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Communicating with and engaging our employees

People engagement and empowerment have been crucial all along our transformation journey. We empower our teams with responsibility, authority and accountability, and count on the engagement of every Bekaert employee in driving a higher-level performance.

(GRI 102-43 + GRI 102-44)

  • Bekaert’s global excellence programs BMS (Bekaert Manufacturing System), BCE (Bekaert Customer Excellence) and BeCare (Bekaert’s safety excellence program) enable our organization with the tools and focus to drive our performance to a higher level. They also bring our people together as an engaged community to always do better.
  • It takes some time before a large organizational change is fully understood by everyone in the organization. For that reason, we have organized several communication cascade sessions to ensure that all team members understand the relation between their individual and team objectives, and those of Bekaert as a whole, and how the new structure will enable us to revitalize our growth and profitability. 
    With regular surveys, we have measured and increased the understanding and adoption of the different pillars of the organizational change.  
  • 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 is an intensively used tool to share best practices, celebrations and ideas.
  • The CEO of Bekaert invites all employees worldwide to participate in the trading update webcasts. Every quarter, a global internal communication cascade is deployed throughout the organization, so that the information on Bekaert’s performance and actions is being shared with all employees in all locations worldwide.
  • Early 2020, we introduced the Bekaert Leadership & Excellence Awards. The six categories of Bekaert Leadership & Excellence Awards celebrate teams or individuals that supported and reinforced our performance-driven culture in 2019 with their extraordinary efforts and contributions. The six categories are Quality Excellence, Customer Excellence, SH&E Excellence, Growth & Innovation, Operational Excellence and Leadership. 

    Leadership award
    CEO Matthew Taylor handed over the Leadership award to Brano Simo, Financial Business Partner SWS EMEA, for demonstrating perseverance and outstanding performance in successfully organizing cross-functional teams to explore new opportunities for the company.

Team Ecuador shows commitment & irrepressibility in turbulent times

Mass anti-government protests paralyzed the Ecuadorian economy in the first half of October 2019. The protests ended after 13 days of turmoil when the government struck a deal with indigenous leaders to cancel a disputed austerity measure. During the protests, Ideal Alambrec, Bekaert’s production plant in Quito, was not always accessible. The first concern of the management team was to secure the safety of the employees and to prevent them from commuting via entrance ways where violent demonstrations took place. The plant was closed during a couple of days and operated at half the capacity during the rest of the two-week turmoil. When peace returned, the team responded with a powerful reaction: they wanted to make October the best month of the year - an almost impossible mission given the immobilization of the first half of the month. But teamwork, dedication and motivation helped them to achieve their goal. A true spirit of being ‘irrepressible’!  

Trade unions and collective bargaining agreements

We recognize the right of any employee to join or to refrain from joining a trade 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
  • 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 404-1)

Within Bekaert we value and stimulate continuous learning & development. During 2019, our manufacturing plant Inchalam in Chile, implemented a “Formador de formadores” program, which aims at standardizing the competence of giving training to co-workers. 46 operators who have the role of instructors participated in a one-year training program. Their role as trainers will be crucial to ensure knowledge is passed on to the next generation of employees. 

The Bekaert University, established in 2017, 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 future demands of our customers and employees. The Bekaert University hosts several operational academies including commercial, manufacturing, and health, safety & environment.
Bekaert university

Safety, Health & Environment (SH&E) Academy

At Bekaert, we want everyone to work in a safe and healthy environment. It is a shared responsibility throughout the company, at all levels, to create the best conditions to achieve this. The SH&E Academy builds on the BeCare framework that has proven to be a strong foundation to achieve a no-harm-to-anyone working environment.

The objective of the SH&E Academy is to increase everyone’s risk awareness, to train our employees on the tools we have to reduce risks and to lower our risk tolerance. It is not limited to safety. Health and environment have an equally important role. 

Average hours of training per employee 

On average, each employee received 36 hours of training in 2019. (1)

Training hours 2019


(1) Excluding BBRG & JVs

(GRI 404-1)