Our people ABB believes in its people and invests in them

We value our employees and support them through many initiatives

The 2019 Global Summit of Women, ABB female employees with the CEO Peter Voser (photo)

We believe that our people are our most important asset. That is why ABB invests in personal and professional development. We seek to provide the best available tools, programs and opportunities. By doing so, we empower them to build rewarding careers, enjoy their personal lives and strengthen their health, resilience and sense of well-being.

For 2020, our targets are to increase the number of women in senior management positions (Hay grades 1-7) 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. They carry significant implications for our overall performance.

We made modest progress toward these targets over the past year. At present, 11.7 percent of the senior managers at ABB are women, up from 10.5 percent in 2018. We recognize that we can do more to raise this proportion going forward. Additionally, at the end of 2019, 77 percent of our employees were covered by ABB’s well-being program, up from 67 percent in 2018. We achieved these results through a combination of continuing and new initiatives.

Case study The 2019 Global Summit of Women

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ABB sent a delegation of more than a dozen high-level female managers to the 2019 Global Summit of Women held in Basel, Switzerland. This annual event, focused on women’s advancement, has been the world’s premier business and economic forum for women for the past 29 years.

Chairman and CEO Peter Voser participated in the summit’s opening panel, while ABB’s delegation was led by Company Secretary and General Counsel (at the time), Diane de Saint Victor, Chief Human Resources Officer Sylvia Hill and Head of Global Diversity & Inclusion and Employer Brand Heidi Robertson. This delegation joined 1,000 influential leaders in business, the nonprofit sector and government from 60+ countries for three days of working sessions, speeches and networking events under the banner of “Women: Redefining Success.”

ABB’s participation in the summit is the latest in the series of steps the company has taken to nurture a diverse and inclusive generation of new leaders. As an outcome of their participation, most of the attendees from ABB have either adopted or further strengthened their focus on increasing gender diversity. Participants set into action significant initiatives to promote gender diversity in four major areas after the event: recruitment, building the pipeline, personal development, and awareness and sensitization.

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To promote gender balance in our workforce, ABB relies on the gender diversity framework implemented in 2017. Actions called for by this framework include shortlisting women during recruitment drives, increased focus on the Diversity Dashboard findings at the ABB Executive Committee meetings, creating opportunities for women to be mentored by senior leaders, conducting internal and external awareness campaigns and adopting flexible working practices.

While we made solid progress with new appointments, attrition diminished the total impact of the new hires. We also sought to identify 100 female candidates for senior leadership positions. Almost every business identified five or more women for this purpose. Altogether, 188 nominations were submitted – exceeding our goal. Additionally, in 2019, we met our goal of 30 percent of our early talent hires being female, i.e., recent university graduates. However, many of these hires have been in the functions, so we are increasing our efforts to meet this target for business roles as well. The year also saw the establishment of a global female mentoring program, which has now been rolled out to three of our businesses.

In 2018 we signed the EmbraceDifference pledge developed by the European Roundtable for Industrialists. To follow up on the pledge, we linked our 2019 initiatives to the six focus areas identified by the pledge: Inclusive Culture, Inclusive Leadership, Aspiration & Goal Setting, Clear Responsibility, Equal Opportunities & Societal Engagement and Responsibility.

Sustainability and diversity are interdependent. ABB is proud to hire and promote great talent with a wide range of racial, ethnic, social and geographic backgrounds. We are convinced that we make better business decisions by ensuring everyone has a voice.

Sylvia Hill – Chief Human Resources Officer

We carried out unconscious-bias training, utilizing more than 65 trained, in-house facilitators. To date, more than 900 managers have participated in workshops held under this program. This year we also rolled out global guidelines for flexible working practices, offering six different options supported by a comprehensive toolkit and online learning program for managers. Furthermore, we refined our HR dashboard and metrics to ensure greater clarity on our targets and quarterly progress.

Health and well-being

Health initiatives and preventive occupational health are fundamental pillars of ABB’s health programs, which are offered to all of our employees and their eligible dependents. Our well-being programs target stress reduction and positive working environments. These programs support our employees’ efforts to develop their skills, knowledge and self-confidence, enabling them to manage their own health and work activities productively.

In 2019, we exceeded our 2020 objective of providing at least 70 percent of all ABB employees with access to one or more ABB well-being programs. Over the past year, the top three globally reported programs were fitness and physical activities, voluntary medical checks and healthy nutrition.

ABB receives 2019 Changemaker Award (photo)

Case study ABB employee well-being program receives 2019 Changemaker Award

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In 2019 we received the Limeade Limelight Award for our employee well-being program in the United States.

Limeade, a Seattle-area tech company that serves as our partner for the My Well-Being program, awarded ABB its 2019 Changemaker Award as part of their annual awards. The Changemaker Award recognizes a strategic and dynamic shift in employee engagement and culture. In 2018 alone, ABB increased its employee engagement in the United States by 3.5 percent. This was achieved by building bridges across the organization.

For example, the team identified cross-promotional opportunities like connecting well-being to safety goals. This resulted in greater consistency, reinforcement of our key messages and encouragement of desired behaviors. Additional factors that led to greater engagement included our wellness champion network, the endorsement of the program by senior managers and concrete support from leadership. In our United States operations, My Well-Being plays an important role in helping our employees feel good, live with purpose and elevate their experience. The team behind the program will continue to drive engagement, improve the employee experience and help employees make their own health and wellness a priority.

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In the course of ABB’s organizational transformation in 2019, our resilience-building program, launched in 2017, represented an important asset to support our employees. The program helps our employees manage stress, enhance health and improve productivity. It also builds a culture of flexible thinking and positive attitudes and behaviors. By the end of 2019, more than 53,000 employees had received training in 67 countries around the globe since the start of the program.

In 2019, we placed a stronger focus on mental well-being by enabling access to employee assistance programs that support those affected by personal or professional issues. Additionally, we released a medical travel risk management standard. The new TravelReady form (TRF) has become mandatory for employees traveling to 37 countries where there is a risk of malaria or yellow fever. The tool was developed to make our travelers and their line managers aware of the medical requirements associated with these destinations.

To address the important issue of workplace ergonomics, e-learning modules were made available for use by the businesses. Furthermore, we continued our partnership with Virgin Pulse for the third year to manage our company’s Global Health Challenge, a company-wide program promoting physical activity, healthy eating, stress management and better sleep habits.

In 2020 one of our focus areas will be to assist our managers in understanding their roles in our health agenda, particularly with respect to work-life balance, sick leave management and resilience building.