Create an industry-leading Talent Factory

Creating an industry-leading Talent Factory is fundamental to delivering our strategic ambitions. We use the term Talent Factory because we believe the attraction, development and retention of great people is just as important to the success of our company as the development, production and sale of great products. In 2009, our Global Employee Survey indicated that we can be proud of our achievements in this area, but there is still room for improvement.

Diversity and Inclusion

A core program which gained significant momentum in 2009 was our renewed focus on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). Following a global D&I workshop held at the end of 2008, which was attended by representatives from all our businesses, we defined a set of irreversible steps to improve our performance.

Our initial focus is on improving gender and cultural diversity. We have set clear and stretching ambitions for improvement in these areas.

Four businesses have now taken these ambitions and made a detailed and business-specific analysis of the D&I challenges for their part of the company. During 2010, we expect to develop detailed plans for all businesses.

Management and leadership development

The successful roll-out of our two standardized global management development programs is continuing. The Management Essentials Program (MEP) is designed to provide state-of-the-art people management basics for all first-line people managers across the company, while the Advanced Management Program (AMP) caters for senior managers. Both programs include specific training on the use and application of our values on a day-to-day basis.

Self-managed leadership journeys

As part of the Decorative Paints integration process, we identified a strong need to build a new culture within the business. Through a series of journeys, the organization embarked on a process to strengthen the common culture and increase understanding of the business strategy, while simultaneously providing the opportunity for employees’ individual development. More than 1,200 senior and middle managers have successfully completed the program to date. Roll out will continue in 2010.


In 2009 we initiated an HR council with the participation of key business and functional leaders within AkzoNobel. This council will help to set and guide the Talent Factory agenda going forward.

A new drive to significantly improve HR capability was launched in 2009 in our top nine countries, where close to 70 percent of our employees are based. This will allow us to reduce the existing fragmentation of HR support and ensure that the Talent Factory runs efficiently and effectively.

We have simultaneously embarked on a program to consolidate our current HR data and payroll systems across all businesses and countries. This will help to improve data quality, reduce costs and, most importantly, support human resources initiatives going forward.

To measure whether we are delivering on our Talent Factory aspirations, we have established clear targets and a quarterly reporting mechanism which we call the Talent Factory scorecard. The key metrics from this scorecard are included in our strategy dashboard.

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