2019 Sustainability Report

arrow blueCommitted to using financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

Talent Attraction, Development & Retention

Discovering and growing the workforce that will carry Greif into the future.

United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsGood health and well-beingQuality educationGender equalityindustry, innovation and infrastructureReduced inequalities

Why Talent Attraction, Development, & Retention Matters

Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

Explain management approach components

Evaluate management approach

Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

GRI 401: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; 404: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; 404-2

Greif’s success hinges on our capacity to attract, develop and retain the greatest talent from around the world. Our talent management programs span the globe and ranges from recruitment to succession planning.



LEAP Participants

Since 2014, 294 colleagues have participated in LEAP, our three-week leadership development program.

Greif’s talent attraction, development and retention programs are administered by our Global Talent & Learning team in line with our Global Talent Management Strategy and philosophy. The strategy and philosophy set our global standards for performance management, training and development activities, recruitment and career planning. The Global Talent & Learning team executes programs in collaboration with regional representatives who are responsible for implementing programs in accordance with country-specific laws and regulations and serve as an extension of the talent management team. We have a dedicated team of 55 engagement champions who each completed a two-day training program to better equip them to drive engagement globally. Learnings from this training are reinforced through monthly champions meetings. Our talent efforts are ultimately overseen by our chief human resources officer. In 2019, we created a Global Talent Center, to further improve our governance of talent management, acquisition, global learning, and diversity and inclusion and provide a more consistent, centralized approach to talent management for each region to apply to their local needs.
Greif uses performance management as a platform to communicate colleague performance expectations, maintain ongoing performance dialogue and conduct annual performance appraisals. We enable the assessment and development of our colleague’s knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors through competency frameworks. All professional, clerical and administrative colleagues — approximately 21 percent of Greif’s workforce — participate in an annual Performance Development Review. The process consists of a self- and manager-evaluation of their performance against job-specific competencies. In 2019, 92 percent of eligible colleagues completed Performance Development Reviews. Throughout 2019, we continued our pilot of a quarterly review process in Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services (RIPS) North America – an initiative that began in 2018 to promote more consistent performance feedback throughout the year – and added additional features to our technology platforms that support our processes. Colleagues are now able to track development progress via online tools as often as monthly, which provides greater visibility to reviews, promotes better on-going development conversations and provides flexibility to capture development conversations.

Our Performance Development Review process informs our succession planning, which is on a standard global cadence for director-level and above roles, ensuring we have an appropriate talent pipeline to enable our success in the future. In 2019, we enhanced our succession planning process with the goal of incorporating more touch points with our colleagues, improving the diversity of our talent pipeline and identifying development needs for high potential colleagues. The process is now supported by an annual talent calibration session with our Executive Leadership Team and Board review of our succession plan.

Training and development are integral aspects of our development strategies. Our global Leadership Development and Training archive contains over 300 courses dedicated to educating our colleagues on topics ranging from computer literacy to job-specific technical training. Any Greif colleague with access to a computer can access the courses through the Greif Learning Network, Skillport. Our network tracks required training to ensure compliance with internal policies and relevant regulatory requirements. We supplement our global training with regional programs that address relevant needs and are actively improving our practices to integrate compliance and code of conduct training into the system and making it easier for our colleagues to navigate. In 2019, Greif experienced a 60 percent increase in the number of unique users leveraging our learning management system. In 2020 we will continue to streamline and centralize our learning and development efforts by launching Greif University. Greif University will serve as a centralized hub for all across legacy Greif and Caraustar training programs. The launch will be supported by transitioning from Skillport to Workday Learning, which also allows for better integration with our performance development process.

All new Greif colleagues hired in North America participate in an onboarding program that features 30- 60- and 90-day touchpoints, Champions and Customer Service Excellence training, onboarding modules, job-specific training (including manager training, when appropriate) and new hire focus groups. To strengthen the overall program, we created a manager onboarding guide, new hire onboarding guide and Workday hiring guide. In 2019, we launched the program in our Budapest office in support of our ambition to roll out the program globally by the end of 2020.


Performance Development Review Completion

Eligible colleagues completed their annual Performance Development review, reviewing their competencies and planning against their competency frameworks.

We continue to be proud of the success and growth of our internship program. Since being launched in 2018, we have hired over 45 interns and anticipate hiring 50 more in 2020. Internship opportunities are available in both our corporate and manufacturing facilities and focus on providing opportunities to participate in cross-functional projects and observe how we operate and make decisions in our business. As part of our ambition to expand the program globally, in 2019, we expanded the program to EMEA and established partnerships with local universities to help identify candidates.  Please see our Careers page for current internship opportunities.
In 2019 we continued our company-wide internal colleague engagement survey using the Gallup Q12 survey. We conducted the survey in 16 languages and achieved a 94 percent response rate across all of our colleagues. In 2019, we linked improvements in colleague engagement to our key safety, customer service, financial and human capital metrics to better understand the impact of colleague engagement on our business and drive continuous improvement. The results demonstrated that engaged colleagues drive greater profitability and customer service index performance as well as reduced medical case rate and labor costs.  We administered the new survey to our new colleagues that were previously part of Caraustar. In 2019, they participated in a separate wave of the survey to set a baseline and identify specific areas of opportunity. Beginning in 2020 and going forward, legacy Caraustar colleagues will be integrated into the global process.
In order to stay competitive and to show our commitment to our colleagues, we have expanded our colleague benefit programs. We are happy to now offer diabetes support, commuter & transit benefits and affordable legal care services to our United States based colleagues. As we look to the future, we hope to expand these benefits globally.

Goals & Progress

In 2017, Greif established three Talent Attraction, Development, and Retention Goals:

  • 100 percent of permanent colleagues will participate in regular performance development discussions by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Using fiscal year 2017 baseline, increase average hours of annual training per colleague by 50 percent by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • 100 percent of colleagues will be covered by parental leave by the end of fiscal year 2025.
Greif’s continuous improvement in talent attraction, development and retention enabled us to make great progress on our 2025 goals this past year. Almost all eligible colleagues receive some form of performance review, but in an effort to continue to increase colleague participation in a performance review process, Greif will be aligned on one global performance management process beginning in 2020. We will continue to formalize our measurements and communicate progress annually.
Thanks to the continued growth and accessibility of the Greif Learning Network, we are proud to announce we have surpassed our training goal by having increased average hours of annual training per colleague 175 percent from our 2017 baseline. We are looking forward to continuing to increase this number as we launch Greif University.
Overall 56 percent of Greif colleagues globally are covered by a parental leave policy. In 2018, we implemented a Parental Leave policy in the United States which provides four weeks of paid parental leave for professional colleagues, including parents who adopt a child. Thanks in part to this, 100 percent of our professional colleagues in North America are covered by a parental leave policy.


Colleagues covered by parental leave



Asia Pacific




Latin America


North America



New employee hires and employee turnover

Average hours of training per year per employee

Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews



Fy 2015 

Fy 2016

Fy 2017

Fy 2018
FY 2019
New Colleague Hires






Colleague Attrition*






Training Hours per Colleague**

Skillport (Greif Learning Network)






Leadership, Professional, Production






Colleagues Completing Regular Performance Reviews^



92 %



*Attrition by region and length of service given as percent of attrition for fiscal year.
**Average hours of training per unique participant. Data excludes safety training and local functional training. For more information on safety training, please see Health & Safety.                            
^Includes eligible professional, clerical and administrative colleagues.

Highlight Stories
Highlight Stories

Greif Champions Coin

As part of our continuous efforts to develop and engage our colleagues, in July 2019, Greif introduced Greif Champion Challenge Coins. Greif created coins for the top executives comprising our Leadership Council, including our CEO and executive leadership team. The program began by each of our leaders passing the coin to one of our colleagues and expressing recognition for a job well done using a specific feedback model. Within one week, the recipient is expected to pass the coin to another colleague in recognition of a job well done and using the same feedback model. Overall, the coins changed hands more than 600 times in the first six months of the program. Each time a coin changes hands, our colleague that passes the coin along describes the specific situation and impact the recipient created through their behavior, allowing for further recognition from leadership.