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Communicating with and engaging our employees

To cope with the questions and uncertainties that the global Covid-19 pandemic brought, we used various internal communication channels to help employees stay informed, be actively involved and be recognized for their tremendous engagement. 

  • We set up a dedicated intranet site and distributed a weekly eNewsletter to share updates on the newest Covid-19 figures, the applicable safety rules and best-practices from around the world.
  • Employees used Yammer to share stories and to support and motivate each other. The local HR teams ensured that all information was made available in print and on the digital screens in the production plants.
  • Country and plant managers from all Bekaert sites worldwide shared information and best practices during the weekly ‘country calls’.
  • Commercial managers participated in the ‘emerging stronger’ commercial calls, where new tools and best practices for virtual customer conferences were exchanged for further deployment across the business. Customers brought testimonials about how they experienced working with Bekaert during this crisis.  
China team against covid


People engagement and empowerment have always been important at Bekaert. We empower our teams with responsibility, authority and accountability, and count on the engagement of every Bekaert employee in driving a higher-level performance.

  • The Bekaert Intranet is a place where employees can share and obtain knowledge, find relevant information fast, connect with colleagues, collaborate with team members on common development programs, and actively contribute to impactful communications across the company. Moreover, the company’s internal social media platform Yammer and video platform Stream are intensively used tools to share best practices, celebrations and ideas. Our employees regularly receive internal news bulletins  with corporate messages and business updates.
  • Every quarter, Bekaert’s CEO  and CFO invite all managers and salaried professionals worldwide to join an internal webcast at the occasion of the financial news releases. They share information on Bekaert’s performance and the actions to be taken and answer the questions raised. The sessions are recorded and can be replayed afterwards via our internal online video platform.  
  • Next to the quarterly financial updates, employees are also invited to Communication Town Halls, hosted by the members of the Bekaert Group Executive. They share insights on market developments, decisions made and strategies established and implemented. These sessions engage active interaction with all participants.
  • Extraordinary efforts and contributions are awarded at Bekaert, particularly when it comes to excellent achievements in the fields of quality, customer excellence, SH&E, innovation, operational excellence and leadership.
    China SHE award
    The CBSC team received the SH&E Excellence award in 2020.

(GRI 102-43 GRI 102-44)

Bekaert celebrates anniversaries in five sites

In 2020, Bekaert celebrated the anniversaries of five sites. 

The Ideal Alambrec Bekaert plant in Ecuador proudly celebrated its 80th anniversary. Although the Ecuadorian entitiy has witnessed many changes over the past eight decades, what has remained key throughout its history is the passion to work better together for and with the customers. 

The Vicson-Bekaert plant in Venezuela celebrated its 70th anniversary. . 


70 years Vicson

In Europe, Bekaert’s plants in Sardegna, Italy and Lipetsk, Russia celebrated their 10th anniversary. 

The anniversary of the plant in Lipetsk took place before the Covid-19 pandemic. The plant organized a great event that was attended by 500 enthusiastic Lipetsk team members, many customers and other business partners, and Belgian and Russian government officials and diplomats.

Lipetsk 10 years
Lipetsk employees celebrate their plant anniversary (pre-corona).
The Bekaert India Technical Center also marked its 10th anniversary in 2020. The Consul General of Belgium, Mr Pierre Emmanuel Brusselmans, attended the celebration in person together with India management and BITC team members. The Bekaert Management and key customers participated online, due to Covid-19 restrictions.  

10 years technical center India

Your Voice Counts engagement survey 

We conducted the third edition of the Your Voice Counts engagement survey in 2020. After an extensive company-wide survey in 2017 and a pulse survey  in 2018, all employees were invited to complete the 2020 questionnaire and let their voices be heard. We are keen to continue the dialogue to learn how employees experience working with us, where we are making progress and where we can still do better. 

The survey built further on questions we had asked in previous years, allowing us to measure our progress over time. Additionally, we added some health-related questions because we are conscious that Covid-19 has had and continues to have a significant influence on both our private and work life. 

The surveys are developed in collaboration with an independent advisory firm. They help us conduct the engagement survey in a professional way, guaranteeing discretion, confidentiality and anonymity of the responses and respondents. 

We had a high participation rate of 80% for the 2020 survey. Employees indicated that they feel safe at work and are able to balance work and personal responsibilities - two important aspects, especially during this Covid-19 period. The results also show that we are making progress on the improvement needs indicated in earlier surveys.

Our employees’ opinions matter to us, and that is why we will keep asking their feedback frequently in the coming years. 

(GRI 102-43 GRI 102-44)

YVC poster

Introducing Hybrid working

In 2020, Covid-19 lockdowns triggered a massive shift in how businesses organize work and interactions. Literally overnight, the work done in offices moved to home offices about everywhere in the world. While employees always remained able to connect digitally and collaborate as close as - or even closer than - before, face-to-face interactions are being missed hard after a long period of isolation.

As a company, we have given a lot of consideration to how we intend to work in the “new normal”.  Feedback from employees has been an important part of the decision-making in finding a balanced approach. At the end of 2020, we introduced a hybrid working model at Bekaert. We will implement this global model as soon as the Covid-19 situation in our entities worldwide allows it.

The new way of working is increasingly relevant in today’s society; boosting productivity, engagement and well-being with more flexibility to harmonize work life and personal life, while maintaining a strong connection with colleagues and with the company culture.

Hybrid working

Labor unions and collective bargaining agreements

Communication also includes the information exchange and negotiations with labor unions. We recognize the right of any employee to join or to refrain from joining a labor union. 82% of our employees worldwide are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Agreements with trade unions are locally concluded and include the following elements:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Right to refuse unsafe work
  • Joint management-employee health and safety committees
  • Participation of worker representatives in health and safety matters
  • Inspections, audits, and accident investigations
  • Training and education
  • Complaints mechanism
  • Periodic inspections

(GRI 102-41 GRI 403-4 GRI 407-1)

Learning and development

We nurture talent through career development and life-long learning. We attach great importance to providing challenging career and personal development opportunities to our employees. Training programs not only include technical and job specific training, but also leadership modules that help our people develop and cooperate in a global business environment. 

(GRI 404-2)

Learning together virtually

Covid-19 has challenged us to look differently at the way we learn. While the training sessions were initially a mix of classroom lessons and online e-learnings, the Covid-19 pandemic stimulated a rapid digital transformation of our training systems. We finalized the roll-out of our My Learning platform in all countries. It is a shared environment for digital learning that brings knowledge to our employees, no matter where they are or when they need it.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we offered Smart Working courses. These articles, videos and online trainings supported employees in handling the challenges they faced and in adapting their work habits and routines. The courses focused on safety and physical and mental health, useful recommendations on effectively collaborating and connecting with colleagues and customers digitally, and advice on how to defend ourselves against cyber threats when working remotely.

(GRI 404-2)

Many of these courses are part of the Bekaert University, established in 2017. The Bekaert University offers training tailored to different professional areas. It provides our employees with inspiration, knowhow and peer support from colleagues and leaders in order to turn knowledge into action. In close collaboration with internal experts (both in the business and in the functional domains) and external learning institutes, we continuously evaluate and develop our training portfolio to make sure that we are always equipped to meet the demands of our customers and employees. The Bekaert University hosts several operational academies including commercial, manufacturing, and health, safety & environment. 

In 2020, we added the Bekaert Basics academy to the Bekaert University portfolio. Bekaert Basics helps new employees understand our business and culture, facilitates engagement, and encourages them to inspire Bekaert by sharing best practices learned in previous career steps. It supports the process of acclimatizing new employees to the organization by providing the tools, resources, and knowledge that are needed to be productive and to thrive at Bekaert.

IT Academy

(GRI 404-2)

Bekaert University and academies

Bekaert wins bronze Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award in Learning

The Human Capital Management Excellence Award is the most prestigious and longest-running recognition program in human capital management. Brandon Hall Group’s industry-standard awards program recognizes organizations that successfully deploy human capital management programs achieving superior and measurable results. 

We were very excited to win the bronze award in a year that Brandon Hall Group received a record number of applications. This award is a valuable recognition and validation from experts in the area of learning.

Brandon Hall award

Average hours of training per employee

On average, each employee received 20 hours of training in 2020.

Training hours 2020

(GRI 404-1)