People in 2012

The People dimension of DSM’s Triple P strategy is about improving people’s lives through the company’s activities, solutions and innovations. ‘People’ here includes consumers, workers and communities across the value chains in which DSM is active. This chapter includes both the People+ strategy, which is the external component of the People dimension, and, under 'People at DSM', the human resources strategy as the internal component. For DSM, sustainability provides both a growth driver and a strong foundation for its human resources strategy. See also: Growth Driver: Sustainability.


DSM is developing a People+ strategy for measurably improving the lives of consumers, workers and communities across the value chains in which the company is active. People+ will do for the ‘people’ element of Triple P what ECO+ has done for ‘planet’, giving further impetus to sustainability as a business driver for the company. DSM refined its People+ strategy in 2012 and also defined and road tested new metrics for it, thereby further enhancing its leadership position in sustainability.
See also: ECO+.

Until recently a tool to measure a product’s impacts on the People dimension was not available. By contrast, a product’s eco-benefits (its ECO+ effect) can readily be measured using the well-known Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. The LCA method is widely accepted as a tool to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life.

In 2012 DSM, together with a broad group of stakeholders, developed a new metric to measure the People+ effect of products and solutions by assessing the impact on both the consumer and the people involved in the value chain for a product or solution. The new metric, the ‘DSM People LCA’, takes into account the product’s impact on the health condition, the perceived comfort and well-being of end-users, the working conditions of the employees involved, as well as the impact on communities across the value chains in which DSM is active.

The People+ approach focuses on four distinct dimensions:

  1. Health Condition
  2. Comfort & Well-Being
  3. Working Conditions
  4. Community Development

The DSM ‘People LCA’ indicators are based on international standards, such as those formulated by the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization and the Global Reporting Initiative.

DSM is road testing the new metrics in R&D and value proposition projects.

On the next page a few illustrative examples are given, such as the disposable medical gown for surgeons based on DSM’s Arnitel® VT. This gown incorporates a membrane that provides a higher barrier to viruses and bacteria than competing solutions. The Arnitel-based solution also allows perspiration to pass easily, which increases surgeon comfort. Another example is FloraGLO®1 Lutein which can be used in dietary supplements. Lutein is a component of the eye and supplemental use may help visual performance. It has also been linked to the prevention of age related eye diseases. The BluCure™ Technology for cobalt-free curing of synthetic resins also illustrates the People+ concept. This technology eliminates exposure of workers to cobalt during manufacturing, while enabling a high quality of the cured resin product.

The new assessment will make it possible for DSM to quantify its brand promise of ‘Brighter Living’. The company aims to further develop the methodology and align with external stakeholders in the years to come.

People at DSM

DSM's human resources strategy contributes to the development of inspiring and collaborative leaders, creates an engaged and competitive workforce and fosters an inclusive environment where people trust and respect one another, and where they encourage each other to achieve sustainable focused business growth. The approach is supported by the ONE DSM Culture Agenda.

DSM aims to further internationalize its business in order to bring its organization closer to its key markets and customers, strengthen the business and stimulate inclusion, diversity and innovation. DSM combines a strong regional infrastructure with clear board level accountability for regional growth. Its human resources strategy supports the internationalization goal.

ONE DSM Culture Agenda

During 2012, DSM transitioned its Change Agenda into the ONE DSM Culture Agenda. The themes of the ONE DSM Culture Agenda have been simplified and more aligned with DSM’s business environment and business strategy, as well as with its global footprint. With the ONE DSM Culture Agenda, DSM is developing the culture required to achieve its strategic ambitions, to mirror the world it operates in, and to become a high performance organization. The four themes of the agenda are: External Orientation, Accountability for Performance, Collaboration with Speed and Inclusion & Diversity. Accelerating the four themes across DSM will lead to a more agile organization that is fit to cope with fast moving developments in the business environment.

External Orientation

DSM is convinced that, in order to be able to execute its growth strategy and rapidly adapt to changing customer and industry requirements, the vast majority of its employees need to be fully in tune with the challenges the external world offers. This means not just anticipating customer needs to drive marketing & sales and innovation priorities, but also tracking, learning and competing with best practices for all functions. External Orientation is also needed to broaden DSM’s networks and engage with stakeholder groups.

Accountability for Performance

DSM expects its employees to set ambitious targets and take ownership to deliver these. Accountability for Performance is about people taking responsibility for their actions and for the performance of their teams, about recognizing and celebrating successes, but also about bringing issues to the surface and viewing mistakes as individual and collective learning opportunities.

Collaboration with Speed

DSM expects that in an ever more connected world, where collaboration is becoming an important source of competitive advantage, DSM employees will actively (co-)create, share and build on ideas, information, knowledge and expertise of their colleagues and the external world. By fostering collaboration, DSM will harvest the power of its growing global workforce, as anchored in its leveraged organizational model with businesses, functions and regions. Besides increased collaboration, there is a need for faster decision making and execution. DSM needs to build a ONE DSM Culture in which its employees trust each other’s skills and have a sense of togetherness, of being ONE DSM.

Inclusion & Diversity

DSM believes that fostering an inclusive culture that embraces differences will help to create a more diverse workforce which will drive a high performance organization achieving its business and strategic goals, especially in view of DSM’s focus on further internationalization, innovation and sustainability. A more balanced DSM leadership group (in terms of gender, nationality and background) will improve the decision-making process as well as the implementation of DSM’s strategy. Inclusion & Diversity requires thoughtful bridging skills and a full commitment to DSM’s joint corporate values.

DSM Employee Engagement Survey

DSM’s HR strategy is about helping employees to successfully deal with the challenges of a changing company in a fast-moving global marketplace. The concept of employee engagement is very important in this respect. An engaged workforce is critical to DSM in realizing its ambitions. Engagement is about creating an inclusive and high-energy working environment, where employees are aligned and energized to contribute to the company’s success.

In 2012 DSM executed its fifth worldwide Employee Engagement Survey. A total of 19,039 employees, including 631 contractor employees, completed the questionnaire, which was distributed online and on paper in 19 languages to all DSM employees. This represents a very high response rate of 87 percent. The main element in the survey is the measurement of DSM’s Employee Engagement Index, the percentage of employees scoring favorable on a combination of four attributes: commitment, pride, advocacy and satisfaction. The Employee Engagement Index measured in 2012 was 72 percent (2011: 71 percent). This is above the global overall norm of 69 percent. The neutral responses amounted to 19 percent, the same as 2011. DSM continued to create a more inclusive working environment for its employees. The Inclusion Index, a subset of survey items to measure inclusion, improved for the third year in a row. Of the respondents 68 percent scored favorable on this index in 2012 (2011: 66 percent).

The DSM Engagement Index score takes DSM within an 8 percentage point range of the external benchmark of high performing companies (scoring 80 percent favorable), which is the league DSM wants to be part of. The 2012 results are in general at a good level and show a positive trend in almost all areas. Items are mostly at or above the external average benchmarks. The survey results for the individual DSM units and regions have been translated into measurable action plans. DSM will continue to use the Employee Engagement Survey to guide its ONE DSM Culture Agenda.

Talent management

DSM strongly believes that successful talent management requires leaders who have the right focus, mindset and capability to identify, develop, engage and share diverse talent. Leaders who are inclusive and who are focused on growing themselves, their people and the business. In addition, the company believes in creating opportunities for its talented employees to maximize their development. In 2012 the company started many initiatives aimed at (1) empowering employees to take ownership of their career and (2) empowering leaders to take accountability for both talent performance and talent development.

DSM Leadership Model

In 2012 DSM presented a new leadership model that specifies the characteristics expected from leaders now and in the future in a simple, understandable and compelling way. The DSM Leadership Model provides a common vision and language regarding the leadership DSM desires, and it describes an inspirational mindset to raise the bar on the performance of leaders and to grow people. The model sets out the expectation for leaders to be role models and developers of a sustainable, successful organization for the future. It is the basis for high quality processes to hire people, to grow and develop talent and build high performing teams.

The DSM Leadership Model consists of five imperatives. First, DSM expects its leaders to have:

  • Insight - being a leader in DSM starts with having insight into oneself and others. DSM expects its leaders to recognize the strengths and the development areas of themselves and others by listening, asking questions, observing, and dealing with feedback. And then: learn and act accordingly.

Secondly, DSM expects its leaders to:

  • Shape by setting the direction and targets based on vision, driven by external orientation and a view on competences and options. Use an entrepreneurial approach with passion and a sense of urgency and show a relentless drive for performance, continuous improvement, innovation and business growth.
  • Connect internally and externally, forge collaboration whilst leveraging the benefits of ‘ONE DSM’ and build relationships based upon a genuine, authentic and motivational trust and interest in people, with respect and humility based on self-insights and a deep understanding of others.

Thirdly, DSM expect its leaders to:

  • Develop themselves and others, recognize and take ownership for leadership and talent development and delivery, and maximize the power of inclusion and diversity to build high performance teams.
  • Deliver against ambitious targets and commitments and take accountability for performance, empowering people to act with speed and agility. Celebrate and reward successes and learn openly from failures. Show a drive to win and be decisive.

DSM is now working on the full roll-out of the DSM Leadership Model, encompassing training and integration of its leadership model in all talent management processes.

Organizational learning

DSM strongly believes in the need to invest in the knowledge, skills and experience of its employees to ensure their long-term employability. The company provides its employees with various kinds of learning opportunities, including classroom and virtual programs, on-the-job training, coaching and mentoring. The DSM Learning Architecture consists of four program clusters: executive programs, management programs, functional programs and e-learning programs.

This architecture creates a common and coherent concept of learning and program design, facilitates the development of a DSM learning culture and provides enhanced learning for talent. The programs are designed and delivered in close cooperation with leading international business schools and global training providers (IMD, Wharton, Erasmus University) and are supported by a diverse internal faculty, primarily consisting of DSM’s top management. Other learning methods such as round table discussions, business simulations, virtual classrooms, web-casting and team assignments are integrated into the programs.

This enables interactive knowledge sharing and stimulates peer-to-peer networking in the organization. In 2012 further progress was made in designing and rolling out new curricula for marketing, sales and innovation. In addition a brand-new offering for DSM talent, the Bright Talent Program, was launched, reconfirming DSM's commitment to talent development. In 2012, 19 new programs were designed and introduced, bringing the total number of available learning programs to 96 across three different regions: Europe, Asia and the Americas.

In 2012, a total of 3,706 DSM employees worldwide (from 35 different countries; 2,239 male and 1,467 female) participated in the learning programs of the DSM Business Academy (DBA). This is an increase of 21 percent compared to 2011. The total number of programs delivered in 2012 was 212.

Program portfolio
Available programs 2012
Available programs 2011
Executive programs
Management programs
Functional programs
e-Learning programs

In addition to the DBA offerings, DSM employees at all levels in the organization are offered a wide variety of training opportunities (both on-the-job and classroom training). The number of training hours per employee decreased from 28 in 2011 to 24 in 2012. The previously reported number for training hours in 2011 has been adjusted.

Training per FTE

Workforce composition

Inclusion & Diversity

The number of women in executive positions (40) remained at the same level, 10 percent, as in 2011. This will require attention going forward. In addition to recruiting female executives from the external market, DSM also makes an effort to recruit female executives from its internal pool of women candidates.

The growth of the non-European executive population, relative to the growth of DSM in high growth economies, will also continue to demand full attention from the businesses and regional organizations. DSM has defined inclusion and diversity aspirations (in terms of gender and nationality) for its business groups for the period 2011-2015 to ensure that its organizational readiness is in line with its stretched growth ambitions for 2015. DSM continues to address the geographical distribution of management and other key functions, with a keen eye on gender and nationality balance. In this respect it can also be noted that new appointments to the Supervisory Board contributed to gender and nationality balance.

Inclusion & Diversity aspirations

As part of its strategy DSM in motion: driving focused growth, the company in 2012 defined the following aspirations for Inclusion & Diversity:

  • Women in executive positions: 21% by 2015
  • BRIC+ nationals in executive positions: 24% by 2015
  • Inclusion Index: year-on-year improvement

See also: Strategic targets and aspirations.

The role of the DSM Inclusion & Diversity Council, chaired by DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma, is to facilitate inclusion and diversity at DSM and to ultimately support all DSM businesses in creating a sustainable inclusive environment, where diversity is fully embraced. This Council is strongly aligned with DSM’s internationalization efforts to make further progress with the company-wide ONE DSM Culture Agenda.

Gender diversityWorkforce diversityExecutive hiresProfessional hiresNew hires by region

New employees

The total inflow of new employees into DSM in 2012 was 2,073 not including the inflow of employees due to acquisitions. As a result of acquisitions a total of 1,493 people were added to DSM's workforce in 2012.

In 2012, DSM recruited a total of 719 professionals (graduates and experienced hires), of whom 41 percent were women. The company wants to keep its focus on the diversity of these hires (nationality/gender) and build a strong diverse talent pipeline to achieve sufficient 'diverse critical mass' in the organization. DSM wants to improve its labor market positioning as an employer of choice, to ensure that the company is an attractive career option for talented individuals across all groups of potential employees.

Employees by age categoryNet sales per employeeOutflow of employees

Outflow of employees

The total outflow of employees at DSM in 2012 was 2,189. A total of 225 employees retired, 1,094 resigned of their own will and, sadly, 22 employees passed away. In 2012, a total of 507 employees were requested to leave the company for non-performance or non-compliance reasons. A further 323 were made redundant due to reorganizations that took place across DSM in 2012. A part of the outflow (18 employees in total) was related to divestments.

International labor standards

Respect for people is an essential part of the business principles outlined in the DSM Code of Business Conduct that DSM launched in 2010. DSM supports and respects human values as outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. DSM’s employees represent about 50 different nationalities and the company supports the equal treatment of all employees irrespective of race, nationality, ethnic background, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. Respect for human rights is also integral to DSM’s sourcing policy and Supplier Code of Conduct. DSM utterly rejects and condemns any form of forced labor or child labor. This is clearly stated in the DSM Code of Business Conduct. DSM conducts due diligence before making any investment decisions in order to exclude, among other things, any relationships or practices which may be in contravention of human rights. DSM is unaware of any cases of breach of human rights or the use of forced or child labor within its operations in 2012.

DSM is a Dutch signatory to the United Nations Global Compact. DSM also meets the recommendations made in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Furthermore, DSM supports the work-related rights defined by the ILO (International Labor Organization) and recognizes the International Labor Standards. In countries or businesses where employees have third-party representation via a works council or collective bargaining, DSM respects these relationships and works with these third parties in a mutually respectful manner. See also: Stakeholder engagement.

In the event of an organizational restructuring that results in the loss of a significant number of jobs, DSM develops and implements either a social program (aimed at assisting employees to continue in employment, whether inside or outside the company) or else a severance program. DSM promotes employee empowerment and human rights protection and therefore seeks dialogue with its employees and their representatives (works councils, labor unions). See also: People at DSM .

DSM Code of Business Conduct

The DSM Code of Business Conduct, as introduced in 2010, contains the company’s business principles across the three dimensions of People, Planet and Profit. All DSM employees are expected to act in accordance with the Code, and the Managing Board holds DSM management accountable for compliance therewith. The full text of the DSM Code of Business Conduct is available on

The code serves as an umbrella for several other DSM regulations, such as those regarding global trade controls and global competition law principles and practices. The implementation of these regulations is structurally embedded in DSM’s systems and processes. For example, as part of the global trade controls process, DSM master data is screened overnight to check customers and suppliers against embargoes and lists of sanctioned parties. Furthermore, compliance with competition law and trade controls is being addressed via regular classroom training sessions and e-learning. Those employees who are most exposed to competition laws have to complete an annual statement to confirm their compliance with the rules set forth in the DSM Competition Law Compliance Manual. In 2012 DSM was not subject to any investigations by competition authorities related to potential anticompetitive behavior.

DSM also has rules in place on the holding of and execution of transactions in DSM financial instruments and certain other financial instruments related to trading in DSM shares and if applicable other company shares and related financial instruments, which apply to all DSM employees, including members of the Managing Board and Supervisory Board.

DSM applies zero-tolerance consequence management with respect to deliberate violation of its Code of Business Conduct policy. A whistleblower procedure (DSM Alert) and a consequence management policy are in place to support compliance with the Code. The DSM Compliance Officer responsible for dealing with violations of the DSM Code of Business Conduct reports to the CEO and is invited to report independently to the Supervisory Board once a year. Proven violations of the Code can result in dismissal. In line with this policy, 28 employees were requested to leave the company because they had breached the Code of Conduct or other legal or local company regulations, for example by committing fraud or theft.

Safety and health

Occupational safety

For the first time since mid-2009 DSM’s safety performance is showing clear improvement. The Frequency Index of Recordable Injuries for 2012 was the lowest ever, thanks to an improvement of DSM's safety culture and performance, among other things by securing compliance with the Life Saving Rules.

It is DSM’s goal to have an injury and incident free working environment. DSM has set itself the target of reducing the Frequency Index of recordable injuries by 50 percent or more by the year 2020, from 0.57 in 2010 to less than or equal to 0.25 in 2020. This index measures Lost Workday Cases (LWCs), restricted workday cases, medical treatment cases and/or fatalaties per 100 DSM employees and contractor employees in one year. At the end of 2012 this Frequency Index was 0.44 (2011: 0.53).

The Frequency Index of Lost Workday Cases involving DSM employees was 0.12 in 2012 (2011: 0.15). By 2020 the number of serious safety incidents should be reduced by 65 percent compared to 2010, when there were 15 such incidents. In 2012, the number of serious safety incidents was 7 (4 DSM employees and 3 contractor employees). The third quarter of 2012 was the first quarter ever in DSM’s history during which no serious safety incidents occurred.

The improvements are attributable to increased efforts at all levels and in all disciplines in the organization to focus on safe work practices. The renewed implementation of the Life Saving Rules was a major program in 2012. Although aimed at preventing very serious accidents (fatalities), the reintroduction of these Life Saving Rules resulted in a general increase in safety awareness. Management attention and leadership as well as peer-to-peer and other audits further enhanced the focus on safe work practices. This resulted in in-depth discussions with the people involved in activities to which the Life Saving Rules apply, leading to improved general awareness as well as practical solutions for safety issues encountered. The Life Saving Rules are now also introduced in all new organizations that join DSM through acquisitions. The company has set ambitious safety targets and continues its journey towards creating a workplace free of incidents and injuries. See also: What still went wrong in 2012.

e-Learning courses

In 2012 two e-learning courses for all employees and contractor employees were issued in eight languages. One course introduces the DSM Life Saving Rules and the other gives an overview of SHE and security at DSM. Both courses are mandatory for all employees.

Safety in logistics

In 2012 DSM paid extra attention to load securing. Poorly secured loads are dangerous not only during transport but also during unloading operations at customers’ premises or DSM sites. Despite this extra attention, DSM still experienced near-misses and incidents relating to poorly secured loads in 2012. The company’s overall SHE performance in logistics further improved compared to 2011. The number of safety incidents in the supply chain once again decreased and reached its lowest level ever: 16 cases (compared to 24 in 2011). Currently, about 12.5 percent of safety cases are supply chain related. The main causes are ergonomic issues (spraining muscles and joints when moving heavy objects or when moving things in an uncomfortable position).

Process safety

As of 2011, DSM follows the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) guidance in defining which incidents qualify as process safety incidents (PSI). Of the total number of incidents reported, 162 (2011: 173) have also been classified as a process safety incident. This translates into a Frequency Index for PSI of 0.55 (2011: 0.58). The performance is similar to last year. DSM’s targets for reducing the Frequency Index for PSI are 50 percent in 2015 and 75 percent in 2020, starting with a baseline Frequency Index of 0.68.

When it comes to reporting on process safety incidents there currently are two approaches commonly used. One has been developed in the US and has been condensed in Recommended Practice 754 of the American Petroleum Institute. The other has been developed in Europe, condensed in a CEFIC guidance. Although the principles of these approaches are similar, the results are not comparable. DSM is of the opinion that this reduces transparency on process safety performance to its stakeholders and is in favor of migrating to a harmonized, globally applicable approach for reporting on process safety performance. DSM is working with organizations like CEFIC and EPSC (European Process Safety Centre) and has contributed to process safety conferences in Brazil, Argentina and Germany. DSM is member of an ICCA Task Force to develop a harmonized international approach.

Global Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Conference

On 12 and 13 June 2012, Corporate Operations & Responsible Care hosted a global DSM SHE Conference in Noordwijk (Netherlands) around the theme of ‘Creating our legacy; a never ending journey’. Attendees included 135 line managers from all levels in the company and experts on Safety, Health, Environment and Sustainability representing DSM locations all over the world. The participants rated the conference 4.5 out of 5, which illustrates the successful set-up. The attention paid to storytelling and sharing personal experiences very much appealed to those present. The program included panel discussions with external keynote speakers and DSM top managers, as well as break-out sessions. One of the keynote lectures was about health and focused on how employees can sustainably improve their personal performance. The conference underlined the importance of employee health and indicated that a sustainable employee health and wellness program should be an integral part of every DSM site’s SHE plan.

SHE Award and SHE Improvement Award

To stimulate excellence in the field of SHE, DSM annually grants a SHE Award to the DSM site that showed the best SHE performance, and a SHE Improvement Award to the site that has made the greatest progress in improving its SHE performance over a number of years. All business groups were invited to nominate sites or other parts of their organization for these awards. The nominees are ranked on the basis of approximately 30 criteria. Besides SHE elements, these include sustainability aspects, for example how the unit has supported the local community. The winner of the SHE Award receives a bronze sculpture and a check of €10,000, to be spent on the local community. This reflects the importance that DSM attaches to the communities around its sites. To emphasize the importance of the awards, a member of the Managing Board hands over the prizes to the winning organizations. In 2012, DSM Nutritional Products in Dalry, Scotland (United Kingdom) won the SHE Award and donated its prize to the MacMillan Cancer Support Ayrshire. DSM Engineering Plastics in Evansville, Indiana (USA) won the SHE Improvement Award.

Employee health management

DSM has a global employee health management program, Vitality@DSM. Participants are offered a Vitality Check (an extensive periodic medical check-up) and are asked to fill out an electronic questionnaire. This provides DSM employees with a personal scorecard, and the company with anonymized, tangible and quantitative data on health at work. This enables the company to monitor progress through performance indicators, compare results by region as a basis for defining the content and priorities of health promotion campaigns at site and regional level, and create scorecards at relevant levels in the company. Vitality@DSM fits the company’s mission very well as it creates ‘brighter lives’ for the employees and addresses one of the global trends, Health and Wellness, defined in DSM’s strategy for the years 2010-2015. The roll-out in the Netherlands started in 2009 and was virtually completed in 2012. The program is also being piloted in DSM China, DSM India and DSM North-America. The implementation in the various regions is a joint effort of the DSM Netherlands Occupational Health Center, Corporate Operations & Responsible Care and the business groups.

One of the key focus areas of Vitality@DSM is to increase awareness about the importance of healthy choices in lifestyle. Therefore, employees are invited to set their personal goals, and are being coached individually. This has been combined with comprehensive health check-ups. The role of departments overall is to support making action plans with the objective of improving individual and group performances.

At the end of 2012 nearly 7,000 DSM employees all over the world had participated in Vitality@DSM. Participation rates at all sites where the program has been introduced vary from 65 percent to 95 percent. The scorecard gives an overview of how the various business groups and business units perform with respect to 'Health at Work'. Overall, the highest risks according to the scorecard relate to lack of exercise, a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 25 and low satisfaction and high stress at work. Several DSM units that had already participated in Vitality@DSM defined the content and priorities of health promotion campaigns at site level in 2012. This follow-up is very important to make Vitality@DSM sustainable. The scorecard is presented to business group and business unit management each quarter.

Occupational health

In 2012 a total of 13 occupational health cases were reported.


FloraGLO® is a trademark of Kemin Industries, Inc., a DSM business partner.