Ecolab's SVP Global Talent: Internal Mobility as a Development Opportunity

This month's featured guest was Anne Gotte, Senior Vice President, Global Talent at Ecolab, an American corporation that develops and offers services, technology, and systems that specialize in water treatment, purification, cleaning and hygiene in a wide variety of applications. The conversation was facilitated by i4cp CEO and Co-Founder Kevin Oakes and Senior Research Analyst Tom Stone. Here are some highlights and insights from the meeting:

  • Gotte's responsibilities include leading diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts at Ecolab, though there are a half-dozen teams involved following integrated principles. In terms of their own workforce and workplace, an early area of focus in 2020 was on allyship, with a course launching very quickly after the killing of George Floyd. This was followed by a national day of understanding, with thousands of employees participating in small group discussions. They also very intentionally trained HR itself, as it is unfair to assume all HR professionals (where there is a high premium for getting it right) already "just know" what to do in this arena.
  • Another key DEI initiative at Ecolab has been to expand their focus beyond an internal talent lens to further include the community/marketplace, meaning Ecolab's customers, investors, suppliers, etc. They became more intentional and integrated recognizing that they are accountable for driving improvement in equity and inclusion in the community. This included refocused ESG goals and working to revitalize minority businesses and communities.
  • Ecolab has nearly a dozen employee resource groups (ERGs), with some having existed for over a decade. Over the past year they have increased the collaboration between groups, with co-sponsored events, initiatives, etc. These groups have also partnered to help shape the organization's diversity goals.
  • Leadership development at Ecolab is split into three levels: frontline supervisors, those that manage managers, and growth leaders which includes director and VP-level leaders. Over the past year there have been several important shifts, including a focus on inclusion acumen, and of course renovating programs to be 100% virtual classroom instead of predominantly in-person instructor-led. Interestingly, the results of the latter, very intentional redesign work have been very positive with net promoter scores and other metrics coming in even stronger than before for the programs were updated.
  • Talent mobility has been used as a development opportunity at Ecolab. The past year really helped to accelerate their efforts in this area, given the lack of expansion in some areas of the business during 2020. As a result, managers who needed to hire were more apt to look internally than before, and metrics like internal time to fill improved significantly. Looking ahead, Ecolab is working on a more formal, robust internal talent marketplace, and improving their visibility into the skills and interests of their employees so that they can better advance their people's careers.
  • 2021 priorities for Gotte and her team include focusing on organizational effectiveness and design for growth, building stronger leaders and improve career mobility, and creating an unrivaled experience for both candidates and employees. Included is the launch of a new employee listening strategy this year, as well as a focus on the hybrid work experience. Running through all of this will be a continued focus on DEI.