People remain our most important asset. Our performance and success are built on their commitment and capabilities. In 2019, we invested again in continuously supporting the safety, health and development of our people. To achieve this, we focused on:

  • Investing in our safety culture, led by the DSM Responsible Care Plan (DRCP)

  • Fostering health & well-being through regional programs and best practices 

  • Further anchoring our customer-centricity strategy and strengthening our international footprint

  • Investing in people and team development as well as our Employee Value Proposition to attract, engage and retain the right talent

  • Exploring digitalization, automation and analytics in preparing the organization for the 'Future of Work'

The key material topics for People are:

  • Occupational health & safety (covered in Safety, health & well-being)

  • Labor practices & human rights (covered in Human Rights)

  • Leadership & development

  • Internationalization & diversity

For more information about our People performance, see 'Sustainability Statements — People'. See also 'How we create value for our stakeholders' and 'Stakeholders'.

Safety, health & well-being





Occupational safety


- Frequency Index REC

in 2020



- Frequency Index LWC




Process safety


- PSI Rate

in 2020



Occupational health cases




Safety remains our highest priority and we strive to be incident- and injury-free. We aim to deliver this by creating a culture in which everyone prioritizes safety and drives relentless execution of our SHE policies. In 2019, we defined the new DSM Responsible Care Plan (DRCP), which addresses the topics of safety and health, among others. More information about the DRCP can be found in 'DSM Responsible Care Plan 2019–2021'.

Our safety priorities are to focus on high-risk and high-frequency incident categories and locations, to further drive the standardization and digitalization of our key SHE (Safety, Health, Environment) processes, and to continue our 'I Care, We Care' campaign, keeping safety awareness high through global guidance and locally relevant programs. These support the realization of our safety aspirations of a Safety Frequency Recordable Index (FI-REC) below 0.25 and a Process Safety Rate (PSI) of 0.15 by 2020.

Our health & well-being ambition is to create a positive culture of health at work and support our employees to be 'fit for the future' by promoting vitality and well-being. Through regional programs focused on prevention, we facilitate healthy work conditions.

Occupational safety

Occupational safety is the safety of our employees and contractors. In 2019, the Frequency Index of all DSM Recordable Injuries significantly improved from 0.33 to 0.28. Special attention was given to the sites where the majority of reportable safety incidents occurred in 2018. These sites reported an improvement in reportable incidents of 65%. The Frequency Index of Lost Workday Cases (LWC) for DSM employees improved to 0.09.

Hand safety was identified as a focus area, and actions were taken to eliminate knives and make cut-resistant gloves a mandatory part of personal protective equipment, where relevant. The number of hand injuries did not drop significantly in 2019 but we expect to see the impact of this change in 2020. Diligent follow-up on selected safety incidents and serious near-misses took place company-wide to secure sustainable learnings for the prevention of these incidents.

The Frequency Index of Recordable Injuries among contractors improved from 0.51 to 0.49. This was due to a substantial decrease in the number of contractor incidents — supported by improvements in contractor supervision and diligent implementation of learnings from previous accidents — and offset by a significant decrease in contractor hours due to the completion in 2018 of the Blue Sky Project in China, which recorded 2.2 million man-hours without safety incidents and only one health incident.

DSM Life Saving Rules

Our Life Saving Rules (LSR) play a key role in our approach to safety and address the highest risks in our operations. In 2019, the learnings from serious safety incidents in the recent years were integrated into the updated LSR. Ambiguity in several of the dimensions has been removed. This includes changes such as moving to zero tolerance regarding alcohol/drugs (including company-related social events if driving afterwards), and allowing no mobile phone use (even handsfree) when driving a vehicle on DSM business. The changes were followed by a communication campaign in which our senior leaders explain what the LSR mean for them and why these are so important for our company.

Process safety

Process safety is the safe operation of our facilities. The Process Safety Rate stayed almost flat, moving from 0.22 in 2018 to 0.23 in 2019. Asset and mindset improvements are needed to address small product leakages, which account for the larger part of these incidents. Our leading KPIs continue to play a key role in driving capability improvements and relentless execution of all process safety life-cycle actions. They also drive visible leadership — a key element of our 'I Care, We Care' campaign that plays a significant part in our journey toward an incident and injury-free workplace.

Frequency Index of Process Safety Incidents

The standardization of processes and implementation of digital tools such as our electronic permit-to-work process are progressing. These are designed to prevent the potentially most serious process safety incidents.

Health & well-being

Our health management system is based on prevention, primary care and promotion. Through the design of our processes and products, as well as the provision of proper protective equipment, we aim to prevent occupational illness. Primary care is provided by site-based medical professionals and also includes emergency preparedness and first aid. Promotion of good health is continuously addressed through a wide range of health promotion activities and is reflected in our SHE policies.

We recorded 16 occupational health cases in 2019, involving, for example hearing loss, ergonomics and allergic reactions.

Regional health activities are encouraged and support employees worldwide who would like to improve their health and well-being in the short term. We also take a long-term perspective in encouraging long-term health and employability. Examples include DSM FIT in the Netherlands and the Brighter Living Wellness Program in North America.


The DSM FIT department was created in 2017 with the ambition to create a sound, safe and healthy work environment. In 2019, the team finalized their transformation from a medical/occupational health department into an all-round employability department in which employees of DSM FIT also serve as employability ambassadors. To complement this, a trained network of employees was created to support the well-being of their colleagues through advice and coaching. DSM FIT provides onsite guidance for employees whose employment relationship is coming to an end, focusing on the full aspects of employability. Besides this, it supports initiatives that create an open culture in which employability and well-being are openly discussed and valued.

In 2019, a project to improve long-term employability was started, owned by both the Works Council and the President of DSM Netherlands. A survey was conducted within the Dutch employee base to identify how people feel about their work and how resilient they feel in times of high workload or pressure. The survey had a response rate of 60% among the Netherlands-based workforce. In addition, we introduced the employability monitor, providing valuable feedback about the employability of an individual. The monitor also provides the opportunity for conversation with an employability advisor — a DSM colleague trained to help employees interpret and act on their personal monitor results.

The Brighter Living Wellness Program

The Brighter Living Wellness Program has enjoyed a participation rate of over 60% since it began in 2018. The program provides incentives to all employees (including spouses/domestic partners (DPs) enrolled in their medical plans) to live healthier lives.

The program hosts a network of more than 60 wellness champions, who meet monthly and help support employees on site to encourage healthy habits. Employees and their spouses/DPs can receive incentives that contribute toward their health care costs and other incentives for financial wellness checkups, preventative care checkups and age-appropriate screenings.

All locations in North America possess onsite resources including health stations that monitor weight and blood pressure. Affordable and easy access to medical care is offered via telemedicine, including doctors' visits and counseling by phone and online.

The North American Nomad Challenge was a team step-counting challenge in which employees 'walked' to each of our 37 locations in North America, with the winning teams and individuals receiving incentives within the framework of the Brighter Living Wellness Program.

Human Rights

In addition to taking care of the safety, health and well-being of our employees, we also have a responsibility as a company to protect human rights. This is fundamental to achieving the sustainable societal advances to which we aspire. We believe that the basic rights and freedoms to which all people are entitled — human rights — should be understood, respected and promoted by all companies as the cornerstone of socially responsible business.

We have a long-standing commitment to international declarations and the relevant instruments to safeguard these, including:

  • The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the Ruggie Framework)

  • The ILO International Labour Standards

  • The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

We apply the International Labour Standards of the International Labour Organisation. We respect the role of works councils and collective bargaining, and work with these groups in the countries and regions in which they are present. We develop social plans and severance programs in the event of significant reorganizations. We promote employee empowerment and human rights protection, and we maintain dialogues with employees and representative bodies to enable this.

We have been a signatory to the UN Global Compact since 2007. For more information, see our human rights position paper on the company website.

Our human rights cross-functional working group was launched in 2018 to further embed our approach to human rights. It focuses on the following seven areas in our own operations and in the supply chain: non-discrimination; prohibition of child labor; health and safety; fair remuneration; protection of personal information; corruption and bribery; and grievance mechanisms.

Own operations

A thorough review of our internal processes was conducted in 2019 to obtain an in-depth inventory of policies and practices across the seven focus areas mentioned above. This enabled us to concentrate our efforts in terms of further assessment, gap analysis and mitigating actions moving forward. The initial findings show that our focus areas are well covered at a global level regarding a policy and broader legal perspective.

The next phase will be to design, test and roll out a new due diligence approach to check to what extent our actual practice is consistent with our internal policies and to define our salient human rights areas.

In addition to these topics, a specific area of attention was fair remuneration, with a focus on equal pay / gender pay gap and living wage.

Equal pay / Gender pay gap

Our commitment is to set equal pay and remuneration for men and women for doing similar work that requires equivalent qualifications and skills. We have further elaborated our position in our Equal Pay statement, which is published on the company website.

In 2019, we conducted an initial analysis on gender pay gap to calculate the global ratio of the average base salary of women compared to men. The gender pay gap in 2019 was 9% in favor of women (female:male pay ratio — 109:100). This ratio is based on validated employee base pay data for our significant locations of operations3 and covers approximately 63% of our global employee base. The pay gap can primarily be attributed to a higher proportion of male employees in lower-level positions.

In 2020, we aim to conduct further in-depth analysis and data validation. Any learnings and observations will be converted into further action planning, which will involve internal communication and awareness activities (such as incorporation into reward training modules), and alignment with our inclusion and diversity agenda. In the coming years, further efforts will also be made to increase the coverage of this analysis.

Living wage

We are committed to providing a living wage to all our employees. In 2019, as an initial step toward this commitment, we performed a first measurement on our significant operations to gain insights into the difference between actual salaries and country-level living wage standards. The outcome of this exercise was shared with the Executive Committee. We also operate in countries for which living wage standards are not yet available or where a variety of different living wage standards exist (for example, differences between urban and rural contexts, or between provinces). To address this, we have partnered with an external agency to develop a methodology and approach for these countries which will be further rolled out through 2020.

Supply chain

Beyond our own operations, potential labor and human rights implications are handled through our Sustainable Procurement Program (SPP). We assess suppliers for potential human rights issues through Together for Sustainability/EcoVadis sustainability assessments and audits. Read more about our SPP and how we manage potential human rights issues within our supply chain in 'Suppliers'. See the company website for our Modern Slavery Statement.

People and organization strategy

In 2018, we formulated and shared our ambitions in our people and organization (P&O) strategy in support of Strategy 2021. The P&O strategy is built around six strategic levers: Operating model, Customer-centricity, Internationalization & diversity, Leadership & development, Team by team, and Culture / The DSM Ways of Working. The following sections show the progress that has been made in respect of each of these levers.

Operating model

Our operating model as described in our value creation model, is composed of our market-facing business groups (focusing on the primary business functions), global support and functional excellence departments, and regional organizations. In this matrix we need to make sure we stay competitive and are equipped to integrate acquisitions. This was successfully executed in acquisitions such as SRF (India), along with the expansion of our share in Andre Pectin (China) in 2019.

We continue to develop and optimize our model, leveraging our shared services and digitalization. We employ digital solutions, such as our P&O dashboard, to support us in tracking our progress.

In 2019, we initiated a 'Future of Work' program within the P&O function, to ensure that our P&O strategy anticipates and addresses projected changes to work, workforce and workplace driven by digitalization, demographics, and other factors. A global P&O project team was formed, and recommended DSM-specific priorities for action, which will be embedded in the strategy going forward.

Work is an important part of people’s lives and identities. At DSM, we strive to create a working environment in which our people can be themselves, have room to develop, and add value to our organization in their unique ways. That’s what drives me every day.
Judith Wiese, DSM Executive Committee
Group business Services (GbS) NextGen Transformation program

GbS is tasked with taking care of the growing portfolio of internal services that enable our employees and people managers to focus their time and energy on their core business. Automation and digitalization are key to help create efficiencies and ensure that GbS is able to manage a higher volume of transactional work with a better employee experience as well as at a competitive and sustainable price.

The GbS NextGen program was set up in 2019 to leverage the benefits of digitalization and new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotization. GbS will continue to restructure its geographical footprint to deliver this. As a result, we are strengthening the role of Hyderabad (India) as our central hub for the shared service functions Finance, Information Technology, Purchasing and HR.

Digital Acceleration Group

The Digital Acceleration Group comprises senior leaders across DSM whose responsibility is to identify and accelerate the funding of relevant digital solutions. They meet on a monthly basis with the brief to shape our digital future, enable digital transformation, accelerate and scale digital solutions, and boost the digital mindset and capabilities of the company. Investments for acceleration are selected on the basis of clear criteria and follow venturing practices: a phased approach with clear stage gates and phased funding.


The market-facing business groups focus on the primary business functions of Innovation and R&D, Direct Sourcing, Manufacturing & Operations, and Marketing & Sales. With the fast-changing and increasing localization of our markets, it is essential to put our customers first in determining how we innovate, organize ourselves and build capabilities, and how we reward our people.

In DSM Nutritional Products, the customer-centricity program, started in 2018, focused on three elements: fostering understanding, building capabilities and reinforcing behaviors. The focus in 2019 was on building capabilities through a collaboration with DUKE Corporate Education. It was launched with an eight-week virtual and collaborative learning journey employing gamification, followed by a global summit. The program aims to embed change by sharing learnings, using role modeling, and celebrating best practices.

Within DSM Engineering Plastics, the multi-year integrated program on customer-centricity launched customer-focused scorecards in 2019. The scorecard gives insight into our Net Promoter Score, see 'Sustainability Statements — Customers', as well as how employees can use customer feedback to improve their work. They reflect on how we engage with customers online and how this leads to a follow-up, how we build and commercialize, and how we care for supply chain reliability and complaint handling. This initiative engages many employees across the company, not only the sales department.

The global short-term incentive (STI) framework better aligns pay and performance and focuses on the achievement of business objectives across all levels within the organization (non-sales). The framework covers approximately 4,700 employees. In 2019, KPIs measuring customer-centricity were added such as 'on time in full' and 'customer complaints resolution.' Specifically applicable to sales employees, the Sales Compensation Framework and the respective business unit Sales Incentive Plans (SIPs) have been further revised and deployed, leading to more alignment between pay and sales performance as well as increased cost-effectiveness. These SIPs are tailored to the specific needs of the respective businesses and applicable sales roles. In addition, advanced tooling is being rolled out, leading to better insights into sales achievements and subsequent further fine-tuning of KPIs, along with more efficient monitoring of cost-effectiveness.

Internationalization & diversity





Female executives

by 2021



Under-represented nationalities

by 2021



We aim to develop a talent base that is global and diverse, reflecting the markets and customers we serve. In 2019, we continued our focus on increasing the representation of women and under-represented nationalities at executive level and throughout our management pipeline in order to fuel innovation and growth in every country where we operate.

In 2019, we were ranked first in the Female Board Index by TIAS School for Business and Society, and we were also one of only three companies that complied with the Dutch targets (>30%) of gender diversity at Managing Board and Supervisory Board level, as well as with the European Supervisory Board gender target (>40%). Both our Supervisory Board and our Managing Board were well balanced in 2019 in terms of gender, comprising 50% and 33% women respectively, which is in line with Dutch legislation and with the company's own diversity policy. The gender diversity levels of 50% women within our Supervisory Board and 43% women within our Executive Committee exceed our target for at least 30% of these positions to be held by women and at least 30% by men. The composition of both our Supervisory Board and our Executive Committee is in line with our target of not having more than 50% of the members drawn from a single nationality. Furthermore, in the Supervisory Board of DSM Nederland B.V., a subsidiary of Royal DSM, one of the three members is female. As of 15 February 2020, the percentage of women in our Executive Committee, Managing Board and Supervisory Board is 50%.

The percentage of female executives increased slightly to 20%. Our target for female executives of 25% remains challenging and we aspire to deliver the targeted level by the end of the current strategic period.

We aim to shift the geographical distribution of executives and other key functions to ensure that relevant decisions can be made close to where our customers are. We keep a keen eye on our nationality balance, which should reflect our global footprint. In 2018, we achieved our 2020 target on nationality mix. As a result, we have switched our focus from non-Dutch to non-European, setting ourselves an ambitious target of 35% non-European executives by 2021. In 2019, 62% of our executives were non-Dutch compared to 60% in 2018, with 31% being non-European in line with 2018. Our executive base became more international, and we have seen a positive trend in onboarding local executives in Asia, as replacements for internationally-posted executives in the region.

We will continue to focus on our hiring process to support our diversity ambitions. In 2019, we raised awareness by highlighting unconscious bias in our (he)ART of Hiring manager training, encouraging more inclusive approaches at every stage in the hiring process and facilitating evaluation calls to ensure better and fairer hiring decisions. Over this period, we saw a 30% increase in the female pipeline and a 10% increase in gender-diverse hires for our middle and upper management population.

Leadership & development





Training hours per employee




Demographic and technological shifts mean that it is more important than ever that people remain 'fit for the future', both as professionals and as individuals. We believe that there are talents in everyone, and as such, development is a key and joint responsibility of every employee and their manager. We encourage our people to proactively work on leveraging the development tools and opportunities available to them. To facilitate this, we are working on improving the overall employee experience and are leveraging relevant digital tools.

Regular performance evaluations play an important role in ensuring we are performance-driven and develop our people for roles today and into the future. In 2019, almost 15,000 employees had access to the global digital evaluation tool for performance reviews. All other employees participated in performance evaluation on paper or by means of local systems.

We follow the 70:20:10 principle in learning and development: approximately 70% of learning happens through experiences, 20% through others and 10% through formal sources. In June 2019, a campaign was launched to update every employee on the development opportunities that are available to them, such as in-depth development plans, learning platforms and mentoring.

Following a successful pilot in the US, we launched the 'X-Time' platform across the company in 2019. This platform enables employees who are looking to develop through experiences to find projects that would benefit from diverse, cross-functional team members. Employees can spend up to 10% of their time on these projects. Since the launch of X-Time, almost 600 employees have signed up for this initiative, over 200 projects have been posted, and more than 100 matches have been made.

Learning from others takes various forms at DSM. We continued our global and regional mentoring program in 2019, as well as team-based workshops that focus on collaboration and inclusiveness. In 2019, more than 420 employees participated in our regional mentoring programs, and almost 50 employees engaged in a cross-regional mentoring relationship as part of the global mentoring program. The reverse mentoring program was integrated into the mentoring program, enabling all relationships to benefit from reverse mentoring.

Developing our leaders and people managers remains a key priority for us and thus a key element of our people development strategy. The DSM Leadership Model provides a common vision and language for leadership and specifies the behaviors we expect from our leaders and people managers. Building on that foundation, our Leadership Transition Programs address the learning and development needs of leaders in each phase of their careers.

After the successful launch of these programs in 2018, we were able to increase participation by 20% in 2019. To complement our current leadership development offering, we are preparing the launch of a program for senior managers who are transitioning to leading an organization within DSM.

Broadening our pipeline

To assess the potential and accelerate the development of our leadership talents, we perform annual talent reviews throughout the company. In these reviews, leadership teams, and ultimately the Executive Committee, discuss how to strengthen the talent base and consider succession, discussing employees who have the potential to progress to senior leadership positions. This quantitative and qualitative review ensures we have the right amount of talent at each level for future growth but also that our workforce and leadership are as diverse as the markets and customers we serve.

In 2019, we focused on improving our employer branding for graduates and invested in our global and regional graduate programs. We updated our Employee Value Proposition, which will not only help to attract and engage a higher-quality and diverse candidate pool, but will also mobilize our existing employees to become purpose-led talent ambassadors. We will further roll out our Employee Value Proposition through 2020.

We additionally launched a global graduate framework to ensure we build deeper partnerships with target universities that are globally recognized as innovative, inclusive and progressive in the realm of social entrepreneurship.

In 2019, we took several steps to improve our executive leadership pipeline: we focused on targeted external hiring but also invested in leadership assessment and the development of key leaders. Our long-term succession pool for business group and functional leadership team positions improved significantly. We assessed 75% of all leadership hires for learning potential and saw a 35% increase in the hiring of broad, entrepreneurial talent at this level. We expect that these steps will continue to drive more integrated, customer-centric and innovative business solutions.

Team by Team





Employee engagement

by 2020



Inclusion index




In an increasingly international and diverse workforce at DSM, we operate more and more in different, virtual (project) teams and project organizations. To support this, we invest time in building high-performing, inclusive and engaged teams. In 2019, we continued our journey in defining how to make our teams more effective and how to leverage them for growth, making investments in equipment and the skills of our employees to enable them to use technology to connect with each other more effectively.

The building of high-performing teams is enabled by TeamXcelerator, a toolkit launched in 2019 to help teams develop and accelerate their performance. The online toolkit — which has already been used by more than 1,200 employees — contains over 200 ready-to-use team assessments and exercises to help teams improve their day-to-day teamwork and performance. The toolkit also includes a self-facilitated team development process that enables teams to discover and compare each other's personality types. The development process helps teams learn how they can improve the way they conduct meetings, make decisions, and navigate conflicts. Our P&O business partners were trained to act as internal consultants to facilitate these workshops.

Participating in an international and diverse workforce requires a working environment in which all employees feel respected and included. After its successful launch in 2018, we continued the global roll-out of our Inclusion & Diversity workshop 'Brighter Together'. Over 600 employees from across the company participated in one of these workshops in 2019. The program also proved its resilience and adaptability by inspiring a promising pilot run in Dyneema for virtual high-performing teams.

In 2019, we added an e-learning on the topic of 'Respectful Behavior' to our set of e-learnings that outline the underlying principles of our 'Code of Business Conduct'. This e-learning is mandatory for all employees and creates more awareness of how we can treat each other respectfully and therefore be more inclusive toward each other.

A strong focus on teams also helps us attract external talents. In 2019, we launched a new global referral program in our key markets, making it faster, simpler and more rewarding for employees to refer high-quality and diverse talents from their network. This has led to a 10% increase in global as opposed to only local market referrals.

Continuous Improvement in Operations

One of the ways we drive organizational performance is by fostering high-performance teams and a culture of continuous improvement in our manufacturing sites and supply chain environments. This mindset is driven by the DSM Integral Continuous Improvement (DICI) journey, currently running at 92% of our Manufacturing and Supply Chain organizations. Our premix locations are currently excluded from the scope of this program.

The goal of DICI is to allow anyone in our organization to make small improvements that can have a significant impact on operations and our employee engagement, thereby unleashing the talent in everyone. This journey involves one common way of working, which enables us to share experiences and learn across sites and businesses and to drive a sustainable culture transformation less sensitive to managerial and employee changes.

For example, in Delft (Netherlands), the shop floor designed and developed digital tools and dashboards that provided them with key insights. In addition, machine-learning models provided new opportunities to improve key processes. This resulted in a significant step-up in the performance of the plant and in the quality of work processes while still meeting the increasing demands of customers.

In Taiwan, the Site Steering Committee team initiated several activities in which they likewise applied the mindset and behavior approach of DICI, resulting in an improvement in people development, interaction with other sites, communication and transparency, and visual management. The main learnings included having an open mind to other people's opinions and building trust. This culminated in a site-wide awards ceremony, bringing the whole site together to celebrate these achievements and embed the learnings.

We celebrated the successes in the DICI journey by organizing the 2019 Continuous Improvement Awards. We received 77 submissions, covering all business groups and all continents. There were five winners, including the Delft team mentioned above.

Presentation of awards to the Delft team in the 'Overall' category of the Continuous Improvement Awards.

Employee engagement

Our goal is that people feel proud to work at DSM and are able to be and give their best, every day. We want them to feel part of a team where every contribution matters, and where we all can learn and grow. To measure this, we run an annual Employee Engagement Survey. The survey results provide important insights into how our employees experience our company, and the impact their experience has on their motivation, perceptions and performance. The Engagement Index measures four attributes: commitment, pride, advocacy and satisfaction.

In 2019, we migrated to a new survey provider and platform but retained the same survey structure and content as in 2018, comprising questions on safety, engagement, management, inclusion and other key themes. Feedback from employees suggests that the new platform provides a more positive user experience, and that they appreciate the broader language options and faster feedback of results to managers. The survey also included an option for employees to provide text comments. More than 40,000 such comments were received.

The survey was sent to all employees (excluding contractors) and was available in 21 languages. The 2019 response rate of 92% (up five percentage points versus 2018) was the highest recorded since we began this annual survey in 2007.

Overall employee engagement decreased by two percentage points to 74%, driven by small decreases in each of the four questions that make up the Engagement Index. In general, the survey generated relatively stable responses; however, we saw a significant decrease of five percentage points in response to the question "I believe DSM has a promising future". This could be attributable to employee concerns regarding the challenging macroeconomic and geopolitical environment in which we are currently operating, but will be further explored through the sessions described below.

The safety index decreased by one percentage point, however it remained the highest scoring index at 91%. There was an increase in manager ratings of two percentage points — a positive result for a focus area from the previous year. Ratings for the Inclusion Index remained stable at 72%. The survey results pointed out three areas for improvement: inclusion, strategy and talent, which will be embedded into company-wide programs during 2020.

Involving team members in understanding the survey results and contributing to the design of improvement actions is a key part of the annual Engagement Survey process. Managers whose team provided more than eight survey respondents were eligible to receive team survey reports. In 2019, more than 1,600 reports were generated for managers within a month of the survey closing. Local engagement champions, people & organization colleagues and communication colleagues provided training and support to assist managers in sharing the results with their teams, leading a dialogue, and agreeing actions for improvements.

Following the dissemination of the results, in 2020 a number of Executive Committee-led dialogue sessions will be planned to gain deeper understanding of the employee experience, and to further engage employees in shaping improvement initiatives. These will include regional dialogues with the executive leadership tier, and global-level digital conversations open to all employees.


Throughout 2019, we began to roll out The DSM Ways of Working culture pillars, which we had communicated in 2018. As set out in last year's Report, we have committed to three areas of culture and behavioral focus.

Customer passion means putting our customers first, knowing them and making their success our business. To achieve this, we invested in training and awareness through management and performance-focused programs. These programs combine development, empowerment, technology and outside-in thinking to link customer needs with our innovation capabilities.

Accountability and agility means delivering on our promises and responding to challenges quickly. Across the company, we are exploring an agile approach to working, through examples such as a self-managed team at DSM-NIAGA and agile pilot programs within our IT function. Based on some of the focus group discussions in the regions during 2019, accountability and agility became the central focal area of our short- and medium-term cultural development agenda.

Inclusiveness means we value uniqueness and foster a sense of purpose and belonging. Deepening engagement within DSM shows us new ways of enhancing connectivity and collaboration with all our stakeholders. The 'Brighter Together' workshops, described above, continued to be rolled out throughout 2019 and are designed to strengthen inclusiveness in our teams. In addition, our Women Inspired Network (WIN) chapters held events in the Netherlands, the US and Switzerland, among other locations. In the Netherlands for example, WIN hosted a lively and engaging event in March, attracting 200 female and male colleagues to a program that included speakers, a panel and an interactive creative session. We continue to sponsor the WINConference for women. In 2019, a group of 25 employees attended a global, virtual leadership development program 'WIN for WIN', designed and facilitated by members of WIN.