Coats Employee Engagement

Employee engagement at Coats

We employ over 18,000 people worldwide and we value our workforce highly. Our employees are from 68 different nationalities, representing many different cultures and are based in 50 countries all around the world.

To make sure that we have a consistent approach to Human Resources (HR) across the Company, we continually review our global and local approaches to managing people. This way we ensure that we have the necessary support structures to enable best practice people management at all our locations. Our global HR team is supported by a network of local HR professionals, who have an understanding of the local culture and norms in the countries in which we operate, and who are helping to achieve our aims.

‘Great Place to Work’

We aspire to have all of our key units certified as a Great Place to Work® (GPTW) or equivalent awards. We are focussing on getting GPTW certification for our top 16 countries, which account for approximately 85% of our workforce. We should successfully have certified all those sites by 2022. Those certified will then be reviewed every two years.

In 2019, so far, we have 19% of our employees working in a GPTW, or equivalent, certified location, which puts us on track to meet our target.

Continuously listening to our people

Consistent with the cultural oversight and direction coming from our Board, it is important we continue to provide opportunities to listen to our people.

Over the last eight years, we carried out an annual global employee engagement survey. In 2019, we decided to enhance our approach moving towards a ‘continuous listening’ model which will include a series of digitally enabled pulse surveys for every stage of the employee experience. This will enable us to track real-time results so we can make immediate corrections and improvement where we need to. This year we held three pulse surveys on key areas of employee engagement – Health and Safety, Communications, and Ethics and Compliance. In the H&S survey the results continued the positive progress from previous years, with 99% of units recording results above the benchmark industry average and 62% of units improving their score from the previous year. In the case of the Communications survey, 95% of respondents confirmed they get effective communication while 85% felt that they get enough communication. Regarding the Ethics and Compliance survey 95% of respondents confirmed that they were trained and motivated to deal effectively with workplace ethics and compliance challenges.

We actively support employees who wish to join labour unions. 43% of our employees are members of a labour union and 43% of our workforce are subject to collective bargaining agreements. Both of these rates have increased substantially in 2019 due to the inclusion of sites in China where union membership and collective bargaining have been implemented.

Promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce

It is important for us to create a respectful and inclusive environment, and we strive to be an organisation in which our employees come from diverse background. We want our employees to feel valued, respected and supported, and for the right conditions to be in place for everyone to be confident and authentic at work.

Coats employs people from 60 countries and we had 31 nationalities represented in our senior management group (2018: 32). In the last year, we rolled out and assessed 40 Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) training modules, and around 400 people have completed the unconscious bias training. Our D&I network continues to grow. We continued to have our quarterly network calls where we discussed progress, shared best practice, and brought in relevant guest people. We’ve had over 200 people joining those calls with a gender split that is generally about 50:50. In March 2019, we marked International Women’s Day across our business, using the theme #BalanceforBetter. On the occasion, we asked our teams to consider which local actions could have the capability to be rolled out globally for more impact. We’ve had a high level of engagement from our employees, and events took place globally in 28 countries and with a great degree of involvement online.

We have continued to run unit-level D&I resource groups to share best practice. This year, we particularly focused on building out our flexible working initiatives both globally and locally through our cluster D&I groups.

In 2019, our Digital and Technology function has started its own focus effort to encourage more women to enter the world of technology. Through actions including mentoring and closer partnerships with recruitment agencies, our ‘Women in Tech’ programme is starting to break down the myths often associated with working in technology. We have also started to engage with external organisations who are known to have well established D&I programmes.

As part of approach to D&I, we aim to regularly measure our demographics to track progress and establish talent acceleration programmes to develop female, multicultural and millennial leaders of the future. In 2019, the percentage of females at board level increased by 3% to 33%, and the percentage of females at senior levels increased by 1% to 24%. This will continue to be an area of focus in 2020.

Attracting talent and enabling them to grow

It is important to Coats that we harness and nurture the best talent amongst our workforce and provide them with the skills and opportunities to succeed. In 2019, we reviewed and refreshed our Recruitment Policy and guidelines to help us retain our best people and acquire specialist talent. As part of the update, we reconfirmed our commitment to diverse candidate pools and refreshed our new process for sharing roles internally to make open roles more visible and support employees in their career development.

We also continued to embrace the digital age and to leverage the power of growth mindset across our business. To support this, our ‘SuccessFactors’ tool, launched in 2018, has given us better visibility of our talent pool globally, and insights on talent utilisation, requirements, attraction, development and retention. Building on this in 2019, we have started to articulate a clearer message on career development, moving away from linear career paths towards more modern career paths designed around learning experiences that focus on the importance of gaining a set of key experiences to build necessary capabilities towards a key organisational role.

To embrace the digital age, we have also been working in partnership with the Neuro Leadership Institute to deliver growth mindset training to our employees. In 2019, we delivered this training to over 100 employees who have responded positively to the training and provided very positive feedback, with 80% of participants feeling better prepared to embrace a growth mindset after having taken the training. It will be rolled out systematically to more people during 2020.

We also added ‘Learning zones’ to our inhouse portfolio of training in 2019. These are delivered both virtually and face to face to allow as many people as possible to benefit from them. These sessions covered 10 different topics, including an introduction to our refreshed Leadership Capability Framework (LCF), interviewing and coaching skills. More than 1,000 people attended these sessions in 2019. The refreshed framework is centred around four capabilities; innovating with the customers through disruptive thinking, digital and data to drive sustainable value; collaborating to connect and share learnings and create value together for One Coats; energising for change to drive outcomes and shape Coats for the future; and developing diverse talent to build a robust talent pipeline.

We have continued to roll out our Transcend leadership programme, targeted at our senior managers which aims at developing the essential leadership competences that will drive success for Coats in the coming years. This includes topics such as coaching, digital learning, case studies and peer learning, and also innovative use of social networking. Over the last two years, 29% of participants were women, 44 employees have graduated from the programme and, of those, 47% have started new or expanded roles.

In support of our continual learning imperative, our online learning platform, Minerva, continues to be a popular way for our employees to develop their skills and capabilities.