2016 has been a significant year for Vectura not least as a result of the merger with Skyepharma. This unity has resulted in a strengthened workforce, based across six sites and four countries with invaluable diversity of skills, knowledge and experience. Our talent pipeline has been significantly enhanced and we have been delighted with the shared passion, drive and unwavering focus on our purpose – to transform the lives of airways disease patients.
Following the merger we have embarked on a journey to create a defined culture for the combined business that will enable us to continue to meet the needs of our stakeholders and achieve our strategy. This culture leverages the strengths of our combined Company by amplifying our strongest qualities and uniting us with a common language. Our culture is comprised of our purpose, our values, our mindset and our behaviours.
We believe that having empowered and engaged people is fundamental to success, and therefore we have adopted a highly inclusive approach to defining our culture, with high levels of participation and feedback from our employees achieved through surveys, workshops and an online digital discussion forum. The digital forum alone generated 1,089 comments and 85,000 hits over a 32-hour period. We have also collated feedback from a number of our partners, to ensure that we take an “outside in” perspective to how we define our culture.
The output of this activity will be collated and launched in 2017 but it is clear from the insight already gathered that we have many core strengths, shared ambitions and shared values upon which to build.
After the merger we have continued to encourage and reinforce our existing values through our formal policies and procedures, our performance management process and the “People’s Champion” award. The “People’s Champion” is an annual award which allows our employees to recognise and reward those individuals who have acted as a behavioural role model, demonstrating our values in a way that has inspired and engaged their colleagues.
We have translated our culture into a set of key behaviours. These behaviours help us understand and embrace what we are trying to achieve as well as support and challenge ourselves and each other to live the defined culture
"transforming the lives of airways disease patients"
Creative opportunities to improve lives including patients and each other
Vectura encourages diversity, in its widest sense, throughout all levels of the organisation and recognises the positive impact of diversity towards our overall success. We believe that individual effectiveness depends on ability, behaviour, performance and evidenced potential and we remain committed to offering career opportunities without discrimination. Our commitment to equal opportunities, diversity and non-discrimination is enshrined in our working practices and policies as set out in our Code of Conduct. Group policies, revisions to policies and other items of interest are communicated via email and through the Group intranet, with policies provided in the principal languages spoken by employees of the Group. We operate on the basis of mutual respect and we do not tolerate discrimination or harassment on any basis. Our Code of Conduct covers all permanent and temporary employees, including Executive and Non-Executive Directors, job applicants, agency staff, associates, consultants and contractors.
We give full and fair consideration to every job application we receive. Vectura has not set formal diversity quotas or targets and all appointments, both internal and external, are ultimately made on the basis of merit. Where possible, we support part-time and flexible working, with around 20.85% of our employees benefiting from some kind of flexible working practice. James Ward-Lilley, our Chief Executive Officer, is the Board member responsible for overseeing human resources and non-discrimination issues.
Women constituted 50.3% (2015/16: 51.6%) of the Group’s employees, including 33.9% (2015/16: 25.8%) of the management who report to the Chief Executive Officer.
Effective and engaging communication remains at the heart of our internal communication strategy, and is increasingly important during a period of significant change for our business. In an industry based on innovation and research and development, our employees are our biggest asset and it is therefore critical that we forge strong connections through timely and meaningful communication; we aim to achieve this through:
We use the feedback obtained from the processes and activities outlined above to determine key priority areas for improvement going forward and we regularly communicate our progress. We monitor our employee turnover on a monthly basis to identify any possible employee relations or motivational issues and to assist in our recruitment and resource planning. We are pleased to report that a significant number of our employees have five or more years’ continuous service.
During 2017, we will continue to review employee communication channels to identify opportunities for continuous improvement.
Attracting and retaining skilled people with values aligned to our ethos is critical for our business and we aim to develop and maintain a motivated and professional workforce. As such, we recognise the importance of investing in our people, ensuring that they are equipped to deliver in their current and future roles within the business. In addition to investment in general training and development, Vectura offers all employees the opportunity to apply for scholarship funding. The Vocational Qualification Award provides substantial financial assistance to those who wish to pursue further self-development, largely in their own time. Any course that would significantly enhance an employee’s skills whilst benefiting Vectura is considered.
In order to provide opportunities for shared learning, we provide interactive educational seminars every two months which are hosted by internal subject matter experts and external speakers.We also facilitate cross-company information sharing, teamwork and learning via our annual “Vision” event. This event enables individuals and teams to promote their work to their colleagues using innovative and creative visual imagery, with an element of constructive competitiveness engendered by a panel of judges who select and reward the strongest entries. In 2016, this event was subsumed within Day one of our newly merged Company where we brought employees together and facilitated cross-company networking and feedback at the very start of our integration journey. In addition, more patient-focused learning, innovation and collaboration were facilitated during Q1 2017 when we hosted our formal integration event over two days in London.
Remuneration plays an important role in retaining and motivating our people. We seek to provide well constructed and fair reward systems designed to incentivise superior performance and align the interests of our employees with those of our shareholders. Following the merger, we are reviewing our Reward Strategy and intend to harmonise our terms and conditions to the fullest extent possible within local legislative parameters. Harmonisation will take place in 2017 and will be aligned to our newly defined values and behaviours to ensure that our reward practices will both reinforce and embed our target culture. Current remuneration packages contain a variable element based on legacy terms of the two businesses, but include an element of variable remuneration in the form of an annual bonus for many of our employees.
The annual bonus allows us to reward employees for achieving and exceeding challenging corporate and individual objectives. In addition to our remuneration packages, which include a pension entitlement, permanent health insurance and life assurance and private medical care, all UK employees are given the opportunity to participate in our all-employee share plans. The Group intends to offer similar plans for our overseas employees. For more details of our all-employee share plans, please refer to the Remuneration report.
Talent management is another key component in the attraction and retention of motivated and highly skilled employees. On an annual basis, the Executive Leadership Team reviews the succession plan, identifying the “high potential” employees who are the future leaders of our business and ensures appropriate retention, support and personal development planning is in place. We also use this process to identify our “key professionals”, those employees who have highly specialist skills and/or knowledge to ensure appropriate knowledge transfer and other risk mitigation plans are in place. This process will be rolled out across the combined organisation in 2017.