2020 has been a year of uncertainty, challenge and opportunity, all of which have focused our attention on supporting our people and the strategic ambitions of our business. Growth remains a priority across many business units, and HR has supported in delivering this objective by hiring and onboarding new talent (2,377 new employees) while looking after our 16,540 existing employees, by keeping them engaged and motivated. As part of the carve-out and divestment of the Specialty Ingredients business, we have worked to transform it into an independent unit, while redoubling our efforts to optimize the new organizational structure of the wider Group business by establishing future-fit HR systems and processes.
Many colleagues (36% of the global employee population) are now working remotely due to the pandemic. However, our essential workers (64% of the employee population) continue to come to our manufacturing sites and research and development (R&D) facilities, with clear guidelines and procedures to protect and maintain their health and safety. This hybrid approach to on-site and remote working across the organization brings an opportunity to explore innovative ways to use communications and technologies to engage and equip our workforce. Many of these changes have allowed us to become more effective in our collaboration and our sharing of knowledge, and they have set a positive precedent for how we will work in the future.
The Lonza workforce now covers all generations from Baby Boomers2 through to Generation Z3, making us a truly cross-generational community. Female presence increases through the generations with a 54% higher presence among Generation Y4 compared to Generation X5. Indeed, in some countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands, the female-to-male employee ratio broadly sits at 50:50. Overall, the Lonza workforce comprises colleagues from more than 100 countries, providing a vibrant and diverse community of multiple nationalities, languages, cultures and perspectives.
All figures reflect total Lonza Group, including Lonza Speciality Ingredients business
The generation is generally defined as people born from 1946 to 1964
The generation is generally defined as people born from 1997 to 2012/15
The generation is generally defined as people born from 1981 to 1995
The generation is generally defined as people born from 1965 to 1979/80
Providing support, safety and security to our colleagues during this time has remained a top priority for our business. Regular communication to our global employees has played a critical role in maintaining their safety. We have developed a comprehensive well-being offering, including an Employee Assistance Program, which is accessible to all of our global employees. We have also updated our absence policy in 2020, to provide greater flexibility to those who need it. Furthermore, as the pandemic has evolved, we have continued to ensure that employees travelling on business away from their home country are fully supported and those who wish to be repatriated can do so safely. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, “virtual assignments” were created as a temporary replacement for all new hire contracts that required a relocation. This ensured we did not lose any incoming talent, as those affected were still able to commence their employment at Lonza.
We understand that the employee experience is a critical component of talent attraction and retention. As many of our employees try to achieve a fair balance between their home and working lives, it has become increasingly important to identify a globally consistent way of recognizing exceptional commitment and additional workloads. In this context, we have rolled out a global recognition scheme, named “Bravo”, to allow colleagues to recognize each other, no matter where they are based and what function they are in.
To support the enhanced employee experience, the HR function has also launched several initiatives to review and improve the moments that matter in the candidate and employee journeys. Many employee interviews were conducted to collect valuable feedback and insights into how we can improve the experience.
The exceptional circumstances of 2020 gave us the opportunity to further develop and optimize our online and digital talent acquisition technologies. Despite the pandemic and its impact on the global economy, we continued on our growth trajectory, meeting our original hiring plan of recruiting more than 2,300 employees, supporting business continuity across all sites, as well as global growth and strategic projects.
Our collaboration with Moderna has led to growth opportunities at our sites in Portsmouth (USA) and Visp (CH). We are now focused on ensuring the consortium can attract and hire the right people, in the right places at the right time. At a time of restriction on talent mobility, our 436 global mobile workforce has been supported to navigate challenges efficiently, while also ensuring compliance. Most importantly, we have worked to ensure our people are safe and supported. Our talent mobility brings with it an increased global presence for our Lonza brand, and confers greater attractiveness as an employer (we have seen a 29% increase in the number of applications for available roles compared to 2019).
Through video conferencing technology, our interviewing and onboarding processes are now adapted to accommodate a fully remote setting. These platforms have allowed us to adapt dynamically to the environmental constraints of the pandemic, while allowing us to continue to bring top talent into Lonza in support of our ambitious hiring agenda.
We have approached talent development in a focused way in 2020, by prioritizing specific areas such as Engineering, Operations and Finance. For selected top talent groups, we have a fully virtual mentoring program with a number of expert speakers on leadership development. Furthermore, to support our agile business and respond to the business environment, selected employees have been given the chance to complete a change management certification.
People Managers (17% of Lonza’s workforce) play a key role in employee engagement, satisfaction and performance. We understand their importance and provide them with support and development via guided virtual training and refresher courses. These monthly virtual sessions for all Lonza People Managers cover a range of relevant topics such as interviews with our senior executives on how they work from home, to cross-cultural communications and coaching for development. We also offer timely topics to support these People Managers in delivering the specialist professional responsibilities.
In addition, we have made significant progress in applying digital tools for training, such as virtual reality (VR) to allow employees to prepare for their tasks in production at their own speed. There are already five VR training modules with specific “standard work units” successfully deployed; a further 34 modules are currently in development.
We work to ensure that all of our employees have access to training and development, whether they continue to operate in our labs, on our sites or from their homes. We understand that continual learning is key to both professional and personal development. We saw a surge in the use of our e-book library and webinars, as more than 20% of our employee community were recorded as unique users. The content of greatest interest focused on resilience, conducting virtual meetings and leading under crisis and uncertainty. In addition, we offered a five-part “Summer Reading Series” with targeted resources, webinars and training to help our colleagues in the pandemic. Topics included support on parenting, stress management, self-care and personal resilience.
We believe our colleagues and their experiences are a key source of learning. Our mentoring programs across the business allow our employees to learn from each other, create vital networks and share relevant experience and knowledge. We offer global virtual mentoring, which adds a fresh dimension, through learning from different cultural experiences. We also work to ensure that Lonza remains a place to stay and grow for existing employees. Our high internal fill rate across the organization at 30% is testament to this. This means our people often have the chance to move into new roles within the organization and continue on their learning and development journey. This also includes global assignments for select employees.
Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)
The HR Function has worked with great care and perseverance on a hiring strategy to meet Lonza’s ambitious growth plans. New hiring records were reached and in October 2020 alone more than 300 candidates globally accepted offers of employment from Lonza. This looks set to increase again in 2021, as we anticipate more than 30% further increase on current hiring levels.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have flexed to meet changing business needs while adapting to navigate restrictions on movement, always with a focus on providing high touch support for our colleagues on assignment or relocating. Remote interviews have improved efficiency for our hiring managers, while virtual onboarding has provided a fresh view on the employee journey for our candidates. At a leadership level, we also worked on our governance and decision-making processes to maintain a careful balance between business need and recruitment in an uncertain environment.
Turning to our existing employee community, we are working to develop a more robust and structured approach to Diversity and Inclusion, while establishing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Such an offering has become particularly important over the last year, when employees are facing unexpected challenges in both their professional and personal lives. As we move into 2021, we will continue to focus on the experience of our existing employees, by ensuring that we localize and live our Employment Value Proposition (EVP), as well as working with the Lonza leadership team and the broader organization to embed a revised set of company values.
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at Lonza is focused on creating the environment, systems, structures and behaviors for employees to feel truly valued and respected, as well as providing an authentic sense of belonging to our global community. We continue working to ensure that our employees feel they have a voice that will be listened to and the opportunity to work at their best, because our business truly values diversity and difference of characteristic, preference, belief and perspective.
External developments and events this year caused Lonza to stop and think more deeply about our culture of inclusion and the diversity of our workforce. The wide-ranging diversity of our global employee community brings with it a spectrum of opinions, perspectives and experiences, which are the strongest drivers of innovation and creativity.
We understand that hard work and commitment are required to ensure we attract and retain a diverse employee base. As such, we have redoubled our commitment to ensuring Lonza is a place for all, both now and in the future. To support this, we have established a D&I Steering Committee, comprising Group Heads of HR, Communications, Ethics and Compliance and Legal. This is designed to provide strategic direction to a D&I Global Taskforce, comprising select employees to consider the D&I issues that may impact our community. This Taskforce is supported by a community of D&I Ambassadors, who monitor local issues and bring to life our D&I agenda across our global site network.
This comprehensive governance structure is designed to provide a robust assessment of D&I across the company to develop a D&I roadmap. It aims to mitigate unconscious bias, foster inclusive leadership and ensure that all Lonza talents are able to thrive and add value. These initial steps represent the beginning of a journey, and we look forward to sharing further progress in the coming year.
Building a culture relies on a core set of shared values, beliefs, habits and behaviors, as well as a united employee community. A cultural identity must be built and earned. It forms a compass to guide the behavior and mindset of individual employees. Based on this, we are finalizing a refreshed set of cultural values, defining key behaviors that we encourage all employees to embrace every day.
2020 has proved to be a year of many unprecedented events and unexpected opportunities. Our achievement in the HR function allows us to look positively into the future, as we make plans to embed our new values and behaviors into our company culture and engage our valued employees in the journey.