Talent and Well-being

Retention of our people

The attrition rate has risen to 6.58% in 2019 from 5.29% in 2015. This trend might create an operational risk if key people leave the organisation. We monitor all reasons for leaving so that corrective measures can be taken should patterns emerge. By focusing on retaining staff through talent management and developing our leadership capability, we aim to mitigate these factors.

Additionally, we face the challenge of an aging workforce. In 2019, 30% of employees were over 50 years of age and 85% over 40 years. To redress the balance and encourage younger talent to remain at Balta, we have developed more flexible working practices through flextime and working from home programs, as well as a culture that pays attention to employee well-being and the social aspects of work.  

Our 2020 target for the attrition rate across Balta is 5% and we aim to achieve this by focussing on the needs of our workforce.  We have begun regular CEO lunches, and use our intranet and social media to drive this. In 2020, quarterly ‘Balta Talks’ will also be recorded on video so that they can be shared across all international locations and with the sales team that is primarily based outside office and manufacturing sites. Retention will also be supported by structured planning and support for managers on good practice.

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Managing talent in the workforce

With a high attrition rate and low unemployment, as well as the need for succession planning for sustained long-term growth, it is important that we focus on our people, identifying and nurturing their talent so that they progress their careers within the group.

In 2019 we developed a new training delivery approach that uses a mixture of centrally organised training, departmental training and continuous career development. Using this mix and measuring performance in Belgium, we delivered 30,673 hours of formal training. This was split between 25,142 hours of central training and 5,531 hours of career development. Additionally, internal department training is continuous and carried out regularly and on demand. Operations in Turkey carried out the same program, recording 2,037 hours. In US, an approximate total of 1,000 hours has been recorded.

The goal for 2020 will be a similar amount, plus a minimum 1,400 hours of internal ‘on the job’ training

2018 saw us start to implement a formal talent management assessment for our senior employees and during 2019 this was cascaded through the organisation. The 2019 talent review based on the nine-box methodology showed an increase of 22% in employees raster as having higher potential.

In 2020 we will introduce a new leadership development program for senior managers with the organisation so we can improve succession planning. In future, we aim to have development plans in place for all employees identified as future leaders, including a mentorship scheme.

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Talent acquisition

We face a challenge in acquiring talent with 2019 seeing reduced levels of acquisition compared to previous years. That said, recruitment remains significant with 234 people recruited into the business during the year. Of these new employees, 133 were for replacement positions.

Included in these figures are the appointment of new Management Committee members: Stefan Claeys has been appointed in the newly created role of modulyss Managing Director; Oliver Forberich has been appointed as Managing Director Balta carpets, ITC, arc edition and Captiqs; and Emmanuel Rigaux has been appointed as Chief Transformation Officer. The addition of Kris Willaert as Group HR Director has led to a new HR vision that underpins strategic development.

Talent acquisition is part of this vision and by monitoring recruitment and managing it more efficiently it is possible to reduce the time and cost taken to hire talent. 2020 recruitment targets are to reduce the time taken to hire by at least 20% (vs 2019) and simultaneously decrease the average cost per hire by 20% (vs 2019).

In order to achieve these targets and drive a significant reduction in time and cost of recruitment, it is extremely important to improve our recruitment impact and recognition globally. Therefore, 2019 saw us redesign our employer branding and launching a campaign featuring our own employees. Active online and offline, the response has been positive from external recruiters and attracting talent has become easier.

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The engagement and well-being of our people

Identifying the need to retain and attract talent, we have conducted well-being surveys and feedback sessions with the aim of finding ways to overcome these challenges. As a result, we have begun a shift in culture towards well-being and employee health at every level of the business.

Several initiatives have already been implemented to improve the well-being of employees by addressing the work-life balance. After the pilot project for flexible working in 2018 was positively evaluated, a new flexible working policy giving the ability to work alternative hours has been introduced across operations in Belgium. It is our aim to roll our similar programs in other international locations. Also, following an in-depth analysis of remote teleworking in Belgium to encourage gender diversity and improve the work life balance of employees, we have also introduced a home working policy.

In the USA, to provide easier commutes for some employees, we have introduced a flexible workspace in Atlanta for those living in the city but working for our facility in Rome, Georgia.

Alongside these positive actions to foster a culture of well-being, we have launched an employee well-being survey (SENSOR) to analyse their effectiveness and find other ways to encourage better work-life balance. Carried out by Professor Notelaers in collaboration with our external service for health and safety, Attentia, all our Belgium locations are involved in SENSOR with over 2,600 employees asked to complete the survey.

The survey is designed to scientifically measure, compare and determine the well-being of our employees, identify the root causes of work-related stress and to measure engagement and job satisfaction with the aim of better understanding key motivators. Results will be compared with the 2016 survey to shape future priorities and strategy.

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