Training and communications
Key messages for employees
ABB’s technology makes a major contribution to businesses and communities around the world. It is not, however, only what we do, but how we do it, which will determine our reputation with our stakeholders and ensure our continued success.
The message from the top is clear
At ABB, performance is measured not only by the results achieved, but also how these results were achieved," said Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB's Chief Executive Officer. "This is why our stakeholders can rely on the fact that our services, operations, and daily business are based on ethical behavior."
On joining the company, employees are required to read, understand, and commit to abide by ABB’s Code of Conduct.
Every employee at ABB must understand that:
- ABB must not, should not, and will not break the law
- ABB competes and wins only by playing by the rules
- The ABB Code of Conduct and the detailed policies written in the ABB Group Directives, together explain the behavior expected of every employee.
- ABB remains proactive by implementing ongoing and systematic training and communications, conducting internal surveys, and committing resources to adequately implement the ABB Integrity Program.
The chief responsibility for ensuring that employees are aware of and embrace these messages lies with the businesses. Division Presidents and financial controllers regularly review and report on integrity and compliance developments in their business, and the issues are a regularly required agenda item for division reviews. They are also an element in the divisions’ business performance evaluations.
“ABB is committed to fostering a culture where integrity is woven into the fabric of everything we do,” said Diane de Saint Victor, ABB’s General Counsel / Chief Integrity Officer. “We want integrity to be embedded in our businesses and processes, and reflected in our employees' behavior. This means acting responsibly as individuals and as a company.”
About the survey
Understanding how to reach and engage employees means that we constantly evaluate their needs, their perceptions, and the goals of the integrity program.
During July 2013 a global Integrity Culture and Risk Survey was conducted by the professional services firm KPMG AG. Over 24,000 employees responded to the survey, which measured integrity on eight dimensions: clarity, role modeling, enabling environment, support of employees for Integrity, transparency, openness to discuss dilemmas, comfort to report misconduct, and enforcement.
The outcome confirmed that ABB has a strong ethical culture, that our communication and training efforts have resonated in the organization, and that the vast majority of employees would report if they saw a concern.
How we use the survey
The survey has provided valuable insight into employee perceptions of integrity in the organization. As a follow up to the survey, we have done the following:
- Incorporated feedback into our global integrity training and communications plan, including identified key risk areas
- Tied our efforts together by making sure our employees refer to The ABB Code of Conduct and the detailed policies written in the ABB Group Directives.
- Shared the outcome of the survey with our employees
Read more about ABB's Integrity Culture in the Sustainability Performance Report Case Study for 2013.
Raising awareness and visibility of integrity throughout ABB
Regular and wide-ranging communications activities ensure that employees in every location are fully aware of ABB’s commitment to integrity and of the consequences of unethical action.
To support integrity training, a range of communications has been designed to raise the awareness and visibility of integrity in every physical location.
Integrity communications are posted periodically on the ABB intranet such as:
- Cases of consequence
- Acting with integrity
- What should I do
- Integrity videos with messages from leadership
The “Cases of Consequence” stories report real breaches of ABB’s Code of Conduct by employees, and explains how they were discovered and dealt with.
A story published in March 2012, for example, explained how a group of employees had submitted fraudulent entertainment and expenses claims by splitting bills into small amounts that didn’t require special approval. The contracts of all employees concerned were terminated.
Other articles present dilemmas that frequently occur in the course of business and explain how best to address them. The dilemmas are presented in the form of questions that employees might ask, such as:
“One of our customers recently offered me 2 tickets for the Olympics in London and I have accepted them. Now, I am afraid that I will contravene ABB's Code of Conduct. I do not want to disappoint the customer as he has clearly spent a lot of money on them. What should I do?”
Several Business Ethics Hotline poster campaigns have been rolled out in all locations around the world to encourage reporting and to raise awareness of specific areas of risks. This is particularly useful for spreading the integrity message to factory workers who don’t have access to the Intranet. Constant integrity messages and visuals throughout the company reinforce a strong culture of integrity.
In addition, display stands and integrity boards at a number of traffic points promote the Business Ethics Hotline. ABB Code of Conduct booklets, integrity informational brochures, and wallet cards are made available for employees to take with them.