As a company, we have set ourselves a clear goal – to become the world’s leading coatings and specialty chemicals company. To do this, we need to build and leverage a Talent Factory because it is just as important for us to attract, develop and retain great people with strong leadership skills, as it is for us to develop, produce and distribute great products and services.

To support this, our HR function is striving to properly support our businesses with their activities by helping them to build a critical mass of the right people, from as wide a talent pool as possible. In a competitive market environment, we recognize the importance of being seen, internally and externally, as an employer of choice.

By differentiating our company from our competitors and clearly articulating the benefits of working for AkzoNobel, we will not only be in a stronger position to win the war for talent, but will also increase the engagement of current employees. A number of activities are ongoing to improve the perception of our employer brand, including the development of a clear employer value proposition, which will be rolled out in 2012. The employer value proposition activities will build on a number of key elements of the Talent Factory which are already in place.

Talent identification and management

To ensure consistent capability building across the company, employees are regularly appraised and supported with their development through a process that we call Performance and Development Dialog (P&D Dialog). In 2011, we continued to improve the professionalism and consistency of assessing our employees’ performance and potential, on an individual basis, through the P&D Dialog process.

These individual assessments are then aggregated by Business Area and function. This information forms the basis of our annual Leadership Talent Review process, which is designed to review the health of our talent pipeline and identify future leaders. Promising internal candidates can then be matched to available roles through “matching forums”.

Talent development

To ensure that we develop a cadre of leaders appropriate for AkzoNobel in the future, including a balanced team which truly reflects the markets that we serve, we introduced our Global Management Trainee Program (GMTP) in 2011. The program lasts two years, during which participants receive comprehensive hands-on training and experience working in a variety of functions, locations and businesses. Under the guidance of a senior business manager, we expect the participants to be prepared to take on a management position early on in their career. In line with our accelerated growth and diversity and inclusion ambitions, recruitment for the GMTP is focused on high growth markets. In 2011, approximately 75 percent of our GMTP employees came from our high growth countries.

The GMTP is a new addition to our talent development curriculum. Two programs already in place are the Management Essentials Program (MEP) and the Advanced Management Program (AMP). The first is designed to give all managers the fundamental skills needed to manage their people properly. The AMP is designed to help more senior managers or middle managers become more proficient at leading larger or more complex organizations, develop leadership talent among their staff and create high-performing teams across various functional areas.

To underpin our operational and functional excellence ambitions and make a step change in capability across the company, we set up the AkzoNobel Academy in 2011. This ensures the availability of best-in-class courses, standards, processes and methodologies across the organization.

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