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Employees

We realise that we can only achieve our vision to be Europe’s leading packaging strategists with engaged and well supported employees.

We believe that our expertise across the supply cycle, the maturity of our business model, and particularly our pedigree in delivering closed loop recycling across a number of large and established markets, mean we are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of a growing population. We believe the contribution we can make is worthwhile and that our efforts are best focused on designing, innovating and manufacturing the best packaging solution for each customer’s unique requirements.

We provide direct employment and livelihoods for around 26,000 people around the world, and through our contractors, suppliers and customers affect the wellbeing of an even larger community. We are committed to ensuring our employees work in a safe, fair and productive environment. We base our approach to, and expectation of, our employees on our five DS Smith values.

Our employees have a twofold role to play. Through their daily actions and behaviours, they are the custodians of our ability to deliver on our promise to be the most sustainable, innovative and commercially successful packaging strategists in each of our markets. But they are also each and every one an ambassador for our values, and their interaction with customers, suppliers, and the wider community is just as significant as their work in our factories and mills. 

Health and Safety

We recognise that our people and contractors work in environments which present real hazards. We strive to control those hazards through a risk-based approach using a hierarchy of control measures and we continuously aim to improve. Our employees are key in ensuring we operate safely and we address any concerns raised openly and promptly. Our long-term target is “zero accidents” and we set our key performance indicators to ensure that we continue towards that goal. Our safety performance has improved consistently, in terms of both accident frequency rates and severity, though we recognise that an injury to any of our people is unacceptable and hence safety remains a key focus for the Group.

Our businesses report their safety performance on a monthly basis and all accidents are fully investigated with the investigation findings circulated throughout the Group. Our Divisions monitor progress not only on reactive KPIs but also through their audit programmes and other proactive KPIs such as observational safety, near miss reporting etc.

Diversity and Inclusion

We do not tolerate any discrimination based on culture, nationality, race, religion, gender, gender identity,disability, sexual orientation or age. Our approach to diversity and inclusion is all about recognising that the ideal working environment is one which allows all our employees to perform at their best and develop to their full potential.

We value diversity of gender, age and nationality as well as individual characteristics such as a broad life experience when evaluating diversity within DS Smith.

While DS Smith does not discriminate in its recruitment, there are more men (79%) than women (21%) in the Group and we believe this to be related to societal perceptions of the nature of working in the manufacturing sector in the economies where we operate. Clearly we would be concerned if our workforce did not reflect the ethnic or cultural diversity of the communities from which they are recruited. However, we do not prioritise any particular diversity dimension as more significant than another, and instead focus on the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce who feel comfortable that their identities are respected. Diversity is important for us since we believe it to be a key factor behind high performing and innovative teams.

Employee Share Ownership

DS Smith has a Group-wide employee share save arrangement, which is offered as part of our overall reward strategy and is available to all eligible employees and provides an opportunity for our employees to share in the success of DS Smith. This arrangement is a savingsrelated arrangement where employees can buy shares at a fixed price. The arrangement unites our employees around a common purpose and engages them in the strategic direction of the Group. The focus on the Group’s performance reinforces the sense of ownership and accountability for our delivery at all levels of the business and drives the DS Smith values, creating an environment in which our people are proud to give their best.

Talent Management

Leadership development programmes play an important role in identifying and developing talent within the Group. Our continued success, growth, and sustainable development depend on the enthusiasm, skills and commitment of the people we aspire to recruit and develop into the next generation of DS Smith employees.

While we believe in developing local talent and local leadership competencies, we also see the value of exposing talented individuals to regions that will expand their international experience. We invest in the training and development of our employees, not only so they can undertake their jobs safely and productively, but also in order that they can fulfil their potential. This investment is monitored through annual performance appraisal and feedback from line management.

Employee Relations

Effective communication fosters employee alignment with our corporate goals and we use a variety of tools and channels to deliver this, from newsletters and team briefings to intranet updates and news bulletins. Communication with employees is considered a primary responsibility for all managers, and employees are encouraged to participate and give their views on any aspect of the Group’s business including the annual and half year financial results and the economic factors affecting the Group’s performance.
Industrial relations, including collective bargaining agreements, are mainly managed on a national level. We uphold the labour rights set out in the Fundamental Rights Convention of the International Labour Organisation.