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The Vodafone Way

The Vodafone Way is about a consistent way of working, with speed, simplicity and trust. The aim is to be an admired organisation which delivers through being customer obsessed, innovation hungry, ambitious and competitive, and one company with local roots. We launched a global recognition initiative to identify people who are role models for The Vodafone Way and have recognised over 300 'The Vodafone Way Global Heroes'.


Our people are integral to building and sustaining our success

Organisation effectiveness and change

We employed an average of around 83,900 people worldwide during the year and saw an increase in the percentage of women in senior roles, up from 14.5% to 16.5%. People numbers have changed in different areas of the business according to overall business strategy. For example: in Vodacom head count was increased to support the growing enterprise business and data; in India, we increased headcount to grow the business; in Ghana, to drive operational efficiency, we reduced headcount through redundancy and outsourcing of network operations, call centres and facilities; and in the UK we reduced back office roles and increased investment in customer facing activities.

We have also made a number of changes to our structure, governance and accountabilities to help us concentrate on our main commercial and financial priorities. These changes include the creation of a Group Commercial unit, expansion of the role and scope of Group Technology to oversee all operating companies, the consolidation of our regional structure into two distinct regions, plus reporting line changes to align teams more closely with their functions.

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Employment policies and employee relations

Our employment policies are developed to reflect local legal, cultural and employment requirements. We aim to be recognised as an employer of choice and therefore seek to maintain high standards and good employee relations wherever we operate.

Our goal is to create a working culture that is inclusive for all. We believe that having a diverse workforce helps to meet the different needs of our customers across the globe. An inclusive culture and environment is one which respects, values, celebrates and makes the most of the individual differences we each bring to Vodafone, to the benefit of our customers, employees, shareholders, business partners and the wider communities in which we operate. We do not condone unfair treatment of any kind and offer equal opportunities in all aspects of employment and advancement regardless of race, nationality, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political beliefs. This also applies to agency workers, the self-employed and contract workers who work for us. In our latest people survey, 87% of employees agreed that Vodafone treats people fairly, regardless of their gender, background, age or beliefs.

The main emphasis of our global diversity strategy has been on gender diversity and to increase the number of women in management positions which has risen to 16.5%. Efforts to increase the percentage further will continue during the 2012 financial year. Our second priority has been to increase talent from our emerging markets in Group roles and senior leadership positions.

During the year we ran a series of two-and-a-half day diversity and inclusion workshops for over 450 people from human resources teams globally to support their senior leaders who had previously all attended inclusive leadership workshops in their local market.

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Health, safety and wellbeing

The health, safety and wellbeing of everyone affected by our business activities has continued to be a high priority. The implementation of the Vodafone fatality prevention plan saw a significant reduction of 33% in fatalities in India, Ghana and Turkey, where there were 14 fatalities in those countries this year compared with 21 in the previous year. Sadly, across the Group 21 fatalities have occurred this year including four fatalities that occurred within the Vodacom Group operations, which are included in the Group figure for the first time this year. The Vodafone fatality prevention plan has now been rolled out across Vodacom’s subsidiaries which has seen a reduction in fatal incidents to one in the last six months of the financial year. Out of the Group total 17 were third-party contractors and four were Vodafone employees. Further details can be found in the Group’s 2011 sustainability report.

As part of a more robust governance programme, we introduced external health and safety benchmark reviews. These reviews evaluated health and safety management systems in several countries, including New Zealand, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Vodacom South Africa and Egypt.

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Culture, communications and engagement

In October 2010 we carried out our sixth annual global people survey. The survey measures employees’ level of engagement, a combination of pride, loyalty and motivation and 90% of those surveyed responded. We achieved an overall employee engagement score of 75 which means we have maintained a high score in employee engagement for the third year running.

Regular, consistent and open communication is fundamental to high levels of employee engagement. Our people have access to information about our business through a global intranet, with local translations and content where appropriate. The Chief Executive communicates directly with all employees through regular team meetings, email and video updates and this is reinforced by local chief executive communications in all our markets. Relevant performance and change issues are also discussed with our employees through team meetings, round table discussions or through elected representative bodies in some of the European countries.

Our culture is based on The Vodafone Way. All of our senior leadership team (approximately 230 people) have now been through the Leading in The Vodafone Way workshop which provides a picture of how The Vodafone Way works day-to-day. Local markets will roll out a similar programme for all their managers. We have also created a community of ‘change leads’, senior leaders who meet regularly to identify what more can be done to further embed The Vodafone Way.

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Talent and resourcing

During the year our employees continued to perform at a high level and we strengthened our leadership team. This was achieved partly by introducing talent identification tools and partly by investing in staff with high potential and helping them with their career planning and development. Quarterly talent reviews are held to discuss performance, succession plans and key individuals, and at our monthly Executive Committee meetings we discuss the senior leadership roles.

A global graduate and recruitment programme was introduced with a target to hire 250-300 top graduates across the Group during the year. By 31 March 2011 we had recruited 306. In addition, we partnered with nine leading MBA schools in Europe, the US, Africa and India to recruit 15-20 MBA graduates for key management roles.

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Learning and capability development

We are committed to helping people reach their full potential through ongoing training and development. People identify and agree their development objectives with their managers every year as part of the performance dialogue process. Local, functional and global learning programmes are provided to meet people’s development needs, delivered through a blend of classroom training, e-learning, coaching, mentoring and on-the-job experience.

During the year we invested around £55 million in training programmes. In our most recent people survey, 72% of our employees rated the opportunity to develop the skills that they need to do their job well as good or very good.

Inspire, our global leadership development programme for high-potential managers, is in its fourth year. So far, 124 people have completed the programme.

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Performance, reward and recognition

We reward employees based on their performance, potential and contribution to the success of the business and we aim to provide competitive and fair rates of pay and benefits in every country where we operate. We also offer competitive retirement and other benefit provisions which vary depending on conditions and practices in local markets.

Global short-term incentive plans are offered to a large percentage of employees and global long-term incentive plans are offered to our senior managers. Both plans are paid according to individual and company performance.

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Key performance indicators

  2011 2010 2009
Number of employees(1) 83,862 84,990 79,097
Nationalities in top senior management roles 29 26 23
Women in top senior management roles (%) 16.5 14.5 13.1
Employee turnover rates (%)(2) 15 13 13
  1. Notes:
  2. Represents the average number of employees in our controlled and jointly controlled markets during the year.
  3. Based on our controlled markets and our joint venture in Italy.
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