People

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People

  • We are committed to provide equal opportunity in employment and respect the rights and dignity of each employee.
  • Bekaert is firmly committed to complying with national legislations and collective labor agreements. 
  • We empower our teams with responsibility, authority and accountability, and count on the engagement of every Bekaert employee in driving a higher-level performance.
  • We nurture talent through career development and life-long learning. We attach great importance to providing challenging career and personal development opportunities to our employees. 
  • Our global safety approach aims to create a no-harm, risk-free working environment for all our employees and for anyone working at or visiting our premises. We believe that taking care of people is fundamental to the success of the business.
  • We believe in working together to achieve better performance. As a truly global company, we embrace diversity across all levels in the organization, which is a major source of strength for our company. 
  • We support and develop initiatives that help improve the social conditions in the communities where we are active. We stimulate initiatives that help create a sustainable future for our communities and for the broader society.

People infographic

* 23 568 in consolidated entities + 3 613 in joint ventures = 27 181 combined

Our commitment toward our employees

Our employees are the driving force behind our global success. The true strength of our company lies at the heart of every Bekaert employee’s passion to go the extra mile for our customers, and to care for each other and for the world around us. That’s what being better together is all about.

As a company and as individuals, we act with integrity and commit to the highest standards of business ethics. We promote equal opportunity, foster diversity and we create a caring and safe working environment across our organization. Our values are ingrained in our culture and connect us all as One Bekaert team.
We act with integrity · We earn trust · We are irrepressible!
GRI 102-16, GRI 103-2

Respecting human rights

Bekaert is firmly committed to complying with national legislation and collective labor agreements. Bekaert adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the treaties and recommendations of the International Labor Organization.

We respect the rights and dignity of each employee. We promote equal opportunity and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment based on age, race, nationality, social or ethnic descent, gender, physical disability, sexual preference, religion, political preference, or union membership. We foster diversity and inclusion and recognize and respect the cultural identity of our teams in all the countries in which we operate and do business.

The recruitment, remuneration, application of employment conditions, training, promotion and career development of our employees are based on professional qualifications only.
GRI 102-12, GRI 103-2

The Bekaert Code of Conduct describes how we put our three Bekaert values – integrity, trust and irrepressibility - into practice and which leadership behaviors we expect from every Bekaert employee. Our Code of Conduct covers, among others, key areas regarding human rights, child labor and forced labor, and anti-bribery and corruption policy and principles. 
GRI 205-2, GRI 408-1, GRI 409-1

Learning & development

We nurture talent through career development and life-long learning. We attach great importance to providing challenging career and personal development opportunities to our employees. Training programs not only include technical and job specific training, but also leadership modules that help our people develop and cooperate in a global business environment. 

Average hours of training per employee:
On average, each employee received 33 hours of training in 2021.
GRI 404-1, GRI 404-2, GRI 103-2

Learning goes digital

To keep our employees up to speed with the latest innovations in their work domain, we expanded our learning offering digitally. The academies of the Bekaert University brought more courses to our online My Learning platform, while we now also offer access for all employees to external learning services. 

 Elevation logo

Elevation program launched

In 2021 we launched Elevation, a development program designed to equip first-time leaders with the knowledge, skills, and confidence that help them become an effective team leader who keeps a team motivated, aligned, and engaged. The program coaches first-time leaders to set and achieve personal and professional goals, expand their network, and broaden their experience. 

The program is a powerful blended learning experience, combining online e-learning with practical facilitator-led group workshops to put theory into practice, and adding individual coaching sessions with experienced business leaders to the mix.
41 colleagues from 20 different countries participated in the virtual program. All our Elevation colleagues received a toolbox to support them on their development journey.

Information security week

From 11-15 October we organized our annual Information Security week. During this week our employees learned how to be cybersmart and witnessed how easy it is to hack our systems if we don't secure our devices. The learning was put to the test in an online escape game in which over 200 colleagues participated. 
GRI 418-1

IT security week

More details about learning & development in Bekaert are included in Part II: Social Statements of this report.

Hybrid working

Hybrid working

In January 2021 we introduced a hybrid working model for office workers at Bekaert, based on the approach that work is not a place that you go to but about the activities that a team is accountable for. The new way of working is increasingly relevant today. It intends to protect people’s health during the pandemic and boost productivity, engagement and well-being. 

Health & safety

Bekaert’s global safety approach aims to create a no-harm, risk-free working environment for all our employees and for anyone working at or visiting our premises. We believe that taking care of people is fundamental to the success of the business. To achieve this, we operate with a set of standards, based on internal and external principles and compliance rules, while encouraging a culture of leadership and accountability. 

For the fourth year in a row, the safety-related key performance indicators LTIFR and TRIR showed continued good progress. 2021 marked, however, a setback in terms of SI: the number of serious incidents leading to life-altering injuries increased from 1 case in 2020 to 8 in 2021, all of which related to hand and finger injuries. Bekaert is reinforcing its safety program through awareness campaigns, trainings, and dedicated investments to secure safe working conditions for all employees.

TRIR: Total Recordable Incident Rate (all recorded incidents per million worked hours)
LTIFR: Lost Time Incident Frequency Rate (Number of lost time incidents per million worked hours)
SI: Serious Injury (incident leading to life-altering injuries)

GRI 103-2

More details about Bekaert’s safety performance are included in Part II: Social Statements of this report. 

 

Safety champions

In 2021, 14 plants achieved 1 year without any recordable safety incident. 9 plants were 2 years incident-free. 7 plants achieved 3 to 4 years without recordable safety incidents, and 2 plants have been incident-free for 8 or more years. They are Bekaert’s safety champions and lead the way toward a no-harm, risk-free working environment for all.
 

Covid-19

To help fight the global pandemic, we strongly encourage all employees to accept a vaccination in line with national vaccination campaigns and laws, and specific medical advice. We support access to the vaccination for everyone and organized vaccination for employees and outsourced staff in countries without an effective national vaccination campaign, all while respecting the freedom of choice and privacy. We do not discriminate against employees based on their choice to accept or decline a vaccination when offered. We also count on our employees to respect the choice of others.

Compass: a safety and compliance learning journey

At the end of 2021, we launched Compass, a safety, health & environment (SH&E) learning journey for our operational leadership. The training aims at building awareness, knowledge and understanding about SH&E related compliance and liabilities, understanding the role of site managers in the whole process, building the skills needed to manage SH&E compliance in the plant, and getting familiar and equipped with the tools and skills needed. 
The course uses a mix of live-sessions and self-study. The program is structured in 4 streams aligned with the BeCare Safety program: Leadership, Governance, People & Environment at Risk, People take risk. 
Compass
Compass will be rolled out globally in 2022. The training will be included in the standard induction program for new colleagues in an operational leadership role.
 

Health & Safety Week on finger safety and burnout prevention

HnS poster
In September we organized our annual Health & Safety week, this time with “all injuries are preventable” as the central theme and with particular focus on hand & finger safety, Covid-19 prevention, and mental resilience. 
 
Doctors busted the myths about Covid-19 and during online discussions we learned from experts how societal and psychological changes might shape how we work and live. A team of medical experts gave us more insights in the medical and psychological impact of hand injuries. We also learned more about building mental strength and stress awareness and recognizing and preventing burnouts. It is Bekaert's aspiration to provide (local) mental health support to all our teams. Our team in the BBRG plant in the UK explained its Mental Health First Aid program. In Belgium we rolled out the Employee Assistance Program in collaboration with an external team of professionals. Through this plan employees can use several channels to get help with mental issues. 

Diversity & Inclusion

We want Bekaert to be a great place to work. A place that inspires and ignites creativity and where everyone feels safe and welcome. We want our employees to actively take part in building an inclusive workplace for all. With the support of the Bekaert Group Executive (BGE) and the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Council, employees are encouraged to form affinity groups and collaborate in generating inspiring ideas and creating positive change. 
 
In relation to gender diversity, 28% of the managers and salaried professionals of the Bekaert subsidiaries are female (as per year-end 2021). We are committed to increase this share in support of gender equality. Our target is to achieve a ratio of 40% by 2030 through an annual improvement of +1.5% in the next coming eight years. This target has also been added, as of 2022 onwards, in the short-term incentives targets for Executive Management.
 
Bekaert is a truly international organization and embraces the very rich cultural diversity within our team. We employ people from 72 nationalities in 45 countries in the world.
 
More details on diversity are included in the Leadership section of this report and in Part II: Corporate Governance and Social Statements.

Our commitment toward society

Bekaert strives to be a loyal and responsible partner in the communities where we are active. We interact with the local governments in a transparent, constructive way.
We do not support political institutions and adopt a neutral position with respect to political issues. United by the belief that there should be no harm to anyone, we do condemn any act of violence and aggression against people. 

Supporting education and training initiatives

All around the world Bekaert teams have organized support programs that benefit the local communities. To name a few, our teams in India and Chile provided PCs and tablets to schools, making it possible for children to participate to online courses during Covid-lockdowns. Our entities in Ecuador and India supported micro-financing projects that help women set up a small business. Teams all over the world participated in sports and other events to support programs that benefit people with a physical or mental disability or in financial need. Various entities engaged local stakeholders in safety programs during the Bekaert Health & Safety week.

Supporting social relief

Mid 2021, heavy rainfall across northern and central parts of Europe caused devastating floods in several regions. The houses of many families and entire villages became uninhabitable due to the extreme water level and current. The management of Bekaert was deeply touched by the damage and human impact of the floods and donated € 50 000 to the Red Cross to help victims with first aid and support.

Early 2022, the humanitarian impact of the situation in Ukraine changed the face of the world. Our thoughts are with the people from Ukraine and our priority is the wellbeing of our employees and their families, and to support them wherever they are. Our teams in the region do their utmost to help those in need in whichever way they can, and as a company we are supporting various humanitarian efforts through donations and by offering employment and accommodation at different locations. 

We are one team, united by Bekaert’s history and values, and by working better together for all our stakeholders.

GRI 103-2

Community Engagement benefiting the environment

Bekaert has concluded, in December 2021, a partnership with River CleanUp, a non-profit organization that organizes river clean-up events, develops technology for permanent and mobile plastic removal from rivers, and educates and creates awareness to stop plastics from entering the eco-systems. Bekaert supports both financially and in-kind, through engineering advice and materials, like synthetic ropes. The organization will help Bekaert organize clean-up events on rivers and along riverbanks in various locations in the world. Purpose is to enhance employee engagement and community relations through enforcing active sustainability awareness and activities together.