Enhancing the value of diversity

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To Autogrill Group, diversity is an asset and responsibility everybody shares. Disseminating this notion inside and outside the company is an important step that needs everybody’s permanent support.

In recent years, Autogrill Group decided to take a stand in the matter of diversity and equal opportunity, through pioneering actions that guarantee, protect and leverage on differences, frequently aimed at improvement and going beyond the measures required by law. Not only is Autogrill Group convinced that diversity is an asset for the company, but it firmly believes that this approach should be reinforced and promoted outside the organization as well.

In the relationship with its employees, regardless of their role, Autogrill is guided by the highest International standards (International Labor Organization, Global Compact), implementing the principles established in its Corporate Governance in any circumstance as well as any law provision applicable in the geographical area in which it operates, shunning the use of child or forced labor pursuant to the main international legislation, such as the UN Convention on Children’s Rights (UNCRC) and the Human Rights Act of 1998.

However, such a challenge calls for multiple actions. In Spain, Autogrill defined the “Plan de Igualdad”, a policy in favor of equal opportunity that can help employees regardless of their gender, nationality or religion.

In relation to diversity issues and equal opportunity, in those countries in which Aldeasa operates, the Group has adopted programs in compliance with the applicable regulations and agreements underwritten with labor representatives and designed an equality plan aimed at avoiding and preventing any type of gender-based discrimination (salary-based, career development, etc. ...). In other cases, like in the case of WDF, dedicated diversity policies have been developed.

WORKLIFE BALANCE

Protecting employees’ quality of life in all its aspects means protecting the quality of the service provided to customers: this is another challenge that Autogrill Group is tackling.

Autogrill Group’s business is characterized by seasonal, weekly and daily peaks. In order to guarantee a consistently high level of customer service, a flexible labor force is essential. As a result, part time labor contracts, working hour schedule planning and maternity leaves are just a few of the formulas proposed by the Group. The key concept is that of translating any need the Company identifies into an opportunity for its employees, in order for them to have the possibility of creating a balance between their private and professional lives. In addition, the type of work and commitment required by the Group lets employees integrate and balance the different needs. In fact, the employees’ distribution by age brackets shows different characteristics according to the business sector and the geographical region considered.

62% of the Group’s personnel are women

The possibility of resorting to part time labor contracts is particularly important in the contexts in which a woman plays a fundamental role in the family. A self-explanatory example is the set of initiatives implemented by Aldeasa, whose work force is 64% female. In such a context, maternity leave becomes a crucial point, and the company offers its employees different solutions: 4 months of maternity leave are compulsory by law and the company adds another month by contract (optional for the breast-feeding period) and when employees operating at airports return to work, they are given priority with reference to the store where they wish to work, the shifts and the type of labor contract (part–time or full time) until the child becomes 8 years old. This initiative is intended to favor a better balance with family obligations. In the US, though no specific program has been set up to balance professional and family obligations, the Company has adopted flexible labor models, such as, for example, telecommuting for office employees. Attention to employees and their quality of life is not limited to the management of working hours.

35% of the Group’s employees have part-time work contracts

Meeting the needs of employees with young children is essential in order to guarantee a healthy and well operating environment. In order to support a employee in her duties as a mother, Autogrill Group has decided to implement a series of initiatives. 2010 was the year in which the Maternity kit was launched, and the Maternity Tutor profile was designed for Autogrill Italia, whose objective is to provide working mothers with concrete support. This is an additional component that adds up to the possibility of devising a more favorable labor formula, agreed upon between the trade unions and Autogrill Italia and including part–time until the child is 36 months old. In Italy, other initiatives refer to the stipulation of special agreements with private nurseries located in the proximity of the offices or along the main access routes, which envisage the funding of approximately 50% of the monthly fee paid by the employee, while in England WDF launched the so-called “Childrencare voucher”, which provide for the conversion of a portion of the salary into activities dedicated to children (nursery, recreational activities until the age of 16), benefiting from tax reliefs. At Aldeasa contributions for yearly study grants have been envisaged for families with children up to 23 years of age.

Initiatives have been implemented in order to facilitate family engagement planning, increasing the time that an individual can dedicate to his private life and increasing his purchasing power. For this reason, the Group has developed an activity plan that is different for each country in which it operates, in line with the expectations and the needs identified by the local people and stipulated, for all of its employees, different purchase agreements with external companies as well as discounts or rebates for product purchases or consumption in the stores managed by Group companies. Moreover, services are also offered to enable employees to deal with specific tasks directly from within the company. The Group has made concerted efforts to provide such auxiliary services, and in Italy the following services are provided: dry-cleaning; shoe repair and dressmaking shops on site; tax advisory services for compiling returns and forwarding to the competent authority; online temporary shop with direct delivery to the workplace of products offered at substantially reduced prices; special agreements with credit institutes for loans and current accounts; help with car insurance; purchase of theatre tickets at reduced prices and special price agreements with summer camps located in proximity of the offices. In England, in addition to the provision of similar services, employees who have been with the company for at least three months are offered the possibility of purchasing products directly from the company at very reduced prices, with direct delivery to the workplace through a specifically designed platform. Other initiatives have been added to the provision of special agreements on specific services.
For instance, in Spain, Autogrill Group offers discounts on insurance policies, theatre tickets and holiday packages, as well as free training courses supplementary to institutional training to respond to employees’ personal interests and tastes. These benefits are also extended to family members.
The Group also provides employees with advisory services: WDF has implemented the so-called Employee Assistant Program, which includes free of charge legal, medical and financial consulting for all employees.

MULTICULTURALISM AND INTEGRATION

The global society is rapidly changing and multiculturalism is just one of the aspects that reflect such transformations. What would happen if Autogrill Group didn’t take this into account in its operations?

Socio-cultural changes directly influence the Autogrill Group mission. They involve employees, but also consumers and, more in general, they reflect the progressive evolution of a situation that includes customers, products, services, consumption patterns and travel habits. Even before the emergence of the recent global migrations, the Autogrill Group philosophy has always been focused on welcoming any change, by understanding transformations and anticipating new scenarios. For this reason, employees’ multiculturalism is considered an asset as well as a growth element and innovation driver for the Group, which acts consistently and systematically to facilitate the integration of newly hired foreigners. Above all, the notion at the basis of this culture is that foreign employees can provide important leverage if employed in the appropriate business units, adding value to the Group in its effort to develop new markets.

30% of the workforce in North America and Australasia (Food & Beverage) is in the 21–30 age bracket

31% of the workforce in Europe (Food & Beverage) is in the 31–40 age bracket

32% of the workforce in Travel Retail is in the 31–40 age bracket

Many European countries have had to come to terms with these issues and have achieved important results in promoting a culture that respects diversity and guarantees equal opportunity. In Spain, Autogrill has implemented a set of targeted activities, including the exemption of Muslim employees from the performance of their duties during the Ramadam period. In Spain and Belgium, the Group provides foreign employees with the possibility of resorting to a one month vacation, without interruptions, to enable them to visit their country of origin. HMSHost, the Autogrill US subsidiary, is very sensitive to these issues, also in the light of the applicable legislation which precisely regulates behavior criteria in the matter of nondiscrimination in terms of ethnic origin, color, religion and nationality. In the US context, demonstration kits illustrating health and pension plans are multi-language. In Italy, a new version of the guide distributed to all newly hired foreign employees has been released, including a population analysis. This is a multilanguage tool which confirms the Group’s commitment to welcoming and integrating its foreign employees. 49 different nationalities are represented at Aldeasa and all publications distributed to employees, including those regarding in-store training, are in two languages; while at WDF particular attention is devoted to the creation of a “diverse workforce” (i.e. a team composed of members who speak different languages, etc.) with the ultimate objective of increasing the value provided to Group customers.

DISABILITY

Disability and labor is an issue governed by different legislative and cultural frameworks in the various countries in which the Group operates. However, what truly counts is the attention and the constant sensitivity with which the organization approaches these issues.

The concrete actions implemented by Autogrill Group in relation to the differently able embrace a number of aspects, ranging from the elimination of physical barriers, store design that complies with current applicable regulations in the matter of providing access to the differently able and making their stay more comfortable and particular attention to differently able employees. Regulations in the matter of disability and labor differ from country to country: for instance, Law No. 2643/1998 in Greece requires that 8% of the workforce employed by companies come from the socalled “special” categories; in France the percentage is 6%; in Spain it is limited to 2%, while in England (WDF) a policy has been defined regarding equal opportunities and personal dignity in line with the Disability Discrimination Act. Lastly, in Italy, 436 differently able people and individuals belonging to the so-called “protected” categories are currently employed by the organization.

A series of initiatives have been designed based on the scenario described above. The Group’s US division, in line with the requirements set out in the American Disabilities Act of 1990 and pursuant to the regulations enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, defined guidelines in relation to the criteria for employment, training, inclusion and treatment of differently able individuals. In Europe, in accordance with trade unions and in compliance with the legislation in force in Italy, France and Spain, both in the Food & Beverage and Travel Retail sectors, Autogrill employs differently able individuals where possible, or stipulates collaboration contracts with outside companies, employing them for service activities in line with their needs.

An example is the collaboration established by Aldeasa through the agreement underwritten with the non-profit organization Afanias Jardes. 70% of the Association’s workers are differently able, and they provide cleaning services at the airport of Madrid Barajas as well as at the Company’s offices. Similar initiatives have been implemented by the Group both in favor of employees and consumers.

Some forms of disability are immediately perceivable, while other may be less evident (for instance sight and hearing problems) or may be confused with other conditions.
For this reason, Autogrill Italia drafted a memo for all its employees, which specifies the “special needs” that consumers might have, in order to enhance the Group’s engagement in consistently promoting a culture focused on attention to social and ethical issues.

 

A sustainable answer

Sustainability results and objectives

Objectives declared for 2010
Ongoing commitment to increasing the value of the contribution provided by female employees Aldeasa will develop an equal opportunity plan, drawn up in collaboration with the trade unions

Projects and results
Aldeasa has developed an equal opportunity plan in collaboration with the trade unions

Target  for 2011
Initiatives aimed at monitoring employees’ needs in order to fine-tune training programmes and career tracks inside the organization, worklife balance, etc.