Keeping our employees engaged with our Company overall, and encouraging them to stay connected with their peers and their communities, is an essential component of our people strategy here at Ford. We believe it’s important to communicate with our workforce in ways that are open and transparent. We do so through a variety of forums, from “town hall” meetings to intranet surveys and chats, from joint labor/management committees to diversity councils. For example, we work closely with our employees’ unions to develop agreements and governance plans through a collective bargaining process. Policies and procedures involving information, consultation and negotiations with employees over changes in our operations (e.g., reorganizations, plant shutdowns, employee transfers and reductions) are negotiated with the appropriate union. In addition, joint labor-management committees are set up at each plant to give employees an opportunity to influence working conditions and practices.
For our salaried employees, most of whom are not covered by union agreements, we have a strong Code of Conduct and comprehensive Policy Letters and Directives covering topics, including diversity, relevant to our employees. We also practice regular two-way communication with all employees through weekly webcasts, quarterly town hall meetings, manager-to-employee business cascades, surveys and informal communications, and we survey our salaried employees annually using the Global Pulse survey.
Our employees are also our global customers, and they can be strong ambassadors for our products. In Dearborn, information sessions called “Drive Events” are held to give employees the opportunity to test drive yet-to-be-released vehicles. This lets the employees see how our products are meeting the needs of customers, while providing factual information about the vehicles. Our employees can then promote the vehicles to their friends and families, which, in turn, can increase sales and help to strengthen the Ford brand.
Recently, we also have been using employees to help us with beta testing. In late 2011, for example, about 1,000 Ford employees began testing a software upgrade to MyFord Touch™. Employees are a terrific source of real-world feedback for us, and they’re typically eager to help. The upgraded system will launch with 2013 models of the new Ford Escape, Taurus and Flex, and will be applied to existing vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch, including the Ford Explorer, Edge and Focus.
Our employee resource groups also conduct a number of events and initiatives each year to engage our employees, provide product insights and reach out to our communities.
We also believe it’s important to engage our people within the communities in which we operate. Each year, we offer ways for thousands of our employees and retirees to participate in volunteer programs. We see these programs as not only critical to helping those in need, but pivotal to inspiring and energizing our employees around volunteerism and community service. Through these community initiatives, we support teamwork and build a sense of shared purpose and commitment. For more information, see the Community section.