Retention, Development & Diversity
In addition to our commitment to keeping employees safe, we are dedicated to providing employees what they need to succeed in their careers. We recognize the value each employee brings to our business and how the diversity in background and skill sets benefits the company.
With approximately 4,700 employees around the world who represent a wide variety of backgrounds and make our business possible, we are committed to celebrating the diversity of all our employees and supporting them in realizing successful careers.
Reporting to the CEO, the senior vice president and chief human resources officer (CHRO) oversees programs and processes to attract, develop, retain and support our employees and routinely updates the Board of Directors on related initiatives. The Human Resources department enables managers across the company to drive performance and employee development through the use of our performance management process and the implementation of our Code of Business Ethics and our Human Rights Policy, which establish expectations for professional conduct, strict adherence to labor practices and human rights laws, and the creation of a safe and healthy workplace.
We understand that employees have a choice of where they work, and it is our goal to remain an attractive employer for top talent. We depend on the broad range of skill sets and experiences from our workforce to be successful as a business and advance on our sustainability journey. At the same time, we seek diverse candidates for all positions while providing competitive benefits and professional development programs to all employees to ensure they are treated fairly and equally. By developing our employees’ knowledge and skills, we offer our people opportunities for advancement, enhance value for our customers, and retain talent to further our leadership position. This also benefits our employees’ families and local communities by building intellectual capital and supporting broader economic stability.
We have a firm belief that fostering diverse perspectives and experiences not only builds a community of employees who feel included and valued but also enhances our ability to be innovative. Our business success depends on our ability to create an environment in which we all understand and acknowledge the importance of our differences. This supports our efforts in recruiting and retaining top talent and establishing a welcoming environment for our employees.
Our top priority for diversity and inclusion in 2018 was to define what this topic means to us as a company and how we will build an inclusive environment in which employees can be their genuine selves. The D&I Council set a charter as well as objectives, which included benchmarking D&I activity with other companies, defining more clearly and precisely what the terms “diversity" and "inclusion" mean to us, and sharing this information on our website. As part of this effort, we hosted an executive leadership session to define D&I and prioritize our focus areas. In addition, we began a process of determining what systems and key performance indicators should be introduced to help us ensure success in making our company a place where employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences feel welcome and supported.
Upgrading our performance management approach
In addition to training sessions required for all managers and employees participating in the PBM process globally, we provided a dedicated toolkit with supportive materials to equip managers and employees to engage in the process and support employees’ ongoing performance and development.
Enhanced USA Parental Leave Policy
In July 2018, we introduced our paid Parental Leave Policy for USA-based employees, which gives parents the flexibility to care for the newest additions to their families. The policy provides paid leave to both primary and secondary caregivers, regardless of gender. We also enhanced our Short-term Disability Policy for mothers, to provide additional income stability while they recover from childbirth.
Ensuring fair and equal pay
To encourage fair and equal compensation decisions in the future, we offered pay equity training for all managers and Human Resources representatives in North America, and we pledged to complete a global gender pay equity review on an annual basis.
Promoting diversity in our decision-making
To this end, we initiated unconscious bias training with internal focus groups, including all members of our Executive Committee. The training focused on gaining a better understanding of what unconscious bias is and on simple tactics that can be used to reduce the risk of partiality entering our decision-making.
Revisiting our culture
Recognizing that our company culture plays a critical role in our ability to fulfill our vision, successfully execute our business strategy and advance our leadership position, we evaluated the fundamental aspects of our culture in 2018 and explored how we could more effectively manage and strengthen it. Our culture is grounded in a collaborative spirit, our commitment to SH&E and acting in the best interests of our company. We look to create an environment that is conducive to the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation while empowering every team member to take responsibility for the execution of our strategy.
Through engagements with members of our global leadership team, we identified areas of our culture that we wanted to keep, areas that we wanted to improve and aspects that we wanted to diminish. Employees were encouraged to take action to adopt and reinforce the outcome of this effort in their roles and within their teams.
To support this effort, we equipped our leaders to actively engage with their teams by providing resources to help employees understand their role in advancing the culture journey, as well as techniques to improve inclusivity and efficiency.
Employee Development Highlights
Developing leadership skills and accountability
Our Asia Pacific region invested in workshops focused on building strong leadership skills and establishing a shared mindset of accountability.
The sessions, facilitated by members of the regional leadership team, used practical examples from our company to demonstrate how action-oriented behaviors and greater accountability can better enable us to achieve our objectives. Based on what they learned, attendees developed specific action plans to apply in their work activities so they can continue strengthening these skills
Enhancing Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate, energetic and committed to their work.
We understand the importance of creating an environment where employees feel valued and connected, and want to give their best each day they come to work. Knowing how our employees feel about working for us and reacting to their feedback is critical to our success. To capture employee feedback, we launched a pilot employee engagement survey at our Boston and Billerica, Massachusetts, USA, sites in 2016. Building on the success of the pilot, we conducted our first global employee engagement survey in 2017.
Over 80% of our employees around the globe completed the survey. Results from the survey were shared with employees and focus groups were held at all locations to gain a deeper understanding of the feedback. Action plans were developed at the global, regional and site level focusing on the key themes identified in the survey. At the global levels, these actions include advancing our diversity and inclusion efforts, fostering employee growth and recognition through a redesigned, performance-based management process and launching a formal recognition program, improving communications and implementing a simplification initiative to improve efficiency and effectiveness. The success of these actions will be measured through future engagement surveys, which we plan to conduct every two years.
Developing Our Future Leaders
We launched a six-month Leadership Fundamentals Development Program in 2017 to enhance the skills of our frontline leaders.
Thirty employees from ten facilities across North America participated in the program through a blended learning approach of online training, webinars, reading assignments and a discussion board. Participants engaged in a variety of leadership topics, including Cabot’s people leadership competencies, establishing trusting relationships, communication strategies, motivating and influencing employees, managing conflict and giving feedback. The design of the program enabled collaborative learning across sites, functions, businesses and positions. As we facilitate this program in coming years, we look forward to engaging a greater number of employees.
Preparing Engineers for Growth
In 2017, all process engineers from six reinforcement materials plants in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) participated in a dedicated program designed to enhance their technical expertise, leadership skills and overall performance.
The engineers participated in 11, three-hour modules that included e-learning, internal and external classroom training and study groups. The outcome led to improved information and best practice sharing among APAC plants and further development of our talent pipeline.
We take steps to ensure all employees are committed to living our values of integrity, respect, responsibility and excellence as well as our commitment to human rights. All employees are required to attend training to understand the importance of our values in addition to completing our Code of Conduct training.Download our Human Rights Policy