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:
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.
Our commitment to continuously improve the work environment in which everyone operates has led us to renew the collaborative approach that was put in place following our previous survey. Following the employee opinion survey conducted in 2021 worldwide in partnership with Great Place to Work, new cross-functional work groups were created in 2022 to reflect on the areas for improvement identified and define an action plan. More than 100 volunteer employees from all departments met with the France management committee's active support to work on the four priority areas identified in the Great Place to Work 2021 survey: well-being at work, recognition, safety culture, and collaborative management. A final action plan, which included the initiatives selected by the France management committee, and a deployment plan have been defined.
On the international level, a group of 30 employees (one representative per country) met several times to share local practices; these sessions were facilitated by Great Place to Work, which shared current trends in the employee experience and best practices of certified companies. Participants agreed on what recognition and collaborative management meant, and all countries shared their best practices on both topics within the subsidiaries, before consolidating them into two separate manuals. These two manuals were then shared with participants so they could learn from each other. The content of these two manuals was voted on to select the practice to be deployed globally; collaborative management was selected.
In the second half of 2022, a work group was created to structure the initiative, define clear objectives, and prepare materials to support employees. This practice will be deployed at the Group level in the first quarter of 2023. This new Great Place to Work step is a key element in our continuous improvement approach and completes the action plans defined and implemented after the first edition.
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 (telephones, 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|
OUR POLICIES AND ACTION PLANS
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. The Workday platform 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-option programs that aim to reward employees for their contribution in identifying profiles that may meet our needs. India and China, for example, have implemented a co-option program to help recruit sales managers, and Australia is promoting this approach by offering referral rewards for both permanent and temporary positions.
Another approach is to diversify recruitment sources: our Chilean subsidiary has developed its network by working with public employment services to recruit workers positions and with universities to gain access to young graduates in scientific fields. It has also launched several recruitment campaigns to attract the best talent in the pharmaceutical industry at the national and international level and uses internships to discover new talent ready to seize job opportunities within the Company.
University campuses are an important pipeline for recruitment: in this way, along with co-option, India has managed to hire nearly 150 employees from all parts of the country.
In a highly competitive market, platforms like LinkedIn are also a good way to utilize social media. In the United States, leaders promote job opportunities through their own LinkedIn profile and professional network, and in Australia, managers are invited to share job openings.
For more than a year, Workday has been making hiring easier for managers, employees and candidates and has improved user experience thanks to its ergonomics:
At the Group level, more than 530 positions were posted externally and 410 internally. Of these, 435 were filled, and approximately 370 candidates were co-opted (11.6% of whom were recruited), as well as 411 through internal transfers. Overall, more than a dozen subsidiaries posted jobs on Workday.
In France, 247 positions were posted externally and 150 internally, 183 of which were filled. In addition, over 100 internal transfers took place during the same period.
Skills development policy
In June 2022, we rolled out the Workday Learning module at the Group level, an agile solution that also meets local requirements. This solution centralizes all training of the Virbac catalog in one place and allows everyone to train at any time, thanks to the available digital content. Thanks to its machine learning module, connected to the different data already in the system, the Learning module recommends resources adapted to the needs of employees in relation to their position, and offers the latest online training.
We decided to go further in training by making the strategic decision to promote content created by internal experts (any colleague with a specific expertise) through peer-to-peer learning. Knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning align with employee development preferences and are a significant competitive advantage in becoming a learning organization. Involving experts in content creation expands the training catalog and offers resources tailored to our needs and specificities while being useful for optimizing knowledge management (transfer and valuation).
In addition, the development of soft skills was boosted in France by making a game-based learning solution, GameLearn, available to all employees, with a catalog of approximately 40 training courses. Total training expenses in France this year represented 2.53% of payroll, or an investment of €1,950,155.
On the international level, most subsidiaries devote a significant portion of their budget each year to developing their employees’ skills, using both internal resources and courses provided by external trainers. An employee’s training often begins as soon as he/she joins the company and continues throughout his/her career.
Northern Europe implemented a mentoring approach: each new hire is paired with a mentor, whose role is to facilitate their onboarding and to support them in learning about the company. Our China subsidiary conducts training sessions to accelerate product and policy knowledge over a one-month period when onboarding a new employee. India relies on in-house development, especially for the sales and marketing teams, which represent the vast majority of its employees: it has developed an internal program for salespeople to improve their skills in sales techniques, and the same approach has been implemented to improve the knowledge and practices of the marketing teams.
Other subsidiaries, such as South Africa, use third-party vendors to train their employees on compliance, sales and health by providing funding for this training.
Brazil implemented a program called Campus Virbac, which aims to train its employees throughout the year on behavioral skills, such as emotional intelligence and how to give and receive feedback. This subsidiary also funds English lessons for people who are required to use the language in their daily activities. As a follow-up on the training, a Test of English for international communication (TOEIC) is conducted at the beginning and end of the year to measure learning progress and determine whether the courses will be held again the following year. Uruguay also supports employees who need to improve their English language proficiency.
Employee development is also a key element in addressing the shift in cultural transformation within an entity. Taking on new challenges requires learning new skills and competencies. Virbac Chile, a recently acquired wholly owned subsidiary, has thus invested a significant portion of its budget to ramp up the training of its employees with respect to industrial quality, with a focus on its main activity, aquaculture, and with respect to the application of corporate policies to better align with sustainable development within the Group.
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:
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 2022 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-à-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 employee 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.
The Brazilian subsidiary also signed a corporate agreement with the employee representatives, which, in addition to the profit-sharing program, provides for the payment of an amount calculated according to the position level and subject to the achievement of defined objectives. This agreement also states that, if the objectives set at corporate level are exceeded, a 20% increase will be applied to profit sharing.
Virbac India, which consists mainly of sales and marketing teams, has implemented a recognition and reward policy based on performance metrics defined at the end of the year for the following year, and calculated through a monthly evaluation process based on quantitative and qualitative criteria. This policy has paid off by sustaining business growth year after year. In China, the subsidiary launched a recognition program this year to reward the hard work of employees who achieve strong performance.
|Employee turnover rate||10.10%||11.2%||13.1%|
|Great Place to Work Trust Index||-||73%||-|
|Percentage of employees on payroll as of 12/31 who took at least one training course/Total headcount as of 12/31||85%||81%||72%|
*the 2020 absenteeism rate includes days of partial layoff
The 2022 absenteeism rate is slightly down but remains impacted by the Covid-19 crisis in many countries where we operate.
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 2021, our first 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|
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 include 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
In 2022, we continued to focus our efforts at the French sites by setting up regular communications with the teams and conducting unannounced audits in all production areas with respect to compliance with the five golden rules. Our second involvement in the European days for safety and health at work drew a large turnout, with nearly 1,100 employees participating, compared with over 800 in 2021. During these two days at all Virbac sites in France, the topics of our five golden rules were covered through role playing and mini-theater plays. In addition to the first two e-learning modules deployed, a third module was shared with all industrial organizations.
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, Chile, 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 hazards
With regard to psychosocial hazards, the various departments in our company, supported by the HR teams and the designated partners (management and the workforce, occupational medicine, social worker, etc.), are moving towards a global approach to the quality of life at work. In 2022, the main focus was the collaborative development, through workshops with a hundred or so volunteer employees, of a plan of initiatives based on four key themes: safety culture, well-being at work, recognition and collaborative management. The members of the Group executive committee, as sponsors of the selected ideas, have worked to communicate them widely and to ensure their deployment. Discussions between the elected psychosocial hazards representatives and management have also made it possible to deal with and prevent risky situations.
|Frequency of work accidents||4.32||4.88||4.25|
|Severity rate of work accidents||0.18||0.33||0.15|
The frequency rate used is based on French regulations and defined as the number of work accidents that resulted in at least one lost workday, 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 workday, divided by the number of hours worked, multiplied by one thousand.
At constant scope (excluding Chile), our Group’s workplace accident frequency rate decreased significantly (-20%) to a new historical record of 3.91. The severity rate of work accidents also reached a new historical record with a very strong decrease of -56.7% at constant scope.
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|
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, and age mix.
Within the defined scope, four countries have a pay gap of between -5% and +5% between women and men (Chile, United States, France and Uruguay), and four other countries (Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Vietnam) have a ratio between -10% and +10%, all professional categories included. The average of the ratios weighted by workforce shows a rate of 95% for leaders (senior executives, executives, directors), 97% for managers, and 106% 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 87 points out of 100 for our company in 2022). 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 2022, 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 2022, in the defined scope, 92% of senior managers were local hires and the management of ten subsidiaries were made up strictly of local hires.
Europe (58%) and the Pacific region (52%) are the two regions where women are in the majority. The North America and Latin America regions, with 45%, each exhibit a very balanced proportion. Africa and the Middle East, with 41%, 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 953 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 wheelers), are more naturally made up of men. Excluding India, the Asian area remains composed of mostly men at 57%.
Brazil participates in an annual Human Resources forum that conducts outreach with an emphasis on the importance of recruiting women, in particular in management positions. In Chile, the percentage of women recruited to positions of responsibility (management and leadership) has increased considerably this year, with an executive committee composed of equal numbers of men and women. As a rule, the subsidiary puts great emphasis on an inclusive culture that ensures gender equity by offering equal job opportunities and compensation based on the position held and not on gender.
Vietnam also ensures equal treatment between women and men in all HR processes (recruitment, salary reviews, promotions, etc.). Today, the subsidiary is led by a woman who serves as general manager, the men/women ratio of her direct reports being 6:5.
This is also the case in South Africa, where a woman is at the head of the subsidiary, even though the majority of management positions (almost 70%) are held by men. Responding to local legislation that promotes equal opportunities between women and men is a challenge in a work environment where it is difficult to find rare or advanced language skills to meet business needs in certain geographic areas of the country.
Australia participates in a federal government-initiated program to promote women’s return to work after a career break and keep them employed. This innovative approach is designed to increase the proportion of women in the workforce as well as to encourage them to take on leadership positions. Through this contribution, the subsidiary intends to support women's return to work and promote their inclusion in the workplace by exchanging information with other companies participating in the same program on the Australian continent.
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.
Our subsidiaries pay the same attention to the employment of workers with disabilities and to the adaptation of their work environment to promote their inclusion in the teams (adaptation of their workstations at the site and at home, organization of their working hours, etc.). One of the members of the Human Resources team in Chile has been certified as an inclusion manager: their role is to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities to develop within the company. Australia has begun a partnership with an organization created by the Australian government that helps people with disabilities or permanent medical conditions to find jobs.
Through the implementation of this pilot program, a disabled employee was hired at the Milperra storage warehouse.
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 true asset. Compliance by our employees with the values defined in our 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.
|Female/male salary ratio for the leaders category||84%||96%||95%|
The female/male ratio, based on total compensation, is calculated by taking the weighted average of each headcount consisting of leaders (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.