Our people – Performance in 2013/14

We have continued to focus on embedding The Vodafone Way to improve the way we operate on developing high-potential employees to build the skills we need to drive business growth and expand into new areas. Our Global People Survey shows employees remain engaged and our ongoing commitment to improving diversity and developing an inclusive workplace demonstrates our recognition of the value this brings to our business.

Employee engagement

In 2013/14, we maintained high levels of employee engagement, although our annual Global People Survey revealed a slight decline in some scores compared with the previous year. Around 87% of employees across the Group responded to the Survey, compared with 90% in 2012/13. Our overall engagement score decreased by one point, but remained strong at 77 points out of 100. Employees responding positively to specific survey questions on health and safety, diversity and ethics all increased. See Data for more detail on the survey results.

Results from our Global People Survey demonstrate high levels of awareness of The Vodafone Way among employees, which remained central to our employee engagement activities in 2013/14. Following a series of workshops on Leading in The Vodafone Way for our global leadership team, which focused on the effective transformation of our business and how to achieve operational excellence, we piloted a toolkit designed for all employees to help drive simplicity – a key part of The Vodafone Way. In 2014/15, we will roll out workshops and training on this across the Group, tailored to local market needs. We also encouraged employees to upload videos sharing how The Vodafone Way is being put into practice across the business through the Vodafone Hub intranet site.

Managing change

The way we are working is changing to meet the evolving needs of our customers. We continue to make our business more efficient, simplify processes across our markets and target business growth in new areas such as fixed line telecommunications and Enterprise. Employees in various markets were affected by organisational changes in 2013/14, including:

  • Integrating around 7,000 former Cable and Wireless Worldwide (CWW) employees into our UK and Global Enterprise business following Vodafone’s acquisition of the CWW fixed line telephone business
  • Building our Global Enterprise business to support evolving customer needs and improve operational efficiency and scale, including the creation of a single enterprise product management team and global carrier service which affected employees in several markets
  • Creating a Group Transformation and Operations organisation to improve customers’ experience, quality and efficiency across our markets by developing common processes and implementing best practices
  • Continuing the transition of transactional and back office activities around the Group to our shared service centres in Egypt, Hungary and India, including bringing some previously outsourced customer contact centres in-house to improve service.

We supported employees through these organisational changes in a range of ways. Where roles were impacted, we helped people find new jobs elsewhere in the company or arranged for them to work for a partner company where possible. We also helped those who were made redundant search for new jobs, offering them training on job applications and interview skills, and advice on how to start their own business. Vodafone aims to treat all employees fairly, consulting with those affected and clearly communicating developments.

Development and training

We invested around £30 million in the training and development of our people during 2013/14, and 77% of our people agreed that they had opportunities to learn the skills that they need to do their jobs well.

We focused on developing the capabilities of people working in customer-facing roles, to ensure they deliver exceptional customer service. In 2013/14, over 5,000 employees and managers completed The Vodafone Way of Retail Training and 5,000 employees and managers working in our Enterprise sales teams participated in The Vodafone Way of Selling programme.

To reward and retain talent we continue to develop the leadership capabilities of high-potential employees. In 2013/14, 85 employees participated in Inspire, our 18-month programme designed to develop our future leaders. We also launched Leadership Essentials, a programme to improve the coaching skills of new managers and enable them to motivate their teams effectively.

In addition to tailored training and development programmes, we offer over 10,000 programmes that are relevant and accessible to all employees. In 2013/14 around 180,000 online courses were completed by employees globally.

See Our approach for more on our development and training programmes.

Diversity and inclusion

Increasing diversity and inclusion in our workforce continues to be a major focus. In 2013/14, we rolled out our Inclusive Leadership programme to further markets, helping more than 200 Executives and senior leaders value diversity better and develop inclusive teams. Among this top management band a total of 24 nationalities are represented (see Data).

Since 2011, trained facilitators delivered workshops in their local markets to over 2,200 managers across the Group – achieving our target for 2013/14. In addition, we created a new training module on unconscious bias and piloted this with 10% of our senior leadership team. Workshops in Ireland, the UK and for members of our Women in Technology forum will reach another 600 managers on this topic.

To help increase the diversity of senior leadership teams in all markets and across all functions, we have developed a Global Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit that helps managers assess their team’s performance and use examples of best practice to make improvements that foster a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Our 2013 Global People Survey showed continued improvements in employee perceptions of diversity and inclusion within Vodafone. Of those surveyed, 86% believe their local market or Group function values diversity, 85% agreed that a person’s background does not stop them progressing and 89% agreed that people are treated fairly regardless of their gender, background, age or belief at Vodafone.

In focus: Teaching telesales to people with visual impairment in India

The National Federation of the Blind in India reports that the unemployment rate among working-age blind adults is 70%. Through project Drishti, a partnership between the National Association for the Blind and Vodafone India, we are training visually impaired people to become skilled telesales operators. Following a pilot in Mumbai, in 2012, this project has been rolled out to a further seven regions. Vodafone India now employees 162 visually impaired people, who are making an exceptional contribution to our sales teams. This project continues to expand and will shortly move into the Haryana region.

Gender diversity

Increasing female representation in the workplace remained a priority for us in 2013/14, especially increasing the number of women in management.

We have two female executive committee members, two female local market CEOs and three female non-executive directors on the Board. The proportion of female leaders in management continued to increase in 2013/14 – from 20% in 2012/13 to 22% of our top senior management, and from 24% to 25% in middle management. See Data.

We aim to achieve a 50:50 male/female split in our graduate and MBA recruitment programmes and in 2013/14 our female graduate intake was 47%. We also increased female representation on our middle management development programme from 26% in 2012/13 to 50% in 2013/14, and from 22% to 50% on our senior management programme.

Examples of how we are driving greater gender diversity across our business in 2013/14 include:

  • Encouraging team leaders to take action to increase the number of women in their teams through internal promotions and external recruitment through our ‘Plus 1’ principle if the gender balance is less than 50% female
  • Introducing goals in emerging markets to increase the number of women hired and promoted. Within a year of introducing such goals in India, the proportion of women in middle-level management increased from 11% to 21%, and we plan to extend this approach to further markets in 2014/15
  • Increasing membership of our women’s networks, which offer coaching and career support and create local forums for female employees to connect with and learn from senior role models both inside and outside of Vodafone
  • Identifying senior female employees suitable to serve with non-executive boards of other companies through our Membership of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT). We also disclose our gender diversity targets and progress against these as part of the ERT’s voluntary targets initiative
  • Providing senior Vodafone women with the opportunity to learn about life as a non-executive director through our sponsorship of the Professional Boards Forum
  • Launching a global partnership with the women’s networking organisation, everywoman, to help female employees access resources that support their personal and career development and enable them to engage with female role models in the workplace. Since its launch, over 2,000 female employees have registered across 24 markets
  • Publishing a ‘gender toolkit’ to outline a consistent approach to improving gender diversity across all markets, which includes examples of best practice and guidelines on setting goals to increase gender balance.

As part of our celebration of International Women’s Day in March 2014, our local markets shared a series of best practices. We also launched our Connected Women report (pdf, 4.02 MB) in March 2014 to showcase our research into the ways mobile technology is transforming women’s lives (see Women).

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion

We are committed to helping promote equal and fair treatment of employees irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity. Our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) networks offer confidential support and advice to our employees on a variety of LGBT topics such as fear of coming out and opportunities that the LGBT community can bring to our business.

Following the launch of our first LGBT network in the UK last year, in 2013/14 we established similar networks in Greece and the Netherlands. We also continued to support other countries to engage their LGBT employee communities, while recognising the need to be sensitive to local laws and cultures.

Employee wellbeing

In 2013/14, 69% of employees agreed that their local market or Group function takes a genuine interest in their wellbeing. Our wellbeing programmes are managed locally to suit the needs of employees in different markets. Examples of how we promote wellbeing include:

  • Launching our first global wellbeing challenge that encouraged 8,724 employees to collectively walk, run, dance and cycle a total of 205,000 miles
  • Making it easier and simpler for employees at our Newbury headquarters in the UK to get medical attention at a time that suits them using our doctor and nurse service, and on-site contact centres
  • Our walk-to-work campaign in Lesotho to encourage employees to stop driving and walk to work to get fit instead. This campaign was used to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes
  • Holding dietary awareness webinars in Italy to provide employees with advice on how to eat well and improve their diets in ways that may prevent chronic disease, such as diabetes.