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Strengthening employee engagement

Our success is inseparable from the commitment of our employees, commitment that is explained by the place given to women and men who are at the heart of Virbac and its major decisions. Every day, we are committed to evolving our modes of operation and meeting the ongoing challenges of globalization, changing markets and new technologies, while adhering to our values of proximity with each of our customers.

In such an environment, the issue of human capital is fully in line with that of the company, our ambition being to support in the development of organizations and professions, as well as the specific needs of the teams, by building a strong partnership with managers and all employees.

GROUP GOVERNANCE AND HR POLICY

Virbac’s policy as it pertains to this issue of human capital is based on three complementary tenets:

  • training, skills development, performance compensation;
  • well-being in the workplace and recognition;
  • mobility and diversity aspects that provide a valuable resource for the Group.

We pay attention to our employees’ opinions, and use them as a source of inspiration in defining our policies and the areas of improvement to target so as to unite employees around strong values, thus increasing the commitment and motivation of all. All employees regularly participate in a satisfaction survey that allows them to confidentially express their expectations on a very broad range of topics, many of which involve the CSR human capital issue.

In 2021, we conducted a new global internal opinion survey in partnership with Great Place to Work (same approach as in 2018 in the previous edition). Maintaining an identical method allows us to measure the changes in each of the areas. Over 91% of Group employees participated in this online internal opinion survey for all teams worldwide (nearly 83% participation rate in France).

In terms of overall results, we are seeing very good Group level growth of our two main indicators compared to 2018:

  • +9 points on the Trust index (73% in 2021). This score is the average of the positive response rates for all the questions asked in the survey;
  • +7 points on the overall perception of the company (75% in 2021). This percentage corresponds to the question “Overall, I can say that Virbac is really a great place to work.”

In France, these two indicators improved by eight points each to achieve an identical score of 57% in 2021. In detail, all the dimensions of the Great Place to Work model increased on the Group level, and our service provider has noted the exceptional nature of these increases between two surveys. In 2021, eight of the eligible countries with more than 50 employees (Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, India and Vietnam) also applied for Great Place to Work certification.

In this last edition, we also included additional questions relating to the understanding of the extraordinary health situation we have been experiencing since 2020. The result: employees had a very good impression of all the measures taken within our company to ensure their safety in their work environment as much as possible.

The in-depth analysis of all the results has highlighted our strengths and guided us in defining our areas for improvement and developing our practices. In 2022, we will once again ask employees to work together to design a concrete action plan in conjunction with the selected areas of improvement and establish a deployment schedule. Thanks to this participatory methodology, we will define new specific actions. By combining them with those already implemented since the previous opinion survey, we provide follow up on every action introduced.

As part of our continuous improvement approach, we are committed to bringing about positive change within our company’s shared work environment.

ATTRACTING AND RETAINING TALENT

The employment market has continued to evolve in recent years and is increasingly under tension. The qualified applicants we seek, whose skills are essential in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, are becoming scarce and are not always available. To remedy this shortage, we offer development pathways spread over several years. The goal: to enable our new recruits and employees who have already joined us to improve their qualifications. We have also adapted our recruitment strategy by identifying new search sources that complement more conventional methods such as sites dedicated to job offers or recruitment firms.

The actions we have implemented help to improve the visibility of our job offers and promote the many employment opportunities our company offers. The development of digital communication methods and the increase in the number of devices available (smartphones, tablets, computers, etc.) have enabled us to expand our field of investigation. Social media is an excellent way for us to deliver postings around the world and to directly reap their benefits.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • Promoting employee commitment and loyalty.
  • Continuing training initiatives aimed at improving skills and employability.

OUR POLICIES AND ACTION PLANS

Recruitment policy 

We recruit in all countries and for all jobs in order to support our growth. In order to ensure the consistency and relevance of such recruitment, for several years, we have been developing digital tools to allow for better visibility of available professional opportunities. In 2021, the Workday recruitment module was deployed in all our subsidiaries with the objective of harmonizing our Group processes in this area. All countries can publish their job offers via Workday on our internal and external career site at the same time in order to increase our visibility and develop our employer image. 

This tool also allows us to manage the multicasting of our postings on different job boards (LinkedIn and other more local job sites) with a single entry point. Workday provides transparency on the recruitment process for managers (number of applications received, follow-up of candidates for interviews, etc.) and allows recruiters to manage applications directly in this system. All applications received are centralized and shared with our managers, and responses to candidates are also sent directly from this platform. The recruitment module also allows us to meet GDPR regulation requirements with regard to data retention. 

Recruitment remains a very local activity linked to lines of business and cultural specificities. For this reason, the search for target profiles is managed mainly by the subsidiaries’ teams in order to adapt to the context of each country and to attract talent more effectively. One of the approaches shared within our company throughout the world is the involvement of employees in the recruitment of new colleagues. To strengthen this practice, we have developed co-optation programs that aim to reward employees for their contribution in identifying profiles that may meet our needs.

Skills development policy

In this ever changing world, one of our key success factors is our agility, particularly our ability to learn and the speed at which we do so. The development of all is crucial to supporting our performance. This is why we offer training and courses on topics directly related to our issues: techniques, business know-how, development of behavioral and cross-functional skills, etc. Digital learning allows us to enrich our offer, thanks to content diversity and accessibility.

For example, training expenditures in France this year were 2.45% of payroll, or an investment of €1,780,337. In 2021, we also launched a program entitled Leaders in action, intended for the development of all managers in France. In this program we test new learning methods, including serious games, providing skills development through using simulators and video games.
 
Developing employees also means offering more career opportunities and thus encouraging internal mobility.

Performance evaluation and recognition

At Virbac, our managerial processes are developed to provide each employee with support throughout the year. These processes include several components, such as individual goal setting and performance evaluation. Manager and employee spend quality time together to set expectations and then evaluate performance. 

Everyone has a key role in these processes:

  • the employee is involved in these exchanges (proposal and drafting of his/her objectives, self-assessment of his/her performance and skills, formalization of feedback to his/her manager, etc.); 
  • the manager shares factual elements to support the evaluation, support development and provide visibility over the coming year, in conjunction with the company’s objectives.

Within the annual performance committee, our executive board also shares the assessments, remuneration and professional development scenarios of key individuals in the Group. In France, for example, during the 2021 fiscal year, 100% of employees were compensated at a level above that of the legal minimum wage. The policy for base salaries is set at +5% above the minimum for the professional branch for all categories of staff. Our policy follows a rationale of competitiveness vis-a-vis the life sciences market and is generally at the median of this market. In addition to the financial elements related to individual performance compensation, we continue to pay close attention to collective performance compensation plans. For this reason, several mechanisms are already in place, such as a triennial incentive agreement entered into in 2020, and a profit-sharing agreement signed in 2008. The amounts from these agreements or voluntary payments may be invested in mutual funds, in the employee savings plan or in the Perco [Plan d’épargne pour la retraite collectif (Group retirement savings plan)]. Since 2016, leave days that have not been taken may also be paid into the Perco, up to a limit of ten days per year.

OUR RESULTS

Performance indicators  2019 2020 2021
Absenteeism 2.65%* 2.83%** 3.09%
Employee turnover rate 13.91% 10.10% 11.2%
Trust Index Great Place to Work 65% - 73%
Number of employees present on 12/31 who have taken at least one training session/total workforce on 12/31 78% 85% 81%

*the value of the 2019 absenteeism rate was adjusted following corrections to the United States data
**the value of the 2020 absenteeism rate includes the partial unemployment days completed

The increase in the 2021 absenteeism rate is largely related to the Covid-19 crisis in all the countries in which we operate.
 

HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK

Over the years, this priority area for the Group has become ingrained in the corporate culture. Our priority actions, which are borne by EHS management, are to ensure that industrial equipment and the risks associated with the use of chemicals comply with local regulations.

As in 2020, our absolute priority this year was to best protect the teams in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. The dedicated committee continued to coordinate all positions and maintain contact with all subsidiaries to monitor the situation as it evolved, and to quickly and effectively make the best decisions (Covid-19 unit reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). 

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • To increase the safety of employees in the workplace by implementing action plans, for instance, for better protection against potentially hazardous materials, improved ergonomics and psychosocial hazard management, which aim to reduce the number of workplace accidents and achieve a frequency rate of less than five.

GOVERNANCE

Created in 2015, Corporate EHS management has put in place a rigorous policy to identify and assess safety risks and to develop means of prevention and methods of monitoring their effectiveness. We have defined severity and frequency criteria to better target the actions to be implemented to reduce the number of accidents and to integrate human and organizational factors in the in-depth analysis of these events. The objective is to avoid any recurrence of accidents and to develop a safety culture for all our company staff, external company staff and temporary workers.

OUR ACTION PLANS

Safety culture

In 2021, we implemented numerous communication initiatives in France, including our participation for the first time in the European Safety and Health at Work Days. More than 800 employees participated in these two days at all sites in France through four distinct activities: an escape game, a quiz, treasure hunts and a safety wall. We have also deployed two e-learning modules on the topic for all Virbac organizations in France.

In all countries, we ensure that we implement numerous measures concerning the health and safety of our employees. Multi-year action plans on production machine compliance are thus in place at all major industrial sites: Australia, United States, Mexico and France. Chemical risk management is also taken into account, starting with product design, first on the choice of components but also on the number and type of analyses that must be performed at the different steps in the process.

Management of psychosocial risks

With regard to psychosocial hazards, the various departments of our company, with the support of HR teams and defined relays (social partners, workplace physician, etc.), are moving towards a global approach to quality of life at work. In 2021, we implemented various initiatives in addition to the Great Place to Work campaigns, related primarily to working conditions, manager training, and the dissemination of good practices, particularly with regard to workload. These initiatives also allowed us to finalize an internal “living better together” charter, a company-wide agreement on the right to log-off and a teleworking agreement.

OUR RESULTS

Performance indicators 2019 2020 2021
Frequency of work accidents 6.96 4.32 4.88
Severity rate of work accidents 0.19 0.18 0.25

The frequency rate used is based on French regulations and defined as the number of work accidents that resulted in at least one lost working day, divided by the number of hours worked, multiplied by one million.

The severity rate used is based on French regulations and defined as the number of lost days following accidents at work that resulted in at least one lost work day, divided by the number of hours worked, multiplied by one thousand.

After a historic low in 2020, the frequency rate of workplace accidents in our Group increased slightly in 2021 to 4.88 (+12%). This increase is the result of a very sharp decline in the frequency rate at sites in France, which reached 6.16. The severity rate of workplace accidents decreased greatly due to prolonged absences of people who suffered accidents in previous years (nearly 47% days lost).

DIVERSITY

Increasing diversity within Virbac will allow us to demonstrate our ability to integrate differences. Openness and ability to integrate are fundamental elements for innovation, adapting companies and identifying opportunities. These qualities must be demonstrated in both the organization and the outside world.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • Encourage equal treatment and diversity of employees.

GOVERNANCE

For Virbac, job equity between women and men is fundamental and requires that no form of discrimination exists or is tolerated, both in terms of access to employment and promotion, as well as in wage policy and other determinants of working conditions. .  

OUR POLICIES AND ACTION PLANS

Our diversity policy aims to guarantee equal treatment of staff, encourage diversity among people and human relationships and maintain worker employability. It is built around three key areas of focus: gender equality, disability, age mix.

Gender equality

Globally in our Group, Spain, France, Italy, Vietnam and the United States are the countries with the fewest gender pay gaps for all professional categories. The average of the ratios weighted by workforce shows a rate of 96% for leaders (senior executives, executives, directors), 84% for managers, 107% for individual contributors.

When it comes to gender pay equity between men and women, actions are taken to measure gaps, identify causes and take action. In France, for example, we signed a new agreement in 2019 which established the principles of gender equality in career paths (access to vocational training, wage equality between women and men in an equivalent occupation and for the same level of competence and work-life balance). This agreement reaffirms our willingness to analyze and reabsorb any gender pay gaps using a methodology that makes it possible to study them based on the gender equality index calculated by the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Integration (index that amounts to 88 points out of 100 for our company). At the same time, we dedicate a specific budget to the resolution of pay inequalities in order to implement these salary adjustment measures each year..

In 2021, ten countries were given an internal classification tool (grading) that provides improved management of internal equity and a rational approach to external competitiveness, in addition to establishing compensation and benefits policies. We regularly conduct Group-wide surveys on compensation in order to ensure that it remains competitive in the job market and adjustments are made if necessary.

With regard to recruiting for key positions, priority is given to internal and local candidates. Recruitment decisions (internal or external) are based exclusively on the skills and qualification criteria for the position. The candidate’s nationality, gender or age does not play a role in our decision. To the extent possible, we entrust leadership positions to local managers in order to be as close as possible to customers and the market culture. In 2021, in the sixteen company subsidiaries, 92% of senior managers were local hires and the management of eight subsidiaries were made up strictly of local hires.

Repartition HF-600x258-EN.svg

Europe remains the only geographic area where women are in the majority (56% of the workforce). The Pacific region, with 50%, and the North America and Latin America regions, with 45%, exhibit a very balanced proportion. Africa & Middle-East, with 40%, shows a more significant imbalance. Asia has the lowest number of women in the workforce (10%). This very low representation is due to India, which has only 18 women per 934 men, or 1.9% of our staff in this country. India remains a special case: the sales teams, for reasons pertaining to local culture, job stress and security (visits to farms on two wheels), are more naturally composed of men. Excluding India, the Asian area accounts for 314 employees and remains composed mostly men at 57%.

Disabled workers

For several years, we have been reaffirming our commitment and desire to promote the employment of disabled workers and to ensure their integration and working conditions by applying a set of measures that revolve around five axes.

  • Adjusting workstations: certain disabilities require the use of workstation or organizational arrangements that we take full responsibility for in order to facilitate working conditions. When recruiting or changing the job of an employee with a disability, regardless of the cause, the new position is subject to the necessary adjustments prior to taking up the position. 
  • Support employees in their actions: in order to help and encourage employees with disabilities in their actions with the competent authorities to obtain their recognition of beneficiaries of the employment obligation or their renewal, exceptional leave of absence is granted and remunerated. These employees also receive support from the occupational health team, which is available to support them in their efforts. 
  • Helping employees who have a child with a disability: to reaffirm our support to the employees concerned, in France we grant one day per year of additional paid leave.
  • Enabling disabled workers to better reconcile professional and personal life: the adjustment and adaptation of living conditions within the company is an essential factor in inserting and integrating disabled workers under good conditions.
  • Participate in the well-being of disabled workers beyond the framework of the company, by granting them one additional day of leave per year, and through the payment of a bonus in order to share in any arrangement of their living conditions at home that is necessary due to their disability.

Age and culture diversity

We have always considered the contribution of the various generations and cultures of the countries in which we are established to be a real treasure. Compliance by our employees with the values defined in the code of conduct is a prerequisite for any policy that values human capital. In the context of the extended company, the proper understanding by our partners of the rules related to employment practices is taken into consideration by the departments involved.

OUR RESULTS

Performance indicators 2019 2020 2021
Female/male salary ratio for the leaders category 82% 84% 96%

Based on total compensation, the female/male salary ratio is calculated as a weighted average of each leader's workforce (senior executives, executives, directors). A change in the calculation method (weighted average based on the number of subsidiary staff members) coupled with a new segmentation of the population of leaders led to a significant change in the 2021 result.

Innovating responsibly

Ensuring the quality of products and services

Protecting the environment


Download the Statement of non-financial performance

CSR strategy and indicators