Building a stronger Sage team
At Sage we continue to focus on building a strong successful Sage team through careful talent management, development of people and leadership and improving engagement. This has been challenging in a year when it has been necessary to cut jobs or freeze recruitment in some markets most affected by the economic downturn. Where this has been necessary we have focused on delivering clear and concise communication so our people know what to expect and when.
As we continue to shape our strategy and look to our future we have continued to focus on Leadership in Sage and develop the leadership qualities we need to be successful in the future. Last year a team of global leaders developed an aspirational leadership standard against which all of our current leaders and emerging talent are now benchmarked. The new standard sets out our vision for what successful leadership looks like in Sage and defines the behavioural and cultural attributes we need and expect.
Our Leadership Standard, developed last year has really come to life during 2009 and now all senior leaders have received education materials on the new standard. During the year a leadership experience programme was developed and piloted and this is now being rolled out across all regions.
Other local development initiatives include:
- Guiding Principle awards in UK, Australia and North America where employees vote for their most deserving colleagues
- Investment of £80k on training courses through UK online portal
- Investment in £60k of educational sponsorship (UK)
- Introduction of management induction programme (UK)
- Continuation of the successful Ikwezi reward training scheme with increased numbers of employee participation in South Africa
- A top talent programme in Poland for young talented Sage people which uses an intensive development programme to fast track talent.
- Formalisation of performance planning process in Australia
- Creation of a new management development programme in Australia which has been tested in the Handisoft business and will be rolled out to the rest of the organisation
- A Sage culture, core values and code of conduct workshop has been rolled out throughout our Asian businesses and all employees complete an online exam.
Communication and engagement
All of our major operating companies now undertake an employee survey which highlights strengths in Sage as an employer and areas for improvement. The findings differ from one region to another and some of this is driven by cultural differences. However the results would suggest that in many countries the Sage business is more highly rated overall than the benchmark standard. However this is not the case in all regions and work will continue in 2010 to work to raise engagement levels in the areas where the greatest gaps lie.
In many regions the quality and quantity of employee communication has increased. Both the French and UK teams run business/ breakfast briefings where the employees have a chance to raise questions. In France we have signed a new GPEC agreement with all trade unions.
Other communication and engagement initiatives include:
- New compensation and benefits programme published online in France including a profit sharing plan
- Diversity and equal opportunities is highly legislated in South Africa and Softline hosts Heritage Days to celebrate diversity and cultural heritage
- Introduction of a new Employee Reward System in South Africa which enables employees to receive discount vouchers for products, services and experiences through an online service.
- The introduction of more flexible working options in Germany including a sabbatical programme, adaptation of working hours for single parents and home working.
- Flexible working practices have also been adopted in the Australian business to assist work/life balance
Reward and recognition
This year our focus has been on getting the building blocks in place to more closely align reward and the strategic performance of the business. The Group Reward Policy has been clarified and expanded to ensure more robust processes are in place for target-setting, determining pay budgets and managing bonus structures. This has already begun to introduce consistent principles and parameters in reward practice at all employee levels.
In addition, a review of leadership reward has been undertaken to determine how this may be more closely linked to business performance and the attainment of future strategic goals.The changes in the policy on the allocation of awards under the Performance Share Plan (“PSP”) implemented this year reflect that, and participation in the PSP itself is now linked to our talent management process.