Stedin Group total
Employment and employment practice
As the environment in which we operate changes, our focus remains on retaining jobs. By using data to continuously improve our ability to look ahead, we are able to choose proactively whether we can fill a vacancy with a colleague or whether we should take on an external worker on a temporary or permanent basis.
Commitment to providing work-to-work guidance
We are providing for timely development of our organisation and people to be prepared for the future, thereby ensuring employment. We are taking steps to develop competencies that will be needed in the future. We have also further equipped the mobility office to support employees. This is useful when someone is ready to make their next career step, or may be necessary because a department is undergoing such extensive change that employees need to look for a suitable job within Stedin. As part of the four restructuring programmes that were undertaken in 2021 (Business Support Services, Market, Stronger Together and Fleet Management), the employees concerned received close support and assistance from the moment the change was announced until possible redundancy due to the downsizing of positions or a job mismatch. Throughout this entire period, we were committed to providing work-to-work guidance, inside as well as outside Stedin. To facilitate this, we developed a working method that combines carefulness and transparency. If our focus on training and internal mobility does not produce the required results, we employ the safety net under our sectoral collective labour agreement to provide colleagues with work-to-work guidance outside Stedin.
Flexible working practices
We limit the flexible use of temporary agency workers as far as possible, depending on the type of work. A conscious decision is made to use the temporary workforce in order to fulfil a need for temporary, irregular work. This situation may apply to temporary projects, to temporary support (e.g. maternity leave replacement), when specific expertise is momentarily required and to competencies that are very scarce (e.g. specialised IT staff). When using temporary contracts, we ensure that we comply with the applicable rules on their number and duration. We check our temporary workforce
for length of use, quality and costs at regular intervals. That way, we avoid unnecessary costs and loss of knowledge. This also allows us to promote the possibility of internal advancement by colleagues.
The percentage of external compared to internal employees in 2021 was 15.7% (2020: 14.2%; 2019: 15.6%). This ratio was affected by the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the workload. Click here for a full listing of ratios and key figures relating to Stedin Group’s workforce.
Collective Labour Agreement
A new Collective Labour Agreement was concluded in 2021. The short period of validity of 20 months (1 May 2021 to 31 December 2022, inclusive) makes it possible to take additional steps in the shorter term in relation to long-term employability. A sectoral analysis was carried out in the context of the Customised Arrangement for Long-term Employability & Early Retirement (Maatwerkregeling Duurzame Inzetbaarheid & Eerder Uittreden, MDIEU). Partly on this basis, the grid managers and the trade unions worked together to develop a joint vision for long-term employability. This enables the parties to the collective agreement, at the sectoral as well as company level, to take appropriate measures to further improve long-term employability. Special attention is paid in this context to the workload and workload capacity of on-call and emergency repair workers.
In accordance with the Works Councils Act (Wet op de ondernemingsraden, WOR), Stedin Group has a Works Council. Consultation between the executive committee of the Works Council and the CEO of Stedin Group takes place on a fortnightly basis. Consultation with all the members of the Works Council takes place roughly six times a year. The Works Council, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board additionally conduct tripartite consultations, and the chair of the Works Council takes part in the Strategic Coalition. As the Works Council comprises several different committees, it is well informed of the issues and developments in the organisation. Co-creation is promoted as far as possible, resulting in the Works Council’s involvement in various programmes and initiatives from an early stage.
Interview with Alco de Lange – chair of Stedin Group Works Council
‘Trust is increasingly important as the basis of our organising endeavours!’
How do we treat our employees, and what do changes mean for them? From digitalisation to a new performance review system: that is the key issue that continues to exercise the Works Council.
What were the key topics for the Works Council in 2021?
All the important matters within Stedin Group, from chain-based working to financial issues, are discussed by the Works Council. The issue of long-term financing was one of our main concerns in 2021. The integration with DNWG was also discussed at length during the year. Not to forget the energy transition and the evolving measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, of course. We also discussed the outsourcing of work. What is the best way forward? And if we outsource more and increasingly become work inspectors, how can we ensure the timely engagement of the workers concerned in that move? Digitalisation is another key topic. While we have the means to monitor many things remotely, from laptops to company cars, is that what we want? Finally, we strongly promoted structural improvement in on-call and emergency repair work provisions. Instead of an increasingly heavier workload for an ever decreasing group of colleagues, we would like to ensure a larger pool is created to spread the workload more evenly.
What do you consider highlights last year?
One of the highlights was the launch of the pilot on the role of HR mediators. Where can you turn if you encounter issues at work, such as teasing or a poor relationship with your manager, for example? The HR mediator can actively bring these issues into the open, often also helping to resolve them in that way. The Works Council set up this pilot in cooperation with HR and the confidential advisers. In November, social safety was once again the focus of attention with the award of the Golden Social Safety Shoe. This award was originally initiated by the Works Council.
Three members of DNWG’s Works Council already take part in Stedin Group’s Works Council, of whom one sits in our Executive Committee. As such, we formed an integrated Works Council well before 1 January 2022. This has brought us many benefits.
We are also pleased with the growing role played by our Networking Works Council members. They are not Works Council members, instead forming an important advisory group that provides input to the Works Council. An ‘NWC consultation’ is held every six weeks, during which we update them on recent developments and they can share questions and concerns with us. Last year, we also made good progress in terms of internal cooperation. Our Works Council Dashboard, in which useful information is recorded, is a great help in this regard.
Any low points?
The coronavirus crisis. It continued to pose severe challenges in 2021. We were naturally deeply saddened at the death of colleagues who had contracted a COVID-19 infection. Fortnightly consultations with the director of Safety provided an effective platform for responding to many tensions and concerns. In our role as Works Council, we voice the feelings in the workplace, so that they can be immediately addressed.
Backed by the Board of Management and the workforce, we previously extended our term of office by one year in the light of the integration with DNWG. Our five-year term is therefore set to expire in May 2022. We will organise a campaign highlighting the positives of Works Council engagement, leading to the creation of a new Works Council, made up of motivated colleagues, which reflects our organisation!