Our people Investing in the people of ABB

ABB highly values its employees and is committed to supporting them

Two participants of the ABB women development program (photo)

People are our most important strategic asset, so ABB continually invests in their personal and professional development. By providing them with the best available tools, programs and opportunities, we are empowering them to build rewarding careers, enjoy their personal lives and improve their overall health, resilience and sense of well-being.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

30 percent
increase targeted for women in senior management

Our 2020 targets for people and community are to increase the number of women in senior management positions by 30 percent from 2017 and to increase the proportion of employees covered by ABB’s well-being program to 70 percent. Gender diversity and the health, well-being and resilience of our workforce are strategic priorities for ABB, with significant implications for our performance.

We made progress toward these targets over the past year. At present, 19 percent of the middle and senior managers at ABB are women, up from 18 percent in 2017, as are 10.5 percent of our senior leadership, up from 9.8 percent in 2017. We continued our focused efforts to raise these numbers by 2020. Additionally, by the end of 2018 more than 67 percent of our employees were covered by ABB’s well-being program, up from 58 percent in 2017. We achieved these results thanks to a combination of ongoing and newly introduced initiatives.

Man and woman relaxing at work (photo)

Case study Global mentoring and development program for women

Reveal case study

At ABB, ensuring a culture of diversity – and an environment in which individual differences are celebrated and supported – is critical to our success. We are focused on inclusion in all of its forms, and this includes a company-wide commitment to gender diversity. As a part of this commitment, ABB recently launched a global mentoring and development program for women, starting with its Robotics and Motion (RM) division.

Built over the past 12 months, RM’s program includes a strong mentorship component that links employees with leaders in the division. It also offers webinars with experts sharing key lessons learned, as well as opportunities for networking and discussion with colleagues. The program kicked off in November 2018 with 13 talents and mentors (both male and female) from RM’s three businesses. The group was energized by meeting their mentors, who gave one-to-one support and enthusiastically provided their own personal expertise, insights, and guidance.

Based on RM’s experiences, ABB plans to create a larger, more scalable program that will incorporate all facets of diversity. We look forward to growing this program across ABB, and to developing leaders with a diversity of thought, background and experience.

Close case study


To drive equitable gender representation in our workforce, we rely on the gender diversity framework that ABB implemented and reported on in 2017. Actions dictated by this framework include shortlisting women during recruitment drives, including a focus on female leaders at the ABB Executive Committee monthly meeting, creating opportunities for women to be mentored by senior leaders, and implementing flexible working practices. Even though 11 women were appointed to senior leadership positions in 2018, this result did not move us significantly closer to achieving our 2020 gender representation target; we are carefully reviewing this matter and plan to take corrective actions based upon our findings.

In addition to these gender diversity initiatives, in 2018 we standardized our approach to the Capability and Workforce Planning process across all our businesses. Launched in 2016, this process enables us to forecast our future talent needs, identify gaps in our people’s skills and competencies, and take action as necessary. We also used elements of this process to drive people development initiatives across ABB. In addition, in 2018 we finalized the rollout of a global learning management system for all our employees. By the end of 2018, this system had 126,000 registered users, who completed 167,000 e-training sessions.

Over the past year, we extended the scope of our “Come to the Edge” leadership program. Launched in 2017, this program was designed to drive cultural change at ABB by engaging the top 200 leaders at our company. We rolled out this program to 2,000 more senior managers in 2018, expanding its impact on our organization. While we are actively working to shape ABB’s culture, an external force is also driving change within our organization: digitalization. In response, in 2018 our Human Resources function drafted a white paper that identifies the key competencies our people will need to adapt and the developmental, organizational and cultural actions ABB must take to support them.

e-training sessions completed by 126,000 registered users

Health and well-being

Our success in raising employee participation in ABB’s well-being program in 2018 was achieved thanks to the inclusion of health topics on the agendas of country-level HSE/SA boards and to management’s commitment to allocating resources in support of local well-being programs. In addition, the presence of health-related indicators on the HSE/SA dashboard enabled management to monitor their progress toward achieving their targets. By providing country-level organizations with more readily accessible data, they gained greater insight into the distribution and determinants of the health conditions of their employees. We also strongly encouraged them to invest in building a culture of health by quantifying the value added by health measures for employees and for their productivity.

instructors conducted resilience training in 26 languages

ABB asks its entities around the world to provide employees with a “no smoking” policy, a smoking cessation program, and any three of the following programs: healthy nutrition, physical fitness, mental health, vaccination, voluntary medical checks, promotion of good ergonomics, and addiction prevention. In 2018, we started monitoring employees’ level of engagement with these well-being programs; our objective is to learn more about our employees’ preferences, and to increase their engagement by tailoring our programs and implementation strategies to meet their changing needs over time.

Our resilience building program, which aims to bolster our people’s coping skills when they face challenges either at work or at home, is a major pillar of ABB’s health plan. This program helps our people to be more relaxed, healthier and productive by teaching them how to thrive under pressure. We believe this program is building a culture of flexible thinking within ABB, where people welcome new challenges with open arms. In 2018, we provided resilience training to more than 28,000 employees in 60 countries; 142 internal instructors conducted resilience training sessions in 26 languages.

Case study ABB Ergonomics Program ready for 2019

Reveal case study

In 2018, ABB’s Group Health Team completed two ergonomic pilot programs at our sites in Vaasa, Finland, and 10th of Ramadan City, Egypt. The rationale behind these pilot projects was clear: According to the available data, three percent of total working time is lost due to sick days taken by employees, and 30 percent of those sick days are related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). ABB realized that by improving ergonomics, it could significantly reduce MSD-related lost time.

Other benefits of an ergonomics program include reduced risk-related insurance premiums, improved productivity and quality, and higher employee morale, not to mention fulfilling our legal requirements and living up to our responsibilities as an employer.

The aim of the pilot programs was to validate our design processes and to gather lessons learned so we could finalize ABB’s ergonomics-related guidelines. As part of the program, we remotely trained five ergonomics team members at each site during the first week and then provided ergonomics awareness training to 20 percent of all the employees at the sites. Finally, we assessed all of the workstations slated for inspection, and identified and began taking steps to reduce ergonomics-related risks.

Thanks to these successful pilots, we are prepared to implement the ABB Ergonomics Program globally starting in Q2 2019. Our plan foresees a phased implementation period of five years.

Close case study