AkzoNobel is a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals, supply essential ingredients, essential protection and essential color to industries and consumers worldwide. Backed by a pioneering heritage, innovative products and sustainable technologies are designed to meet the growing demands of fast-changing planet, while making life easier. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, they have approximately 45,000 people in around 80 countries, while the portfolio includes well-known brands such as Dulux, Sikkens, International, Interpon and Eka.
AkzoNobel understand that through the roles as employer, manufacturer, business partner and member of many communities, they can potentially directly and indirectly impact the lives of millions of people. While they are committed to making a positive impact through products and community programs, they are aware of the potential negative impact the company might cause, contribute to or be linked to. AkzoNobel recognize responsibility to respect the human rights of all stakeholders across value chain and are committed to actively and systematically assess (potential) human rights impacts and take action where needed to ensure impacts on people’s lives are as positive as possible.
As part of their core principles and in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), they are committed in operations and across value chains to respecting all internationally recognized human rights as set out in the International Bill of Human Rights (consisting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and in the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
Being a manufacturing company, they have made the health and safety of people one of core principles. AkzoNobel strive to deliver leading performance in health, safety, environment and security (HSE&S) with a vision to deliver zero injuries, waste and harm through operational excellence.
AkzoNobel has implemented a global people, process and product safety management program, through which they strive to ensure that the highest safety standards are applied to activities and sites. In addition, The Life-Saving Rules program embeds eight key safety rules that must be applied with zero tolerance, along with one golden rule – all employees are empowered to stop work that they recognize as being unsafe. In 2017, 77% of their locations have been reportable injury-free for more than one year, and total reportable injury rate (TRR) is 0.20, reduced by 27% compared with 2016.
As an employer, AkzoNobel believe that people are crucial to the success of company. AkzoNobel won’t achieve vision of leading performance in the markets in which they operate unless employees believe AkzoNobel is a great place to work, are engaged and feel valued. AkzoNobel must therefore offer decent working conditions, including fair working hours, reasonable salaries and appropriate bathroom and restaurant facilities.
Discrimination and Harassment
AkzoNobel strive to foster a culture of dignity and respect, free of harassment and discrimination. They recognize that around 35% of reports received through grievance mechanism relate to some form of discrimination or harassment. Also, their internal wellness data shows that there is a group of employees that feels discriminated against or harassed either at recruitment or during their employment.
Externally, the International Labor Organization states that hundreds of millions of people suffer from discrimination at work. According to United Nations statistics, between 40% and 50% of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advancements, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at their workplace. In Asia-Pacific countries, the numbers indicate that 30 to 40% of women workers report some form of harassment – verbal, physical or sexual. Research has shown that almost 75% of employees surveyed had been affected by workplace bullying, whether as a target or a witness.
Combatting discrimination and harassment
In 2017, an in-depth internal analysis was completed, giving insight into the trends and the root causes of discrimination and harassment. Multiple actions have been taken, such as improving the current anti-discrimination and anti-harassment directive. New rules have been developed to clarify what is expected from employees and managers. Also, a dilemma-based training was developed, tested and is currently being rolled out throughout the company. A coaching and counselling framework for victims is being optimized to support victims of discrimination or harassment.
Diversity and Inclusion
They are developing an increasingly engaged, diverse and capable workforce which can deliver vision of leading performance in the markets in which they operate. AkzoNobel believe it’s also important that management teams reflect the diversity of overall workforce, because inclusive and diverse teams are better able to understand customer needs and innovate to meet their requirements.
Diversity and inclusion principles have been embedded in people management processes and leadership training. AkzoNobel continue to assess how to close the 8% gap between the average male and female salary at executive level. Analysis showed that only 0.3% of the 8% overall gap can be attributed to gender, while the rest of the gap can be attributed to other factors such as function, age, salary grade and country of work.
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