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People and Communities Engaging our Colleagues

As a family-owned company, we know that people are the heart of our company and that shared values are essential to success. To achieve our sustainable business goals, we need to attract and retain the best talent, stimulate creative and innovative thinking, and draw fully on the knowledge, experience and diverse backgrounds of our employees.

Throughout our 120-year history, Firmenich has demonstrated a strong commitment to people. Expressed in our Fundamentals and Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Policy, this commitment materialized in many projects including the globalization of gender equality pay, an international management trainee program and our Female Leadership Program.


It makes solid business sense to foster a culture that mirrors the diversity of our world and encourages different points of views. Studies on gender diversity, for example, show that companies with a higher proportion of women on senior management teams outperform market peers. With the gender gap not expected to change until 2186, according to the World Economic Forum, decisive action is needed if we are to accelerate this opportunity.

At Firmenich, we are actively nurturing our culture of inclusiveness and diversity across all levels of the company. This starts with our Executive Committee, represented by eight nationalities and with a third of its membership female. Globally, our female colleagues represent 40% of our global workforce and 33% of our senior management.

We are committed to going beyond just closing the gender gap by embedding key diversity performance indicators directly into our programs and processes. We have also formed a compelling range of leadership trainings, cross-generational programs, and succession planning, which focuses on the development and growth of emerging market talent.


Firmenich supports equity and fairness in compensation for similar jobs and performance. A state-driven study on gender-equal pay in Switzerland ranked us in the top-tier as an equal-pay employer in Switzerland, with endorsement from the Swiss Confederation certifying we operate according to Gender Equality Pay Principles.

A second study, conducted on our second-largest campus worldwide in Princeton, New Jersey, U.S., revealed similar results. In FY16, we began reviewing our compensation structure globally, using the same external methodology or relying on local governmental certifications when available. Continuing this analysis in FY17, we carefully benchmarked compensation to be consistent with market standards and individual performance, and we globally reviewed all compensation data to be sure that our pay practices reflect our commitment to gender pay equity.

Of the 23 affiliates that were studied, 70% showed no significant (<5%) disparity in pay between men and women for similar roles. During the recruitment and salary review processes, gender pay equality is taken into account to ensure we move toward our target of equal pay for equal roles and performance.


In 2014, the Sensory team at Firmenich Mexico wanted to foster an inclusive workforce while developing sensory capabilities. To this end, they built an inclusive sensory panel – a group of trained testers who assess products on the basis of taste, smell, or feel.

Sensory panels at Firmenich Mexico were comprised of Firmenich employees from various functions who would dedicate a few hours per week on panel work. In order to develop capacity while putting the Firmenich Fundamentals into action, Firmenich Mexico partnered with Comité Internacional ProCiegos to train and hire visually impaired sensory panelists.

Following the success of the Mexican panel, our London and Mumbai Sensory teams set up similar programs, working with the Middlesex Association for the Blind in the UK and the College of Fragrance for the Visually Impaired in India. Both teams hired their first visually impaired panelists in 2016. Our Singapore and Geneva Sensory teams are currently building similar inclusive panels. From FY14 to FY17, 20 visually impaired people have found employment in one of Firmenich’s inclusive sensory panels around the world.

This year we introduced the I am Firmenich campaign, an engaging video series that brings to life the world-class creativity, expertise, and passion of our colleagues. A true snapshot of Firmenich’s diversity and inclusiveness, the videos feature colleagues from all age groups, regions, cultures, and businesses telling their unique stories about why they chose to join Firmenich and how they uniquely contribute to the company’s success in their daily work. Supporting global recruitment initiatives, the I am Firmenich video series is showcased on our careers page to provide potential candidates with authentic insights into our culture and the passion of the people of Firmenich.


Developing our talent is a key focus of our overall strategy. With millennials representing 62% of all new hires worldwide, we are committed to developing our next generation of professionals, who will play a significant role in driving our long-term success.

This year, Firmenich championed a Millennials Community, which was designed, produced, and executed by millennials for millennials. The three goals of this initiative are:
• Ensure active participation of millennials in key strategic initiatives sponsored by our Executive Committee
• Inspire our millennial talent and make Firmenich the place where millennials choose to be
• Increase collaboration and drive our business with millennial consumers in mind


For the first time, Firmenich sent a group of millennials to experience “One Young World”, an annual global leadership event for young leaders under 30 years of age. During the four days in Ottawa, our six colleagues joined 1,300 young leaders from global and national companies, NGOs, and universities representing more than 190 countries. Together, they shared innovative ideas on pressing world issues, spanning human rights, global business, education, and the environment. The delegates had the privilege of being listened to and coached by an inspiring set of world leaders.


Our “Tell Us How You Feel” survey (a biennial employee engagement survey issued to all colleagues) helps us shape our company’s future and ensures ongoing professional fulfillment for employees worldwide. This year, more than 80% of our colleagues participated in the survey, representing an impressive 5,300 voices. We are proud that our employee engagement level continues to increase – now at 7.2 up 0.2 compared to FY15, positioning Firmenich as a “High Performing Company” according to global industry benchmarks.

This positive result is a testament to our culture of inclusiveness and reflects our strong sense of:
• Confidence in our 2020 strategy
• Alignment with the Firmenich Fundamentals across everything we do
• Unparalleled focus on customer engagement
• Collaboration and commitment to best-practice sharing

Of the 43 Firmenich affiliates, 85% reported engagement scores superior to country-specific industry benchmarks, indicating that Firmenich colleagues are more engaged than employees from other companies in those countries. Our millennial talent had slightly higher engagement scores compared to other generations, while all generations showed similar growth in engagement compared to our 2015 survey.


Building on our commitment to join our sustainability platform and the communities where we source around the world, we have introduced a new, nonmonetary recognition program called Firmenich 4 Society to bring to life the values of our company. Leveraging our employees’ individual skills and interests, Firmenich 4 Society offers all of our colleagues the opportunity to be a force for good by contributing directly to our sustainability and community efforts.

Firmenich 4 Society projects cover two main themes:
• Firmenich Social Entrepreneurship – helping local businesses with an entrepreneurial spirit
• Deep Roots Program – sourcing our natural ingredients in the most ethical and sustainable way

Employees recognized under this program will be given the opportunity to visit one of our sustainability initiatives and work with our local partners on a variety of projects (e.g. teaching at the Firmenich School in Haiti, working at a health clinic in Madagascar, etc.)

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