Recently I was a guest at the Kamdag for safety experts of various companies in order to clarify AFP’s sustainable employability policy. Innovation and AFP go hand in hand. In 2008 we at AFP started our first exploration of the subject of sustainable employability. After a year of research, many discussions with employees and other companies, we submitted an initial proposal during the 2010 CAO negotiations.
The core of this proposal was that AFP wanted to be an employer that facilitated employees with, among other things, a financial incentive so that the employee could decide for him/herself what he/she needed in order to remain employable on a sustainable basis. We deliberately distanced ourselves from the idea that the employer can determine what is good for someone. In our opinion, this is impossible because we are dealing with adult individuals who can very well determine this for themselves.
Unfortunately, this first proposal did not make it through. It was too fast and too different from what people were used to, because it was mainly measures to be taken (extra days off, other schedules, etc.). After a year and many more conversations, we were able to implement it as of 2012. Since that year, our employees have had access to a personal employability budget that is indexed annually with the increase in the collective labour agreement. This amount is spent annually by all employees on matters relating to personal development, health or balance.
Sustainable employability is a shared responsibility as far as AFP is concerned. As an employer, we must ensure that health and safety issues are technically correct and safe in the workplace. With the personal employability budget we facilitate the individual needs of the AFP employees. We encourage them to think about this regularly and to take responsibility for this important issue. We support this by means of talks by the manager, an extensive Periodic Medical Examination and a sustainability coach who supports employees throughout the year. What do we ask of our employees? That they take seriously their responsibility to remain employable for the contractually agreed activities.
Are we ready now? No, sustainable employability constantly requires new impulses and attention from all those involved.
Madeleine Harmsen – HR Manager AFP