Locations / Sites

People & Culture

Goals for 2022

  • Develop activities around the Group’s Discover Resilience Together platform, with a yearly calendar of activities
  • Finalise Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DE&I) strategy for the OMV Group and roll out across Borealis
  • Develop a capability roadmap, setting out the competences the Group requires, as an input for strategic workforce planning
  • Update and align Borealis’ employer value proposition (EVP) and brand, to fit the Group’s new strategic direction
  • Start implementation of new People & Culture (P&C) strategy

Key Achievements of 2022

  • Launched local wellbeing initiatives at all locations
  • Launched DE&I Volunteer Network in 2022 and held first DE&I month in October
  • Reviewed and updated existing competence profiles, to support strategic workforce planning
  • Reviewed and updated existing competence profiles, to support strategic workforce planning
  • Approved new P&C strategy, based on four pillars (Employee Experience, Growing Talent, New Ways of Working and Organisational Evolution) powered by transformational leadership and began implementation


Borealis puts people at the centre of all of its activities. This is made visible through the new strategy, which is titled “People make it happen”, and through the renaming of the Human Resources department as People & Culture.

People and Culture Strategy


Borealis’ P&C organisation provides people-related support and guidance to leaders and employees throughout their careers. The services provided by P&C include talent acquisition and onboarding, organisational and individual development, change management, and compensation and benefits.

The Vice President (VP) P&C reports to the CEO and, together with the Executive Board, identifies how P&C can best support the Group’s strategy and initiatives. The VP P&C and the P&C leadership team ensure that the Group has the relevant competences by developing and offering specific internal or external training, for example on the circular economy, as well as the necessary people management tools and resources.

The Borealis P&C Handbook sets out the Group’s P&C governance, which is managed through the Borealis People Policy and a number of Group procedures and operative instructions. These cover areas such as performance management, including bonuses and development, the Borealis Incentive Plan, succession planning and talent management. The Borealis Management System collates all these documents in one system.

Borealis measures performance related to recruitment, performance management, mobility, people engagement and data quality via key performance indicators (KPIs) in the P&C Dashboard. KPIs have also been defined for each of the four pillars in the P&C strategy, which are a mix of leading and lagging indicators.

Improving the P&C Information System

Borealis’ core people administration is centrally managed using SAP. The system includes payroll, employee data, organisational management, time management, competence management, merit and long-term incentive plans. All employees’ data are also documented in SAP. Digital approval processes support a state-of-the-art employee experience.

Borealis uses SuccessFactors – a cloud solution interfaced with the SAP system – to help employees and leaders make better use of important P&C processes. SuccessFactors includes Employee Profile, Learning, Succession Planning and Talent Management, Performance and Recruitment modules.

Borealis Works Council and Collective Bargaining Agreements

During 2022, Borealis became part of the new European Works Council of OMV Group, in close co-operation with the relevant trade unions. From 1 January 2023, this will replace the Corporate Co-operation Council (CCC), which was Borealis’ previous forum for exchanging information between the works councils at the various Borealis locations and top management. It was an important platform for dialogue between management and employee representatives and held four meetings and one conference each year. In 2022, the CCC Conference was held in May in Belgium and focused on balancing work throughout life and how the Group can make this happen.

Borealis respects employees who wish to organize themselves and be represented by unions or works councils. In Borealis, 72% of all employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. In some countries (especially in Eastern Europe, where these instruments do not exist), there are no comparable agreements. However, Borealis adheres to the applicable industry terms and conditions.

Employee Engagement and Information on Organisational Changes

Borealis runs open forums and townhalls, where all employees are invited to join members of the Executive Board and senior management to receive updates and ask questions. Common topics discussed at these events include the Group’s financial performance, Group initiatives and other topics of interest. The Group also has several other information and engagement channels that it uses regularly, particularly during 2022 to keep employees informed about organisational changes as a result of the change in ownership structure. These include announcements via the intranet, leadership conferences followed by information cascades via the leaders to their teams, and webinars held by the CEO, another Executive Board Member or Vice Presidents.

Since 2020, Borealis has also offered employees the opportunity to raise their voice by responding to the Pulse Check, a short employee survey with specific questions rolled out several times a year. In 2022, a pulse check was again conducted, covering the whole OMV Group for the first time.

The Pulse Check enables the OMV Group to understand employee engagement and drive meaningful actions. The 2022 Pulse Check for Borealis achieved an increase of 6 percentage points in response rate from 71% to 77% but showed a slight decrease in employees’ engagement of 3 percentage points, with lower engagement seen in all business groups and business units and in most locations.

Ongoing organisational changes and strategic transformation always cause a certain level of uncertainty. Nevertheless, this result is not satisfactory and in-depth analysis and action plans were defined in collaboration with our people.

Consultation and negotiations (as part of collective bargaining) are embedded in European, national and/or sectoral collective agreements. Borealis respects and adheres to these provisions and the Group has a very strong track record of maintaining a healthy and constructive social dialogue at all the required levels.

Significant operational changes affecting employees and their representatives are discussed and aligned through the works councils before implementation. For example, in some locations this could entail the entitlement to form written advice following a consultation approach. In smaller locations, where there are no works councils or employee representatives, the alignment is done with the location leader or representative. There is no common minimum notice period regarding operational changes throughout the Group and the approach varies depending on the scale and impact of the change and in line with the respective national legal obligations.

Discover Resilience Together: Strengthening Employee Wellbeing

In 2022, Borealis built on the Group-wide initiative on wellbeing launched in 2021, called Discover Resilience Together, by increasing its efforts to ensure that the wellbeing initiative reached all employees. Several local wellbeing initiatives were launched in all locations, including massages, yoga and pilates sessions, initiatives to bring people back together again, such as a walk through the vineyards, psychological employee support via external professionals and special rates for gyms, to ensure that the topic is brought to the attention of all employees. In addition, the Borealis Executive Board provided a budget of EUR 2.5 million to fund activities at the locations that increase wellbeing and engagement.

Strengthening Company Culture

During Q1 2022, a Company Purpose Statement for the entire OMV Group was developed: “Re-inventing essentials for sustainable living”. This new purpose statement was a natural evolution for Borealis and underlines the Group’s commitment to the transition to a more circular future.

This was followed by an extensive information campaign for all employees, with the aim of creating awareness and understanding of the new purpose and how employees can contribute to achieving it. The campaign, called “Stronger Together”, conveys the objective to build on and combine the strong culture and values of all OMV Group companies and, by doing so, to leverage the full potential to jointly enable a transformation towards sustainable living.

Following the development of the new Group Strategy, OMV Group has begun a project to foster a Group-wide culture, which will start by developing new Group-wide values, supporting the transformation and achievement of the Group’s purpose and strategy. The project is both bottom-up, with employees at all levels and from all three companies taking part, as well as top-down, involving senior management of all Group companies. The new Group-wide values will be communicated in early 2023.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I)

Diversity and equity of opportunity are integral elements of Borealis’ open and inclusive culture and enrich the Group’s working environment. Borealis strongly believes that diverse and inclusive teams are more creative, resourceful and knowledgeable, that they generate broader perspectives and ideas, and that they improve overall engagement. Ultimately, the Group’s goal is to encourage and support all forms of diversity within the workforce and create an environment where all employees are valued and feel able to be their full selves in the workplace. This means maintaining the Group’s inclusive culture, in which the same opportunities are in place for all people to feel supported and contribute to Borealis’ success.

The Group’s DE&I journey began in 2020 and has gained momentum as a result of increasingly close alignment with the OMV Group on this topic. This co-operation has resulted in the development of a common DE&I framework and delivery of a joint programme of activities and events, including the annual DE&I week. During this week, several initiatives, keynote speeches and activities are offered to the OMV and Borealis organisations, with the aim to inform, discuss, inspire, galvanise and guide all employees through the DE&I journey. Another joint initiative took place on International Women’s Day 2022, with the special topic #BreakTheBias to create awareness of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

Borealis is continuously working to encourage more women to join all levels of the organisation and to take on more responsibilities. For example, the Group’s approach includes engagement with national institutions such as universities and chemical schools, a more conscious and inclusive talent acquisition process, which addresses unconscious bias, and actively encouraging line managers to nominate women to take part in Borealis’ talent programmes. In addition, DE&I is becoming a more prominent discussion topic in the Group’s forums, management meetings and works councils, which fosters insights and strengthens the journey.

Since 2021, Borealis has broadened its DE&I focus beyond gender to encompass diversity aspects including, but not limited to, age, nationality, employees with special needs or impairment, and diversity of thought. To support this broader scope, Borealis established a DE&I Volunteer Network to actively advocate for a DE&I mindset across the Group, with members from every part of the Group’s operations and workforce.

Diversity and engagement goals are included in the Group Scorecard, which determines senior management bonuses, and as part of the ESG criteria determining rewards under the Long Term Incentive Plan (LTI), to promote the Group’s long-term development.

Training and Development

Borealis looks to routinely train and develop employees, as well as external people who work with and for the Group.

The Group’s ambitions require employees to understand how their work affects customer satisfaction and to have a zero-accidents mindset that puts safety first. Providing appropriate training for functional and workplace skills that are rooted in Borealis’ values, safety and ethics ambitions helps the Group to protect the health and safety of all employees, conduct business ethically and ensure production processes and products are safe. It also helps to upgrade employee skills and advance their careers within Borealis.

The Group identifies each employee’s training and development needs through its yearly performance management process. This results in line managers and employees agreeing on Individual Development Plans (IDPs). Employees with performance gaps have mandatory Performance Improvements Plans (PIPs).

Training needs are also identified using Borealis’ Competence Profiles. These exist for most technical roles and enable the Group to assess employees’ skill levels and gaps. To keep these Competence Profiles up to date, the Group reviewed them to ensure they fit the new Group strategy, for a future-proof capability roadmap. Competences are also a basis for the new process of Strategic Workforce Planning, which the Group designed in 2022 and will pilot in 2023.

Learning solutions are developed with internal customers and business owners, and reviewed and steered by the Executive Board. As a result of the close co-operation with OMV, the Group’s training and development programme offer increased significantly in 2022, with further expansion of digital and blended learning opportunities (such as LinkedIn Learning platform) for leaders and employees, the introduction of a global coaching and language training platform, as well as gamified learning solutions to drive safety performance.

Borealis has also continued to broaden the range of sustainability training it offers. This includes the new Circular Academy, in co-operation with OMV and OMV Petrom, which provides a comprehensive set of different training courses that are appropriate to employees’ specific job functions. The Group has also begun providing an employee guide to sustainability, as a selection of LinkedIn Learning courses, as well as a similar course aimed at the leadership level.

When an employee’s job at Borealis ends, as a result of retirement or termination of employment, the Group offers transition assistance programmes to facilitate their continued employability and the management of career endings.

Average hours of training by gender & by employee category in 2022 1)

1) DYM SOLUTION CO., LTD, mtm and Rosier are excluded from e-learning courses.

Talent Management and Leadership Development

Offering meaningful careers and ways to unlock people’s potential is essential for attracting and retaining a highly skilled, qualified and diverse workforce. The Borealis Talent Management Process focuses on attracting, identifying, promoting and developing people with the potential for leadership and expert positions, using Leadership Talent Management Programmes and Expert Talent Programmes.

Borealis provides a group of three modular leadership development programmes and one expert development programme that support the development of leadership or expert talents with the potential, performance and engagement to grow into a more complex role. The core focus is to develop the tools, skills and experiences for the future role, along the Borealis Leadership or Expert Profile.

The programmes usually start in Q3 of each year and consist of practical assignments (Leadership or Expert Challenges), which are the key drivers for learning and development. The participants also run through a series of classroom training sessions and are supported through peer groups, networking or coaching.

Talent Acquisition

Borealis looks to attract and recruit the talent of tomorrow, in order to achieve its purpose and strategy. To help with this aim, the Group promotes diversity and mobility, and focuses on providing a positive candidate experience in all their interactions with Borealis. This ranges from proactive talent sourcing and targeted partnerships with external organisations, schools and universities, to the use of innovative interviewing tools and personal interaction with all stakeholders involved in the process. This enables candidates to experience the Borealis employer brand, values and culture throughout the course of the hiring process. As part of Borealis’ approach to continuous improvement, the Group has reviewed and enhanced its graduate recruitment programme, in order to better fit the requirements of the business and to improve the candidate experience, in particular to meet the expectations of Generation Z. Implementation of the new programme is expected in 2023.

The Group is determined to deliver an inclusive, fair, transparent and compliant recruitment process. During 2022, the Borealis Recruitment & Selection process and internal guidelines were aligned with the OMV Group Standard, in order to have transparent and aligned processes in place.

During the year, the Group also piloted an employee referral programme, a structured programme that companies use to find talented people, by asking their employees to recommend candidates from their private and professional networks. Referrals typically produce the highest number of quality applicants, compared to other sources of applications. Borealis will conduct a formal review of the programme, to reinforce and optimise its success.

Percentage of total employees by gender and by employee category who received a regular performance and career development review 1) 2) 3)

1) As the performance and career development cycle ends on 31 March, figures are only available from the previous cycle (2021). The rate is influenced by employees that are not eligible for a bonus (e.g. new hires in Q4) and therefore did not participate in performance management within the period. // 2) Numbers are correct to two decimal places in order to maintain granularity. // 3) Employee category grade refers to the internal role classification system (grade 1 to 21): Senior leaders: all line managers grade 16 and above. Managers: all line managers grade 12 to grade 15. Team leaders: all line managers grade 11 and below. Experts: all non-line managers grade 10 and above; Administration (white-collar employees): non-line managers grade 1 to grade 9. Blue-collar employees: non-line managers grade 1 to grade 9.

Fair Remuneration

Fair remuneration means ensuring pay for performance, based on transparent performance evaluation. It supports strong business results by incentivising high-performing individuals and teams, increasing employees’ retention and enhancing Borealis’ reputation in the labour market. Borealis is therefore committed to providing fair and transparent reward packages for all employees.

Every employee reward package at Borealis consists of a base salary and incentive compensation, with an annual bonus for all eligible employees and the LTI for Executive Board and senior management. Bonuses include a sustainability element and the LTI has ESG criteria, including DE&I and CO2 emissions. The structure of bonuses and the LTI mean employees from the Executive Board down are incentivised to ensure Borealis is sustainable.

The total package is based on the systematic evaluation of roles, using an external evaluation methodology linked to Borealis’ internal grading structure. This requires up-to-date role descriptions which define core activities and responsibilities. The reward package is evaluated regularly in the context of insights into national remuneration market data and developments. This approach ensures that the reward package is competitive both internally and externally.

Each grade in the Group’s grading system has a country specific pay range and the pay position of employees within this range is monitored at both country and Group levels, to control overall gender pay equality. The Group shares this aggregated gender pay analysis with its employees, as legally defined in the various countries. Employees are also entitled to information about how their salary compares to the respective market. Borealis performs a yearly equal pay analysis to identify focus areas for improvement.

For its own employees the Group always pays entry-level salaries that are above the minimum defined in the respective national laws, collective labour agreement or company agreement. Borealis also requires this for leasing employees and has respective agreements with its leasing agencies in place.

The Pension & Benefits Council, which is led by the CFO, sets the overall principles for employee benefit programmes, monitors their implementation across the Group and decides on significant changes to them. Based on the output from the Pension & Benefits Council and the Remuneration Committee, the Executive Board then gives P&C a mandate to design new concepts for remuneration and to propose changes when needed.

Fair remuneration requires an effective performance management process, supported by low-performer management.

Defined Benefit Plan Obligations and other Retirement Plans

The company has defined benefit pension plans, which are in general closed or grandfathered plans except in Belgium. Due to a legal obligation for a minimum interest guarantee in Belgium this includes also defined contribution plans.

We also sponsor other post-employment benefit plans that provide medical or severance benefits. In addition we provide other long-term employee benefits such as pre-pension and jubilee benefits in various countries.

Concerning the projected benefit obligation as well as the fair value of plan assets of these defined benefit obligations, please refer to the full Combined Annual Report 2022.

As the company aims for a competitive benefit package to attract and retain employees, we contribute also to defined contribution pension plans. The level of the voluntary employer pension contribution depends on the local social security pension as well as market practice. A global framework is in place which impacts the design, financing, delivery and control of core global and local employee benefit programmes (pension or insurance programmes related to retirement, death, disability or medical benefits), to ensure compliance of employee benefits with the Borealis Employee Benefits Strategy and guiding principles. The Pension & Benefit Council as cross-functional committee (Finance & P&C) together with the Remuneration Committee play a key role in the steering and approval process of employee benefits.

Benefits provided to employees in 2022 1) 2)

1) The listed benefits are standard for full-time employees of the organisation but may not apply to temporary or part-time employees, by significant locations of operation. // 2) Definition for significant locations of operation: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France and Sweden are Borealis’ significant locations of operation with more than 500 employees. // 3) Borealis does not have any stocks.

Borealis’ Workforce

In 2022, Borealis employed 7,916 people, with 5,914 in HC and PO and 2,002 in Fertilizers, Melamine and TEN. This compared to 7,606 in 2021. Of these, 97% (5,789 HC and PO and 1,927 Fertilizers, Melamine and TEN) worked for Borealis on a permanent basis (2021: 98%) and 3% (125 HC and PO and 75 Fertilizers, Melamine and TEN) were employed on a temporary basis (2021: 2%). This workforce was supported by 124 (72 HC and PO and 52 Fertilizers, Melamine and TEN) (132 in 2021) leasing employees who are not employed by the Group, primarily in Austria and France, and some 300 summer workers, job students, apprentices and interns.

Total number of non-employees per region in 2022 1) 2)

1) Non-employees: The most common type of worker and their contractual relationship with the organisation are leasing employees. The type of work they perform is blue collar work. // 2) Definition of significant fluctuations is a deviation in the number of employees during two consecutive reporting periods of more than 50 employees within a single organisational unit (equals 10% of Borealis’ definition of significant location of operation)

Data Protection

Borealis ensures that it protects employee data by following a clearly defined data protection procedure, outlined in an Operative Instruction specifically for P&C.

The Operative Instruction covers P&C authorisation and defines, for example, who has access to which P&C data or how to request authorisation and approval workflows. Borealis also ensures that it complies with the 8th EU Directive, which requires the Group to monitor critical authorisations (such as salary data) and ensure segregation of duties.

P&C closely aligns with the Group Data Protection Expert in the Legal function to regularly follow up on data protection issues and ensure ongoing training for relevant stakeholders. Trust Arc is the Group’s guiding tool for documenting General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)-relevant processes. The Group also continuously aligns with OMV on data protection topics and, in particular, on intercompany data exchange matters. The Group rolled out GDPR e-learning modules during the year and defined a common process for new IT applications, to ensure GDPR conformity.

Hybrid Workplace

Borealis introduced a Hybrid Workplace Group guidance in 2021, to provide employees with greater flexibility to work between the office and their homes, when appropriate. Flexible homeworking benefits both Borealis and employees. It provides a choice of when and where employees may work for optimal results, with homeworking allowing for increased focus, productivity and execution of tasks, and office working focused on collaboration, interaction and meetings. Hybrid working also supports Borealis’ wellbeing commitments to support employees’ work-life balance.

External benchmarking shows that hybrid workplace solutions have a positive influence on work performance and productivity, increase employee engagement and loyalty, foster a more diverse workforce and improve overall attraction and retention.


The Group’s P&C goals for 2023 are to continue implementing the four defined pillars of the P&C strategy to 2030, with the following priorities:

Employee experience

  • update and align Borealis’ employer value proposition and employer brand, to fit the Group’s new strategic direction, and increase employer brand awareness by expanding social media usage;
  • continue to launch wellbeing initiatives Group-wide, as part of a common annual calendar; and
  • finalise the DE&I strategy and roll it out across the organisation.

Growing Talent

  • launch a cross-company leadership programme, to support transformational leadership and competences;
  • enrich the Sustainability Academy programme; and
  • create a modern and fit-for-purpose internal candidate testing toolbox, to expand the assessment possibilities and skills during the selection process.

New ways of working

  • implement the newly developed purpose, values and behaviours throughout the organisation, as an important part of the Group’s transformation; and
  • focus on increased flexibility in relation to hybrid working and reward.

Organisational evolution

  • introduce strategic workforce planning to translate the Borealis strategy into a strategic workforce plan;
  • implement more elements of Borealis’ Digitalisation Journey as self-service workflows; and
  • support fair remuneration, by implementing OMV Groupwide job families and title structures (with a top-down implementation approach), and a harmonised OMV Group grading framework.

Combined Annual Report 2022 (PDF)

English and German Version available

Download full version

This online report contains only highlights and excerpts from Borealis’ Combined Annual Report 2022. Only the entire report is legally binding and it must be read in full to gain a comprehensive understanding of Borealis’ performance and activities in 2022. A copy of the Combined Annual Report 2022 can be downloaded here.