2021 was a year that seemed to stand still for many of us around the globe. There was the ebb and flow of uncertainty, and at times the year seemed even angrier and more intolerant than the year before.
But we remained resilient. At ANSA McAL we steadied ourselves by focusing on the health, stabilization, and support of our teams. Yet we also stayed dedicated to our execution and preparation for our future talent spaces. However we kept our eye on the game-changing opportunities that lie ahead. We are excited to share with you our achievements, and how we are laying the plans for a sensational future.
Relentless energy has been spent ensuring the well-being and safety of our family of employees and by extension the families of our employees. This was a critical focus for us, and we ensured that this was always our foundation during the global pandemic.
However, we kept our head and eyes up on the way forward, as we positioned ourselves in the shifting landscape of Human Resources and Talent Management. We rose to the challenge to ensure we maintained a forward thinking and dynamic business culture that will be relevant in rapidly changing times and a true investor in human capital and spirit.
We engaged in new ways of working digitally and creatively. We learned to laugh differently, collaborate and come together across geographies more easily than ever before, and boosted our creativity in new initiatives that challenged us.
We launched multiple strategic projects such as our new Human Resources Information System platform, our job standardization and competency development project, and pushed our Leadership Capability improvement model. On top of all that, we ensured that we in HR operate as a measured service delivery hub to deliver exceptional service to our teams.
Employee engagement and communication was a must as an underlying theme and we are pleased to report that we have maintained astounding scores in this area. We are also pleased to note that in 2021 there was no job loss as a direct result of the pandemic.
As always, at the core of our Group is our investment in talent. Through an emphasis on developing ‘Talentship’ within the organization, we commit to not only develop current talent but also to ensure robust succession coverage for our critical positions.
Our annual Talent Day continued to be an integral part of the Group’s calendar and is driven directly under the stewardship of our Group CEO. It is a culmination of our commitment to developing our talent and ensures both strategic execution and executive sponsorship on our succession plans, development plans and cross-
movement of talent across the Group. The mobility of talent across our sectors and regions is now a critical part of our focus as we expand our horizons to where our businesses will grow next.
Coming out of 2021’s Talent Day, a key deliverable was to review talent not just from a Company standpoint but also to assess it by functional area. Intra-Group councils were formed for functional areas by senior Group Executives who are considered subject matter experts in their fields, and they took on a mandate for 2022 to focus on its talent agenda. This is inclusive of standardisation of roles, career pathing and establishment of a competency-based approach to talent management across the Group.
In analyzing the metrics around our talent management processes, the areas of concentration continue to be talent acquisition, succession planning, and employee development.
A key category in our Talentship analytics is Talent Development. This metric is critical to our people strategy, as it focuses on the Group delivering on its commitment to develop those identified as successors for leadership roles and ensure their readiness to assume new roles. In 2021, there was a further improvement in the Personal Development Plan (PDP) completion rate and despite the ongoing global pandemic, the Group invested in its talent and focused on its plans and is pleased to report a 90% completion rate in this area.
In addition to promoting group-wide talent development, ANSA McAL also achieved an improvement in the closure of its succession coverage in leadership critical positions from just under 70% last year to 85% this year.
Along with developing talent by investing in company-funded investments in professional development programs such Leadership Coaching Programs and the Executive MBA programs, we also continue to look to the future through our successful Champion’s program. With an eye to growing and nurturing future leaders, our Champion’s program has, since its inception in 2015, sourced and developed young talent through a rotational two-year program which pushes bright young graduates to grow into our future professionals.
We continue to monitor the turnover of newly appointed staff and are happy to note a declining trend in new employee turnover rates over the past three (3) years. A measured approach to managing turnover in this area is critical, as these new recruits are often brought in to fill strategic roles within the Group and as such, retention is key. It is well established globally, that once an employee passes the hurdle of their first two (2) years, their likeliness of turnover significantly decreases. Significant effort is expended on the recruitment process and objective assessment of our applicants. As such the Group believes this is an area of special attention to its overall people strategy. When any employee leaves, exit interview analysis is completed to ensure we are continuously reviewing compliance with our processes and the potential learnings to further improve them.
Overall employee turnover rate remains well below the benchmark at 2.4% and a further key analytic is the turnover of those in the high performer pool. This is the pool from which successors are identified for the Group’s leadership critical roles. The low turnover at ANSA McAL is indicative that our talent identification, development, and retention strategies are working. As we examine the labor market shortages experienced both locally and regionally, it is imperative that we retain those that we hire and develop those that have been identified for future executive-level roles. We continue to do this by ensuing that career paths are well mapped, that new development opportunities are maximized, and that communication, employee well-being and our family environment are forefront.
The Group launched a transformational leadership initiative in 2021, termed Business Stewardship. Being a steward of your business is about taking full responsibility for your behaviour and the effects it has on the environment around it. It involves considering more than just the bottom line but also embracing values, ethics, and morals. Business Stewardship plays an important role in the evolution of our Group culture, and has been identified as a key area which all leaders must be invested in.
There are five (5) areas identified in the Group as indicators of transformational leadership, which represent the thinking and behaviour of the ideal leader we wish to measure and celebrate. ANSA McAL Executives were assessed by their peers, reports, and managers in each of these five areas to get a baseline understanding of our Executive Team’s competency level in Business Stewardship. This encourages reflection on how to become a better leader and essentially identifies the areas both individually and as a Group, that we must focus on to ensure continuous success for the businesses and people we lead. We will continue to drive these areas as critical for our leaders as we look to the years ahead.
We continue our journey to digital transformation by optimizing our business processes and operations to empower and engage our teams. To this end, in 2021 we embarked on the beginning of our Human Resource Information System (HRIS) and Payroll System transformation, which will change the way we manage and develop our most valued strategic asset – our employees.
In collaboration with our external provider, HRIZONS, the Group is implementing a new HRIS & Payroll System: SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite and Payroll123, which will lead to groupwide access for acquiring, storing, analyzing, and distributing information related to our teams. This implementation will transform our internal customer experience excellence as:
These new systems will be launched in 2022 and rolled out on a phased basis.
The Job Standardization Project (JSP) emerged from a discussion started by the Group CEO at our Annual Talent Day – wherein he proposed that we should harness the collective brain power and extensive expertise residing within the Group, by way of forming Functional Councils in four main areas: Commercial, Supply Chain, Finance, and Operations/Manufacturing. These councils would create benchmarks of best standards within their respective functions and oversee the development of our talent to match and exceed these standards.
This project will produce standardized job titles across our diverse subsidiaries, each associated with clearly defined job scopes, grades, and competencies with assigned proficiency levels. The project will also formalize competency-based management into our HR policies and practices. A few of the major benefits that this project will enable are:
The continued engagement of our employees remains a strategic focus within the Group. We were tasked with not only navigating the economic impact of the pandemic, but also dealing with the human impact of fear and the loss of life of members of our ANSA community and their loved ones. As an employer, we continue to adjust our workspaces and policies to ensure our employees are motivated, feel safe, cared for, and heard.
We are pleased to share that our overall employee engagement score for 2021 remained high, at 78%. We are heartened to know that we are truly doing the right things for our teams and our staff. In this year more than ever, we are proud of the hope, support and security that we have been able to offer our teams.
Additionally, we have continued to observe an increase in participation in our surveys and willingness to providing feedback. Our 2021 average participation rate was 92%. This demonstrates a belief that our leadership genuinely listens and acts in response to feedback.
One area which we have placed significant emphasis, based on survey feedback, is the visible development of our internal talent. As noted above, robust talent development programs have been implemented which has strengthened succession planning and created increased, lateral, and upward mobility, career opportunities for employees. It is evident that employees have felt the impact of these programs. In 2021, an average of 83% of employees believe there is the opportunity for continued career growth.
The resilience of our teams and strength of our leadership was again showcased in the Group’s leadership and navigation of the Global pandemic throughout 2021. Our protocols and systems implemented in response to the COVID-19 remained top of mind to keep our employees safe and ensure business continuity.
Our protocols included rotational shift systems, use of the COVID-19 Screening forms for both employees and visitors, as well as vigilance on the part of managers and supervisors in ensuring adherence to the established protocols, and continuous monitoring and auditing of the processes. Additionally, the decisions made to perform internal contact tracing for positively tested staff, and to provide private testing to those who were exposed at work, proved to be best for swiftly containing the spread of the virus within the affected companies. Inter-company spread was maintained at a bare minimum.
Our commitment to looking after the health and safety of our employees took shape in our new partnership with Acropolis, a local private medical facility in Trinidad. Through this partnership, the Group provided company-funded support for employees who tested positive for the coronavirus to ensure that they were actively monitored and cared for throughout their illness. In addition to this, a monitoring program of all positive, symptomatic, and exposed staff was established together with daily status updates by the respective HR and HSSE teams for each Subsidiary.
Doctors and nurses performed daily check-in calls on all identified members of staff and advised them on measures to take, as well as reported back on the status of all persons daily. This program proved to be critical as the timely intervention of the doctors prevented the further decline and loss of life.
In addition, our work with Families in Action, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), stands as testimony to the significance of caring for our people, and their wellness being top of mind.
Sadly, in 2021, the Group lost nine of our employees to the COVID-19 virus. We pause to reflect on these teammates who we have lost to this pandemic, and to be consoled and reassured by our resilience, hope and dedication throughout this time.
As done in the past, we again took the opportunity to continue our engagement with the leaders of our Recognized Majority Unions (RMUs). We engaged on multiple fronts, but this time our vaccination initiative may have been the most important ever, as it touched so many lives. We came together yet again with the knowledge that we were bound by a shared goal: the wellbeing of our ANSA McAL team. Together we agreed that we would keep our people safe and that we were dedicated to minimizing any job loss or loss of earnings.
With vaccines becoming readily available, our conversations were now shaped on collaborations on vaccine education and uptake throughout the Group. The meetings with our RMUs were focused on engagement on our mutual efforts towards educating our staff on COVID-19 vaccination, and the importance of vaccinations on their health and wellbeing and safety measure compliance. We are heartened by their continued support and for the strong working relationship that we continue to have with each of our collective bargaining units.
In these meetings, we solicited their feedback on our vaccination efforts, and engaged Dr. Victor Coombs, our Occupational Medical consultant, to discuss the importance of vaccination and answer any questions that were raised. These meetings were well-received and helped boost the vaccination statistics within the Group – we are pleased to report that our rates hit 80% by the end of 2021, which is well above the regional average. This was achieved not through any means of coercion but by education, inspiration, and leadership.
Other assistance to our employees in this time of the pandemic included shuttling staff to vaccination sites and providing time off for vaccines. We facilitated mass vaccination sites on our compound for staff and their families, provided educational sessions for employees and the public, and covered the cost of PCR tests via the Group Health Insurance plan. We are proud to celebrate this approach as it truly showcases our commitment to look after our ANSA McAL family and to lead the way in this regard.
We are proud that there were zero Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) across the group for 2021 and that we saw a decrease in accidents, lost working days, and accident cost. Nonetheless, we continue to keep the focus on a robust health and safety culture as top of mind, with diligence in this regard at the forefront.
We reflect with pride on two years of resilience, where together we weathered the storm with bravery and kept the passion to plan for exciting things ahead.
We feel steeled in knowing that we kept our employees safe and engaged - in their careers and emotionally - and that we are poised to move quickly and strategically into conquering more of what is to come.
We can feel a pulse and an underlying hum of excitement as we look ahead to great things – working together as a driving force for a better world as our ANSA McAL team. Let’s go!