Solvay
2019 Annual Integrated Report

The Group has defined policies, processes, and best practices to attract and retain people while fostering the development of all employees. Solvay is committed to cultivating employees’ development by offering attractive career opportunities and building competencies for today and for future business success.

26,481

Total headcount (all active employees)

24,155

Headcount*

24,007

Full-Time Equivalent*

* Consistent with financial scope.

Definition

Recruitment, development, and retention provide data linked to talent management. Information is given on how Solvay is attracting, retaining, and developing talent. We provide details on career management, access to training, coaching, and mentoring so that each employee can take the lead in developing their career and reaching their full potential.

Management approach

Recruitment

Solvay applies key principles to attract a qualified and diverse talent pool able to contribute to the successful achievement of business objectives while ensuring the Group’s corporate social responsibility.

Three of Solvay’s key principles:

  1. Provide equal opportunity without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, family status, or any other legal basis;
  2. Strive for diversity and multidisciplinary profiles for greater business performance;
  3. Select candidates for positions based on their capacity to contribute now as well as in the future. In its external recruiting strategy, Solvay has been reinforcing digital and social media as one of the main channels for attracting and sourcing qualified and diverse talents.

Employee mobility

Solvay Employee Mobility Rules prioritize internal moves over external recruitment by requiring:

  • Transparency of job postings for open positions;
  • A 15-day exclusivity period for internal candidates before external recruitment may be considered;
  • That employees who have been in a job for three years or more have freedom to apply without managerial approval.

To further enhance Employee Mobility, in 2019 Solvay launched a “Personalized Job Opportunities” feature that displays for all Solvay employees the open jobs that might match their profile (professional experience, competencies, and expertise, as well as career aspirations). This new feature aims at giving more visibility to internal opportunities, helping employees drive their career development.

Of the 2,700 positions filled in 2019, 38% were filled internally.

Onboarding newcomers

To help increase newcomers’ engagement level, success, and retention, Solvay has a global onboarding platform to ensure that:

  • Newcomers receive a standard “getting started” experience when they begin working at Solvay;
  • They have the tools they need to do a good job from Day 1.

In order to get feedback and monitor the global onboarding process along the way, surveys are systematically sent to newcomers after one month, six months, and one year from the date of hire.

94.6% of newcomers

satisfied with the hiring process

98.2% of newcomers

satisfied with their decision to join the Group

Retention

The Performance and development cycle applies to the entire managerial population. Beyond its initial scope, it is also used by about 4,270 non-managerial employees representing 27% of the non-managerial population.

Local performance and development tools and processes are still available for the population not covered by the Performance and development cycle online tool.

Solvay has a Development and Succession Planning (DSP) process for its managerial population. The DSP management meeting is held annually. It is where topics related to Succession Planning, Talent Identification, and Career Development are discussed, and where decisions are made collectively.

The Development and Succession Planning process aims to ensure the Group has the right people in the right place to achieve its growth strategy and performance goals by:

  • Identifying and developing talent, with a specific focus on emerging and future leaders and employees with critical expertise;
  • Securing the succession planning for key positions and the ten key professional pipelines;
  • Encouraging cross-functional moves across Businesses, Functions, and regions, and promoting diversified teams.

Development

Solvay Corporate University programs and services provide training opportunities for all employees on a wide range of subjects and levels. Solvay Corporate University is organized as follows:

  • The Leadership and Management programs aim to enhance the managerial effectiveness and competencies of tomorrow’s business leaders and team managers on subjects ranging from basic management skills to advanced leadership behaviors. In 2019, the three core programs were as follows:
  • One session of the Agile Leadership program was organized in Europe, with 40 attendees. This program enhances interpersonal, leadership, and feedback skills to help managers better influence and lead. It also helps them improve their own performance and that of their team. The target audience is experienced people managers and those individual contributors who lead projects / networks. The program will be updated in 2020 with redefined company culture and behavior competencies;
  • More than 300 managers participated in Management Development Series, a 10-day program to support new managers’ transition from their role as an individual contributor to that of a people manager. The program format will be diversified in 2020 to include self-paced learning, classroom facilitated training, on-the-job application, and peer-to-peer coaching;
  • More than 600 frontline supervisors and team leaders participated in the Program Supervisor Development Series. This program, created in 2017, is a compact learning experience carried out in Solvay sites and focuses on developing frontline supervisors and team leaders with core skills, knowledge, and key competencies. It provides a continuum of growth along the path, common leadership frameworks, behaviors and practices. It was also designed as a blended learning approach with a digital learning path, classroom facilitated training, on-the-job practice, and peer-to-peer coaching.
  • The different Academies help Solvay Professional Families achieve their strategic objectives by working closely to identify, design, and deliver the expertise they require around the world. Academies focus on a learning curriculum that supports professional development within the Professional Family and provides cross-functional content. Solvay has launched six academies to date. In 2019, more than 150 academy programs were available for employees in relevant Professional Families.
  • Four Zone Learning Teams support the deployment of global initiatives in line with the Group’s priorities and the core program on Leadership and Management, and they also manage local learning needs related to soft and hard skills within their zones.
  • The Digital Learning Team maximizes the adoption and impact of existing digital learning solutions and identifies innovations to support organizational learning goals. The team offers guidance, equipment, and support to those responsible for employee learning, with digital learning solutions and knowledge that boost and develop the range of Solvay learning offerings.
  • The employee empowerment and employee experience strategy launched in 2019 focused on making delivery methods learner-directed and more diverse, facilitating access to learning offers and transitioning from program delivery to a learning journey experience. Moving forward, the Group has implemented a new cloud-based LMS for the entire population that is available in eight languages and covers more than 90% of the native languages of the main Solvay population.

Digital Learning as a method has increased the learning opportunities of Solvay Employees:

  • The number of customized digital modules available in the LMS increased from 230 to 1,805;
  • More than 54% of the Solvay population accessed at least one piece of digital learning content in 2019;
  • Internal training is increasingly switching over to the digital format. Examples include WB@W, the Performance and Development Cycle, SDS, CAM (Certification of Accounting Management) Finance Training, and several local and transversal onboarding modules.

Learning achievements

Learning: digital appropriation

 

Female

Male

Total

Non-managerial population

1,830

4,165

5,995

Junior management

1,591

2,697

4,288

Junior management

1,591

2,697

4,288

Middle management

688

1,883

2,571

Total

4,159

9,050

13,209

Performance and development cycle

Solvay is developing its portfolio of development opportunities in accordance with 70-20-10 principles. This model aims to spend 10% in traditional training; 20% in development such as coaching, mentoring, and co-development; and 70% in projects and other developmental experiences.

Employees have access to a pool of internal coaches and mentors, and can also develop by contributing to a project.

Key achievements:

  • 22 internal coaches available for our employees and quarterly community meetings
  • More than 50 mentoring pairs
  • 2 digital coaching solutions tested by about 400 employees
  • Solvay Coaching standard practices are defined and embedded in all management trainings
  • 10 projects are accepting external candidates openly on our platform

Several entities have launched mentoring initiatives to boost women’s careers and share extensive industrial expertise.

[add link with purpose] At the same time, the group is enhancing the culture of feedback. (Each employee exchanged an average of 2.4 pieces of feedback through the platform in 2019.)

Solvay has plans to transform its leadership model: managers need to enhance their development and coaching skills for the benefit of all of our employees. To make this happen, the Group will ramp up its coaching and mentoring practices.

The Group has renamed its employee portal YOU. The platform gives all employees access to HR solutions such as their employee profile, development, learning, performance management, career opportunities, compensation, and so on.

It is also the central point for setting expectations and evaluating performance. Each objective includes a behavioral component aligned with our leadership model, which is part of the rating process.

All above processes and initiatives will evolve to match the new values and behaviors recently announced.

Workforce figures

Solvay’s workforce by region

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Europe

11,264

11,444

Percentage of women

25%

25%

Percentage of permanent staff

97%

98%

Asia-Pacific and rest of the world

4,411

4,415

Percentage of women

25%

25%

Percentage of permanent staff

73%

71%

North America

6,175

6,592

Percentage of women

20%

20%

Percentage of permanent staff

100%

98%

Latin America

2,305

2,050

Percentage of women

20%

21%

Percentage of permanent staff

98%

98%

Total headcount

24,155

24,501

Percentage of women

23%

23%

Percentage of permanent staff

93%

93%

Solvay’s workforce by contract and by gender

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Permanent contract

22,534

22,776

of which women

23%

23%

Temporary contract

1,621

1,725

of which women

28%

28%

Total headcount

24,155

24,501

Solvay’s workforce by employment type

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Full-time contract

23,575

23,893

of which women

22%

22%

Part-time contract

580

608

of which women

71%

69%

Total headcount

24,155

24,501

The vast majority of Solvay’s employees are full time (98%). Among part-time employees, women represent a large majority (71%). This is mainly due to requests from this cohort for family purposes.

Solvay’s workforce by employment category

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Senior manager

369

401

Middle managers

2,895

2,915

Junior manager

5,246

5,212

Non managerial

15,645

15,973

Total headcount

24,155

24,501

Global Staff Turnover

Hirings by region

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Asia and rest of the world

258

350

Europe

727

769

North America

520

823

Latin America

175

138

Total headcount

1,680

2,080

Hirings by gender

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Male

1,185

1,479

Female

495

601

Total headcount

1,680

2,080

Hirings by age

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

<30

759

899

30–49

791

1,010

>49

130

171

Total headcount

1,680

2,080

All leaves by region

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Asia and rest of the world

325

407

Europe

948

926

North America

632

613

Latin America

336

264

Total headcount

2,241

2,210

All leaves by gender

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Male

1,636

1,596

Female

605

614

Total headcount

2,241

2,210

All leaves by age

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

<30

458

441

30–49

1,026

978

>49

757

821

Total headcount

2,241

2,210

Voluntary leaves by region

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Asia and rest of the world

208

239

Europe

396

378

North America

286

238

Latin America

88

58

Total headcount

978

913

Voluntary leaves by gender

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Male

1,636

1,596

Female

605

614

Total headcount

2,241

2,210

Voluntary leaves by age

 

2019

2018

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

<30

274

294

30–49

526

505

>49

178

174

Total headcount

978

973

2019 Key achievements

For the second year in a row, Solvay was awarded the LinkedIn Talent Award – Best Employer Brand for companies over 500 employees based in Belgium. This recognition is aimed at companies who use LinkedIn solutions to successfully engage with bright game-changers: around 40% of the Group’s external hiring of managerial positions came from LinkedIn.

165

Participants since 1998

45

Current participants in 2019

In 1998, Solvay introduced Foundations for the Future (FFF), a rotational development program for university graduates around the world. The original program centered on engineering disciplines (chemical and mechanical), and the successful program was later expanded to include marketing and sales, and most recently the accounting and finance disciplines. The goal of the program is to create Group Citizens of Solvay who are empowered to expand their horizons and launch their careers.

The FFF Program combines training and day-to-day work, allowing participants to experience project management, hands-on field work, and advanced analytical problem solving in different locations and countries. A major factor in the success and longevity of the program is its provision for unique networking and training opportunities (on-job and training sessions) to foster participants’ accelerated development and growth. After three to five years of rotations across businesses and geographies, graduates pursue their career in the Group.

Alliance for Youth

Since 2016, Solvay has been participating in the Alliance for Youth pan-European business-driven movement to create concrete opportunities for young people to enter the labor market, strengthen Solvay’s employer brand regarding social responsibility, and fill Solvay’s talent pipeline in an effective and structured manner (e.g. apprenticeships in countries with less of a tradition in this area).

307

Apprentices

261

Trainees

234

Young employees hired <30 years old