Our people – Performance in 2014/15

We continued to enhance Vodafone’s reputation as an inclusive employer with our emphasis on diversity and a pioneering new global maternity policy to help women feel empowered and valued around the world.

By further embedding The Vodafone Way, we are improving the way we develop employees with strong leadership potential and are building the skills we need to drive business growth. The Doing What’s Right programme raised awareness and understanding of Vodafone’s Code of Conduct globally. In the last financial year more than 97% of target employees completed the Code of Conduct training and over 90% said their managers live by the Code of Conduct (see Ethics). We also launched our employer brand to unify our people around the world and we maintained strong employee engagement levels.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion remains a key focus for our business and a priority for our senior leaders. In 2014/15, we continued to roll out our inclusive training programmes, helping our senior leaders better understand how to value diversity. We also made diversity and inclusion a focus of our Leadership Essentials programme, which was attended by over 3,100 new line managers in 2014/15.

Our 2014 Global People Survey (see below) showed employee perceptions of diversity and inclusion within Vodafone remained strong. Of those surveyed, 88% agreed that people are treated fairly regardless of their age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, cultural background or beliefs.

Gender balance

Women are an important part of our business’ success and we work to empower female employees at all levels of our organisation. Vodafone’s long-term aspiration is to have an equal (50/50) proportion of male and female employees. In the medium term, we are aiming for 30% of our managers to be female. To make progress against these targets we have introduced the ‘+1 program’, which encourages our top senior managers, who do not have a 50/50 balance in their team, to increase the number of female direct reports they employ by one per year. That said, all appointments must continue to be based on merit.

In 2014/15, we continued to create a strong pipeline of female talent with women making up over 52% of graduates on our Discover programme and 53% of those participating in our Columbus programme (see Our approach). The proportion of female leaders in senior management was 23% and women in middle management increased to 26% (see chart). At a senior level, we achieved female representation of 25% at Board level in March1, in line with the recommendations made by Lord Davies in the UK, and two of our 11 Executive Committee members are women. We also have three female local market Chief Executives.

To help improve the way we work with our female employees and customers, we created a Mobile Gender Equality steering committee, chaired by our AMAP Regional Chief Executive.

Women in management

Chart showing the following data

  2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Women in top senior leadership roles (top 200–250 employees) (%) 20 22 22
Women in senior management (top 1,100–1,600 employees) (%) 22 24 23
Women in middle management (top 4,500–6,400 employees) (%) 24 25 26
Women (all non-management employees) (%) 37 38 37

To highlight our commitment to gender diversity, men and women around Vodafone celebrated International Women’s Day in March 2015. As part of a week of activities, women from 75 locations around the world joined a global videoconference hosted by our Group Chief Executive, Vittorio Colao, and senior executives. The conference discussed our progress in promoting a gender balanced workforce, set our priorities for the year ahead and launched our new global maternity policy (see case study below).

In focus: Setting the standard in maternity benefits for women globally

In 2014/15, we became one of the first organisations in the world to launch a mandatory minimum global maternity policy.

The pioneering policy sets a minimum level of maternity pay for women working across Vodafone’s 30 local markets. From Africa to the Middle East, women at all levels of our organisation will be entitled to at least 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave and full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after they return to work.

Our Group Chief Executive, Vittorio Colao, said: “Too many talented women leave working life because they face a difficult choice between either caring for a newborn baby or maintaining their careers. Our new mandatory minimum global maternity policy will support over 1,000 Vodafone female employees every year in countries with little or no statutory maternity care.”

This will be good for our business too. KPMG estimates that providing 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave could actually save global businesses around US$19 billion annually overall by cutting recruitment costs and retaining valuable knowledge and experience within the business2.

Find out more about our global maternity policy.

Cultural inclusion

With employees working in many countries worldwide, it is our goal to operate as one company while keeping our local roots. Twenty-four nationalities are represented in our top management team and 44% of our senior leaders have completed an international assignment.

In 2014/15, we focused on improving our employees’ cultural awareness. We launched the Vodafone Cultural Navigator, an online tool to help employees understand different cultural preferences so they can work successfully with colleagues and customers around the world.

In focus: Encouraging our AMAP talent to succeed

Vodafone’s presence in the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific (AMAP) region is growing, with just under a third of our revenue generated there in 2014/15. We have piloted a new programme to build on the capabilities of our senior leaders in AMAP and help them develop a global mind set. In 2014/15, 13 leaders participated in two-day workshops to share insights about their role and learn from others across our business. Around 50 talented people from the AMAP region also gained international experience by spending up to six months working in another AMAP region or in a Group function based in the UK.


We aim to establish a consistent way of understanding and supporting the needs of employees and customers with disabilities. In 2014/15, we organised a series of webinars for our senior leaders to share best-practice examples with employees around the world on how the business supports people with disabilities.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion

We are committed to helping promote equal and fair treatment of employees irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity. Networks for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees have been established in Greece, the Netherlands and the UK, and a new one was set up in Germany in 2014/15. These networks offer confidential support and advice to our employees on a variety of LGBT topics, such as fear of coming out and opportunities that the LGBT community can bring to our business.

We continue to support LGBT employee communities in other countries, while recognising the need to be sensitive to local laws and cultures. In 2014/15, around 400 employees worldwide participated in an event to speak out against homophobia and transphobia and hear about the progress made by our LGBT employee networks.

Development and training

We invested around £35 million in the training and development of our employees during 2014/15 and 78% of our workforce agreed that they had opportunities to learn the skills they need to do their jobs well.

We focused on developing the capabilities of people working in customer-facing roles to ensure they deliver exceptional customer service. In 2014/15, over 13,000 employees and managers completed training on The Vodafone Way of Retail (up from 5,000 in 2013/14). In addition, 8,000 employees and managers working in our Enterprise sales teams participated in The Vodafone Way of Selling programme (up from 5,000 in 2013/14), helping them improve their customer service skills and enhance their knowledge of our products.

To reward and retain talent we continue to develop the leadership capabilities of employees with strong leadership potential. In 2014/15, 83 employees participated in Inspire, our 18-month programme designed to develop our future leaders. More than 3,100 managers took part in Leadership Essentials, our programme to improve the coaching skills of new managers and enable them to motivate their teams effectively. We also hired over 600 graduates globally through our Discover programme, representing over 55 nationalities.

In addition to tailored training and development programmes, we helped over 50,000 employees improve their functional skills through our online Academies. In 2014/15, employees across the Group completed almost 1 million online courses (up from 180,000 in 2013/14).

See Our approach for more on our development and training programmes.

Employee engagement

In 2014/15, we launched our new employer brand to communicate internally and externally what we offer to our employees globally. Supported by the strapline ‘We’re at our best when you’re at yours’, it aims to strengthen our people’s connection with the business and share a consistent story about our purpose with potential and existing employees. Throughout the year, our local markets have been integrating the brand in everything they do, from our inductions through to recruitment advertising (see case study in Our Approach).

We maintained high levels of employee engagement in 2014/15. Results from our Global People Survey showed our overall engagement score remained strong at 77 points out of 100. The number of people who took the survey increased by around 2,500, although the overall completion rate declined due to growth in our workforce. The results also demonstrate high levels of awareness of The Vodafone Way. See the chart for further results from the survey.

Results from the Global People Survey

  2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Employee engagement index 78 77 77
Overall response rate (%) 90 87 84
Employee Net Promoter Score1 43 43 51


  1. The number of promoters minus the number of detractors.

Employees responding positively to key sustainability-related questions (%)1

  2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Engagement and values
I am proud to work for Vodafone 86 85 85
My local market/Group function operates ethically 83 84 -
Vodafone is socially responsible - - 89
Health, safety and wellbeing
The Absolute Rules for Health and Safety are taken seriously at Vodafone 87 89 91
My manager takes a genuine interest in the wellbeing of its employees2 70 69 82
Diversity and inclusion
People in my team are treated fairly regardless of their age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, cultural background or beliefs 89 89 88
A person’s background does not stop them progressing3 85 85  
People have an equal opportunity to succeed at Vodafone, regardless of their age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, cultural background or beliefs - - 79
Opportunities to learn skills and knowledge to do job well 77 77 78


  1. The questions ‘My total reward package is fair’ and ‘My local market values diversity’ were not included in the 2014/15 survey.
  2. This question was updated in the 2014/15 survey from ’My local market/Group function takes a genuine interest in the wellbeing of its employees.’
  3. We replaced this question in the 2014/15 survey with the question below to better understand how employees perceive the business’s approach to equal opportunity. This means it is not possible to compare the scores in this area in 2014/15 with previous years.

Managing change

The way we are working is changing to meet the evolving needs of our customers. We continue to make our business more efficient, strengthen our sales capabilities and target business growth in new areas such as fixed-line telecommunications, broadband and television. We are also increasing our focus on Enterprise activities. This is changing the shape of our business and requires different skills and capabilities.

Employees in various markets were affected by organisational changes in 2014/15, including:

  • integrating around 6,000 former Kabel Deutschland employees in Germany
  • acquiring Ono, the broadband communication and entertainment company in Spain, and integrating its 2,500 employees into our business
  • acquiring Cobra, a specialist telematics company with 900 employees, that will broaden the range of machine-to-machine products offered by our Enterprise business
  • integrating Phones4U’s 890 employees and 139 high street stores into our UK business
  • acquiring and integrating Helas Online, a leading fixed-line telephone provider in Greece
  • investing in additional front-line staff in our retail stores and contact centres in many of our markets in Europe.

In any integration we evaluate employees from Vodafone and from the new company on a strictly equal and impartial basis. We supported people affected by organisational changes in a range of ways, tailored to the needs of employees in local markets (see Our approach).

We support employees joining our business through acquisitions by making sure they have access to the same opportunities as our existing employees. For example, in Greece we ran cultural integration programmes to help our senior leaders induct new employees into The Vodafone Way of working.

Employee turnover1

  2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Total number of employees2 91,272 92,812 101,443
Part-time employees 8,802 8,318 9,150
Number of voluntary leavers 9,621 9,647 13,736
Number of involuntary leavers3 4,234 4,355 3,614
Newly hired employees 15,597 21,586 21,501
Average turnover rate (%)4 16 15 18


  1. Represents the average number of employees during the year.
  2. Represents the average number of employees during the year. Hellas Online and Ono are included but Vodafone Automotive is excluded.
  3. Involuntary leavers include those who leave the business through redundancy, Vodafone-initiated separation or death in service.
  4. Includes voluntary and involuntary leavers.

Employee wellbeing

In 2014/15, 82% of employees agreed that their local manager takes a genuine interest in their wellbeing. Our wellbeing programmes are managed locally to suit the needs of employees in different markets. Examples of how we promote wellbeing include:

  • encouraging almost 4,000 employees to walk, run, dance and cycle a total of over 213,000 miles as part of our second Global Wellbeing Challenge
  • our Big Bike Challenge, which saw around 100 employees cycle almost 1,000 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats in the UK to raise £217,000. With matched funding from the Vodafone Foundation, this increased to £434,000 and was used to support the Foundation’s paediatric HIV care programme in Lesotho
  • our cycling marathons in India involving 206 employees in Karnataka cycling on static bikes for a total of 104 hours (clocking up nearly 6,000km) – and 6,000 employees in Bangalore
  • launching a wellness programme in Qatar that encourages employees to adopt healthy lifestyle choices by, for example, quitting smoking and losing weight
  • in July 2014, Vodafone Ireland opened a dedicated Wellness centre for employees (including a gym, think well room and consultation and treatment rooms) to promote wellbeing and encourage and support employees to maintain or adopt healthy lifestyles.


  1. Mathias Dopfner has since joined the Board reducing this percentage; though this level will be exceeded when Luc Vandevelde and Steve Pusey step down from the Board at the AGM in July.
  2. The estimated costs and savings are based on females with at least intermediate-level education, employed in non-agriculture sectors, going on paid maternity leave for 16 weeks rather than statutory paid maternity leave. The analysis is based on publicly available labour market and family statistics from a range of sources, including from the International Labour Organization, Euromonitor and OECD family database, and on internal Vodafone workforce data where wider market statistics were unavailable.