Alliander as an employer
Employees are an indispensable link in the daily performance of our tasks. Alliander acknowledges the importance of good employment practices and has the ambition to be a top-class employer. At a top-class employer, employees trust the people they work with, are proud of what they do and work in a pleasant atmosphere with colleagues, customers, suppliers and partners to ensure the energy supply for a sustainable tomorrow. They are also given plenty of opportunities to work on their development to ensure their long-term employability. Employees of Alliander come under the collective labour agreement for network companies.
Every year, we conduct our Great Place to Work employee survey to find out how our employees rate our culture and how satisfied they are with aspects of their work and working environment. The 2018 survey had a response rate of 77% (2017: 79%). The general opinion (the average for all statements in the survey) in 2018 was 70% (2017: 71%). Traditionally, employees are proud of the work they perform (73%) and think they are treated fairly, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or age (71%). In total, 75% said they thought Alliander was a ‘great place to work’. The findings of the employee survey are discussed every year by all managers and employees, and tips are shared and compliments given.
Training and development
In order to enable everyone to learn at any time, regardless of their age, the Alliander Opleidingen training centre has established two training programmes. Alliander College offers various non-technical courses as well as advice in the area of training, while Alliander Technische Bedrijfsschool offers courses that provide our technical employees with training in the areas of skills and professionalism. In 2018, Alliander invested 3.4% of its wagebill in employee training (2017: 3.3%).
Alliander has a training centre to help employees develop their skills in key areas such as technology, safety and leadership. To ensure that all our employees are, and remain, optimally equipped to face the challenges of the energy transition, we invest in them and help them develop vital professional skills. To this end, we offered training and other learning experiences in 2018. Supporting the development of our employees and finding high-quality staff also poses a challenge from a risk management perspective. Alliander therefore actively develops competences through trainee and talent management programmes. Through its in-house vocational training institute (Alliander Technische Bedrijfsschool), Alliander Opleidingen helps to reduce the technical skills shortage by offering a broad range of competence-oriented apprenticeship-based programmes from a basic to a highly skilled level. Alliander Technische Bedrijfsschool is a centre where employees can work on their development and undergo further training in the areas of safety, quality and professional skills. We trained a total of 195 people at Alliander Technische Bedrijfsschool during the year under review.
The career centre supports all Alliander employees who are reviewing their employment options, either to make the next step in their career or because their work has been, or may be, redefined or terminated. Career counsellors help employees to discover their talents and find the most suitable role for them, either inside or outside Alliander. We believe that everyone is worth investing in, and we do this by offering internships, secondments and training.
We talk to employees about their future development in their current role or elsewhere. By making timely investments in our employees, we try to avoid redundancies wherever possible.
During the year under review, 308 employees requested support from the career centre (2017: 286). A total of 67 colleagues became redundant in 2018 (2017: 49), and 241 (2017: 237) people to whom redundancy did not apply (or did not apply directly) also made use of our career centre. Thanks to this assistance, 94 employees managed to find a new job or an appropriate alternative (2017: 104).
New collective labour agreement for network companies
The collective labour agreement for network companies expired on 1 May 2018. In the beginning of the year, the employers and trade unions entered into negotiations on issues such as salaries, long-term employability, training and development, work-life balance and greater scope to choose between time and money. In November, the negotiations reached an outcome, which the trade unions agreed with. The collective labour agreement is attractive to current and future employees. It offers a combination of a salary increase, a personal budget and additional leave that provides employees with the greatest possible scope to choose between money and free time in every stage of their life, and also allows them to save up leave. In addition, employees aged 62 and over are able to make use of a vitality scheme, under which they can reduce their working hours without affecting their pension accrual.
Arnoud Rikmenspoel, chair of Alliander’s Works Council (up to and including 8 January 2019)
“In its consultations with the Management Board, the Works Council discusses the huge challenges that Alliander faces: completing the work package, the energy transition, the heating transition, and cost-awareness and efficiency. We started to discuss these focus areas in 2018. The Works Council expressed what employees think about these themes and how they perceive them. This feedback (which employees also provided in the employee satisfaction survey) helped to identify the need for communicating information to employees, and this is happening more frequently and effectively.
Getting our cost level to the required level presents a challenge, given the sharp rise in the amount of work to be done and the heavy demands placed on us by the energy transition. The Works Council and the working groups discussed the topic of cost-awareness with programme management and the directors. In the next step, the Works Council will form its own ideas about these plans and formulate its feedback.
Furthermore, the Works Council issued recommendations on the sale of Allego. The Works Council was kept properly informed throughout that process. In addition, the Allego employee participation working group provided important information to the deal team, which clarified what colleagues at Allego thought of the sale and the areas about which they had concerns. The Works Council was keen on the potential buyer that remained once it had had the opportunity to meet that party. The Works Council and the working group were unanimous in communicating their positive impression to the Management Board.
We will work with the new Works Council (which was elected in December 2018) on modifying the Works Council’s structure to reflect Alliander’s more compact organisation. This Works Council has been reduced in size (from 17 to nine members) and will act more as a discussion partner for the Management Board in leading the employee participation process. When it comes to forming opinions on the facts regarding changes in the organisation, the Works Council will rely on the opinions of committees and working groups.”
Ethical conduct under the new Alliander Code of Conduct
The Alliander Code of Conduct sets out how we deal with each other, business partners, company and personal interests, business assets, confidential and non-confidential corporate information, and safety. In this way, we protect Alliander’s customers, business relations and reputation, and work together to ensure a pleasant and safe working environment. Failure to comply with the Code of Conduct can have serious repercussions that can extend as far as dismissal. The Code of Conduct evolves to reflect changes in society, the energy sector and our company, and was updated in 2018.
Every employee has to follow the compulsory e-learning module, ‘Zo doen we dat bij Alliander’ (‘That’s how we do things at Alliander’). This module is offered in phases and on a regular basis in order to ensure constant awareness. Taking the new Code of Conduct as a basis, we changed the module during the year under review to include additional case studies. These new case studies cover matters such as criminals who attempt to pressurise our colleagues into helping them set up cannabis factories, as well as copper theft, diversity and preventing market abuse.
In the year under review, 27 potential violations of the Code of Conduct were reported. Three of these reports led to the investigation of possible conflicts of interest. In seven instances, the outcome was dismissal, the termination of a temporary contract of employment or the termination of another form of temporary work.