Employee Engagement Programs
When individuals begin working at Gildan, they become a valued member of a larger family. This is why we feel it is important for us to develop and implement various programs to better communicate with our employees, to support them in the many aspects of their lives – professional, family, and personal –, to encourage them to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle, and to recognize and reward their unique contribution to our Company.
At Gildan, we believe that such initiatives have the power to make a difference in improving our employees’ quality of life at work and at home.
Here are a few examples of local initiatives.
In 2009, the Communications Department in Central America identified the need for a better and more efficient means of communication with our employees. After conducting surveys across our facilities, television was identified as the communication vehicle of preference by our employees. Gildan TV was created in response to this survey and it has become a great tool to provide our employees with information in an easy-to-digest, attention-grabbing manner.
The Gildan closed-circuit TV system allows plant management to broadcast messages to employees through TV monitors which are located throughout our textile and sewing plants, as well as at our health clinics and cafeterias.
The content that airs on Gildan TV is mainly educational and is developed to strengthen awareness of the Company’s policies, activities, employee success stories, and community programs, among other items.
After having witnessed the positive results of Gildan TV in Honduras, this creative way of communicating information to employees was extended to other locations. Our Barbados office and our Charleston facility have also implemented the system.
During 2012, Human Resources staff was trained on Gildan TV software management and programming in order for them to be able to update the Gildan TV content at each facility in addition to the Communications team. Going forward, Gildan TV content will include important Human Resources information specific to each facility.
In 2012, videos and clips broadcasted on the Gildan TV covered the following subjects: personal safety; Pink Tour: cancer survival testimonials; employee suggestions for improvements in environment, health and safety, production and quality; ergonomics; the Gildan Corporate video; and grievance mechanisms.
Most recently, Gildan TV was also extended to Nicaragua and will be fully operational in 2013.
Our Honduras and Dominican Republic sewing and textile facilities have formed independent cooperatives in order to provide an incentive and to encourage employees to accumulate savings. These cooperatives assist employees with greater access to loans, which can be difficult to obtain in these countries, and at low interest rates compared with those available through standard banking channels. Participation in these cooperatives is voluntary and may be terminated at any time.
The cooperatives operate as independent legal entities supervised by an administrative manager. All cooperatives are exclusively available for non-management employees, who freely elect a Board of Directors among themselves on a biannual basis. As the cooperatives are located within our facilities, the finance department and external auditors are mandated with ensuring they are properly managed and operated in compliance with local regulations.
In Honduras, 12,810 employees are affiliated with these cooperatives. We are proud to report that in 2012, the cooperatives granted more than $6,900,000 in loans to employees from our textile and sewing facilities. More than 20 million dollars have been loaned to employees in Honduras through the cooperatives between 2007 and October 2012.
In the Dominican Republic, Gildan is affiliated with an independent cooperative, which operates at Industrial Free Zone Las Americas, to offer this program to its employees. During fiscal 2012, our employees in that region received a total of over 6,350 loans, which amounted to $1,498,246.
Thank You Cards
In 2011, our Charleston facility initiated a unique way of rewarding employees whose behavior and contribution to the Company are outstanding: Thank You Cards.
The rationale behind this initiative is to encourage peer-to-peer recognition for outstanding performance and to foster a sense of community within the Gildan organization. How does it work? Employees who notice a peer performing above and beyond what is required, or who makes a contribution in one of the eight areas listed below, are encouraged to write a Thank You card and present the appropriate section of the card to their co-worker as an acknowledgement of their special contribution. The other section of the card is given to the Human Resources Department for the employee’s file. Employees who receive a card then become eligible to receive a Thank you gift through a draw held among all recipients over a given period.
The eight categories are:
1. Ethics and integrity
2. Awareness of laws/rules/company policies/procedures
3. Integrity of records
4. Protection of company assets
5. Employee relations
6. Health and safety
7. Customer relations
8. Social responsibility
These areas are closely linked to our Code of Conduct, values, priorities and best practices.
This initiative continued in 2012 and gained in popularity with a total of 94 "Thank You Cards".
Gildan's Saving our Family Program in Central America
Gildan’s "Saving Our Family" assistance program responds to the needs expressed by many of our employees who request support in handling personal issues and family situations in a safe environment and non-confrontational manner. This program provides employees with free access to confidential counseling conducted by a certified professional specialized in marriage and family affairs. The "Saving Our Family" initiative has been in place at a number of our textile and hosiery facilities since 2009 and has fully extended to all Gildan Honduras facilities in 2011 and all Nicaraguan facilities in 2012. In 2012, the program offered more than 1,000 sessions for our employees in Honduras. In Nicaragua, we launched the program in 2012 by sharing information in bulletin boards and speakers and we will provide sessions to employees later this year.
At our Dortex textile facility in the Dominican Republic, Gildan sponsors Family Days, which are held twice a year. During these two-day events called "Juntos en familia," employees are encouraged to invite relatives, visit the facility, share a lunch at the Company's expense, and take part in lots of games, food, raffles and contests. Our objective in doing this is to foster employees’ pride in their jobs and for their relatives to better understand the type of work they do. In 2012, 2,400 employees and members of their families participated in "Juntos en Familia" at our Dortex textile facility.
At our Las Américas sewing plant, 75 children participated in an Open House activity where they visited the facility to better understand their parents work. Following the visit, they were then invited to a local children’s museum in Santo Domingo.
Building on the success of its 2011 Family Fun Day, the Barbados office held another one in 2012. Approximately 200 of our employees and members of their families were treated to a day of fun-filled competitions and activities, including face painting, a water balloon challenge and bumper cars. Approximately 200 people participated in this fun activity, including 16 dedicated employees who acted as volunteers throughout the day to handle the catering service and manage all the games and booths.
Gildan has been celebrating an annual Children’s Festival at both of its sewing facilities in Nicaragua since we started our operations in 2004. The Festival, which is held in December, is dedicated to our employees’ children. This year, more than 3,000 boys and girls enjoyed a day filled with sports activities, a variety of games, as well as food and candy.
Gildan and the Honduran Maquila Association present “El Juego”
On February 23rd, Gildan and the Honduran Maquila Association (AHM) welcomed representatives from the President of Honduras’ office and the Regional Labor and Culture Ministries, as well as other companies from the industry, NGOs and the media to a special presentation of the play “El Juego” (The Game). Written and directed by Frances Lynch, Hosiery Director at Rio Nance, this play was initially presented to the community of San Pedro Sula during Christmas.
The main purpose of this special presentation was to showcase the talent of our employees and their children. More than one hundred Gildan employees and their children, along with various collaborators, participated in this project.
Approximately 200 guests attended this special event. “El Juego” was the fifth play presented by Gildan and its employees to the San Pedro Sula community.
Celebrating Earth Day at Gildan
On April 28th, 2012, Gildan celebrated Earth Day with its Honduran employees and their families, who were invited to participate in a cultural event held at the Pequeño Sula, San Pedro Sula’s Childhood Museum. Approximately 250 people enjoyed a tour of the museum, including the famous Planetarium.
The drawing contest, which is organized annually with our employees’ children in order to celebrate Earth Day, was also held at the museum.
Gildan’s Nicaragua sewing facilities also joined in on the Earth Day celebrations.
Once again this year, our sewing facilities located in San Marcos and Rivas organized a drawing contest to celebrate Earth Day with the employees' children. At each of these facilities, 300 children aged between 5 and 14 years participated in the contest. The grand winner of each age group received educational toys.
A total of 28 employees kindly volunteered to ensure the day was perfect.
Library at the San Miguel Sewing facility
In September of 2012, as part of Gildan’s ongoing leadership training program at our
San Miguel sewing facility, a group of middle management employees were asked to brainstorm on ideas of projects they could develop in order to contribute to the employees and/or the communities’ well-being.
Amongst the projects which were implemented, a library was inaugurated within the San Miguel sewing facility. This library benefits the more than 5,000 employees working at the facility, by providing them with a place where they can look for information to help their children with their homework, find material to prepare their training sessions – for those who are participating into Gildan’s educational programs – or simply read a book.
Committed to an active way of life
At several of our locations, we have put programs in place to encourage our employees to adopt an active and healthy way of living. For instance, in the Dominican Republic, the Gildan Sport program promotes an active lifestyle and encourages team spirit among our employees. As part of this program, a Gildan basketball team was created, which has proved to be extremely popular.
Recognizing employees’ perfect attendance and loyalty at our facilities
Early in fiscal 2012, recognition events took place at our Eden distribution center and at our Charleston facility in order to celebrate the unique contribution of our employees:
- At Eden, a ceremony was organized on October 14th, to recognize the loyalty of employees who have reached 5, 10 or 25 years of service within the Company. A total of 51 employees received a service award. In addition, at the Christmas luncheon, 29 employees received a certificate recognizing their perfect attendance record.
- In Charleston, an event was organized to recognize 19 employees’ perfect attendance record during the year. They were offered a gift certificate. Two days later, an Employee Appreciation Luncheon was organized for all employees.
Similar activities were organized in Barbados and Canada to recognize employees who have worked with the Company for 5, 10 and 15 years, and during which they received awards and gifts which were presented publicly at staff functions.