STEP 2: COLLECTING INFORMATION THROUGH STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
Now that we have defined our boundaries and our stakeholders, we embark on a comprehensive information-gathering process through which we uncover what issues the company and its stakeholders face.
- We use a combination of one-on-one discussions, internal and external surveys, feedback from social media platforms and the assessment of a variety of internal and external documents.
- One-on-one discussions
- Every year, the Head of Sustainability meets one-on-one with:
- board members, the entire executive committee, the chief executives and chief financial officers of all sub-holding companies and a selection of managing directors and departmental heads, and
- managing directors of operating companies who make the most significant contribution to the group, departmental heads of these operating companies and operational staff members.
to gain insight into the issues that executive and senior management believe are the most pressing and pertinent to the group. During these discussions they provide detailed information on:
- the challenges and risks they face;
- how these are being addressed;
- the successes of the past year;
- where the key opportunities lies;
- the strategies they are employing to mitigate risk and maximise opportunities; and
- any other issues they regard as relevant to the group.
- review the previous year's material issues to ensure that they are still relevant
- review timeframes that may have changed or whether the material issues level of importance should be reduced; incresed or they should be removed altogether;and
- raise new issues where relevant.
Every three years this process is extended to include a wider group of employees, managers and department heads in an attempt to ensure that our group’s value drivers and material focus areas remain relevant (the next extended review will take place in 2017).
Every year, as part of the interview process, the group company secretary selects a group of shareholders and investors and meets with them face-to-face to discuss and get feedback on a wide range of issues. The feedback from these meetings is also considered as part of the materiality determining process.
All Altron’s companies ensure they talk to their customers regularly during the year in both formal and informal forums. To support our focus on becoming a more customer-led organisation, we have introduced more key account managers and engagement with our customers is more regular, structured and strategically focused. Our consumer-facing businesses deal extensively with their customers on a one-on-one basis via their contact centres and in the outlets, but also conduct customer surveys as part of their ongoing engagement.
Altron’s sustainability department, as well as relevant operations within the group, engage with our suppliers either through surveys or in one-on-one telephonic discussions regarding their products and services and their sustainability practices, as part of our strategy to consolidate and streamline our supply chain.
One-on-one discussions also take place throughout the year with a range of employees responsible for different functions in the corporate office and across the sub-holding companies. These discussions, which are facilitated by the sustainability department and the internal communications department provide insight into employees’ views on what is happening in the business.
We use a number of internal and external surveys to gather information about the issues important to our stakeholders.
We conduct employee satisfaction surveys, climate surveys and company culture surveys and we also conduct surveys with our suppliers.
Most of the operations within the Altron group conduct customer surveys. These include aftersales surveys, regular monthly customer service surveys and ad hoc dipstick surveys
The results of these surveys are collated, analysed and assessed to determine the material issues they highlight. These issues are also included in the materiality determining process.
In addition to the deep insight we gain into the issues that our stakeholders believe are important. However, this is not enough to ensure that such issues are material from the one-on-one discussions and surveys, we also conduct an assessment of key internal documentation to cross-check that the feedback we have received from stakeholder groups is aligned with the documented issues that the company has addressed throughout the year.
The documents we consult include quarterly board reports, group executive committee reports, audit committee reports, risk management committee reports and internal audit reports. We also cross reference our evolving list of material issues with the risks on the company risk register, which ranks our key risks and opportunities in terms of their probability and potential to materially impact our business. These rankings are a useful guide to how we prioritise the material issues within the group.
External documentation/reports are also considered as part of the materiality determining process and include external audit reports, changes in legislation, market related information on peers and competitor performance, news clippings and social media reports.
Our stakeholder engagement table (www.altron.com/iar2015/focus/stakeholder-engagement.asp) provides detail on the issues raised by our stakeholder groups during the year under review, our response to these and what our focus will be for each stakeholder group in the year ahead.