Developing Talented People
Workplace of Choice
To best serve our customers, we must recruit, develop and reward highly talented people in all parts of the world.
For the Road Ahead:
- We create a workplace of choice by adhering to a responsible employer philosophy, which includes commitments to create job opportunities, pay workers fairly, ensure safety and promote wellness.
- Our seven GM behaviors are the foundation of our culture and the basis against which we assess employee performance.
- Benefits such as paid parental leave, wellness programs, flextime scheduling and telecommuting arrangements help ensure a healthy work-life balance.
- We respect our employees’ right to freedom of association in all countries, and, in 2019, ratified a new four-year labor agreement covering employees at 55 UAW-represented sites across the U.S.
- Competing for top talent against other automakers and technology companies
- Investing in GM people and their development across the business cycle
- Transitioning workers among vehicle programs to align the business with shifts in consumer preferences and minimize worker displacement
- Increasing our employee engagement survey scores
GM’s people will always be our greatest strength. In order to stay competitive and relevant as a company, we must attract and retain the brightest talent around the world.
Today, we compete for that talent against other automotive companies and, increasingly, against businesses in other sectors, such as technology. To win and keep talent, we must provide a workplace culture that encourages employee behaviors aligned with our values, fulfills their long-term individual aspirations and achieves full engagement.
We do this by adhering to a responsible employer philosophy, which includes commitments to create job opportunities, pay workers fairly, ensure safety and promote wellness. GM pays a living wage. GM also offers quality health care coverage to all our employees, 401(k) plans with matches and paid time off to cover vacations, sick leave, parental leave and military leave. We also protect workers from harmful and hazardous conditions by adhering to strict health and safety standards.
Our efforts to be a responsible employer have been recognized for the past two years by the JUST 100, a list developed JUST Capital that ranks companies on the issues that Americans care about. The criteria for inclusion on the JUST 100 come directly from a survey of more than 80,000 Americans, and the number-one priority for survey participants is that they want to see fair treatment of workers from the nation’s biggest businesses. Our inclusion on the list and increasing rank since 2017 is a useful barometer to demonstrate that when it comes to people, GM is doing the right things.
The hiring and retention of top talent is always a strategic priority and, increasingly, a challenging one. Continued strength in the economy and a heated job market mean that the best-qualified candidates are likely entertaining multiple job options. In addition, our increasing focus on technologies such as connectivity, autonomous and artificial intelligence, to name a few, requires us to compete not only against other automotive companies but also leading companies from the technology sector.
Our recruitment efforts are often the responsibility of internal talent acquisition teams, who we believe are best able to convey GM’s strengths and stories in a personal, engaging way. We reach out to prospective employees via social media and bring our purpose to life with the Made for More Employee Value Proposition.
Colleges and universities remain an important source of talented recruits. To build connections with students, we sponsor and partner with numerous universities across the country. We also are the only automaker to partner with SoFi, an online personal finance company, to help eligible U.S. employees refinance their student loans. In addition, the Take 2 internship program for parents, caregivers and/or trailing spouses with backgrounds in engineering, manufacturing and other technical areas provides a valuable reentry point for individuals who have spent time out of the job market.
GM’s approach to employee engagement is simple: Generate a positive work environment to drive long-term success by creating a place where employees feel inspired to do their best work and feel valued for doing it. We strive every day to engage our employees in a meaningful way so that we may further instill our Purpose and Values into our global workforce. Today, we are strengthening our corporate culture by giving GM employees five things they need, not only as employees, but also as individuals:
- To be valued and to do valuable work.
- To make their time count rather than to be counted.
- To know that their leaders know how much effort their work takes.
- To know what skills will keep them in critical roles or what roles are giving them critical skills.
- To be provided with the truth behind business decisions and strategy rather than protection from change.
Our objective is to create a workplace of choice built on dimensions that are consistently demonstrated by best-in-class companies: teamwork, fairness, trust, growth, commitment, recognition and impact.
Spotlight on Engineering Talent
To make our electric and autonomous vehicle aspirations a reality, GM must recruit the best engineering talent in the world. We remain engaged in a global war for talent alongside not only other automakers, but also large technology companies and startups. GM is succeeding in our recruitment and retention efforts by going to where the talent is. New hubs in Silicon Valley; Markham, Ontario; Israel and more have allowed us to grow our software engineering footprint and mix. Today, more than half of our product group workforce has been with GM for five years or fewer.
We’re also rebuilding our engineering teams from within as part of GM’s enterprise transformation. Over the past several years, we have integrated propulsion and vehicle engineers as well as hardware and software engineers under a true one-team mentality. By removing barriers between our talented engineering teams, we can work more quickly and efficiently to solve some of the most complex engineering challenges of our time.
Employee performance is measured against our seven GM behaviors for employees. The GM Recognition program reinforces these cultural behaviors and is used to recognize employees who demonstrate any one of our behaviors in their daily work. Using an online platform, fellow employees and leaders can make the recognitions and provide certain rewards for living our values, building our culture and for outstanding work. We know that top talent is attracted to companies that are recognized externally for being among the best or most admired in the world.
We measure engagement through our global Workplace of Choice survey, which includes both salaried and hourly workers. A key metric associated with this survey is the percentage of employees who participate, which has shown steady improvement and, at 87 percent in 2018 for our salaried employees, was above best-in-class. Together with our hourly employees, more than two-thirds of our total workforce voluntarily participated in that survey to share feedback and perspective on GM as their employer of choice. We strive for continuous improvement in engagement scores. To this end, GM’s senior leadership team and senior executives are given aspirational engagement targets, beginning in 2020. We also assigned all leaders of GM salaried employees a common 2020 performance management goal in order to emphasize their role in creating an engaged workplace culture. To help gauge progress toward meeting this goal, we send all global salaried employees an internally administered “Pulse” survey periodically. The Pulse survey enables us to better understand progress on known drivers of engagement, as well as to help refine action plans as needed.
To help gauge progress toward meeting this goal, we send all global salaried employees an internally administered “Pulse” survey periodically. The Pulse survey enables us to better understand progress on known drivers of engagement, as well as to help refine action plans as needed. Our first Pulse survey in 2019 focused on careers. We learned that more than three-quarters of employees believed they were given assignments to help them develop, while one-half to one-third of employees agreed that they have meaningful career conversations with their leaders. This finding led to leaders being held accountable for having conversations with employees as part of their performance goals as well the creation of guides to help improve the quality of the conversation. A second Pulse survey in 2019 was focused on Resources. More than two-thirds of employees agreed that they had access to information, training, technology, and feedback to successfully perform their role. Pulsing will continue on a regular cadence in 2020.
Career development is one of the top concerns for our employees around the world. We continue to increase the number and variety of career resources available to help employees grow their careers within GM. Formal performance management and individual tools for employees to use on their own are helping us address employee retention and development. Offering competitive benefits and promoting work-life balance further allows us to retain employees and enables the greatest possible returns on our investments in talent.
Our development process is available to employees at all levels, from new hires to senior executives. Crucially, this process is not prescriptive. We provide guidance and offer diverse opportunities, while encouraging employees to build skills and gain experiences that interest them most. We offer programs in partnership with academic institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and the University of Michigan. These programs bring new perspectives on matters such as creativity and design thinking that are preparing employees for emerging trends in our industry. GM-specific programs like JumpStart for new hires and Crucial Conversations for people leaders remain popular and effective, building both on-the-job competencies and coaching on skills like communication and trust.
- In 2019, GM’s total turnover rate was 10.7 percent, 4.7 percent of which was voluntary. Attrition data is U.S. Salary and Hourly population. Total turnover rate increased due to GM Separation Program in early 2019.
Benefits that help new hires balance their jobs with other aspects of their lives increase GM’s appeal. For example, our paid parental leave applies to all U.S. salaried employees, offering mothers, fathers and adoptive parents two weeks of paid leave in addition to the six to eight weeks allowed of disability leave for birth mothers. Both parents are also eligible to apply for up to two years of Dependent Care Leave, which, while unpaid, provides a job guarantee for up to one year.
GM places more emphasis on accomplishing work-related tasks than on spending a certain number of hours in the office. This improves employees’ work-life balance and enables them to address personal needs while still completing their work. In job assignments that are compatible, and with leadership approval, we allow flextime scheduling to accommodate individuals who prefer to start their workday early, as well as those who have reasons for working late. GM also allows telecommuting arrangements through which employees complete work away from a GM worksite and connect with their coworkers through email, telephone and web meetings. This can be an effective work arrangement for individuals who face a long commute between their home and worksite, or those who have personal responsibilities that require their presence at home for specific periods of time.
Health and well-being programs, such as on-site fitness facilities and a health concerns hotline, help us both attract talent and reap the benefits of a healthier workforce.
The LifeSteps employee wellness program helps employees take an active role in their health. It provides U.S. salaried employees and their eligible family members with a broad range of tools for health education, risk identification, personal coaching, goal setting and tracking. Users can access this information using a dedicated program website and receive monthly communications on health topics such as nutrition, fitness and stress management.
When employees achieve agreed-upon objectives for a healthy lifestyle, such as providing certification of an annual preventive physical exam, they can receive cash incentives and/or Health Savings Account contributions. In 2019, 84 percent of eligible employees received this LifeSteps incentive.
We respect our employees’ right to freedom of association in all countries and comply with our obligation to satisfy all local labor laws and regulations. GM works with about 33 unions globally, representing approximately 64 percent of our global workforce covered by collective bargaining agreements. In 2019, GM ratified a new four-year labor agreement covering employees at 55 UAW-represented sites across the U.S. The new agreement provides GM hourly workers with a world-class wage, benefit and profit-sharing package, rewarding their hard work and supporting families and communities across the U.S.
GM’s relationships with labor unions are generally healthy and stable business partnerships. Consistent with our respect for employees and their bargaining representatives, we have worked collaboratively with our union partners to realize significant increases in performance.
We manage our labor relations regionally, with a global focus. The labor relations responsibility is held by the global manufacturing leader, with partnerships that go to the highest level of the GM organization. Regular meetings are held with our union partners, starting with quarterly meetings between our CEO and UAW leadership. Regional vice presidents of manufacturing enjoy face-to-face meetings with the unions when visiting the manufacturing sites globally, and plant managers around the globe discuss business issues on a daily basis with local unions. These meetings provide critical input to making business decisions in a dynamic environment where schedules, economic swings and products are changing. GM leadership devotes time to work productively with our union partners. This spirit of collaboration continues even during challenging times.
The way we manage labor relations is evolving as the nature of unions and the interactions among them evolve around the world. We work to share best practices and solutions among regions. As an example, our labor experts from our developed markets often mentor and advise labor personnel in emerging markets.
Our responsible employment philosophy extends to when workers are displaced because of a plant production adjustment. As an example, during GM’s workforce transition in 2018, we were able to provide job opportunities for all U.S. hourly employees impacted by the changes. Many of these new positions are at plants manufacturing vehicles that are in growth segments. We worked closely with our union partners to offer these opportunities, as well as outplacement services, including job search assistance, career counseling, resume writing and interview skills training for those who chose not to relocate within GM. For those who chose to move, we offered relocation packages to help them with expenses and allowed them to retain their seniority and benefits. In Canada, we worked with local organizations to identify thousands of open positions at other manufacturing businesses and connected affected employees with these opportunities.
UN Global Compact
GM is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), which calls upon companies to align their strategies and operations with universal principles on such matters as labor, human rights, the environment and anticorruption. As a UNGC signatory, GM agrees to uphold the Ten Principles derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. GM’s participation in the UNGC underscores our confidence that we are operating in a consistent manner around the world to ensure the proper treatment of all employees.