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Strengthening employee engagement

Our success is inseparable from the commitment of our employees, an engagement 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 respecting 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 the opinion of our employees and we are inspired by them to define 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 human capital CSR challenge. The last global survey was conducted in 2018 using the Great Place to Work model and the Group achieved a result of 65% under the Trust Index. The calculation of this score is the average of the positive rates for all the questions asked in the survey.

Following the analysis of the survey results, we asked employees to build concrete actions together to improve the sense of belonging and quality of life at work in each country. A short-, medium- and long-term deployment schedule for actions related to the strengths and areas of improvement retained was also defined and communicated to all teams in early 2020.

Among our 2020 actions, we have created a charter of good management practices, revised our management processes in connection with the deployment of the new human resources information system and developed the best practices of feedback from the employee to the manager. To respond to the request to improve proximity with employees in the field, HR presence has also been strengthened thanks to the increased number of on-call staff at the various sites. To strengthen cross-functionality, we have worked on developing inter-departmental meetings to better discuss the various priorities and a project has been launched to promote the sharing of objectives within the various departments.

We also launched a participatory approach in the United States involving production, administrative and sales force employees who chose to focus their attention on three pillars: credibility, pride and respect. Numerous initiatives were proposed to the management committee and several of them were selected and deployed during 2020. In order to be able to progress in the approach despite the constraints related to the health crisis, certain identified actions have been deployed by adapting their implementation in a digital format (videoconference, e-learning, etc.) 

In our continuous improvement approach, we decided to launch our next opinion survey in 2021.

ATTRACTING AND RETAINING TALENT

In France, the key skills sought for core functions (Industry, Quality Assurance, Research & Development) are in high demand throughout the pharmaceutical, human and veterinary medicine industries. In addition to this competition between employers, the low employment pool for spouses, as well as the high cost of living in the Azure region, can be a hindrance to hiring. At the same time, in emerging countries, the job market is very dynamic, but the size and reputation of Virbac do not always attract the best talent.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • Promoting employee commitment and loyalty.
  • Continuing training actions 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 these recruitments, for several years, the Group has been developing digital tools to allow for better visibility of available professional opportunities. Nevertheless, recruitment remains a highly related activity to the profiles and cultural specificities of each country. For this reason, the search for target profiles is mainly managed by local teams in order to better attract talent in the various markets. 

One of the approaches shared within Virbac throughout the world is the involvement of employees in the recruitment of new talent. To reinforce this practice, we have developed, in several countries, co-optation programs that aim to thank employees for their contribution in identifying profiles that may meet our needs.

Skills development policy

We offer a skills development policy with a variety of training courses (management, professional efficiency and business know-how in particular) aimed at maintaining employability and developing skills for all employee categories.

Digital Learning plays a major role in the deployment of training paths, combining online learning and practical activities tracked over time (campus innovation, Virbac Business School, Virbac Quality Academy). For example, training expenses in France this year amounted to 2.29% of payroll, or an investment of €1,603,570.

Developing employees also means offering more career opportunities within the Group. In order to encourage increased internal and international mobility, we have developed a comprehensive and fair international mobility policy aimed at retaining employees worldwide, promoting transversality and efficiency through sharing of inter-cultural and inter-professional experiences, but also securing key positions by leveraging skills and knowledge transfer internally.

Performance evaluation and recognition

At Virbac, we have developed a process for managing the performance and development of employees called PERT (Performance, evaluation, remuneration, training). It includes several components, including setting individual objectives and evaluating annual achievements by line managers.

In 2020, we evolved our management process at Group level by prioritizing stream simplification through a new digital collaborative tool available in 14 languages and deployed in 33 countries. This tool also includes the possibility of formalizing the employee's feedback to his/her manager.

The objective of this approach is to leave more space for exchanges between employees and their managers in order to improve their quality. We favor physical interviews, which remain privileged and essential moments in the follow-up and support of employees. The vast majority of the Group's employees benefit, at the very least, from an annual interview aimed at evaluating the year's performance, an interview which also allows us to discuss the objectives of the following year as well as the development needs. We are therefore intensifying our desire to make employees play a key role in their performance and development, while responding to business challenges.

Within the annual performance committee, the executive board also shares the assessments, remuneration and professional development assumptions of key individuals in the Group. In France, for example, during the 2020 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 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 Group savings plan (Plan d’épargne entreprise) or in the Group retirement savings plan (Plan d’épargne pour la retraite collectif). Since 2016, leave days which have not been taken may also be paid into the retirement savings plan, up to a limit of ten days a year.

OUR RESULTS

Performance indicators  2018 2019 2020
Absenteeism 2.68% 2.65% 2.83%
Employee turnover rate 14.08% 13.91% 10.10%
Trust Index Great Place to Work 65% - -
Number of employees present on 12/31 who have taken at least one training session/total workforce on 12/31 80% 78% 85%

HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK

This priority area for the Group has become ingrained in the corporate culture year after year. Our priority actions are to ensure the compliance of industrial equipment and the risks associated with the use of chemical products with the local regulations, and are borne by the HSE management.

In 2020, our absolute priority was to best protect the teams in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. To address this situation, we have set up a dedicated committee that coordinates all positions and maintains contact with all subsidiaries to monitor the situation as it evolves, and to quickly and effectively make the best decisions (Covid unit reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). 7). Measures have also been introduced at various Group sites: communications on how the virus is spread and the barrier gestures to be followed, monitoring symptoms, social distancing and contact prohibition, flow control, moving workstations to different locations (production, R&D, administrative), supervised management of external service providers, physical protective equipment such as masks and gloves for those in the most exposed positions, etc. These measures were designed based on recommendations by the World health organization and country-specific health authorities.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • To increase the safety of employees in the workplace by implementing action plans such as better protection against potentially hazardous materials, improved ergonomics and psychosocial risk management, which aim to reduce the number of workplace accidents and therefore achieve a frequency of less than 5.

GOVERNANCE

Created in 2015, Corporate HSE management has put in place a rigorous policy to identify and assess safety risks and to develop means of prevention and methods of controlling their effectiveness. Severity and frequency criteria have been defined by HSE management 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 Virbac staff, external company staff and temporary workers.

OUR ACTION PLANS

Safety culture

After having started in December 2019 with interviews and field observations, a questionnaire for the entire industrial organization of the Carros sites in France was deployed. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the resulting support plan was postponed to 2021. 

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

Management of psychosocial risks

Concerning the subject of psychosocial risks, the various departments, with the support of the HR teams and defined relays (social partners, occupational medicine, etc.), are moving towards a global approach to quality of life at work. Various actions complementary to the Great Place to Work actions related primarily to working conditions, manager training, and the dissemination of good practices, in particular on workload, are being phased-in. These actions also made it possible 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 2018 2019 2020
Frequency of work accidents 5.61 6.96 4.32
Severity rate of work accidents 0.17 0.19 0.18

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.

The rate of frequency of workplace accidents improved sharply (-38%) over 2020, reaching a historic level of 4.32. This very sharp decline is mainly due to good results in France with a frequency rate of 3.27 (-36%) and especially in India with a decline of nearly 71%. In France, this decline is the result of the underlying actions carried out over the past few years. The Covid crisis with the stoppage of any travel for more than three months is the main explanation of the fall in workplace accidents in India.

The rate of severity of workplace accidents decreases very slightly (-2%) due to prolonged absences of people who suffered accidents in previous years.

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 and be 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

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

Gender equality

For Virbac, professional equity between women and men is fundamental and requires that no form of discrimination exists and be tolerated, both in terms of access to employment and promotion, wage policy and other determinants of working conditions. Globally, Australia, and especially the United States are the countries with the fewest gender pay gaps for all professional categories. On average, the female/male base salary ratio is equal to 84% for leaders, 92% for managers, 113% for technicians/employees/workers.

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 establishes the principles of equality between women and men in career paths (access to vocational training, equal pay 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 pay gaps between women and men according to a methodology that makes it possible to study them on the basis of the gender equality index calculated by the Ministry of labor, employment and integration (index which amounts to 87 points out of 100 for our company). At the same time, a specific annual budget dedicated to the resolution of variances makes it possible to implement these salary adjustment measures each year.

In 2020, 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. The Group regularly conducts company-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 the decision. However, 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 2020, out of the sixteen company subsidiaries within the social scope, 91% of the senior executives were locals and seven subsidiaries have strictly local management.

Tableau repartition_EN.svg

Europe remains the only geographical area where women are in the majority (56% of the workforce). The Pacific region with 48% and North America with 47% present a very balanced proportion. Latin America with 43% and Africa & the Middle-East with 40% show 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 15 women for 907 men, or 1.6% of the population. This country 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 Asia area accounts for 232 employees and consists mostly of men at 58%.

Disabled workers

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

  • Adjusting workstations: certain situations of disability require the use of workstation or organizational arrangements that we take full responsibility for in order to facilitate working conditions. On the occasion of recruitment or a change of position 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. 
  • Help employees with a child with disabilities: to reaffirm our support to the employees concerned, we grant one day per year of additional paid leave.
  • Allow disabled workers to better reconcile professional and personal life: the development and adaptation of living conditions in the company is an essential factor for the integration and integration of disabled workers in 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 participate in the development of their living conditions at home that would be 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 2018 2019 2020
Female/male salary ratio for the leaders category 87% 82% 84%

Innovating responsibly

Ensuring the quality of products and services

Protecting the environment


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CSR strategy and indicators