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Employee engagement

We share an unbreakable bond throughout our company; because we share the same goals, we support each other to achieve them.

Maintaining a global workforce that is motivated and inspired 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.

Employee engagement: Progress against our target

Remain above the chemical industry annual benchmark for employee engagement.

† This KPI was amended in FY2020 to exclude the results of the Team Vibes survey. It has also been modified to show results for calendar year rather than financial year, in line with Vibes survey timings.

Our approach to engagement

Every two years, we conduct both of our employee engagement surveys: Vibes (for management) and One Voice (for staff and hourly workers).

We modified our Employee Engagement KPI in FY2020 to combine the results of the Vibes survey and our management-level Team Vibes survey. The KPI tracks employee engagement across Birla Carbon globally. Results are compared to both the Global High Performance Norm1 and the Global Chemical Company Norm2, which in FY2020 was 70%.

One Voice

We conducted our second One Voice survey of all non-management level employees in FY2020. The survey was administered with questions prepared in nine different languages, and implemented across fifteen plants and five regional offices.

One Voice achieved an outstanding response rate, with 94% of employees participating. The results showed an improvement in employee experience across various topics such as alignment, execution, performance and development, fairness and ethics, values, recognition and safety compared to the last survey. Despite the improved scores, there was a decline in satisfaction in some areas, including work processes being well organized and efficient, encouraging employees to come up with new and better ways of doing things, and improving the overall communication process. Using these results, we have created action plans to address lower-scoring areas in FY2021.

Vibes

By maintaining open and continuous dialogue with our employees, we gain a better understanding of their expectations and can track our progress with regard 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 local, regional and global levels.

We conducted our most recent Vibes survey in FY2020, with a 98% response rate. The survey shows that we are now achieving, or scoring higher than, the industry benchmark for employee engagement. Employees are proud to work for Birla Carbon and consider it a great place to work. Since the last survey, improvements have been made in the areas of attracting talent, offering varied career opportunities and empowering decision-making. Strengths include the feeling that all backgrounds can succeed, attracting talent, and career and development. While the general perception is improving, there are areas for improvement, including the support managers offer to new starters across the business, work processes and provision of modern equipment.

The results have been distilled into action plans in each region and unit. We continue to track progress through scorecards during FY2021.

From FY2020, the Vibes and Team Vibes surveys were combined for all Aditya Birla Group businesses. Managers with four or more team members received a report for their effectiveness as managers. They then created action plans based on these reports.

Inviting innovation from everyone

Caitlin Lawrence

We want employees to be engaged with every aspect of the business, to continue on the Purpose journey by Sharing the Strength and to promote a culture of innovation. To support our Senior Management Team in achieving this goal, the Innovation Action Team (IAT) was formed in 2019. The IAT is tasked with creating opportunities which empower employees to share their ideas, to build on them in collaboration with their colleagues, and to innovate new solutions and products.

Employee wellness

We want our employees to feel that we create 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 encourage them to lead healthy lifestyles. All regions have their own employee wellness initiatives, tailored to match local health and wellness interests.

In FY2015, we signed the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Pledge for Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at the Workplace. We fulfilled this pledge in FY2018 and will continue to invest in our facilities and communities to maintain and improve WASH conditions.

Supporting diversity in the workplace

With operations in 12 countries, our diverse workforce includes many different cultural backgrounds, and with this a wide range of skills. We are strongly committed to supporting diversity and equality and believe all employees should be given the opportunity 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.

In FY2020, a comprehensive study was done to understand industry best practices regarding gender diversity. A strategy was devised for Birla Carbon to identify and create business opportunities to foster gender diversity in line with our Purpose to Share the Strength.

Several initiatives were implemented based on this strategy, including:

  • Celebrating International Women’s Day across our locations, including screening a video from the COO and a video on Women at Birla Carbon;
  • Reporting gender diversity metrics in the quarterly Chief Human Resources Officer dashboard;
  • Ensuring women are a part of mentoring initiatives; and
  • Ensuring equal growth opportunities for women at Birla Carbon.

How we are supporting the SDGs

SDG 5

Gender equality

We support gender equality by offering equal opportunities within Birla Carbon, without discrimination, and by empowering women to take control of their personal career progression within Birla Carbon.

SDG 6

Clean water and sanitation

WASH is a priority for us, and we worked to ensure that all of our sites were providing safe access to WASH by FY2018.

SDG 10

Reduced inequalities

Taking into consideration our global presence, we seek to reduce inequalities and to build a workforce diverse in ethnicity, sexuality and social background.

SDG 17

Partnerships for the goals

We share the results of our employee engagement surveys with other businesses in the chemicals industry to compare results and determine areas where we can improve.

  1. Results are 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 are 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.
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