The strategic role of Human Resources (HR) in Elkem is to support the business strategy implementation by continuously developing the organisation in line with the Elkem Business System (EBS) that is actively practised at all levels of the organisation, world wide. Furthermore, continuous talent management and systematic competence development are key to successful growth of the company.
In June 2015 Elkem acquired Bluestar Silicones International. At the same time, Elkem Solar was restructured as a sister company to Elkem AS, within the same ownership structure. While Elkem had 2,127 employees at year-end 2014, it employed 3,628 people at the end of 2015.
Around half of Elkem’s employees work as operators at Elkem’s production plants in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Malaysia, South Africa, UK, Spain and USA. In addition to production plants, Elkem also operates mining operations in Spain and Norway. Elkem has sales offices in 22 countries, with approximately 250 employees working with sales-related activities. About 10 per cent of Elkem’s staff (370 employees) are engaged in research and development at group and divisional level. Elkem’s head office is in Oslo, Norway, which is also the base for central administrative functions.
Elkem is active in a large number of demanding markets, and the need for continuous development and improvement is constant. The organisation’s improvement work needs to be targeted, fast paced and always of high quality. This requires continuous development of employee competence. Elkem actively uses employees’ day-to-day work situation as the primary learning arena. We believe that the best way of developing new skills is to participate in actual improvement processes and problem solving. We also consider taking on new responsibilities as a very important way of learning and developing. To strengthen the ‘learning-by-doing’ approach Elkem also offers a range of in-house training activities and courses.
Capable leaders are a necessity for any organisation that wants success. Elkem’s global leadership development programs provide Elkem talents from all continents specific leadership competence development, practical training in a variety of leadership skills and an opportunity to build a professional network with other Elkem leaders. The networks enable leaders to share experiences and learn from each other. It also contributes to transfer of skills and best practises across divisions and plants in Elkem globally. We believe that one of the most important tasks for a leader is to develop future leaders for the company. Systematic talent management is thus in focus globally.
Elkem Business System (EBS)
Elkem’s EBS centre is a group level resource centre providing support to Elkem’s divisions and plants when it comes to implementing EBS. Each business area also has personnel with in-depth knowledge about both EBS and the division’s operations, with a responsibility for implementing EBS in the division. The human resources function at operations level is, together with local management, responsible for continuously developing the organisation, in line with EBS principles.
The processing industry is generally male dominated. Women are, however, increasingly expressing an interest in working in the processing industry, much because of increased automation, less heavy manual work and commitment to sustainability in all operations. The percentage of female employees in Elkem has increased slightly in recent years, but remains low at 22 per cent. Some parts of the company have a female share of around 30-40 per cent, but among operators the female share remained at 11 per cent in 2015. Elkem aims to achieve a better gender balance and is continuously looking for ways to improve. In the Elkem trainee- and leadership-programs for example, the female share has been around and above 50 per cent for many years.
Elkem is an international company with roots in Norway, with Chinese owners, and production and sales offices on all continents. Having employees who match this global presence, with diverse cultural and individual backgrounds, are necessary for the company to succeed. Elkem Business System (EBS) is based on every employee being deeply involved and playing an important role in the development of Elkem.
In EBS, employees are considered specialists in their fields and thus listened to and treated with respect. This ensures both good operations and the best solutions when challenges arise. Discrimination in any form is strictly forbidden in Elkem, and our code of conduct and group policies clearly state this. Discrimination is not only unethical, it is also totally incompatible with EBS, our basic workplace philosophy.
Elkem has been through many major reorganisations since the foundation in 1904. The international markets Elkem operates in are highly competitive, and the need for restructuring is a constant in a changing world. Good cooperation and teamwork between employees and leaders is a prerequisite if Elkem is to cope with what are at times demanding market conditions. Elkem has a long tradition of constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation between employees, their unions and leaders.
Deep involvement of all employees at all levels is a cornerstone in EBS. Without involved and respectful cooperation within all groups of employees and the management, EBS cannot be implemented, and the company cannot adjust to changes in the business environment. Elkem complies with local statutory requirements regarding freedom of association in all countries where we are present. Pursuant to the provisions of the Norwegian Companies Act, employees have two representatives and two observers on the board of Elkem AS.