Employee engagement at Coats

We employ over 19,000 people worldwide and we value our workforce highly. Our employees are from 68 different nationalities, representing many different cultures and are based in 50 countries all around the world.

To make sure that we have a consistent approach to Human Resources (HR) across the Company, we continually review our global and local approaches to managing people. This way we ensure that we have the necessary support structures to enable best practice people management at all our locations. Our global HR team is supported by a network of local HR professionals, who have an understanding of the local culture and norms in the countries in which we operate, and who are helping to achieve our aims.

Creating an inclusive workplace – our global Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Initiatives

Wherever we operate we aim to create an inclusive culture that enables everyone to thrive. To support this we have established a global Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) network and each year this continues to grow. Our D&I network ran three virtual meetings in 2017, featuring guest speakers who bring their insights into improving Diversity and Inclusion from their own experiences. At least 150 of our employees from around the world regularly join these calls and we have a dedicated intranet microsite which holds diversity resources and materials, accessible by some 6,500 employees.

We also encourage our teams to develop their own local D&I initiatives. In Turkey, for example, our team started a local D&I project in 2015. The local project team put together a three-year strategy and action plan, including benchmarking, internal spot surveys and unconscious bias training. This is supported by regular communications and events such as activities for International Women’s Day. As a result, our team in Turkey received an award from the Turkish government for being one of the top three companies in Turkey with equal opportunities for women and men (picture below).


To mark International Women’s Day, which took place on March 8, 2017, we launched a program with the theme #BeBoldForChange. This program helps identify and raise awareness of internal role models who are being‘Bold For Change’ in their own career choices or in taking action to increase gender diversity at Coats. As part of this, we have received 150 role model nominations across Coats.

Various local events also took place across Coats to celebrate International Women’s Day in countries that included UK, Bulgaria, Brazil, US, China, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. In total, more than 4,000 people joined in.

In 2018, the D&I Working Group plans to focus on the following activities:

  • Organizing several more D&I network calls
  • Providing more support for local programs and actions (e.g. toolkits, facts, presentations and ideas)
  • Continuing to build on the #BeBoldForChange program that was launched in 2017.
  • Ensuring global activities for International Women’s Day 2018

Learning and Development

We invest in our people by providing equal opportunities for learning, through general training and job-skills programs and, where appropriate, tailored career planning and leadership development.

We have continued to roll out our Management Capability Development (MCD) and Transcend Leaders programs. The MCD is a tailored learning program available in four different languages aimed at strengthening leadership skills throughout the business. The Transcend Leaders program is targeted at our senior managers, who are not high potentials, but are too senior for MCD. The main goal of Transcend is to develop the essential Leadership Competences that will drive success for the company in the coming years.

In support of our continual learning imperative, 2017 also saw the launch of Minerva, our new online digital platform which provides over 700 resources, including online learning tools, videos and tip sheets. Minerva is available to everyone who uses our Perform platform and enables them to access content on many aspects of business and professional excellence including building teams, managing change and communication skills.

Local actions are also being rolled out around the world to ensure an optimum learning and development environment at Coats sites. In India, for example, close to 100 members of the manufacturing management team took part in workshops about team working principles. This was the first milestone in the team’s journey towards more collaborative working. Through simulation games and practical exercises participants learned how to build trust and manage conflicts, and how collaboration helps not only the team but also the individual to win. Furthermore, an eight-months long supervisor development training program concluded in Mexico in May 2017. The training covered a range of modules including time management, communications skills and change management to improve the leadership skills of the participants.

Employee Engagement

It is vital that we listen to what our employees think about Coats to help us create an excellent working environment and to retain and motivate our people across the company.

One of the ways we do this is through our annual employee engagement survey that we’ve been conducting for the last eight years. In 2017 we continued to have a high participation rate – a fantastic 99% of our employees took part (two points higher than last year).

Research has shown that organizations with high employee engagement scores also have better customer service, enhanced performance (productivity, sales, profit), and reduced absenteeism. Our 2017 overall engagement score (which shows how proud people are to work at Coats and how willing they are to work towards achieving common goals) was 83% (same as 2016 and 2015, and two points higher than 2014). Such a high engagement score maintains our position in the top 10% of all globally surveyed companies. These results are testimony to the efforts of the many employees and managers who strive to make Coats a great place to work. Every year each unit develops specific action plans to address the issues raised for their local business during the Engagement Survey.

We are also proud of the favorable responses to the Corporate Responsibility related questions within the survey – which all remain high. 92% of our employees feel that Coats is socially and environmentally responsible, 94% believe that we are committed to employee safety, and 89% feel that our senior leadership is committed to ethical business practices and conduct.

This is very good news at the group level, but we know there are some areas of the business that need attention. Furthermore, with a major organisational change taking place in Coats during 2018 we recognize that it will be especially challenging to maintain our high levels of employee engagement in the next year or two, but we believe that our long term commitment to this structured process of survey and response will be especially critical during this period.


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