In 2016, we identified and assessed our human rights risks at the corporate level, involving a cross-section of approximately 40 Electrolux representatives from different regions, sectors and functions. The assessment activities included web-based surveys and workshops. The resulting human rights risk profile was presented to the Ethics & Human Rights Steering Group, the CEO and the sector heads for final approval. Our next step will be to develop and pilot a framework for local assessments.
Furthermore, the governance model for human rights was established and agreed during 2016. Labor rights is a central part of our human rights agenda, and 42 of 49 Electrolux sites have labor and management committees in place to allow dialogue on issues of mutual interest. Additionally, all sites have occupational health and safety committees. Constructive dialogue with employees helps us address the concerns of our employees at an early stage and handle potential labor issues at site level.
Providing guidance to employees
We have been working to build on and communicate ethics and human rights throughout the company, through both the Ethics at Electrolux program and training on specific Group policies. The Ethics at Electrolux program began its rollout in 2011, and includes training on a wide range of ethics-related topics. In 2015, we launched more in-depth training campaigns on our Code of Conduct and our policies on anti-corruption and anti-trust, which continued in 2016.
In 2016, approximately 3,000 employees and line managers took part in our Code of Conduct e-learning training, corresponding to approximately 1,500 hours of training. This is in addition to the 10,000 employees who were trained in 2015. As per the results of the employee engagement survey in 2016, 85% of employees believe they have a high level of understanding of what is expected of them in terms of the Code of Conduct.
The Group-wide e-learning courses on anti-corruption and anti-trust was also made available to employees in 2015, and so far over 13,000 employees have completed the e-learning courses on Corruption & Bribery and Anti-Trust. The completion rate among managers is currently 85% and efforts are being made to increase this proportion. Additionally, in the US, where local e-learning programs are launched, 3,875 online training sessions were completed in 2016. These initiatives complement the tailored training that certain functions such as sales, procurement and senior management receive. Such face-to-face training sessions have been conducted locally throughout the organisation by either inhouse legal counsel or by external experts. Training requirements are continuously monitored and evaluated based on business needs, and the legal and risk context. In total, employees engaged in approximately 7,400 hours of e-learning on these topics.
The participation level for the Code of Conduct e-learning, and for the Group-wide anti-corruption and anti-trust e-learning is below our expectations. We plan to implement a global e-learning management system, which will improve our capabilities for systematic follow up.
Dealing with concerns
Through the Ethics at Electrolux program, we encourage employees to speak to their manager, HR department or another relevant person in the organization if they wish to report an incident. Or, if more comfortable for them, they can use our whistle-blowing system, the Ethics Helpline (Alertline in North America) where incidents can be reported in local languages. By the end of 2016, 99% of our employees had access to the whistle-blowing system. In 2016, the system was rolled out in France, the last remaining major country.
This year, 151 (153) cases were reported through the whistle-blowing system. 78 (48) cases were considered as beyond the scope of the Helpline, or lacking sufficient detail to enable investigation. 73 (105) reports led to investigation. The majority of the reports related to discrimination and harassment, such as the use of abusive language or disrespectful behavior. This type of misconduct most often resulted in warnings and retraining. A large proportion of the cases falls into the category 'Other'. This category includes, for instance, practices linked to working hours, compensation and promotion, as well as inappropriate behavior in the workplace. In total, four people were dismissed from the company as a consequence of investigations into Helpline cases. (See graph).
The employee engagement survey in 2016 indicates there is room to improve our employees’ trust in the Ethics Helpline (67% of employees are positive toward the Helpline). The results are being analyzed and measures will be taken in 2017.
At Electrolux we want all women and men to have the same rights and obligations, as well as equal opportunities for development and career progression to leadership positions. Our overall gender split is 35% women and 65% men. In 2012, we set Group objectives to increase female representation in Tier 2 positions (reporting to a Group Management member) to 25%, and in Tier 3 positions (reporting to Tier 2) to at least 30% by 2017 (revised from 2015). Electrolux aims to continuously improve the number of female leaders at all levels across all functions, and seeks female applicants for every position as part of the recruitment process.