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Employee Engagement

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 know there is a strong benefit to the business when employees are engaged with their work and encouraged to be creative and innovative. A more engaged work force helps us to attract – and retain – the talent we need to be an industry leader.

We believe it’s important to communicate with our work force in ways that are open and transparent. We do so through a variety of interactive forums, from “town hall” meetings to intranet surveys and chats, from joint labor-management committees to diversity councils. We also use several publications, such as plant newsletters and our @Ford magazine, to communicate the latest information on the state of the company and our products. In recent years, we have also increased our use of social media applications, such as Facebook, to inform and connect with our employees.

This annual Sustainability Report, and the high-level executive summary we produce, are also designed to engage employees and inform them of our efforts in our most material sustainability issues. The summary is distributed to employees who receive the @Ford magazine. Employees who are more engaged in sustainability can help us further advance our goals.

For our hourly employees, we work closely with their unions to develop agreements and governance plans over changes in our operations (e.g., reorganizations, plant shutdowns, employee transfers and reductions). Joint labor/management committees are set up at each plant to give employees an opportunity to influence working conditions and practices. Manufacturing operations rely on an aligned and capable organization to engage teams of hourly workers. They strive to build cars and trucks that are “Best in World” and constantly look for opportunities to improve our processes and products.

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 webcasts, executive Q&A sessions between senior leadership and staff who wouldn’t typically have face-to-face meetings with top-level management, quarterly “town hall” meetings, manager-to-employee business cascades, surveys and informal communications. We survey our salaried employees twice annually using the Global Pulse and Engagement survey.

Our employees are also our customers, and they can be strong ambassadors for our products. In Michigan, information sessions called “Go Further Employee Events” are held to give employees the opportunity to view, learn about and 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.

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. (See the Promoting a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce section for more on these groups.)

We 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 Communities section.

Engaging Employees, Engaging Families

What’s one good way to engage employees? By sharing work experiences with loved ones. The Chicago Stamping Plant’s Diversity Team recognized that manufacturing employees seldom have the opportunity to share their work with their families. So they created a new campaign “Bring Your Work to Your Family” – a riff on “Bring Your Kids to Work Day.” A prime feature of the campaign was a book they produced called “The ABCs of the Chicago Stamping Plant,” which covers all aspects of the plant from A to Z. The book also includes family recipes, family trees, historical facts and many pictures, along with an article on the plant’s longest-tenured UAW1 employee. The plant also organized a Family Fun Day and Open House that gave families an opportunity to check out the plant first-hand – something most of them had never been able to do. The event included a plant tour, monster truck exhibition, old and new vehicle displays, a kid’s fun area and musical entertainment.

  1. UAW originally stood for United Auto Workers; the full name today is the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.