Our people and community Giving something back to those who help make ABB possible

ABB is committed to supporting its people and the communities where it operates

At ABB, we make every effort to prepare our people for the future. We empower them to build rewarding professional careers, enjoy their personal lives and improve their overall health, resilience and sense of well-being. We also have a long history of supporting the communities in which we live and work. Our approach is to combine strategic corporate partnerships with country-level education and healthcare projects.

In 2017, we adjusted the 2020 measures and targets for our people and community. By 2020, we now aim to increase the number of women in senior management positions by 30 percent from 2017, and to have 70 percent of our employees covered by ABB’s well-being program. We made these adjustments because both gender diversity and the health, well-being and resilience of our workforce are strategic priorities for our group, with significant implications for our collective performance in the years to come.

Case study ABB partners with the Global Challenge initiative to build a healthy, fit and resilient workforce

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The health and well-being of every single ABB employee is our most valuable asset. We offer a variety of initiatives to encourage healthy habits, both at work and outside of it. This year, we partnered with the Global Challenge, an initiative run by Virgin Pulse to encourage healthier, holistic and sustainable lifestyles among colleagues. Employees participated in teams of seven, competing alongside more than 53,000 teams from up to 1,500 of the world’s largest companies.

Throughout the enjoyable 100-day competition, participants stayed focused on their goals with Global Challenge smartphone apps, weekly personalized emails, community message boards, live team leaderboards and trophies. Organizations that participate in the Global Challenge have reported better health, lower stress and stronger engagement, and improved productivity. Over 41,000 ABB employees participated in 2017, and the results speak for themselves: 68 percent of participants became more aware of our commitment to health and well-being; 79 percent now rate their overall health between good and excellent, compared with 59 percent prior to the challenge; 77 percent rated their experience as either good or excellent; 88 percent would participate again; and 90 percent recommend that others participate.

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We performed well towards these new targets over the past year. At present, 16 percent of our middle and senior managers at ABB are women, as are 10 percent of our senior leadership. In 2017 we took firm action to raise these numbers by 2020. Similarly, by the end of 2017, 59 percent of our employees were covered by ABB’s well-being program.

We achieved these results thanks to a series of focused and disciplined initiatives. The new gender diversity framework we implemented in 2017 details the concerted actions we must take to create a workforce with better gender balance. These actions include shortlisting women during recruitment drives, creating high-level mentoring opportunities for female talents, ensuring at least 100 women are part of our succession plans for positions from Grades 1 through 8, and committing to increase the percentage of female new-graduate recruits to 30 percent by 2020.

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Senior management was instrumental in raising employee participation in ABB’s well-being program in 2017. Thanks to the plan they developed and facilitated, we were able to create and disseminate group-level guidance for eight well-being programs (non-smoking, healthy nutrition, physical fitness, mental health, vaccination, voluntary medical checks, promotion of good ergonomics, and addiction prevention). Following the 2017 launch of an HSE board in each country, the topic of health was included on all country-level agendas, and each country was directed to appoint a well-being coordinator to schedule and run well-being programs that are customized to local needs and preferences. We also created a resilience program to bolster our people’s coping skills when they face challenges either at work or at home. To date, we have trained 4,350 employees in 18 countries, with participation from 70 percent of all Executive Committee members, division heads, global business unit managers and function heads.

In 2017, ABB contributed to about 680 community projects and charities worldwide. A total of 49 countries out of the 69 reporting on their social activities supported community projects. Employees and ABB’s businesses donated approximately $11.8 million and provided about 4,600 person-days in volunteer work.

community projects supported worldwide

ABB also completed installation of a microgrid to support humanitarian work at the main Africa logistics hub of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nairobi, Kenya. The technology will secure the center’s power supply and also enable integration of solar power. At the end of 2017, ABB renewed its decade-long partnership with the ICRC through to 2020. With a new focus on innovation, we will explore areas of cooperation such as the potential for technology to support the ICRC’s activities.

Case study Working with underprivileged children

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Instituto ABB, a project funded exclusively by our company for the past 19 years, provides opportunities to children in impoverished neighborhoods near our facilities in São Paulo, Brazil.

Since its inception, Instituto ABB has worked with 400 underprivileged children aged 8 to 15, offering complimentary education, food, health and social assistance through its Child Hope program. The majority of children engaged by the institute have graduated from high school and avoided the cycle of crime, addiction and poverty that is endemic in their communities.

Kids with ABB helmets (photo)

In 2017, we launched the Mais Energia (“More Energy”) program for young adults who have participated in Child Hope and want to become ABB employees. We partnered with SENAI, the most prominent technical school in Brazil, to develop a two-year education program for young people aged 16 to 18. The program pays apprentice salaries with the potential for full-time employment after graduation.

We are now exploring the introduction of a program similar to Child Hope in Sorocaba, another of our large sites in Brazil. With the aim of launching in 2019, we have begun mapping the communities around our Sorocaba facility.

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ABB has also been recognized for training a new generation of electrical engineers in Zambia, one of our many country-level education projects. The Coil Winding Insulation and Electrical Manufacturing Exhibition presented ABB with its “Global Outreach Award – Beyond the Factory Floor” for the company’s University Partnership Program for Zambia. The program centers on the new engineering program ABB launched at the Copperbelt University and the University of Zambia. The curriculum is designed to enable students to develop both skills and practical experience in topics such as renewable energy and microgrids. Each year, Zambian graduates will also embark on a two-year trainee program with ABB.