2020 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. Cultivating a diverse, engaged and talented workforce is fundamental to delivering best in class customer service and business success. Our talent management programs span the globe and ranges from recruitment to succession planning.


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 our HR Business Partners and 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 68 engagement champions who each have completed two formal training courses and continue to participate in monthly sessions 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. Our Global Talent Center provides a consistent, centralized approach to talent management for each region to apply to their local needs.

In 2020, Greif began implementing additional talent modules of our Human Capital Management system, Workday, to continue building a consistent talent attraction, development and retention system. This platform enables us to collect more detailed talent attraction metrics, provides more insight to opportunities globally and allows us to better communicate to colleagues and candidates a consistent value proposition that Greif is an employer of choice. We began rolling out the Workday Recruiter module providing a unified applicant-tracking platform in the United States and Canada. Our applicant-tracking platform allows us to understand our candidate pool and to ensure we are attracting a diverse pool of applicants. During 2021, we will continue to implement this module globally. 

Training and development are integral aspects of our development strategies. In 2020, we developed Greif University with over 100 strategic learning offerings covering topics such as the Greif Business System, compliance and leadership development. When we launch Greif University in early 2021 it will be integrated as part of our global talent management platform. Greif University, in addition to our current LMS (Skillport), will track required training to ensure compliance with internal policies and relevant regulatory requirements. We supplement our global training with regional programs that address relevant needs. Greif University enables us to better integrate compliance and code of conduct training into the system and make it easier for our colleagues to access relevant and engaging learning.

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 colleagues' knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors through competency frameworks. All professional, clerical and administrative colleagues — approximately 20 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 2020, 89.1 percent of eligible colleagues completed Performance Development Reviews. As part of our global talent management processes, we encourage leaders to conduct quarterly check-ins and focus on Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to support opportunities for our colleagues to learn and grow.

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. Our succession planning process was developed to create more touch points with our colleagues, improve the diversity of our talent pipeline and identify development needs for high potential colleagues. The process is supported by an annual talent calibration session with our Executive Leadership Team and Board review of our succession plan. In 2020, we successfully completed a pilot within our Paper Packaging and Services (PPS) business unit and Global IT department automating our talent review and succession planning process through our Workday system. This process allows us to capture succession far beyond the director level, better understand our talent pipeline and view what our future workforce looks like. We will implement this process across our global business units in 2021.


Performance Development Review Completion

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

The global roll out of our onboarding program for professional colleagues that features 30- 60- and 90-day touchpoints was completed in 2020. The program includes a Manager Guide, New Hire Guides and leverages our Workday Onboarding module to streamline the onboarding process for new hires. 

We continue to be proud of the success and growth of our internship program. Since the internship program’s launch in 2018, we have hired 97 interns. 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. In 2020, we hired 17 interns, including our first intern in the EMEA region. As we continue to expand this program globally, we are working with local universities to identify talented candidates. All our 2020 interns successfully conducted the entirety of their internships remotely. We leveraged learnings from the internship program as we developed onboarding processes for new colleagues hired while many of our colleagues continue to work remotely. Please see our Careers page for current internship opportunities. 

As Greif adopted new ways to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic we focused on providing the appropriate training and development to ensure our colleagues had the support and resources they needed to work remotely and maintain business continuity. We leveraged the virtual work environment to connect colleagues globally through our Global Know and Grow program, town halls and other virtual events. To ensure the health and safety of our colleagues, we did not offer our traditional, in-person Leadership Acceleration and Development Program (LEAP). Instead, we piloted a virtual, value driven leadership development program with leaders across our BUs and Functions. 77 participants completed this leadership program between two sessions. With more virtual events and opportunities to interact across regions, we saw increased colleague engagement.

In 2020, we continued our company-wide internal colleague engagement survey using the Gallup Q12 survey. We conducted the survey in multiple languages for our colleagues globally and achieved a 94 percent response rate across all our colleagues. With a continued increase in our engagement score, we reached the 89th percentile amongst Gallup's global manufacturing database. As part of our reporting to executive leadership, we demonstrated the link between improvements in colleague engagement and greater performance across key business measures including safety, customer service, financial and human capital metrics. Based on local survey results, the Gallup platform provides managers with targeted learning resources to increase colleague engagement. These resources help inform and empower our local leaders as they construct action plans to drive colleague engagement. In 2020, local leaders submitted over 1,700 action plans.

In order to stay competitive and to show our commitment to our colleagues, we continually evaluate our benefits and associated policies. While eligibility for polices varies by regions and countries, Greif’s benefits include:

  • Fair remuneration
  • Flexible and remote work options
  • Health care
  • Overtime pay
  • Paid Leave including:
          1. Bereavement
          2. Domestic Violence Leave
          3. Family and Medical Leave
          4. Short-term Disability
          5. Parental Leave
          6. Jury Duty
          7. Vacation
    • Voting Time Off
  • Stock ownership

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. Roughly 89 percent of colleagues received performance reviews in 2020. To reach our 100 percent goal we will continue to educate our eligible professional, clerical and administrative colleagues of benefits and value of the Greif’s performance reviews and steps required to fully complete the process. In 2021, we will evaluate our review process for our production colleagues and ability to include them in our goal. 

Through continued growth and accessibility of training and development resources, we have far surpassed our training goal, improving from two to five hours of training per colleague. As we launch Greif University and provide more virtual learning opportunities, we anticipate our colleagues continuing to dedicate more time to training. 

Overall 62 percent of Greif colleagues globally are covered by a parental leave policy. We are focusing our efforts on the North America and Asia Pacific regions to continue advancing towards our 2025 goal.



FY 2019

FY 2020




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 2016

Fy 2017

Fy 2018
FY 2019
FY 2020
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.

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Greif Scholarship Program

In 2007, Greif established a scholarship program to assist our colleagues’ children who plan to continue education in college or vocational school programs. Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of financial need, academic record, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, honors, statement of educational aspirations and goals, unusual personal and family circumstances, and an outside appraisal.

The program is administered by Scholarship Management Services, a division of Scholarship America. Scholarship Management Services is the nation's largest designer and manager of scholarship and tuition reimbursement programs for corporations, foundations, associations and individuals. Awards are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability or national origin. Selection of recipients is made by Scholarship Management Services. In no circumstance does any officer or colleague of Greif play a part in the selection. In 2020, we supported 32 scholarships. Since 2007, 169 students from around the world have received Greif sponsored scholarships.