Looking after our people
2021 saw the implementation of a new people strategy, which has a simple aim: to make us a great company to work for. We want our workforce to feel proud to work for Springer Nature, and to develop and grow with us in the long term.
Our people strategy
Continue to drive colleague engagement and build an inspiring, inclusive and shared company culture.
Shape our future working practices
Ensure that our colleagues are equipped to continuously drive business success
Build an organisation where everyone can contribute at their best and thrive
Improve the employee experience of all HR services
Deliver on our commitment to be recognised as a purpose-driven company
Engaging our team
We ran our main employee Pulse engagement survey twice in 2021. We noticed that areas where scores were lower or more variable depended on the part of the business respondents came from, and these areas were similar to the previous survey, such as understanding of strategy, career growth and work–life balance.
To address these themes, the executive team reviewed the allocation of training funds and encouraged all staff to take five days per year for learning and development. In 2021, we also delivered regular Q&A webinars with management to improve understanding of company strategy, and announced additional annual leave in recognition of the extra work that people put in during the pandemic.
- 69% of colleagues participated in the latest survey
- +5,000 comments shared
Introducing a new global assistance programme
Following findings in the company’s Pulse survey, the executive team were determined to keep workload and wellbeing high on their agenda, starting with more conversations between employees and managers about work–life balance, enabled by the online Global Wellbeing community. In addition, we launched a new global Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in May 2021. The EAP offers short-term counselling as well as information and resources on emotional, financial, legal and work–life issues. The service is available 24/7 and is completely confidential and free for employees and their immediate family members. Progress in this area will be monitored via upcoming Pulse surveys.
Communicating through crisis
Throughout 2021, when the pandemic continued to interrupt normal and in-person working practices, we hosted a weekly video chat and blog update from Springer Nature CEO Frank Vrancken Peeters introducing people and priority projects from around the business, highlights from the week and progress towards our goals. Employees could also sign up for virtual coffee breaks with members of the management board, to increase visibility of senior staff members and so they could hear directly from more people in the business about their experiences and priorities. Springer Nature won an award for Best Leadership Communications at the CorpComms Awards 2021.
Enhancing research communication skills
Colleagues from Nature held a virtual training workshop for early career researchers across Africa in May 2021, partnering with AfroScientric, a Nigeria-based non-profit that helps more women develop careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The workshop included a Q&A with AfroScientric founder Dr Ify Aniebo, and other speakers included representatives from Nature, including Sara Abdulla, Chief Comment Editor; Angela Eggleston, Senior Editor; and Davide Castelvecchi (Senior Reporter). There were 80 attendees, from 15 countries (including 11 in Africa), 50% of whom were women.
Cara: helping academics at risk
The Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara) provides financial support to highly trained people from some of the world’s most dangerous places. Beneficiaries are helped to find a safe place where they can live and work, with their families, and further develop their advanced skills, until they can return home to help rebuild better, safer societies. Our donation of almost €80,000 to Cara will fund three Springer Nature-Cara Fellowship Awards over the next three years.
Our giving in 2021
We gave approximately €527,000 in financial donations and sponsorship to organisations, as well as significantly more books and other equipment to schools and charitable organisations than in previous years.
Supporting higher education in India
Udayan Care aims to create systemic change via meaningful interventions, enabling and empowering children and young people through education, skilling and advocacy programmes. In 2021, we funded the support of 50 young women, enabling them to access higher education programmes that they would otherwise not have been able to. We also funded a programme to provide professional training to 130 students in IT applications, digital media and vocational courses, allowing participants to create livelihood opportunities and long-term career growth.