Alliander as employer
Employees are the indispensable link in the daily performance of our tasks. Alliander acknowledges the importance of good employment practices and has the ambition to be a top employer. At a top employer, the employees trust the people they work for, are proud of what they do and enjoy working in a good atmosphere together with colleagues, customers, suppliers and partners. They also get plenty of opportunities to keep developing their skills to remain employable. Employees of Alliander come under the collective labour agreement for network companies.
Every year we conduct our Great Place to Work employee survey to find out how our employees rate our culture and how satisfied they are with aspects of their work and working environment. The response rate of 79% in 2017 was unchanged from the year before. This rate testifies to a high degree of employee engagement and urgency. The general opinion (the average for all statements in the survey) was 71%, up from 70% in 2016. Traditionally, employees are proud of the work they perform (74%) and think they are treated fairly, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or age. Every year, all managers and employees jointly discuss the outcomes of the employee satisfaction survey.
Training & Development
To give everyone a chance to learn, at any age and at any time, Alliander Opleidingen has created two training institutes: Alliander College and Alliander Technische Bedrijfsschool. These institutes deliver training programmes focusing on, respectively, personal and professional development and safety and technical skills. In 2017, Alliander invested 3.3% of its payroll costs in employee training (2016: 3.3%). The classroom teaching programmes were converted into more varied learning programmes, resulting in lower costs in the coming years while achieving at least the same results.
Alliander Opleidingen has developed ‘Alliander Leert!’, a teaching strategy based on a neuropsychological approach. Blended programmes (consisting of a mix of online and shared learning) give the participant an optimal learning experience and promote their lifelong employability.
Technical skills and safety
With its in-house vocational training institute (Alliander Technische Bedrijfsschool), Alliander Opleidingen helps to resolve the technical skills shortage by offering a broad range of competence-oriented apprenticeship-based programmes from basic (WEB1) to higher vocational level. In addition, Alliander invests in long-term training and development partnerships inside and outside our organisation. In the future, we can jointly enlarge our pool of professional technicians, whilst achieving the best balance in terms of safety, quality, speed and costs.
Alliander has a dedicated training centre to help employees develop their skills in key areas such as technology, safety and leadership. To ensure that all our employees are and remain ready for the challenges of the energy transition, we invest in them and work together to maintain their professional skills, health and fitness. To this end, we offered schooling and other learning experiences in 2017. Finding high-quality staff is also a challenge from a risk management perspective. Alliander therefore actively develops competences through trainee and talent management programmes.
The career centre supports all Alliander employees who are reviewing their employment options, either to make the next step in their career or because their role is or may be redefined or terminated. Career counsellors help employees to discover their talents and find the most suitable role for them, either inside or outside Alliander. We think that everyone is worth investing in, and do this by offering internships, secondments and training.
In the year under review, we started to hold interviews with employees about their future development, either in their current role or elsewhere. By making timely investments in our employees, we try to avoid redundancies wherever possible. In 2017, 286 employees requested support from the career centre (2016: 234), 49 colleagues became redundant (2016: 161) and 237 people made use of our career centre (2016: 177). Thanks to this assistance, 104 employees managed to find a new job or an appropriate alternative (2016: 25).
Changes in the organisation
Our organisation is constantly evolving. We recently decided to continue entrusting the executive control of Alliander to a two-member Board of Management.
Another decision taken last year was to transfer, effective from 1 November 2017, all unregulated activities concerning the realisation, rental and management of medium-voltage installations to Kenter. Kenter can devote more attention to these activities, enabling us to better meet customer demands.
Finally, Alliander concluded an agreement for the sale of Ziut to SPIE Nederland. All Ziut employees migrated to SPIE. The shares in The New Motion were also sold.
“The new works council structure and approach that Alliander initiated in 2016 continued to be developed in 2017. We now have a single Works Council representing all of our business units, with working groups being formed around elected works council members within all business units. In principle, discussions take place at the lowest possible organisational level, where people know exactly what they are talking about and those directly involved can be asked for their opinions. In addition, both management and the Works Council felt a need for a dialogue about the company's main themes and the challenges we face, such as the growing volume and complexity of customer demands, the energy transition, safety and innovation. The consultations in 2017 were organised around these themes, which led to added depth and focus.
Other important topics of discussion last year were the conversion of the performance-related employee remuneration to a fixed year-end bonus, the reorganisation of the Operations employee participation working group (to get more focus on collaboration) and the development of the organisation's costs. For 2018 and beyond we foresee that cost pressures and opportunities to work more efficiently and effectively may necessitate organisational adjustments. The Alliander Works Council wants to discuss this in a constructive manner. Our stated intention in this context is to coach employees from work to work. Employees, for their part, must do their best to remain as broadly employable as possible.”
Arnoud Rikmenspoel, chair of the Alliander Works Council