Solvay is committed to endorsing the personal and professional development of its employees. The Group’s ambition is to enable every employee to maximize their potential for performance and increase their employability. Each employee is empowered to grow and to develop their career, while Solvay pledges to foster a development culture and provide policies and tools that help everyone succeed.

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Culture of development

At Solvay knowledge, skills and behaviors are acquired through diverse types of developmental actions: through experience, from others (feedback and coaching), through training sessions and self-learning. The Group envisions a culture of development characterized by challenges, feedback and trust. This is an integral part of the Solvay People and Management Models.

The training and education provided by Solvay is integrated with its performance management program. Individual development plans are discussed with employees during their Performance, Development and Career Review (PDCR) and in Development and Succession Planning (DSP) meetings.

2016 Performance, Development and Career Review

Solvay developed and implemented a process in 2013 to help managers enhance performance and develop their teams. The process is supported by an online tool, integrated with other processes such as Compensation and Talent Management, ensuring the relevance of performance results. All managerial staff have an annual Performance, Development and Career Review (PDCR) document online.

An important focus of this process is on development and career management:

  • assessment of the employee’s behavioral competencies and expertise;
  • agreement on a development plan;
  • discussion of the employee’s aspirations and possible next career steps.

This process results in performance assessments, as well as career planning actions and proposals, which will be used in the 2016/2017 Compensation Review and other subsequent HR processes such as training, succession planning and career development.

In 2016, approximately 81% of the Solvay employees had a formal annual performance and development appraisal.

41% of Solvay employees were covered by the 2016 online Performance, Development and Career Review (PDCR) :

  • 100% of the managerial population (about 9,250 people)
  • 14% of the non-managerial population

The PDCR process applies to the entire managerial population. Beyond its initial scope, the PDCR is also used by about 2,870 non-managerial employees. Local performance and development tools and processes are available for the population not covered by the PDCR online tool.

Fostering a culture of personal development

Solvay is committed to ensure that each employee has a formal Performance, Development and Career discussion with his/her Manager at least once a year, with a specific focus on development.

In 2016, the PDCR cycle was adapted to ensure that one of the three discussions in the cycle was repositioned to focus on long-term development needs and employability. In addition of this initiative, a project was launched to progressively extend the PDCR to more non-managerial employees. This requires a willingness on the part of both local management and employee representatives: around 4,750 non-managerial employees will be covered by the PDCR in 2017.


of online PDCR with a Development plan

Solvay aims at increasing the quality of the Appraisal and Development discussion by deploying training and development actions for all employees. 2016 Training sessions aimed at further developing behavioral competencies included:

  • The deployment of Observing Behavioral competencies workshops, which was completed in 2016 (790 managers);
  • More than 80 eLearning modules, which are available in several languages for each Solvay behavioral competency through the eLearning external platform;
  • 6 new eLearning modules to allow managers and employees to lead Appraisal and Development discussions more confidently (3,520 participants).

Solvay wants to foster collaboration and qualitative feedback. The workplace environment is growing increasingly complex, requiring collaboration across geographies, businesses and functions. In addition to recognizing individual achievement, the Group  works on identifying, fostering and recognizing collaboration in the workplace. It can do so by gathering feedback - strongly recommended - on employee achievements and observed behaviors, and by providing access to the Performance, Development and Career Review (PDCR) online to reinforce the role of other parties like Functional, Project or Previous Managers.

By utilizing these performance and development approaches, Solvay ensures that management regularly recognizes performance and develops the potential of employees. These approaches are expected to improve qualitative dialogue between manager and employee and increase staff engagement and employability, and therefore enhance sustainability in the field of Human Resources management.

2016 Development and Succession Planning

In 2014, Solvay implemented a new Development and Succession Planning (DSP) process for executives. This is a management meeting where topics related to Succession Planning, Talent Identification and Career Development are discussed and where decisions are made collectively.

Solvay encourages employees to rotate across Businesses/Functions and zones, taking into consideration personal competencies, expertise and aspirations as well as the Group’s needs.

The DSP process aims to ensure the Group has the right people at the right place to achieve its growth strategy and performance goals by:

  • identifying and developing talents, with a specific focus on the High Potentials and owners of critical expertise;
  • securing the succession planning for key positions and key professional pipelines; and
  • encouraging cross-functional moves across Businesses / Functions and Regions.

The DSP meetings are organized according to a yearly cycle so as to ensure succession planning across entities.


of managers reviewed

Except GBUs Technology Solutions and Composite materials

Since mid-2016, the managers have had access to an online display of the DSP results related to their teams so that they can have deeper development discussions during the PDCR campaign.

Talent Days

Talent days are events organized at the regional level where selected talents meet with Solvay leaders and Human Resources. It is an opportunity for development and increased visibility outside their respective entities. During these events, talents have scheduled face-to-face meetings with Solvay leaders and Human Resources, giving them the opportunity to present themselves and to clarify their career aspirations.

In 2016, 80 selected talents participated in a Talent Day in Europe, Asia and South America.

To harmonize Talent Day objectives, scope, processes and timelines, Solvay publishes common guidelines - designed in 2015 - and a calendar on its intranet.

Transition assistance programs to facilitate continued employability and the management of career aims

Specific training programs designed to help manage career endings – whether through termination of employment or retirement - are not consistently deployed in the Group as a global initiative.

In France, pre-retirement workshops were offered to prospective retirees in 2016. The workshops focused on themes such as change management, financial planning, time management, legal aspects and health. The aim of these events was to prepare departing employees for the transition to retirement and to help them develop a new life project.

Solvay Corporate University

Solvay Corporate University programs and services provide training opportunities for all employees globally on a wide range of subjects and levels. Solvay Corporate University is organized as follows:

  • The Leadership & Management Division aims to enhance the managerial effectiveness and competencies of tomorrow's business leaders and team managers through programs ranging from basic management skills to advanced leadership behaviors; 
  • The Academies Division helps Solvay Professional Families achieve their strategic objectives by working closely to identify, design and deliver the expertise they require around the world. Academies focus on a learning curriculum that supports the professional development of individuals within the Professional Family, and provide more cross-functional content. So far, Solvay has launched six Academies, and there are plans to launch additional Academies in 2017;
  • Four Zone Learning Teams support the deployment of the global initiatives and manage training needs related to soft and hard skills within their zones.

Solvay’s objectives:


One week

of training per employee per year on average

2016 Solvay Corporate University offerings

The Solvay Corporate University offers a virtual learning service, practical learning programs available to all Solvay employees, wherever they are. Development is important for employees, not only for the role that they have today, but also for the one they want tomorrow.

Global Leadership & Management programs

In 2016, more than 1,600 people managers from 30 different countries and across the different management paths participated in the leadership and management programs that Solvay held at the corporate or zone level.

  • Management Development Series: delivered in the four zones to support the transition from individual contributor to a managerial role
  • Agile Leadership Program: to help managers better influence and increase the agility to team performance in an uncertain and complex world
  • Transformational Leadership Program: to shape a ‘One Solvay’ culture with executives who have a shared approach around open-mindedness, collaboration, trust and empowerment
  • International Management Seminar: an accelerated and experiential journey around strategic challenges, helping young leaders develop cross-business perspectives, collaboration and inclusiveness


Academies are structured in domains by functional area to support the Professional Families . The SCU Academies address all of the learning needs within the Professional Families. Across each Professional Family, Solvay aim to ensure that each member has the required the level of expertise and skill set they need to help achieve the Group’s objectives and quality standards.

Solvay continued to deploy the existing academies (Commercial, Marketing, Purchasing and Human Resources) and made progress on the deployment of a Supply Chain Academy.


learning programs


new learning programs



Solvay launched a Transversal Academy to provide consistent and effective solutions across the Group for cross-functional soft needs, and began the work of creating Industrial, Research & Innovation, Communication and Finance Academies. The Solvay Corporate University course catalog, available online, is large enough to cover all of the functional areas not yet structured as an academy.

Cross-functional Zone programs

In 2016, all of the zones received a budget to support cross-functional initiatives within their zones that are related to front-line management and interpersonal skills. This allowed the zones to organize training in the areas that they considered to be a priority within the Group’s subsets.


  • Supervisory program to develop management skills and competencies of first line managers and drive results (96 participants) in two major countries (Brazil and France)
  • Woman Leadership program (63 participants) in two zones.

2016 training figures

Training hours and investments are recorded. These results below include all of the training provided in all four zones, including Leadership & Management programs, Academies and local training.

Average hours of training




Legend: In Solvay Corporate University calculations, we exclude the “apprentices” employee sub-group, and the headcount basis for our calculation is the average number of FTE for the year

Scope: all sites (including Cytec in 2016) under Solvay's operational control for which the Group manages and monitors training.

By men



By women



Per Senior Managers



Per Middle Managers



Per Junior Managers



Per Non Managerial



Per Employee



In 2016, there was a decrease in the average number of learning hours per employee (33.7 instead of 38,8 hours) There was a significant difference for the Senior Managers, who completed a round of global training on such topics as Observing Behavioral Competencies, Strategic Partnerships, and Transformational Leadership.

Average hours of training by region




Scope: all sites (including Cytec in 2016) under Solvay's operational control for which the Group manages and monitors training.




Asia Pacific and Rest of the world



North America



South America



There has been a better appropriation of the learning system, ensuring correct inputs.

  • The number of hours decreased in Europe and in Asia. In Asia, training hours this year are closer to the Group average. The year 2015 was exceptional, with several new investments that generated additional training hours for new hires.
  • For the other two zones, Latin America and North America, there was an increase in hours linked to the deployment of new programs and greater efficiency in tracking hours.
Delivery methods

In %



Instructor led



Digital learning



On-the-job training



In line with the learning strategy, there was a specific focus in 2016 on diversifying delivery methods.

  • Adoption of an eLearning external platform: 2,600 users.
  • Custom internal eLearning: more than 200 modules available, with more than 100 launched in 2016.
  • Exploration of virtual classroom and new digital technologies, such as serious games.