In order to achieve our strategic goals for solving water, it is essential that our employees share ideas, feel conviction and passion in their daily jobs and enable us to operate with speed and efficiency for our customers.
It’s why we’re passionate about continuing to build a Xylem culture — a “One Company” approach — across our family of brands and hundreds of locations around the globe.
Engagement begins by listening to our employees, and surveys are a key tool. We use both large-scale surveys and small pulse surveys in our various business units and geographic markets. Feedback is vital to our continuous improvement as a company, building on Xylem’s strengths and taking action on issues that might be holding us back. Following the 2016 acquisition of Sensus, we conducted high-level assessments with the integration leadership team on cultural similarities, differences and gaps between the two organizations. In 2017, we took the next step, issuing a global employee survey requesting feedback on Xylem’s culture.
Engagement in the survey confirmed what we already knew to be true: we have a passionate workforce. We were pleased to receive an 85 percent response rate to the survey. Well over 13,000 employees engaged in the survey, including an impressive turnout among the roughly 4,000 colleagues at our manufacturing and service facilities who filled out paper surveys.
We gleaned some key findings from the survey, and our leadership team is listening closely to both what we’re doing well and opportunities for improvement. Among the areas that our employees cited us as doing well:
- Doing what’s right: Xylem employees are confident in the company’s commitment to employee safety and ethical decisions and conduct.
- Building a continuous improvement culture: Xylem employees feel the company learns from our mistakes, is willing to confront and solve problems, and that we come up with new or better ways to get work done.
- Job satisfaction: Xylem employees are confident that their work makes good use of their skills and competencies and is contributing to our strategic goals. They also reported positive feedback regarding knowing what is expected of them each day and having freedom to use personal judgment to get the job done.
Our greatest area of opportunity, according to employees, is acting as one company. This is why we are so focused in 2018 on creating a consistent and collaborative culture. Our future success depends heavily upon growing as a company in this key area. A significant portion of our Global Leaders Meeting, held in November 2017, was devoted to this topic. At the enterprise level, we’ve already prioritized specific focus areas for improvement and our approach is guided by several principles:
- A commitment to focus on the highest-impact items that are affecting colleagues across the company
- Involving colleagues from across the organization in designing an action plan that is both robust and realistic
- Communicating regularly with employees on our approach and progress
At a local level, managers are sharing survey results with their teams to encourage rich dialogue at every level of the organization on what the results mean and what resonates most for particular Xylem employees. We expect to conduct a global employee engagement survey every 18 to 24 months in order to establish a regular rhythm of obtaining feedback and assessing our progress.
Attracting Talent and Recognizing Performance
Attracting and retaining the best employees is fundamental to our success, and as we evolve into more of a technology-oriented company, we’re competing for talent more broadly. To support our efforts, we centralized talent acquisition activities in 2017 into a new Talent Acquisition Center of Excellence, which brings together our North American business recruiters under one leader. Globally, we are implementing a new applicant tracking system that streamlines the process for both internal and external candidates, the hiring managers, the HR team and the talent acquisition team.
Xylem takes a total rewards approach to attracting, motivating and retaining talented colleagues worldwide. Our total rewards philosophy integrates programs for compensation, benefits, recognition and work-life balance. While individual program components may differ by country, job role or level, our culture and commitment to results remain constant.
We also encourage our managers to conduct Stay Interviews with their direct reports. The concept of a Stay Interview is to maintain open lines of communication related to individual employee satisfaction and engagement to provide real-time feedback.
Diversity & Inclusion at Xylem
Diversity in all its forms allows us to compete more effectively around the world and drive exceptional customer satisfaction, innovation and company performance. We are committed to reflecting the diversity of the communities where we live and work, and the customers we serve. Among our executive ranks, 85 percent are local nationals. With operations in more than 150 countries, we believe in the power of an environment where everyone feels involved, respected, valued and connected… an environment where everyone is free to bring their authentic selves and ideas.
We view diversity as key to leadership development. When selecting participants for internal development programs, we ensure that groups are balanced across a number of factors, including gender, ethnicity, tenure and function with the company, geography and more. We have also built concepts such as inclusion and leveraging of differences into our training programs for top leaders.
In 2017, Xylem launched its first employee affinity group, the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN), which is an internal, self-governed network designed to enable skills and knowledge development, and professional networking to drive their success at Xylem. The network offers an online platform for employees to interact, rotating webinars covering content tailored to mid-career professionals, internal and external volunteer activities, and in-person events held in conjunction with meetings and conferences. By the end of 2017, two ELN groups were active with more than 40 participants: one in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and one in the company’s headquarters office in Rye Brook, New York. The ELN continues to grow and develop in other locations, and we will continue to encourage the organic formation of other affinity groups as we continue to cultivate an inclusive culture. We also launched a Women of Xylem Resource Group with active local chapters in several locations.
It is our policy to ensure equal employment, advancement opportunity, incentives and discipline without distinction or discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, race, gender identity, age, religious or political beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, protected veteran status or other protected classifications.
In addition, as a U.S. Government contractor, Xylem is committed to taking affirmative action to hire and advance minorities, women, qualified individuals with disabilities and covered veterans. In 2017, the ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men by employee category in the U.S. was 98 percent average for non-exempt employees and 95 percent average for exempt employees.