At Novus, we remain committed to maintaining a positive, healthy, empowering and engaging workplace where a diverse group of people can come together in pursuit of a shared vision, mission and set of core values. We invest in the development and training of our employees, maintain one of the most advanced corporate wellness programs available for the benefit of all employees, and we never compromise on strict safety procedures and practices to ensure a safe workplace.
Developing our Organization
2013 was a very significant year for our organizational development as we embarked upon the first assessment of our long-standing management framework, the Novus Management System (NMS). Using the assistance of an external consultant, an expert in requisite principles, we engaged almost 100 percent of our managers in direct interviews and conducted a comprehensive employee survey among our entire employee population and achieved a very positive 75 percent response rate.
The outcomes of this process, we call it NMS 2.0, delivered positive confirmation of certain aspects of our NMS, together with identifying areas for change. We therefore started a multi-year process to align our organization framework with current and future needs. This includes structural changes to realign functional teams in all of our world regions, and strengthening cross-functional relationships for more effective working in a matrix organization. This will help us standardize operating procedures and ensure consistency throughout our global operations. Also, through 2014 and beyond, we are formulating a set of expected behaviors with detailed contextual examples that will serve as a basis to assist in recruitment, talent assessment and development, succession planning and compensation.
Developing our People
Alongside our work to develop the Novus organization, 2013 was a year in which we continued our intensive work to engage and empower people and improve the robustness of our People and Role Evaluation Planning (PREP) process and performance evaluations. We held career conversations with employees in our organization and invested time in more detailed career assessments and assignment planning. A key focus was placed on talent mobility, both to meet skill gaps at different locations throughout the organization and also to provide rewarding career experiences for qualified individuals. Opportunities for employees to change location have a positive effect on the performance of the organization and the development of intercultural relationships of our employees. Something that is of primary importance as our business must be sensitive to the many cultures of our customers and stakeholders.
Our partnership between human resources managers and business managers was strengthened to ensure that employees were given relevant and constructive feedback and appropriate development opportunities identified. Our overall succession and career planning program was approved by our Executive Team in a dedicated two-day meeting, demonstrating the importance of employee engagement and development to our senior leadership. Additionally, individual managers have carried out further training of the NMS to sharpen the understanding of roles and accountabilities, with the goal of improving employee satisfaction.
Developing Employee Training
One of the conclusions of our work in organization and people development was the need to improve sales and product training, so that our teams around the world can improve their capabilities to present our products and solutions in a consistent way and engage with customers more effectively. To this end, we appointed a full time Sales and Product Training Manager and invested in an extensive program using a leading and well-respected externally-developed training methodology. To date, we have created several training modules which are hosted on an online platform and freely accessible to all our sales management and staff. Further, we have conducted several face-to-face training sessions, involving our entire workforce in 2013. All our sales people have now been coached in new sales skills methodology and several have participated in dedicated product sessions as well. The same language and methodology has also been incorporated into the new customer relationship management (CRM) tool used by the sales force on a daily basis. Many Novus product experts have also taken a role as trainers to help impart their vast knowledge and expertise to support sales people's ability to keep customers informed with the most relevant and recent information about our solutions and how we meet their needs.
Novus continues to invest substantially in employee health, maintaining an ongoing wellness program available to all employees. We constantly strive to find new and better ways to help all Novus employees and their families become healthier, gain a greater sense of well-being and be more productive in work and in life. We believe this is our fundamental responsibility as an employer. It also benefits our business, as employees become more motivated, more effective, and happier at work and at home.
Our award-winning health and wellness LiveWell program has been running now since 2008 with incredible results. Our Platinum LEED certified headquarters building features windows and skylights that provide an outdoor view and natural light to employee workspaces as well as a fitness center that offers employees free fitness classes and personal training. Novus provides free healthy lunches each day, planned by a licensed nutritionist, health insurance, dental insurance, use of sports facilities, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and health-related activities for employees and their families. Novus employees use an online portal to confidentially rack key health biometrics such as weight, calorie intake and exercise, stay informed of activities and register participation. As employees participate, they also gain financial incentives. The LiveWell program benefits those outside of our organization as well, as members of our India office have organized a loyalty program which allows some wellness initiatives to be shared with customers and key opinion leaders in the region.
Incentivizing Employees for Better Health
In 2013, we further encouraged employees with a financial credit of $350 wellness dollars to voluntarily participate in confidential biometric testing against six key health risk factors: blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL, glucose, waist circumference, height and weight (Body Mass Index). Employees not only gain a financial benefit, but also have the opportunity to understand their personal health risks, consult with physicians and gain free personal coaching to assist them managing and reducing health risks.
In 2013, we organized a range of activities at global and local level to help employees improve their own wellness and health. For example, 232 employees in 24 teams walked 54,169,620 steps in our pedometer challenge, more than 40 employees participated in a fishing challenge in Arkansas, and employees in Spain participated in a big stadium football match and a hike in Tarragona. In our 2013 Health Fair on the Novus campus, 20 vendors and 150 employees came to engage on health-related matters, build awareness and undergo health examinations. In our Arkansas facility, in response to employee requests to have more accessible fitness facilities for production employees, we installed a fully-equipped gym for the use of employees up to 12 hours per day.
In Thailand, in 2013, we worked with employees and with the local municipality to enhance a local park in the vicinity of our offices to encourage both our employees and the local community to walk and cycle more in the park. Novus purchased 10 bikes for the park and the park management undertook to manage the bikes on a free hire basis to anyone who visits. We held an opening ceremony with our President and CEO and VP of Human Resources and now, Novus Thailand employees have a daily opportunity to take a healthy exercise break just a minute away from the office in Bangkok.
Wellness Certification at Novus
In 2013, we were proud to support our corporate wellness program manager, Judith Thelwell, who achieved the National Wellness Institute Certified Worksite Wellness Program Manager (CWWPM) certification. Certification requires participation in a two-day course and completion of a certification examination. Individuals who receive a passing grade hold the CWWPM designation for three years and must complete continuing education requirements during each three-year certification period.
We maintain a workplace environment which ensures the safety and protects the health of all our employees at all times. We comply with all safety and occupational health regulation in all the locations where we operate, and go beyond minimum requirements by embedding safe working culture and practice. We continuously supplement our safe working practices with new tools and guidance manuals, and safety training as needed. We regularly audit our facilities and meticulously follow up on audit findings. Our corporate Safety Committee continues to meet regularly to assess our performance and confirm ongoing training and risk assessment plans and publishes a quarterly safe working newsletter to all employees.
We have typically enjoyed extremely low injury and illness rates, and 2013 was no exception, although we did experience an increase in minor injuries, bring our global injury rate to 1.47 per 100 employees in 2013. The most serious injury was a torn labrum and bicep tendon injury requiring surgery as a result of lifting a heavy suitcase at an airport. Other injuries were minor sprains and several muscle pulls. Further emphasis has been placed on increased vigilance through we are confident that there is no underlying cause for concern. On the contrary, we have found more engagement in reporting minor incidents and near misses, which reflects a high level of awareness and commitment to safe working.
Employee Reward and Recognition
Novus offers an attractive range of family-friendly benefits for all employees. Compensation and benefits around the world are tailored to local norms and industry benchmarks, but generally exceed minimum levels required by local law. Typically, this includes competitive salary, merit bonuses, medical insurance, health and wellness benefits and in some countries, Novus offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides experienced counselors to assist employees in dealing with personal or family issues which may be a cause of stress. In addition, Novus acknowledges and rewards employees who have delivered outstanding performance or contribution beyond expectation with financial and recognition awards at different levels.