Building and maintaining an engaged workforce is a major priority for us. This means seeking, listening to, and acting on employee feedback, and giving our people the opportunity to volunteer in local communities individually or as part of a team.
Our engagement and pulse surveys continue to be a valuable source for employee feedback. We equip our people managers with post-survey resources so they can create relevant action plans with their teams. In 2021, we successfully deployed an engagement survey to all employees with 82% participation and recognized a 17% increase in the percentage of actively engaged employees. We also offer automated processes to support ongoing feedback, development planning, mentor/mentee matching, and self-led career pathing tools through our #OwnYourJourney initiative.
Employee engagement at Dentsply Sirona increased by 31% between our first engagement survey in 2018 and our third engagement survey in 2021. We witnessed YOY progress on DE&I related topics across all segments of the workforce and the 2021 survey results indicated People of Color were the most engaged workforce group. Employee recognition was the most improved category between 2019 and 2021 surveys (8% vs.2019).
In our efforts to continually improve how we source and look after our talented workforce, we updated our recruitment and talent retention strategy in 2021 by building a centrally managed talent acquisition plan focused on delivering inclusive recruiting success globally. As a result, in 2021, 53% of global hires were female or people of color. We also launched an automated Talent Review process to map internal succession plans. This included a robust toolkit, training, and education for HR and people managers to ensure that our talented, diverse workforce can successfully progress their careers at Dentsply Sirona.
We launched LinkedIn Learning in May 2021 and it has become a popular and convenient resource for our people. LinkedIn Learning is an award-winning industry leader in online training, with a digital library of over 16,000 expert-led, online courses and video tutorials that cover a wide range of topics in the areas of leadership and management, functional roles, professional development, business software and technology. Courses are offered in seven languages and available 24/7 on demand via computer or mobile device. Employees can stay up to date with more than 50 new courses released each week. So far, 64% of our employees globally have used the platform.
We established an eLearning Center of Excellence in 2021 to support our product groups and cross-commercial organization. One of the first outcomes was the creation of our Better Learning Through Technology sessions, which are held monthly to help share eLearning best practices around the world. Our current focus is on creating interactive on-demand curriculums that can be hosted on DS Academy websites in each country where we do business. In November 2021, we launched an interactive, on-demand curriculum focused on end-to-end digital implant workflow solutions, designed to help build and expand clinicians’ skills according to levels of experience. Since the launch, more than 950 people have registered for this training and we are expanding the on-demand curriculum to include diagnosis and treatment planning, endodontics and indirect restoration.
Employees told us that development is a strong area of interest for them personally and professionally – they did this via the employee engagement and pulse surveys, and we listened. We created the #OwnYourJourney Development Toolkit, which includes resources that support employee development, engagement, retention, and succession readiness. The toolkit enables each employee to map out their career journey. It asks them to set career goals for the next one, two and three-plus years, what they need to do in order to achieve those goals and how they can go about it. 2021 program highlights include:
The toolkit is now available to all employees globally
In early 2022, we launched a comprehensive Global Mentoring Program that underscores our belief in the powerful impact mentoring can have on an individual’s professional growth and development. Participation in this program helps us develop talent, increase employee engagement and retention, drive productivity and performance, and increase cross-organizational communication. Participation is voluntary and any employee can be a mentor or mentee. Volunteers create profiles of their skills, experiences and interests using our online platform partner, Chronus. Once profiles are completed, participants can identify potential mentors or mentees and send a request through the system. The platform is available in seven languages and includes access to programs like Diverse Mentorships, Emerging Talent Mentorships, and Career Mentoring. At the time of this report’s publication, more than 300 active employee members participating as potential mentors, mentees, or both.
We are committed to ensuring that our own employees have access to the highest quality dental treatment. By the end of Q2 2022, all our employees had access to market competitive dental benefits, either through Companyprovided or a governmental statutory program, and in 2021 nearly 3,000 employees took advantage of these services. In the US and Canada, we also provide our employees and their immediate family with a SureSmile Discount Policy which offers a reimbursement of up to US$1,500 toward the cost of SureSmile clear aligners.
Last year we launched our Global Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”), a globally accessible and free wellbeing resource for all our employees and their families through the provider Workplace Options. Workplace Options is staffed by professionals who are completely independent from Dentsply Sirona, making it a confidential service that can support our employees, and their loved ones, through personal or professional challenges. Support is available every day of the year, at any hour and is easily accessible through a variety of channels and languages. The EAP is an important enhancement of our Total Rewards strategy and is supported by our extensive site level health and safety programs as well as our Environmental Health and Safety Management System which sets out policies and global standards and provides trainings.