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SGS Peru promotes a mutually inclusive culture aimed at building a positive future both for the company and its 2,800 employees. We recognize that creating the right environment for employees to succeed is paramount to the success of the business. With increasingly diverse workforces becoming the norm, understanding this and treating employees as individuals is vital to successful people management.

SGS Peru employees

After obtaining a variety of different insights and feedback from exit interviews, focus groups and CATALYST survey results in 2018, we decided to use this information to determine how to improve employee engagement at SGS Peru and identify new opportunities for improvement in 2019.

We discovered an issue with communication management. With employees in field-based roles, with limited or no access to emails, we required a new approach to communication that would help them feel more engaged with the company and its culture and improve their experience.

As mobile phones were the primary tool used by employees to stay engaged outside of work, it seemed fitting to develop an app that could be used as an engagement tool for work-related content. The “SGS Go” app was successfully launched in 2019, with 96% of employees downloading it. Employees can now use their phones to keep abreast of news about the company, learn about employee benefits and career opportunities, and participate in volunteering programs, competitions and lifestyle-related initiatives. The app also encourages engagement between employees and their managers by facilitating performance management tasks, such as objective setting and vacations approval.

Keeping the app agile and tailoring it to meet the needs of three different groups of employees – field-based inspectors, lab-based analysts and office-based employees – are keys to its success. The app can be integrated with other platforms, including those used by HR, payroll and Operational Integrity, and employees can use it to track their progress against five safety KPIs. Monthly focus groups, organized by HR, ensure that the app is continuously reviewed, and new content to be added is identified. The success of SGS Go has inspired its expansion into other countries in Latin America, with SGS Chile being the first to deploy it in 2020.

Our research has also enabled SGS Peru to create social profiles of its employees, to better understand their needs and motivations. We have identified entrepreneurship as a key motivator for employees. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), Peru ranked fourth in Latin America for entrepreneurship in 2016/17. This is not surprising, given that 96% of companies in the country are small and micro enterprises (SMEs).

With the majority of our employees being millennials, many living with their parents, we were inspired to create a bespoke program for entrepreneurs within the families of SGS Peru employees. In 2019, we launched “SGS Emprende” in Callao, in association with the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). This program offers skills training and apprenticeships for startup enterprises.

Through the program, participants submitted ideas, with the ten best being presented to a panel of internal and external experts. The participants who submitted the three winning ideas received partial financing from SGS to help them to develop their startups. Runners up were given the opportunity to take part in an internal fair to promote their services or products to employees.

Around 400 family members of SGS employees have applied to the program. Over a six month period, 50 participants successfully completed it. Following the success of our inaugural entrepreneurship program, SGS Peru plans to repeat SGS Emprende in 2021.