rate. The survey shows that we are now reaching the industry benchmark for employee engagement. We performed highly in the areas of Customer Centricity, in alignment and in openness to new ideas. Our people are proud to be a member of the Aditya Birla Group, which they consider a great brand to work for, and believe that their work is connected to our overall business goals. Most of our people also believe that Birla Carbon is socially and environmentally responsible.

In terms of areas for further improvement, we could still do more to attract the best talent, offer varied career opportunities and provide a vibrant, energetic and diverse workplace for young people.

The results have been distilled into action plans in each region and we continued to track progress through scorecards during FY2018.

Team Vibes

Our Team Vibes survey takes place in alternative years to the main Vibes survey. Team Vibes is a feedback mechanism through which managers with five or more dependent employees can gain actionable insights into what prevents employees from performing at their best.

We held our most recent Team Vibes survey in FY2018. The results show that we are reaching an excellent level of employee engagement that is 10% above the industry benchmark. Engagement scores increased significantly over FY2015 across the parameters of leadership, management and team effectiveness. Areas where we will focus in the coming years to drive continuous improvement include interdepartmental communication and generating excitement for the future of our business. To address these areas of improvement, action plans will be prepared at the manager, unit and business level and progress will be tracked over the next two years using a global scorecard.

From FY2019, we will combine the Vibes and Team Vibes survey and roll it out once every two years at the Group level to allow more time for action planning and change to take place between surveys. Our next business-wide engagement scores will be in FY2020.

Employee wellness

We want our employees to feel that we have a positive working environment. Their wellbeing, and our care for it, is an integral part of our relationship with our people. We continually look for ways in which we can help them to lead healthy lifestyles.

Providing safe drinking water around the world

We are proud to have met the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Pledge for Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at the Workplace. Signed by Birla Carbon in 2015, the WASH pledge is an opportunity to contribute to the implementation of the UN Sustainability Development Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation.

The WBCSD assesses progress using a scoring system which has a maximum score of 2.0. Birla Carbon’s score in January 2018 was 1.93, a major step forward from our score of 1.77 when we made the commitment in FY2015.

Our key successes over the last three years include:

  • All plants found creative ways of contributing to the WASH initiative, whether inside the plant or in the communities;
  • All plants actively measure water use and water recycling, and established water reuse programs; and
  • A total of 143 awareness campaigns and training sessions were carried out at Birla Carbon plants, with 53 action plans created and 46 of these completed.
  • Employee Engagement

Supporting diversity in the workplace

With operations in 12 countries, our diverse workforce includes many different cultural backgrounds and skills. We are strongly committed to diversity and equality, believing that all employees should be able to progress based on their merits and abilities. We aim to ensure that our leadership is representative of the local workforce, that we hire local talent regardless of ethnicity, sexuality or social background, and that skills are transferred equally throughout our operations. We comply with all relevant employment legislation in the countries where we operate, as a minimum.

1 Results compared against other companies meeting two criteria: (1) Above industry average financial performance for at least three years; (2) Above average engagement scores.

2 Results from a cross-section of chemical companies engaged in the manufacturing/distribution of chemicals for use in industry, agriculture, household and non-pharmaceutical personal use.

Quality education

Our Code of Ethics training provides education to our employees on human rights and diversity.

Gender equality

We support gender equality by offering equal opportunities within Birla Carbon, without discrimination, and by empowering women in the communities where we operate through vocational training and support.

Clean water and sanitation

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is a priority for us, and we have been working to ensure that all of our sites provide safe access to WASH by FY2018.

Reduced inequalities

Following in the path of the Aditya Birla Group, we seek to reduce inequalities, by offering opportunities for the poorest and vulnerable; empowering people and promoting inclusion; and adopting equality policies, notably for women.

Partnerships for the goals

We help achieve the goals by working closely with our stakeholders, including community groups, universities, NGOs and the Aditya Birla Group.

We have fulfilled the WBCSD Pledge for Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at the Workplace.