Empowering Employees to Be Successful

keeping_our_employees

GE is a “We Company,” not a “Me Company.” It’s that belief that empowers employees to be successful. 

We work together to take on some of the world’s toughest challenges. Innovation has always been part of GE’s DNA; we take pride in inventing things that matter.

Our collaborative high-performance approach inspires employees to ask tough questions, share best practices and improve every day. Our culture is based on open, two-way communication where we ask for feedback and respond to concerns—we listen.

We believe that how you do something is as important as what you do. You see this in our commitment to integrity, human rights, and the health and safety of our employees. We invest in training our employees and developing leaders no matter where they are in the world or what type of work they do. We offer employees opportunities to exercise their creativity while developing themselves and their careers. 

GE is committed to employing a diverse workforce throughout the world. We know that the success of our business is dependent on the success of our employees. 

GE aggressively safeguards the health and safety of its more than 300,000 employees. Our safety program begins with a commitment to operate according to rigorous internal health and safety standards that meet or exceed the requirements of local laws. The Company’s safety program includes elements that 1) create a culture of operational safety ownership; 2) protect employees from high-risk chemical operations; 3) defend against human error; 4) drive employee engagement; and 5) allow the Company to learn from incidents that do occur.

Operational Ownership

GE believes that workplace safety begins with a strong culture of operational safety ownership. Accordingly, while GE employs a talented and experienced network of safety professionals, it places primary responsibility for safety upon its operating managers. GE tracks real-time health and safety metrics at every one of its facilities and operating units, and holds its operating managers accountable for their results.

GE educates its managers on the Company’s safety expectations through its Operations Manager EHS Training course (OMT). During this intense two-day program, new GE managers learn the principles of safety leadership, worker engagement and incident analysis.

To reinforce operational ownership, GE’s operating managers regularly deliver presentations on their health and safety performance in a unique live forum called Session E. During Session E, the Company’s corporate and business leaders review individual managers’ safety metrics, probe their commitment to workplace safety and review plans for improvement. The Session E process demonstrates GE’s commitment to hold its leaders accountable for safety.

Process Safety Management (PSM)

23 GE facilities operate according to the Company’s rigorous Process Safety Management (PSM) program under the direct supervision of our corporate health and safety organization. This program is required in facilities that use, store, handle or manufacture threshold quantities of highly hazardous chemicals. The program is based on U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) regulations and the European Seveso Directives. Eligible sites must install multiple layers of protection designed to prevent chemical releases and to mitigate the severity of any releases that might occur. GE rigorously audits compliance with its PSM programs through a network of internal and third-party experts.

Human and Organizational Performance (HOP)

GE constantly reevaluates and refines its health and safety strategies to remain best-in-class. Recently, the Company began employing Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) techniques to achieve further safety-performance improvements. HOP is an operating philosophy that recognizes human error as an inevitable factor in any workplace and operation. Accordingly, companies must recognize that they cannot improve workplace safety solely by trying to prevent workers from making errors. Instead, they must scrutinize workplaces to identify instances where error can lead to injury, and then either re-engineer operations to eliminate the possibility for error or create layered defenses that would protect employees from error-induced injuries.

GE’s corporate health and safety team has begun embedding HOP principles into the Company’s safety management systems. In addition, the team has piloted intensive HOP training programs at several U.S. facilities. The results have been promising. Pilot facilities have reported improved health and safety performance, worker engagement and morale. In addition, these facilities have reported that HOP tools simultaneously improve quality, efficiency and productivity throughout manufacturing and service processes.

Employee Feedback

Because safety depends on trust and communication between management and employees, GE requires its sites and service organizations to conduct periodic anonymous safety perception surveys. These surveys ask employees a set of questions designed to measure employee engagement, trust and perception of management’s commitment to safety. GE expects its managers to use the survey results of their employees as a starting point for improving engagement. These results are also a key topic at Session E review forums, at which operating leaders must explain any problematic survey scores to the vice president of EHS and business leadership and spell out how employees are being directly engaged regarding ideas for improvements.

Injury and Incident Investigations

GE thoroughly investigates every significant workplace injury not only to satisfy regulatory requirements, but also to identify weaknesses in the Company’s safety programs. GE conducts even more searching inquiries in cases of severe injuries. GE’s vice president of EHS personally conducts quarterly in-depth reviews of all such injuries with the appropriate site and service managers. This allows senior management to reinforce GE’s safety expectations, and to identify problematic trends and develop appropriate corrective strategies.

Learn more about GE’s EHS management system and programs here.

GE Opinion Survey

The GE Employee Opinion Survey (GEOS) is a biennial census survey of our global salaried workforce. GEOS was administered in September 2010. The broad scope of the survey questions encourages employees to provide input on strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in many aspects of the work environment. The survey is designed to enable analysis at the level of businesses, functions, managers and regions. Employees and managers are encouraged to work together to develop action plans to address areas of opportunity identified in the survey.

A crucial element of a successful survey program is a visible, comprehensive response to the perceptions gathered through the survey collection and reporting phases. In September 2011, we administered a targeted, pulse survey to a random sample of over 20,000 global salaried employees. A main goal of this effort was to evaluate the intensity and visibility of post-survey actions in response to the 2010 GEOS survey. 

Pulse Survey Content

The survey consisted of 18 questions. Five questions specifically focused on employees’ perception of the level and impact of post-survey actions. The remaining 13 questions measured employee engagement and its key drivers.

Response Rate

A full 50% of the invited population responded—an improvement over the 2009 pulse survey response rate and higher than industry benchmarks for sample-based, special-topic surveys.

Reporting

Much like the census survey, the pulse survey is designed to enable analysis at the level of businesses, functions, managers and regions. Leaders with at least 50 employees within their scope of responsibility who responded to the survey were provided feedback reports. Additionally, functional results (Information Technology, Human Resources, etc.) and regional results (China, Germany, India, Latin America, etc.) were provided as well.

Results

The pulse survey revealed a number of positive and important findings, including:

Action Planning

  • Robust post-survey actions were observed across all businesses, functions and regions
  • A positive trend of trust and confidence in senior leaders, coupled with active and visible senior leader engagement in post-survey activities, tended to produce the strongest gains in survey scores

Other Observed Trends Since 2010

  • Increased trust and confidence in senior leaders
  • Strong improvements in employee engagement
  • More positive perceptions of job content; Employees reported increases in being challenged by their work and a greater sense of accomplishment
  • Greater number of career opportunities within GE

Results from the 2012 survey will soon be made available.

Open Reporting

GE believes that employees and others with connections to the Company must have confidence that they can freely report concerns about possible legal or ethical violations; that those concerns will be objectively investigated by subject-matter experts in Finance, Legal and Human Resources (and outside specialists, if necessary), with appropriate individual and remedial action taken; and that they can report concerns without fear or favor.

Employees may raise  concerns anonymously if they choose, and investigations are conducted with the highest level of confidentiality when concerns about possible violations of GE policy or the law are raised. GE has processes in place to objectively investigate and resolve integrity concerns. These processes, investigations and subsequent resolutions are regularly reported to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.          

GE prohibits retaliation against those who raise integrity concerns and imposes discipline on anyone who is found to have engaged in retaliation. Additionally, employees are subject to discipline if they fail to report a known or suspected concern.

Ombuds Network

GE has an extensive ombudsperson process that serves as a mechanism for individuals to ask questions and report integrity concerns without fear of retaliation. With a global network of approximately 700 ombudspersons, coverage is provided for every business and country in which GE operates. Employees come to know their local business ombudsperson through postings, articles and various Company intranet sites, and by ombudsperson introductions at all-employee meetings within the businesses, including Integrity events and trainings.

As GE employment and business activity has changed, increased rigor around the ombudsperson-appointment process has been added. All ombudspersons speak the local language and understand the culture and business environment of their locations. The ombudsperson network is continually assessed and measured to ensure it is operating with peak efficiency while providing the most comprehensive global coverage. GE ombudspersons are trained in procedures for receiving concerns, initiating investigations, monitoring case progress and closure. Training for ombudspersons is digitized to allow for self-directed course instruction. In 2012, a total of 196 ombudspersons were trained. Existing ombudspersons may also access the digitized training when a refresher is needed.

A Strong Culture of Integrity

Prompt corrective action and discipline demonstrate a strong integrity culture at GE. During 2012, 2,752 integrity concerns were reported through the ombudsperson process (38% anonymously), covering a variety of issues. Again this year, as part of GE’s Open Reporting initiative, managers continued to adopt the new “manager reporting form” to record compliance concerns raised directly to them. The form was introduced in mid-2011 and has resulted in a 54% increase in the reporting of integrity concerns since its introduction (+25% in 2012 over 2011). Robust usage of the ombudsperson process demonstrates that GE leaders have established a strong integrity culture, creating an environment that encourages employees to come forward with their questions and concerns without fear of retribution.

The 2,752 investigations in 2012 led directly to 786 disciplinary actions being taken. These included 222 employee separations (2x 2011), 507 warnings, 21 job changes and 36 financially impacted employees. Disciplinary actions are up 52% over last year. Of all disciplinary actions, approximately 44% occurred outside the United States. Ombudspersons monitor investigations to ensure timely closure and prompt feedback to those who raised concerns. As of April 15, 2013, 99% of 2012 investigations had been closed, averaging approximately 49 days to complete (down 9 days from 2011).

Confirmed violations of Company policies and procedures result in corrective actions such as training, strengthening routines, and simplifying or updating processes. Although many policy nonconformances result from unintended mistakes, disciplinary actions are taken in appropriate cases involving intentional wrongdoing.

To learn more, read The Spirit & The Letter.

For more than 130 years, we’ve been working to make the world a better place by finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. With more than 300,000 employees and operations in over 140 countries, GE employees reflect both the local communities we serve and the people with whom we do business. We see this diversity and inclusiveness as an essential part of our productivity, creativity, innovation and competitive advantage.

The Power of Diversity

Diversity and performance go together.

Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

GE is committed to employing a diverse workforce throughout the world, and to providing all employees with opportunities to reach their growth potential and contribute to the progress of the communities we serve.

Our achievements reflect a culture of meritocracy where every employee can be a leader.  We believe that when one person grows and improves, we can all grow and improve — and together, we all rise.

A wide variety of cultural and individual experiences makes the GE environment robust and energizing. At GE, diversity is about the power of the mix—combining different ideas and experiences to deliver the best results. Our inclusive culture fosters teamwork and innovation to help our people, business and communities thrive.

GE employees enjoy opportunities to develop both professionally and personally through the GE Affinity Networks and Employee Groups. These networks include the African American Forum (AAF), the Asian Pacific American Forum (APAF), the Hispanic Forum, the Veterans Network, the Women’s Network, and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Allies Alliance (GLBTA). Each is sponsored by corporate executives who provide leadership, vision and resources to support the group’s efforts in making GE a stronger global company. 

GE’s diversity programs are a competitive advantage in the global marketplace, and our approach continues to earn top recognition from leading publications and organizations, including Diversity/Careers, Working Mother, Black Enterprise and Diversity MBA magazines. 

Ultimately, it’s an approach that enables us to develop global leaders who navigate the complexity of our times with clarity, courage and integrity—advancing a culture that uniquely equips all of us to build, power, move and cure the world.

GE Affinity Networks and Employee Groups

In support of growing diversity and inclusiveness at GE, our Affinity Networks and Employee Groups help our employees realize their potential by giving them a supportive community where they can develop crucial skills and establish a network of resources that help them succeed.

  • The African American Forum works to further the professional development of African American employees at GE, and strengthens the linkages between GE, its local African American communities and Africa.
  • The Asian Pacific American Forum aims to retain and grow members, develop world-class leaders, support our communities and help GE to continue to grow in Asia.
  • The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies Alliance creates an environment where GLBTA employees can thrive and succeed.
  • The Hispanic Forum supports the advancement of Hispanic talent into leadership roles, provides members with opportunities for personal and professional growth, and works to make a difference in Latin American communities where GE has a presence.
  • The Veterans Network promotes, supports and develops veterans as an essential leadership pipeline at GE.
  • The Women’s Network fosters the professional advancement of women in GE businesses around the world by attracting, retaining and developing successful women.

Corporate Diversity Council

The Corporate Diversity Council (CDC) was established as a way to engage the most senior business and functional leaders across the company.  Co-chaired by Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt and Chief Diversity Officer Deborah Elam, the CDC comprises over 20 senior executive leaders from various businesses and functions as well as our Affinity Network leaders. The CDC meets three times a year to discuss diversity strategies and ideas, review primary initiatives and monitor progress. The CDC also takes a “deep-dive” into business diversity initiatives, challenges and opportunities. Through discussions in these meetings, the CDC leverages the GE Affinity Networks to support and accelerate key company initiatives. 

“Diversity Council members have open and candid conversations about diversity,” says Elam. “It is a venue that engages senior leadership in building an inclusive culture, team and environment where diversity is both embraced and leveraged as a competitive advantage. As we enter 2013, the Corporate Diversity Council will focus on key company initiatives and supporting our networks to recruit, promote and retain GE employees.”

Diversity Programs

Around the world, we’re leading efforts beyond what we do at work, to help cultivate smarter and stronger communities now and in the future.

  • Developing Health™ creates sustainable solutions that increase access to quality medical care for underserved and vulnerable communities. 
  • All Faces connects researchers with local leaders and practitioners to enable access to quality healthcare for multicultural women around the world.
  • BEE Healthy™ provides children with fun and interactive activities that educate them and their families about childhood obesity.
  • Igniting Minds helps students across the U.S. to pursue their interests in math and science through a volunteer-led tutoring/mentoring program.
  • STEM Camp provides junior-high-school girls with an opportunity to explore their interests in science, technology, engineering and math at day camps.
  • Get Skills to Work directly translates military skills into civilian careers by bringing major employers and veterans together.
  • Building Through Diversity is a new program offering resources using the GE “Access” model to improve productivity in women-focused charities throughout EMEA.

Noteworthy Accolades

  • Working Mother magazine—Named one of the Best Companies for Working Mothers for the 10th consecutive year
  • Diversity/Careers magazine—2012 Readers’ Choice Best Diversity Company
  • Great Places to Work Institute, UAE—One of the Top 5 Great Places for Emiratis and Women
  • Minority Engineer magazine—Rated #1 on 21st annual list of Top 50 Employers
  • GI Jobs magazine—Named Top Military-Friendly Employer for 10th consecutive year
  • The Times—Named one of the Top 50 Employers for Women in the U.K.

By bringing individuals, cultures and ideas together, we create a stronger company and a better world.

How we achieve results in our business is as important as the results themselves. GE seeks to lead in workplace and marketplace integrity by respecting the human rights of everyone touched by our business—employees, suppliers, customers, partners—and by enforcing legal and financial compliance.

These commitments are detailed in our integrity policy, The Spirit & The Letter, which every employee supports with a signed pledge. In 2013, a new version of The Spirit & The Letter will be made available to employees, including a simplified Code of Conduct, ethical decision-making guidance and plain-language “rules to remember.” We have also updated online integrity training for new employees to make it simpler, shorter, more global and more interactive. We have redesigned these resources with a goal of making our compliance communications and training more modern and effective, thereby helping employees understand why integrity matters and how to “do the right thing” in their jobs. Employees are further enabled by our ombudsperson process, which encourages them to report integrity concerns without fear of reprisal.

GE is fervent about protecting information about our employees, our customers, our suppliers and our Company in an appropriate manner. Similarly, equipment and technology resources belonging to the Company and provided by GE to its workers, or in some cases to individuals contracted to do work for GE to process and store information, must also be used and protected appropriately. As such, GE implemented the Privacy and the Protection of GE Information and the Security & Crisis Management policies.

GE takes pride in our history of governance and our culture of integrity. No matter where we operate, every GE employee is responsible for knowing and complying with our integrity and privacy guidelines. 

To learn more, read The Spirit & The Letter.

Learn more about Privacy.

In the United States, GE negotiated a four-year National Agreement with members of GE’s two largest unions (which currently represents approximately 13,400 employees). The larger of the two unions, the IUE-CWA, represents approximately 9,500 GE employees at 35 Company locations, while the UE represents approximately 3,900 employees at eight locations. The terms of these two contracts were also extended to, and approved by, nine other U.S. unions representing smaller groups of GE employees. These other unions are members of the AFL-CIO Coordinated Bargaining Committee (CBC), which has local contracts with GE, representing an additional 4,200 employees. The IUE and UE National Agreements, and a majority of the other local contracts, expire on June 21, 2015. Other GE affiliates are parties to non-CBC labor contracts with various labor unions, covering approximately 3,400 employees, that have varying expiration dates.

GE’s relationship with employee-representative organizations outside the U.S. takes many forms, especially in the EU. Information exchange and consultation occurs through works councils at various levels of the business organizations. Trade union membership is recognized in some locations, while in others, GE employees may belong to trade unions without management’s knowledge. Information and Consultation bodies, Health and Safety Committees and Employee Forums are other forms of collective interaction. We estimate that approximately 18,000 GE employees belong to unions across more than 200 representative bodies. We have four European works councils (EWC), and an additional EWC is under notice.

In China, 23 GE legal entities have unions representing approximately 11,000 employees, all affiliated with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, including GE China’s headquarters in Shanghai. Collective bargaining agreements are being negotiated at each of these locations.

GE’s commitment to employee development is built on our strong, inclusive culture of collaboration, experiential learning and meritocracy. We believe that when one person grows and improves, we can all grow and improve—and that together, we all rise. 

As a result of this commitment, GE invests significantly in its employees, spending more than $1 billion on learning and development each year to help employees at every level and career stage. We offer a range of learning platforms—from our Leadership Development Institute at Crotonville to our functional skills-, technology- and business-specific curricula, and our robust on-demand learning program, which features thousands of courses, reference tools, abstracts, podcasts and videos, in more than a dozen languages.

We also provide employees with extensive, on-the-job development opportunities—including challenging “stretch” assignments, coaching, executive visibility, and performance management—fully integrated into our operating rhythm. 

GE evaluates employees based on two broad measures—what they accomplish and how they lead—in other words, on their ability to meet individual goals and objectives that support our corporate strategy, and on their ability to act with utmost integrity in accordance with our Growth Values, the guiding principles of our Company. 

We continue to create programs, tools and processes to facilitate employee development and strengthen our global culture. 

Sustainability: Leading by Example at Our Crotonville Campus

GE and its employees are focused on sustainability through ecomagination, our commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth; and healthymagination, our shared commitment to increasing quality healthcare that is accessible to more people at a lower price.

At our Crotonville campus, we have implemented a campus-wide ecomagination plan, and we strive to provide our participants with a range of best-practice examples and ideas. 

All employees are required to complete online training in support of our eco-friendly efforts. In addition, they participate in a Campus Energy-Reduction Program that educates staff, faculty and other participants about energy conservation. 

Program participants are aware of our emphasis on sustainability even before they arrive on campus: our transportation company is 100% carbon-neutral through the use of more fuel-efficient cars and the purchase of carbon offsets, and has been since 2007.

We enact an energy-efficiency policy throughout our education, recreation and residence facilities in Crotonville. For example, we replaced kitchenette refrigerators with GE Monogram models that use 30% less energy than required by federal standards and also utilize an LED lighting system. Almost all (90%) of the products used by our housekeeping staff are considered environmentally preferable. And our water-conservation policy is helping to save more than 5,000 gallons of water each week. 

Crotonville’s food-and-beverage service works with local and organic suppliers. We also cultivate our own organic vegetable and herb gardens and fruit-tree orchard, using the produce as it becomes available. 

The Green House, Crotonville’s new recreation facility, is one of the highlights of our campus-wide ecomagination plan. It was designed by Project Frog, an “ecomagination Challenge” winner, and uses up to 80% less energy than structures made with traditional building methods.

On campus, we demonstrate many sustainability activities, providing all program participants with a range of best-practice examples and ideas, communications, case studies and Leader-in-Residence discussions.

Sustainability is an important theme in our Business Management Course, a senior leadership program designed for participants seeking to become global strategists in growth markets. The 2013 Executive Development Course (EDC) participants will travel to sub-Saharan Africa, investigating ways to optimize cost, increase access and enhance the quality of healthcare in this region of the world.

Sustainable Growth 2012

GE’s 2012 Sustainable Growth Summary highlights progress against commitments on our social, environmental and economic impacts—or, what we call People, Planet and Economy.

Read More...

Videos

  • Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 1.30.02 PM
    Hotel Lighting at Las Vegas Sands Corp. Increases Energy...
  • Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 1.29.18 PM
    Project ECHO
  • Beretta
    GE Capital and Beretta
  • Advanced Manufacturing
    Advanced Manufacturing
  • The Great Exhibition 2012
    The Great Exhibition 2012
  • Locomotive
    GE Unveils its cleanest, smartest and most fuel-efficient...
  • Igniting Minds
    Igniting Minds
  • Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 9.50.16 AM
    Hurricane Sandy
  • Doctor van
    Delivering a Sense of Security with the Doctor Car
  • Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 7.30.51 PM
    GE’s Solar Breakthrough