Strengthening employee engagement

Our success is directly linked to the engagement of our employees, an engagement that stems from the role played by the women and men at the heart of Virbac when major decisions are made. Every day, we strive to change the way we operate and meet the ongoing challenges of globalization, market developments and new technologies, while respecting our values of proximity to each of our customers.

In such an environment, the issue of human capital plays a major role in the company’s strategy, our ambition being to support change in organizations and professions, as well as in the specific needs of populations, by building a strong partnership with managers and all employees.

GROUP GOVERNANCE AND HR POLICY

Virbac's policy on this issue of human capital is based on three complementary pillars which are: 

  • training, skills development, performance compensation; 
  • well-being in the workplace and recognition; 
  • well-being in the workplace and recognition; 

We remain attentive to the opinions of our employees and draw inspiration from them to define our policies and areas for improvement. This enables us to unite around strong values, thereby increasing everyone’s commitment and motivation. 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 relate to the CSR challenges of human resources.  

This year, we asked employees to work together to develop concrete actions to improve the sense of belonging and the quality of working life in each country, using as a basis the major internal opinion survey we conducted at the end of 2018. Specific action plans have been drawn up in line with the strengths and areas for improvement.

ATTRACTING AND RETAINING TALENT

In France, the key skills sought for core functions (Industry/Quality assurance/R&D) are in high demand throughout the pharmaceutical, human and veterinary medicine industries. In addition to this competition amongst employers, the small employment pool for spouses, as well as the region’s high cost-of-living, can represent a barrier to hiring. Meanwhile, in emerging countries, the job market is very dynamic, and Virbac’s size and reputation cannot always attract the best.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • promoting employee engagement and loyalty
  • continuing with training initiatives aimed at improving skills and employability

OUR POLICIES AND ACTION PLANS

Recruitment policy 

To support our growth, we are recruiting in all countries and functions. To ensure the consistency and relevance of these new hires, the Group has been developing digital tools for several years now to provide better visibility of the professional opportunities available. Nevertheless, recruitment remains an activity closely linked to the profiles and cultural specifics of each country. For this reason, the search for target profiles is mainly managed by local teams to better attract talent in the different 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 co-option programs in several countries to thank employees for their contribution in identifying profiles likely to meet our needs.

Skills development policy

We offer a skills development policy with a variety of training programs (management, professional efficiency and industry-specific expertise in particular) that aim to maintain employability and develop skills for all employee categories.

Digital learning plays a major role in the deployment of training courses, 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 2.65% of payroll, or an investment of €1,857,580.

Developing employees also means offering more career opportunities within the Group. In order to encourage an increase in internal and international mobility, we have developed a comprehensive and fair international mobility policy aimed at building employee loyalty around the world, promoting cross-functionality and efficiency through the sharing of experiences across cultures and business lines, and securing key positions by capitalizing on the transmission of skills and knowledge internally.

Performance evaluation and recognition

Within Virbac, we have developed a process for managing the performance and evolution of employees called Perf (Performance, evaluation, compensation, training). It has several components, including the setting of individual objectives and annual achievements assessed by line managers. This digital collaborative tool is available in 14 languages and has been rolled out in 33 countries, thus enabling Group-wide alignment of practices and improving the quality of exchanges between managers and employees. Virbac is therefore intensifying its desire for its employees to play a key role in their performance and development, all while responding to business challenges. 

Despite the digital evolution of our tools, we encourage face-to-face meetings, which remain privileged and essential moments in the follow-up and support of our employees. The vast majority of Group employees are afforded, at a minimum, one annual interview that evaluates their performance over the year and their proficiency in their functions. This interview is also an opportunity to discuss objectives for the following year as well as development needs.

Within the annual performance committee, the executive board shares the assessments, remuneration and professional development possibilities of 60 key individuals in the Group, as well as the potential top performers identified through the Perf process.

In France, for example, during the 2019 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 industry minimum for all categories of staff. In addition, the policy follows a rationale of competitiveness vis-a-vis the life sciences market and is globally at the median for this market. 

In addition to financial elements related to individual performance compensation, the Virbac group continues to pay close attention to collective performance compensation plans. To this end, several mechanisms are already in place, such as a triennial incentive agreement concluded in 2017, and a profit-sharing agreement signed in 2008. Amounts originating from these agreements or voluntary payments can 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) ; as of 2016, unused vacation days can also be paid into the Perco, with a limit of ten days per year.

OUR RESULTS

Indicateurs de performance  2018 2019
Absenteeism rate (%) 2.68% 3.59%
Staff turnover rate 14.08% 13.91%
Trust Index Great Place to Work 65% -
Number of employees present on 31/12 who have taken at least one training/total workforce 80% 78%

HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK

This is a priority area for the Group and 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 local regulations. These actions are carried out by the EHS department.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

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

GOVERNANCE

In January 2015, we created a Corporate EHS department, reporting to the Group’s chairman.

EHS POLICY

Virbac has put in place a rigorous policy to identify and evaluate safety risks and to develop means of prevention and methods for monitoring their effectiveness. Severity and frequency criteria have been defined by the EHS department in order to better target the actions to be implemented to reduce the number of accidents and to integrate human and organizational factors into 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 personnel, the personnel of external companies and temporary workers.

OUR ACTION PLANS

Safety culture

In line with previous years, in 2019, new training courses were given to managers and technicians of the industrial organization. Safety and environmental management has also been strengthened at the Carros sites in France by the introduction of EHS focal points in all production departments and in major industrial support functions.

In 2019, the Intranet tool, continued to be enriched with new procedures and new forms on the topics of production site safety in France and the security of interventions on installations or premises. This tool gives all employees access to all types of documents on the subject of people, facilities and products. 

In the second half of 2019, the Corporate EHS department, supported by the Industrial Corporate department, contracted with a company specializing in support for the implementation of a safety culture. The first step in this process involves conducting a diagnosis, which began in December 2019 with initial interviews and field observations. It will continue in the first quarter of 2020 with the deployment of a questionnaire intended for the entire French industrial organization (i.e. nearly 600 people) and will lead to the development of a support plan to be rolled out in 2020.

In all countries, we are committed to implementing a wide range of measures to ensure the health and safety of our employees. Multi-year action plans on the conformity of production machinery are therefore in place at all major industrial sites (Australia, United States, Mexico and, of course, France). Chemical risk management is also taken into account as early as the product design stage, starting with the choice of components and the number and type of analyses that must be carried out at the various stages of the process. 

Psychosocial risk management

On the subject of psychosocial risks, the various departments, supported by HR teams and defined relays (social partners, occupational medicine, etc.), are moving towards a holistic approach to quality of life at work. Various actions, complementary to the Great Place to Work actions related mainly to working conditions, training of managers and the dissemination of good practices, particularly with regard to workloads, 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
Frequency of work accidents 5.61 6.96
Work accident severity rate 0.17 0.19

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 a work accident that resulted in a minimum of one lost workday, divided by the number of hours worked, multiplied by one thousand.

The frequency rate of work accidents deteriorated sharply (+24%) over 2019 due to poor results in Asia, particularly in India (+53%), and in the Pacific region (+50%) in Australia and New Zealand. Europe, on the other hand, improved very slightly (-2%) with a rate of 4.83.

The severity rate of work accidents is increasing to a lesser extent (+10%) as a result of the deterioration in the countries and regions mentioned above. Europe, on the other hand, made significant progress with -5%.

DIVERSITY

Increasing diversity within Virbac will allow us to demonstrate our ability to integrate differences. Openness and the capacity for integration are fundamental elements for innovation, business adaptation and the identification of opportunities. We must demonstrate these qualities both within the organization and externally.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • encouraging diversity and equal treatment of employees.

GOVERNANCE

For Virbac, professional equality between women and men is fundamental and requires that no form of discrimination exists and is tolerated, both in terms of access to employment and promotions, 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, and maintain worker employability. It is built around three key areas: gender equality, disabilities, and age diversity through the intergenerational agreement.

Gender equality

For Virbac, professional equality between women and men is fundamental and requires that no form of discrimination exists and is tolerated, both in terms of access to employment and promotions, wage policy and other determinants of working conditions. 

At the global level, Colombia, Spain and especially the United States are the countries with the fewest unfavorable pay gaps for women in all professional categories. On average, the female/male base salary ratio is equal to 82% for leaders, 88% for managers, 110% for technicians/employees and 90% for workers. 

With regard to equal pay for women and men, we take action to measure the gaps, identify the causes and take action. In France, for example, we signed an agreement in 2012 that enshrines the principles of equality between women and men in professional careers (access to professional training, equal pay between women and men in equivalent professions and for the same level of skills, and work-life balance).  

In 2019, ten countries were provided with 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. 

When recruiting for key positions, we give preference to internal and local candidates. Recruitment decisions (internal or external) are based exclusively on the skills and qualification criteria for the position. The applicant’s nationality, gender and age are not relevant to the decision. However, where possible, we appoint local managers to take on leadership positions in order to be nearer to clients and the market culture. In 2019, out of the sixteen company subsidiaries, 88% of senior managers were local hires, and seven subsidiaries had full local management.

Regional_breakdown_Men-Women_EN.jpg

Europe remains the only geographical area where women are in the majority (56% of the workforce). The Pacific area with 49% and North America with 47% are proportionally balanced. Latin America with 44% and Africa-Middle East, with 37%, show a more significant imbalance. Asia has the lowest number of women in the workforce (9%). This very low level of representation can be attributed to India, which has only 16 women for 871 men, or 1.8% of the workforce. 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 222 employees and consists mostly of men at 60%.

Disabled workers

The disabilities agreement, signed in 2014 and renewed in 2017, aims to recruit, integrate and train people with disabilities; to communicate, raise awareness among employees and managers, and build a network of in-house disability stakeholders acting as ambassadors; and to maintain and develop subcontracting activities in partnership with the protected and adapted work sector.

Age and culture diversity

Virbac has always considered the contribution of the various generations and cultures of the countries in which the Group operates to be a real treasure. 

Taking a cross-functional approach to these issues related to this major CSR challenge for the Group, compliance by our employees with our values as defined in the code of conduct is a prerequisite for any policy promoting human capital that can only be based on trust. Within the framework of the extended company, our partners’ understandable apprehension regarding rules related to employment practices is taken into consideration by the Virbac departments involved.

Performance indicators 2018 2019
Female to male salary ratio for the leaders category 87% 82%

Innovating responsibly

Ensuring the quality of products and services

Protecting the environment


Download the Statement of non-financial performance

CSR strategy and indicators