We continue to believe it is just as important for us to attract, develop and retain great people as it is for us to develop, produce and distribute great products and services. We therefore continue to believe in the concept of a Talent Factory, which is every bit as important to us as our more traditional production factories. Our Talent Factory agenda includes a set of initiatives aimed at better people development and – to enable this – a series of activities designed to deliver improved human resources (HR) capabilities. In 2010, we made significant progress in both these areas.
In terms of people development, a particular area of improvement was in career development and training programs. With regard to our leadership pipeline, major developmental progress was achieved which involved several senior managers making cross-BU and/or cross-functional moves in both Performance Coatings and Specialty Chemicals. We also announced a number of changes in Specialty Chemicals that will take effect in 2011. These changes will grow our leaders as we grow our business.
With regards to HR capabilities, 2010 was an important year for us in terms of implementation of country organizations. Historically, our HR organization has been fragmented, with all business units and even many sub-business units having their own HR organization, which handled all activities from recruitment to development to compensation and benefits. We are now in the process of consolidating all activities within key countries to one shared AkzoNobel organization, beginning in the Netherlands and Sweden.
Once all activities have been brought together in each of the key countries, we will create a tri-partite organization, with centers of expertise, HR services centers, and HR “business partners”. The centers of expertise will provide best practice knowledge to support HR “business partners”, who apply this as required to support implementation of business-based strategies. HR services centers provide additional support as they carry out HR transactional activities in an efficient and effective manner.
These efficient and effective HR country organizations are required to support all key countries. However, they are arguably most important in the high growth markets. In 2010, we developed AkzoNobel country strategies for the key growth markets of Brazil, India and China. In early 2011, we will be developing a strategy for Russia. In each case, having an industry-leading Talent Factory in place is one of the most fundamental enablers to strategic success.