How Sappi Measured Success for Its People in 2017

Jul 6, 2018 3:00 PM ET

At Sappi North America, we are committed to operating our businesses in a sustainable manner. Together with the 2020Vision— Sappi’s global growth strategy—we use our sustainability goals program to set targets, initiate improvement actions and monitor progress.

Achieve Zero Workplace Injuries

Employee safety is a top priority at Sappi North America and is guided by our Project Zero initiative, which sets a goal of zero workplace safety incidents. Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) is one important measure for tracking work-related incidents resulting in injuries that reduce an employee’s physical capabilities. It measures injuries resulting in lost time per one-million work hours.

In 2017, we achieved an LTIFR of 0.43 which ties our best-ever reported performance (also achieved in 2013) and represents a 38% improvement over our performance in 2016. The LTIFR benchmark for the top quartile of performance for US paper mills is 0.6. In addition, the achievements of the Cloquet Mill were recognized by our trade association, AF&PA, with a Sustainability Award for leadership in safety. Our converting facility in Allentown and the Technology Center once again closed out the year with zero incidents.

Offer 60 Training Hours Per Year, Per Employee

Maintaining a skilled workforce is critical to achieving high performance in our complex manufacturing operations and business management systems. We continue our commitment to employee training, and in 2017, we achieved an average of 80 hours of training per employee, which is consistent with the prior year and well ahead of our goal.

In preparation for the rebuild of Paper Machine 1 at Somerset Mill, comprehensive educational efforts are already underway. The training programs include both hourly and salaried personnel and cover the new equipment, new products, and customer expectations and needs as we enter a new business segment.

We’re hiring new employees at a high rate due to retirements, so it is critical to our success that employees continue to receive the appropriate level of value-adding skills and safety training.

Promote Employee Engagement

We established targets for two metrics from the Willis Towers Watson employee engagement survey, which we undertake every two years across all of Sappi Limited.

Using 2015 as the baseline year, we have committed to publicly reporting two key metrics from the survey: total survey participation and level of sustainable engagement.

We measure levels of sustainable engagement by examining employee responses to a set of seven questions that cover a range of topics, including commitment to company goals, willingness to exert discretionary effort, having the resources to achieve high work performance, and accomplishments and recognition.

With our 2015 baseline year in mind, we had a goal of increasing survey participation by 2 percentage points to 67 percent in 2017. We surpassed that goal with a 71 percent participation rate—a 6 percentage point increase. Several locations achieved 100 percent participation.

We also aimed to increase the sustainable engagement goal by 2 percentage points to 74 percent. We surpassed that goal as well by reaching a level of sustainable engagement of 77 percent.

Read more from Sappi North America's 2017 Sustainability Report here: