Our people drive our culture. Motivated and empowered employees representing our values ensure we deliver market leading customer service and products.
We are committed to maintaining a high level of employee engagement across all sites and providing an environment where all employees can fulfil their potential.
Maintaining high levels of communication with all employees is a focus across the Group as we host monthly leadership events with members of the Executive Board. This provides the opportunity for the Executive Board to give an update on the business, their vision for the future and what requires further focus in a single clear message to all employees. These events also provide employees with the opportunity to ask questions directly and anonymously if they so wish. Over FY22, we have also held more in-person town hall meetings during each Executive Board site visit, providing employees with a further opportunity to engage, ask questions and hear directly from leadership.
We greatly value employee feedback and continue our initiative to celebrate and enhance the culture at Avon Protection. Culture Champions have been selected from every level of the organisation with the intention of playing a crucial role in maintaining an open communication culture within the Group. Their role includes speaking to our employees on matters such as leadership, learning and development, and social connection. The Executive Board also actively meets and engages with Culture Champions during each of its site visits.
Our biannual surveys provide employees with a further opportunity to provide feedback and suggest improvements on aspects such as leadership communication, employee engagement, team culture and work environment. Results from these surveys are then presented to the Board of Directors, the Executive Board and the wider leadership team with areas for improvement at both site and Group level discussed. Our Culture Champions then support in the implementation of the changes and give feedback to our employees. This discussion is two-way, as Culture Champions then feed back on how this change or feedback has been accepted across the business.
In line with our goal of zero harm, we continue to actively promote a strong safety culture. We have mandatory training and policies in place for all production employees on workplace safety and practices.
This year, across our operational sites, we recorded a total of 5 workplace lost time cases. We track incidents on a monthly basis and have a global target to reduce our incident rate to zero, against which we are making progress. Over the past year, we have also globally aligned the way in which we collect safety data across all of our sites. We have developed an online hub for U.K. employees, providing them with access to equipment-specific safety training courses to become certified by the business upon course completion. The online hub, once implemented across all sites, will play an integral part in achieving our zero-incident target.
The health and wellbeing of our employees is important to us and throughout the year we share resources with them on how to look after their mental and physical wellbeing. We hold a multitude of wellbeing webinars based on key topics throughout the year, such as work-life balance, exercise and seasonal nutrition. These webinars allow employees to switch off from work for an hour and ask our expert presenters questions, increasing our employee engagement and involvement.
Diversity provides a better culture for all. We are committed to equality for all employees as we strive to provide an environment where every individual can meet their full potential.
Female representation across our Executive Board and direct reports is 21% and we are committed to improving this in the future. Across all employees, we have achieved a ratio of 42% (420 out of 995) female and 58% (575 out of 995) male.
As part of our pledge to continuously improve the balance of female to male employees across all our sites, we have signed the Women in Defence U.K. charter. This charter reflects our aspirations to see women represented and empowered across the defence sector and our intention to work with fellow industry leaders to enhance the gender balance.
Having established the Balance@Avon initiative two years ago, we are proud of what we have achieved so far in addressing gender inequalities in the workplace. The initiative aims to motivate, empower and support all employees, particularly those who may feel that they are in a minority, to understand themselves and their aims and how they might work towards achieving them. To continue our efforts, we regularly rotate the members of the Steering Committee to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute new ideas. Following the most recent rotation, the Committee is in the process of establishing a framework to expand the Balance@Avon umbrella to give employees a guide for how they can create further subgroups for other areas of diversity and inclusion.
Our U.S. sites report equal employment opportunities data annually to the U.S. Government and to the State of California under pay equity requirements. Affirmative action plans are also in place which outline goals for women and minorities, veterans and people with disabilities by establishment.
Our average U.K. gender pay gap for FY21 (reported in April 2022) is 37%. The pay gap is due to the Company having more women in operations and assembly roles in the lowest quartile (55.2%) compared to more men in the top quartile (82.1%) and does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work. While the percentage of men in the upper quartile of pay has reduced since FY20, our existing focus to address the gender balance at our Company leadership team levels continues through initiatives such as Balance@Avon, which will help to close the overall pay gap with more female representation at this level. Our gender pay gap data can be found in the Governance section of our website.
We strive to provide an environment that offers training and development opportunities for all. We have continued with our Professional Development Programme (PDP), a year-long talent development programme, with the aim to identify, encourage and support the next generation of internal talent to contribute to the business beyond the scope of their current roles. Participants set personal development targets which are worked on for the year with internal mentor support. Mentors are Executive team members who provide a source of advice and support for the participants in addition to their line manager.
Our talent management process that we call the Global Performance Management Process (GPMP) is a critical tool that enables the Group to ensure all employees are working towards goals aligned with business objectives, their career aspirations and development needs are being discussed and reviewed. We also continue to focus on early careers, giving
those at the beginning of their career journey the help and support that they need to establish a successful and fulfilling career through work experience, internships, placement years, apprenticeships and graduate programmes.
We believe our employees thrive the most when they can improve and enhance their skill sets and work on their personal development. We have provided our employees with access to tools, such as LinkedIn Learning, to help with their career progression and personal development in whichever way works best for them. With over 30,000 videos watched over the past year, LinkedIn Learning has proven to be an invaluable tool for our employees to complete online courses in any areas of interest to progress their career paths
and expand their knowledge.
During 2022 we have engaged an HR consultant to help us with defining our remuneration philosophy and reviewing our pay and benefits in order to retain and attract talented individuals. Our aim has been to align and simplify our approach, ensuring we are fair and consistent in the way we treat our employees, regardless of location.
We continually work with and for the communities in which we operate, recognising our role as a major local employer. We have recently expanded our partnership with Bath Rugby, to support its Primary Education programme centred around developing numeracy skills and promoting sport, health and wellbeing. ‘Attacking Maths’, the programme aimed at developing numeracy skills, has seen over 100 sessions of numeracy and tag rugby delivered to 20 primary schools in the South-West of the U.K. The Girls Participation Hubs programme has seen over 450 young girls participate in training sessions and games led by Bath Rugby’s grassroots coaches. Feedback from this programme has been very positive, with high-quality, exciting teaching for the children, upskilling of members of staff at the school and enthusiasm shared between teachers, children and parents.
From sponsoring local sports teams and charitable events to our incredible employees who choose to push themselves for a great cause, this year we have approved charitable giving requests totalling in excess of $108,403. Our employees have undertaken ten-hour, 48km hikes and local corporate challenges spanning months to name but a few, and we will continue to encourage such efforts, requests and donations throughout FY23.