Dental healthcare today is a complex and challenging environment – so we depend on a strong workforce to help us achieve success. Our 2’400 people around the world are committed to doing their jobs to a high standard. We continue to build a culture of opportunity, accountability and inclusion with and for our people – to help them meet the needs of customers and their patients.
As a company dedicated to innovation, patient care and customer focus, we need to have the right skills in the right place. That calls for talented, motivated and committed employees. These are people who actively drive change with our customers in mind, people who are dental or functional experts and have profound knowledge of their areas of responsibility. As our industry is a very specialized one, these people are difficult to find. And in an industry as fast-moving and competitive as ours, ensuring our leaders and people stay at the forefront requires constant development and learning.
We are a relationship-based and knowledge-driven business, so we need skilled and committed employees. But as a company undergoing change in a highly competitive environment, we also face a relatively high company-wide attrition rate. In 2011, it stood at about 15%, a figure we clearly want to reduce in the future. These challenges demand a lot from our leaders and people. We therefore need leaders who have the capabilities to bring the company forward, drive the change and achieve our goals. Being the best means having the best people, and as we continue moving toward our goal to show leadership in our business, we have made two significant moves to consolidate that growth.
First, we invested substantially in improving our company as an employer. Second, and most importantly, we have redesigned our HR strategy to improve our ability to attract, develop, and hold on to skilled people. We want to offer our employees a great place to work by giving them the opportunity to grow and be recognized for their effort and achievements. Our people strategy accompanies employees from before their very first contact with Nobel Biocare to their retirement. Execution of this strategy is driven through each of our functions and markets and is the responsibility of the respective heads of business.
Attracting and hiring the best people
Diversity, attractive career opportunities, a modern work environment and social commitment make Nobel Biocare a good place to work. To attract the best people, we continue to leverage our strong and unique brand through comprehensive on-line information and personal relationships on a market level. We carefully and diligently search for and recruit candidates, and hire the best fit. We base our hiring and development decisions on experience, skills and behavior.
New staff members undergo thorough training to ensure a smooth and productive start. To attract the best talent and specialists in our industry, we expanded our internal recruiting capabilities and activities by hiring experts for this task within our HR function at headquarters. As a part of this initiative, we also kicked off an internal recruitment program that encourages our people to apply for open positions within the company. Through this, and a new international assignments program, we want to ensure that if we already have the right skills in the company, we can transfer these to other positions. When we recruit externally, we do this carefully, diligently, and globally, and according to defined processes. We aim to take a consistent, fair, and cost-effective approach to recruiting and selecting candidates. We see each open position as a key business decision, so our recruitment processes are geared to identifying the key skills, knowledge, motivation and attitudes required in the successful candidate. We actively consider all applicants regardless of their gender, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, creed, or age. We then examine the longer-term effectiveness of our recruitment strategy and make amendments where necessary.
Measuring and improving performance
Achieving excellence and growing Nobel Biocare profitably and responsibly is part of our performance challenge. Our performance management process provides a framework for employees to continually challenge and develop themselves and to achieve higher goals and levels of performance.
Employees generally meet with their line manager three times a year – for an initial goal-setting at the beginning of the year, a mid-year performance and goals review, and an end-of-year performance review. The goals are linked to overall company strategy and functional objectives supporting that strategy. We launched a new online performance management tool where agreed goals and performance reviews must be logged by line managers and then signed off by their managers. As part of this process, we encourage our employees to clarify objectives and to solicit feedback in order to grow and improve their performance. Ultimately, though, we see it as a leadership responsibility to create an environment in which every employee is given the opportunity to maximize their potential and contribute to our company’s long- and short-term objectives. As such, we have also kicked off a series of annual workshops that help managers use the online portal and give, as well as receive, constructive feedback.
|Building on a global team*|
|Employees by region in 2011|
|Women at Nobel Biocare|
As a multi-cultural company operating across the globe, our success depends on being able to apply the right resources wherever they are needed. In the long-term, our success will largely be determined by our ability to develop talents to meet the needs of the business, and also to transfer and exchange people between countries, regions and headquarters.
In 2011, we enhanced our support for employees to develop functional, professional and leadership skills. We provide company information on development possibilities as well as conducting individual discussions with our people about their development needs as part of the goal setting and review discussions twice a year. We help employees grow, through internal and external education programs to enhance employee knowledge, performance monitoring, succession planning, and talent and leadership training. We also measure our leaders on their people development and team-building performance, as well as their business contribution. All these activities are outlined and supported by a comprehensive set of policies, guidelines and stringent HR governance.
Our leaders are critical pillars for our success. We expect them to be passionate for people and performance, show personal drive, inspire and motivate others and be accountable for actions and results. To ensure their competence in these areas, we launched a leadership development program that includes learning programs for first-line and middle management levels as well as for senior and executive leaders. These programs were piloted in summer 2011 with over 50 participants from all functions and regions, including the entire Executive Committee. The programs use a mix of Nobel Biocare leadership tools as well as personality tests and 360-degree questionnaires that gather feedback from peers, supervisors and direct reports. These tools help the participants to understand their impact as leaders, identify key areas for development and drive their action plans.
To be competitive globally, we believe that international mobility is essential. As such, we launched a new Long-Term Assignment Policy that sets out the guidelines for such international transfers and exchanges. Such assignments will serve as a way of transferring specific know-how to a new location. Of course, they also foster career development as experience is gained in a different culture, market or function.
Finally, we initiated a talent pipeline and succession-planning program. This ensures that we are prepared if a key member of staff leaves the organization. Over the last year, we have created an overview of people who require successors, along with a list of potential successors. The current skill level of each potential successor has been assessed, and we will start implementing tailored development plans for each one to ensure that they acquire the necessary skills and experience over the next few years.
Employee engagement drives the implementation of Nobel Biocare’s strategy. So continuously promoting and developing the skills of our employees is a key aim of HR. Listening and acting on our employees’ needs and opinions will become part of our dialog with our employees. As such, we now regularly conduct global employee surveys. We gained valuable information and ideas in this area from our second global employee survey, which we conducted in October 2010. 76% of our employees in all countries and areas of the company took part in the survey and shared their views of the strategy, culture and working conditions at Nobel Biocare. Based on their feedback, we have started to take specific action in areas where employees’ responses to the survey revealed scope for improvement. Initial activities included workshops at our headquarters and subsidiaries to discuss the findings with our employees and discuss concrete actions to address the headline issues. We then committed to an engagement plan that identified regional and market-level engagement champions to drive the action plans coming out of the engagement workshops. In two years, the third employee survey will take place. We expect that it will clearly reflect the fruition of our current efforts.
Building a strong ethical foundation
Nobel Biocare prizes diversity, including diversity in visible differences such as gender, age, ethnicity and ability, as well as underlying characteristics such as thinking styles, religious or national identity and education. We have a long-standing commitment to conducting our business in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and in accordance with the highest ethical principles. Our Code of Conduct is one of many tools we provide our employees to help them meet our legal and ethical obligations. It is comprehensive in scope, covering business practice, corporate governance, patient health and safety, conflicts of interest, insider information, competition laws, bribery, gifts and donations, property, equality, records, confidentiality, intellectual property and environmental law. All employees must sign and abide by the Code, which is available in various languages. In addition to the Code of Conduct, our actions are guided by various other policies, including an environmental policy, a quality policy and a staffing policy. In 2011, we launched a global staffing policy and an employee handbook for our HQ in Switzerland.
The Nobel Biocare brand stands for excellence. We therefore also strive for excellence in our conduct. We foster openness, honesty, tolerance, fairness and responsibility in all matters. We treat each individual fairly, and recruit, select, train, promote, and compensate based on experience, performance, behaviors pertaining to our values and other criteria. We comply with laws governing fair employment and labor practices. We do not discriminate against any applicant for employment or any employee in any aspect of their employment because of age, race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or national origin. We do not tolerate any form of harassment.
We believe in the principle of taking personal and professional responsibility – this requires not only that people avoid doing harm to others but that they exhibit courteous behavior and uphold the standards expected of all our employees. They are expected to protect the rights of others and respect the diversity of cultures and peoples. Those well-positioned to assert their rights have a reciprocal duty to exercise care toward those who depend on them for their well-being. This principle involves stewardship of assets, resources and the environment.
In case of any conflicts and issues, we expect staff to discuss these with HR or their line manager. Where this is not possible, we have provided a confidential and anonymous ethics hotline. All staff can contact an independent advisor via telephone or an online portal, and ask for impartial advice, or use it to report behavior they suspect is illegal, unethical, or unprofessional. Our legal and internal audit functions carefully assess every report; if they decide it is necessary they will escalate a case as appropriate.
Fair compensation and recognizing performance
As a leader in our industry, and in order to attract and retain the best talent, we are constantly reviewing our compensation and benefits plans to ensure that they are competitive. Compensation at Nobel Biocare is based on a globally standardized system that ensures transparent and performance-oriented remuneration and incentives for all employees. Regular benchmarking against competitors and industry helps in setting base salaries in line with the demands and responsibilities of each position. Our base compensation is based on the scope of the individual role, influenced by internal and external relativities. It takes into consideration aspects of the role, individual experience and the market. Our bonus schemes reward outstanding results that support our strategic objectives. Bonuses reflect both individual and overall business performance. These are supplemented by attractive performance-related compensation components and ancillary benefits. You will find further details of our compensation and benefits schemes in the Remuneration section. We are working on a global compensation strategy that will ensure our company stays competitive and creates value for all stakeholders.
For employees on an individual, performance-related bonus plan, an online portal now supports their performance review process. From objective setting to final appraisals and bonus calculations, the system facilitates the entire process, to make it more transparent, objective and efficient.
Operational health and safety
We care about the health, safety and well-being of our people. We maintain policies to ensure that working conditions are safe and conform to business purpose and needs. We comply with regional health and safety legislation, and continuously work on minimizing the incidence of work-related accidents. In 2011, no serious work-related accidents were reported on any of our global sites.
Trusting relationships with our employees and employee representatives are important to us. We support unions wherever they are present in Nobel Biocare operations. In compliance with Swedish legislation, two employee representatives are on the Board of Nobel Biocare AB in Sweden and are regularly invited to participate in Board meetings of Nobel Biocare Holding AG.