The Group's employment policies are based on equality of opportunity regardless of colour, creed, race, national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability unrelated to the ability of the person to perform the essential functions of the job. Smith & Nephew is committed to the provision of continuous training and development, open communications and rewards that are appropriate to local markets. This approach is clearly demonstrated in the HR Policy Framework which sets out the group-wide HR policies approach to winning high levels of employee engagement and specific policies governing HR practice in the 8 key areas of recruitment, managing performance, remuneration, retirement benefits, talent management, organisation vitality, communications and compliance. In addition the framework clearly articulates our commitment to the values of Performance, Innovation and Trust, our management principles and behaviours. A specific example of this is the development and implementation of the Management Principles that act as a framework for ensuring that the desired management style and behaviours are promoted and implemented across the whole organisation.
These principles are incorporated into the Performance Management processes across the business for managers and form part of the performance assessment process.
We have put a lot of effort into developing our current and future leaders and harnessing their talent to improve the performance of our business. A set of group-wide leadership capabilities have been developed. Senior managers from all parts of the business meet to develop strategies to channel the energy and enthusiasm of the organisation into delivering a culture of superior performance in line with our values. Across our business activities such as use of 360* degree feedback for managers, coaching and attendance at high quality leadership programmes are in place.
The Group is committed to providing training and information so that all employees can make the best contribution possible. To ensure that the Group continues to improve in this important area, during 2007, a central global organisational development team was created to lead talent management, performance management and learning and development across the whole of Smith & Nephew. Learning and development programmes are used to attract, retain and develop employees. These programmes are linked to formal performance appraisal, talent management and career development planning.
The Group continues to develop its current and future leaders by undertaking an annual talent management process to improve the performance of the business. As part of this process we strive to equip them with the necessary skills by identifying potential global opportunities, group projects or international assignments that will enable them to develop into these leadership roles. Senior management supports a set of group-wide leadership competencies and management development is a regular item on their meeting agenda. Performance evaluation, coaching and attendance at leadership programmes are utilised.
There is a strong Human Resources function in all our businesses, which ensures we continue to deliver on these policies and develop these in line with changing standards and we continue to fully support equal opportunities for all employees. In the US Smith & Nephew is an active participant in equal employment opportunity initiatives. The Group Director of Human Resources is a member of the Group Executive Committee with responsibility for providing functional leadership across the business. Each GBU has an HR Director who is a member of the executive team managing that business. Regular dialogue between the HR groups enables a consistent approach that reflects our core values across the company. There is regular review and audit of processes that are key to successful implementation of these policies as part of the risk management process.
We recognise that each and every one of our employees around the world is key to the continued success of Smith & Nephew and, as such, their feedback, whether through formal job appraisal systems or informally through discussion forums on our Group-wide intranet, is very important to us. Below are some of the ways in which we keep employees informed and seek their views:
- We carry out regular Global Opinion Survey's across the business. The aim of the surveys are to assess how staff feel about working for Smith & Nephew, determine what we, as a business, do well and identify what could be improved. The survey continues to provide an opportunity to test the effectiveness of Performance, Innovation and Trust as the declared company values. In addition the GBU's are always looking to improve their two way communications with our staff.
- Our Global Business Units operate their own intranets as an important element of continuous and interactive communication with employees.
- There is a corporate intranet site available to all employees, concentrating on providing information and services specifically requested by personnel in the businesses. This provides employees with the opportunity to easily access information on the business. There is also an intranet project underway that is looking at ways to improve the interactive elements of the site.. Local business intranets sites are also in place across the business providing a mix of information of interest within GBUs as well as Smith & Nephew.
Life, the Group's employee magazine, is printed in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. It is distributed to every Smith & Nephew location around the world.
- In addition, individual Global Business Units utilise their own employee communications and consultation processes in order to communicate effectively with employees. We respect and fully support the rights of individuals to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining where this is the desire of the majority of the employees. We have a number of agreements with recognised trades unions and work in partnership with these groups in consulting and negotiating terms conditions and good working practices. In most of our workplaces, direct communication and consultation with employees is the normal process and this approach is also recognised and fully supported by the local management teams.
The company has worked hard to develop and improve the way it engages employees in taking part in influencing change in the workplace. Individuals and representative bodies are encouraged to give feedback (e.g. Global Opinion Survey), influence the content of solutions (e.g. local focus groups), consultation on specific projects as they arise.
Smith & Nephew provides healthy and safe working conditions for all its employees. Health and safety is managed as an integral part of the business and employee involvement is recognised as a key part of the process.
The Group does not use any form of forced, compulsory or child labour. The Group supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations and respects human rights, the dignity and privacy of the individual, the right of employees to freedom of association, freedom of expression and the right to be heard.
We welcome the involvement of all employees in helping shape the future Smith & Nephew and look to all methods to encourage participation.