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Human Capital

Our people are the architects of our future. Their skills, knowledge and competencies underpin our customer offering and the impact we have on all other Capitals.​

Fulfilling our vision to be the most differentiated and valuable agri-business by 2040 depends on our workforce of 72,000 people, many in emerging markets. Through our values and culture, we have attracted leaders with vision, inventiveness and entrepreneurialism, but we recognise that we need to invest further in Human Capital to establish the inspired and high performing workforce we need.

Methodologies for calculating Human Capital impacts vary between degrees of qualitative and quantitative analysis, typically looking at overall people strategy, salary and benefits costs, training costs, engagement levels and cost of attrition. As we advance our model, we are looking at how it can be clear and unambiguous, minimising subjective judgement; allowing for year-onyear comparison and aiding decision-making.

Human Capital – desired outcomes

  • All employees and contractors stay safe and healthy
  • High calibre talent base with capabilities for growth
  • Good employee retention, especially for critical roles
  • Regarded as a fair and competitive employer
  • Inspired workforce contributing to all Capitals
  • Employment rights are protected at all Olam work sites and there are no human rights violations
  • Minimal conflicts/strikes
  • Leaders advance industry and sector initiatives

Management approach

Build an inspired and high performing organisation

  • Develop a satisfied, engaged and inspired talent base: identify organisational factors and enable leadership to identify their purpose to align with Olam’s Purpose.
  • Institutionalise ‘The Olam Way’: our blueprint for success has been our capability for organisational learning, identifying what has worked well – and the manner in which we can replicate it. Given the fast-paced nature and diversification of our businesses, there is renewed focus on ensuring everything has the unmistakable Olam signature.
  • Leadership and capability development: success is not through business acumen alone but by inspiring a team towards a higher sense of purpose and standards of success. This is combined with concerted effort in deepening organisational capabilities in the areas of Trading, Plantations, Operational Excellence, Digital, and Sustainability. It includes a drive to up-skill nationals in emerging markets through localisation strategies, such as in-house training and mentor programmes, as well as partnerships with national colleges and globally renowned universities.
  • Managing performance and rewards: institutionalising a performance management process that is employee centric and future focused to transform the company.

Safety and Human Rights

  • Vision of a Zero Harm Culture: unrelenting drive to improve safety through ‘An Even Safer Olam’ campaign.
  • Commitment to human rights as guided by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Global Compact, and the International Labour Organisation. This includes compliance with relevant laws and international agreements covering wages, working hours and conditions, freedom of association, collective bargaining, and discrimination. A company-wide Fair Employment Policy is due to be launched in 2018.
  • Grievance mechanisms and whistle-blower rights accessible to all employees without retribution as outlined in the Olam Code of Conduct.
  • Regular and open engagement with unions and worker committees.
  • Advancing health, wellness and nutrition for the workforce, especially in upstream operations in emerging markets.

Challenges and influencing factors in 2017

  • Downward pressure on commodity prices coupled with cost efficiency drives can impact teams. Reduced scores were seen in 2017 in employee engagement. The launch of our new purpose – ‘Re-imagining Global Agriculture: Growing Responsibly’ – is a critical facet of improving engagement. We are also now starting to measure engagement more formally across all employees.
  • Embedding a safety culture in emerging markets where there is less focus culturally on safe behaviour – for example, driving within the speed limit, wearing of seat belts. Tragically, 7 fatalities occured in 2017 primarily through transportation-related incidents. Other causes included incorrect wearing of safety equipment and supervision issues. All incidents were assessed and corrective actions immediately undertaken. In 2017, Olam moved to its new headquarters with a dedicated Learning Academy and library.

Women GROW in Olam

  • Olam employees launched a women’s resource group in 2013 with the name GROW (Globally Reaching Olam Women) which now extends from the USA to Africa. GROW gives the organisation the tools and resources needed to support women in the workplace and boost the number of women in leadership.
  • To address issues relevant to working women today, GROW offers mentoring programmes and education symposiums on topics ranging from professional growth to work-life balance – issues with clear goals for professional development. A keynote speaker series brings in notable female leaders to share their experiences about what has worked for them. GROW is not limited to helping women within the organisation; the network also holds sport activities as well as social events to raise awareness for local women’s non-profit and charity organisations.