At AkzoNobel, we strive to foster a culture of dignity and respect, free of harassment and discrimination. We recognize that around 35% of reports received through our grievance mechanism relate to some form of discrimination or harassment. Also, our 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
We are developing an increasingly engaged, diverse and capable workforce which can deliver our vision of leading performance in the markets in which we operate. We believe it’s also important that our management teams reflect the diversity of our 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 our people management processes and leadership training. We 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.
In our role as business partner, we are screening and monitoring our business partners through formal processes, of which discrimination and harassment is an integral part. Read more about our processes here.
This work supports the following SDG’s :