Protecting Our Most Valuable Resource
As a materials science company, innovation is critical. Even more important are the people who bring those innovations to life. From our earliest days, our people have been a key ingredient in our success. In our factories and offices worldwide, we’ve made it a priority to keep employees safe, treat them with fairness and respect, and never rest in our efforts to keep Avery Dennison a great place to work.
Setting a New Standard in Safety
Safety remains a core value at every Avery Dennison facility worldwide. Over the last two decades, we’ve built one of the best safety records of any global manufacturing company. Our recordable incidence rate (RIR) in 2016 was world class at 0.25, far surpassing the manufacturing industry average of 3.8 in 2015, the most recently available average. Also in 2016, 84 percent of our 181 facilities worldwide were free of recordable injuries.
To keep incidents low and awareness high, we continually reinforce our safety culture through ongoing education and communication. Videos from our CEO, distributed company-wide and available in 30 languages, have demonstrated that our expectations for safety are held at the highest levels of our leadership. In 2016, our “Know Safety, No Accidents” campaign provided talking points in multiple languages on specific injury-prevention safety topics to frontline leaders worldwide.
We promote hazard recognition, safety awareness and kaizens for solving safety-related issues company-wide and within our specific businesses. Over the last year, our LGM business has continued its focus on awareness and prevention of hand injuries. One effort rated various cutting tools for their laceration risk and eliminated the most dangerous items. Another assessment evaluated machinery for potential pinch-points and implemented mitigation for equipment with the highest risk.
In our RBIS business, our Safety By Technology program employed kaizen events in over 40 of our production facilities worldwide to evaluate the “point of operations” risks associated with moving equipment and machinery. Machine operators, their managers and others worked together to identify standardized machine safeguarding solutions that were applied across all regions to eliminate or significantly reduce risks.
In our solvent coating operations, we’ve made a focused effort to raise safety awareness and decrease the risk of fire. Our Global Static and Fire Prevention Initiative, for example, begun in 2016, seeks to enhance static control on solvent coating lines and fire‑suppression systems to eliminate or reduce the risk of fire from static electricity. We conducted facility-level static and fire suppression assessments as part of the effort and have begun addressing the findings we identified. We’re investing in static control technology, process safeguards, best-practices training for employees and more. We anticipate that all high- and medium-priority recommendations will be addressed by mid-2017, with all remaining recommendations addressed by the end of 2017.
To further ensure that we’re following our own standards and the regulations of the countries where we do business, we conduct environmental health and safety (EHS) compliance audits at our manufacturing sites. Audits are conducted by a team of our own employees assisted by third-party consultants who provide an outside perspective in addition to deep knowledge and expertise of country/local regulations and language. Between 2014 and 2016, we conducted audits at 62 of our facilities. The results of the audits are tracked to closure by the corporate EHS team and are used by the sites to bridge gaps in the EHS process and facilitate continuous improvement in workplace safety and environmental protection.
Upholding Human Rights and Fair Labor Practices in Our Facilities
We remain committed to advancing human rights and fair labor practices in our business. We work hard to ensure that the people who make our products are treated fairly and with respect. Our Employment Standards and Global Supplier Standards are guided by the broad principles advanced by the United Nations and the International Labour Organization. Both sets of standards, as well as our Code of Conduct and our values and ethics training program, help to ensure consistent and fair employment practices in our facilities worldwide.
To ensure compliance with our Employment Standards, we conduct periodic audits at our owned and operated RBIS facilities around the world. (We also conduct audits of our subcontractors’ facilities. See “Promoting human rights among our subcontractors” here.) We focus on our RBIS business because of the apparel industry’s history of issues with labor rights and human rights, particularly in countries with less rigorous laws. We prioritize facilities to be audited according to their risk profile, taking into account factors like past audit performance and the prevailing labor conditions in the country where the facility is located. The audits are conducted by a third-party workplace auditor. In 2015 and 2016, we conducted a total of 166 audits of our RBIS manufacturing sites.
Audits of our facilities cover 151 areas of compliance. Whether conducted by us or a third party, the objectives of every audit are to:
● Identify noncompliance with our policies.
● Identify best practices.
● Observe improvements on identified issues from previous audits.
● Rate facilities’ overall compliance levels.
In addition to audits, we also provide employee training to ensure managers and employees understand their rights and our expectations.
Addressing Gender Diversity
As an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity employer, we’ve long been committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Since 2013, we’ve been particularly focused on increasing gender diversity. In 2014, we set a stretch goal for women to hold at least 40 percent of our leadership positions, which we define as manager level and above, by the end of 2018.
In the two years since, we’ve pursued that goal by creating a more flexible work environment, developing female employees’ leadership skills and raising awareness of unconscious gender bias across our company. And while we’ve seen success in all three of these areas, we’re still far enough from our goal, at 32 percent, that reaching 40 percent by 2018 is unlikely. Like many companies, our greatest obstacle is the shortage of women in certain labor pools, particularly in engineering or tech-related fields. We’re addressing this challenge by more proactively building a pipeline of qualified recruits. One solution: a program in the U.S. and European operations of our LGM business that recruits potential leaders—both women and men—right out of college. We’re engaging recent graduates because they tend to be more diverse. New hires in the program are given a wide range of experiences within our company to help them develop skills in leadership and other areas key to their career growth. Our aim is to create an abundant pool of diverse talent from which to fill leadership positions.
As we continue our efforts to bring gender balance to our leadership, we also continue to focus on inclusion broadly—to look at how our teams can encompass and leverage the differences among our employees. In 2016, 375 employees in our LGM business took part in inclusion workshops, where they had frank conversations about these issues and completed self-assessments that prompted them to reflect on their own fears and habits regarding their interactions with people different from themselves.
Scoring Higher in Employee Satisfaction
We annually measure employee engagement through a company-wide survey. Approximately 90 percent of our employees completed our most recent survey in 2016. We’re proud that across our businesses, 80 percent of employees reported being satisfied with working at Avery Dennison, a score that puts us among the highest ranks of Fortune 500® companies. We attribute our scores to a company culture that includes high and clear standards for ethics, integrity and transparency; accessible senior leadership; and concern for employees demonstrated by fair compensation and a wide range of employee support and development programs.
Making Annual Reviews Less "Annual"
We enable employees to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their jobs, grow professionally and pursue opportunities within our company. Between 2014 and 2016, we continued to evolve our training and development offerings. Among other efforts, we revised our performance management process, making it less of an annual review and more of an ongoing, future-focused conversation between employees and their managers that focuses on both performance and development. We also improved our online performance and development system, making it easier to use.
Treating Health and Well-Being as Mission:Possible
Between 2014 and 2016, through a program called Mission:Possible, we held health and well-being challenges, encouraging teams of U.S.-based employees to compete in weight loss, daily physical activity, stress reduction and more. Dozens of designated “health ambassadors” throughout the company encouraged participants on their goals and progress, invited them to exercise with others and helped them fine-tune their workouts. Mission:Possible builds camaraderie and supports employees in being healthy, which has been shown to increase employee engagement.
China's New Working Women
Making Safety Part of Our Process