People are the foundation of our success. Our daily success as a company depends on having a diverse, enriched and engaged team. Our associates find motivation in our core values of transparency, trust and respect. These values are foundational to our culture of doing the right things, the right way, for the right reasons.
Talent Attraction & Retention
Building a Better World depends on people who find purpose in their work. It’s a long-standing mindset and essential component of the entrepreneurial spirit that many of our RPM associates embody. It drives us to do the right thing for each other, for our customers and for the future of our planet.
We could not take on the challenge of Building a Better World without the committed RPM associates around the globe. We involve them in our sustainability efforts through awareness campaigns, feedback surveys, programs, contests, incentives, goals and initiatives that offer opportunities to collaborate with their fellow associates and to help build a better world at RPM.
The Building a Better World Engaged People Subcommittee is chaired by our Vice President – Corporate Benefits and Risk Management and composed of representatives from each of our operating groups and senior leaders at the RPM corporate level. The Subcommittee addresses key issues affecting our workforce, including diversity, equity and inclusion. It develops and implements programs, and suggests improvement measures to the Building a Better World Oversight Committee and, ultimately, RPM’s Board of Directors.
We recognize that our workforce is rapidly changing, becoming more diverse, and we are continually adapting to what current and new associates value. We work to create leadership development opportunities to foster top talent. We develop policies and programs to attract and retain the best workforce and we strive to provide overall wellbeing, including safe and pleasant working conditions through our health and safety training and management, benefits and educational programming.
For example, we have partnered with a job posting board focused on connecting all U.S. businesses with diverse candidates, including veterans, women, people of color and individuals with disabilities.
As part of RPM’s entrepreneurial culture, we look for ways to offer learning opportunities for our associates to meet continuing training needs, stimulate personal growth and development and advance education. We are committed to supporting our associates in their personal and career growth and development and assist in positioning them to excel throughout their careers. Our Engaged People Subcommittee is also creating centralized training and development content for associates across the entire organization.
Our Chief Talent Officer is responsible for management and oversight of associate leadership development and engagement and chairs our Global Organizational Leadership Development (GOLD) Team.
To promote interest in leadership roles among our associates, the GOLD Team emphasizes a leadership-oriented learning culture across RPM. The team ensures that programming is tailored to emerging trends and best practices and oversees our RPM University, Leaders of the Future and Strategic Leader Staff Ride programs.
We believe that better culture starts with better conversations, so the GOLD Team drives the Better Conversations Every DayTM (BCE) program. Since February 2020, nearly 900 RPM associates have been trained in BCE behaviors that build trust and collaboration for better business communications.
One initiative of our Engaged People Subcommittee has been to expand the Women at Rust-Oleum affinity group platform to a global associate group: Women of RPM. The objective of the group is to share learning and development opportunities across the entire company to help grow and develop our associates. Women of RPM began holding events open to all RPM associates in summer 2022.
The RPM University (RPMU) program, introduced in 2015, is a one-year program focused on cultivating cohorts of high-performing leaders who will leave a lasting legacy at RPM for years to come. Our partners at the Center for CreativeLeadership (CCL) 43% collaborate with us to facilitate the program and integrate fundamental RPM
The RPMU program has graduated 91 RPM leaders since its introduction, with 14 currently enrolled.
Building a Better World depends on associates who find purpose in their work. Our new RPM center-led approach to communication enables us to facilitate a more direct line of communication and engagement with our associates.
Through education and communications we encourage our associates to voice concerns and opinions with their managers, human resources team members, compliance departments, forums, surveys and via the Ethics and Compliance Hotline.
In early 2022, we distributed our first company-wide associate engagement survey. We had a response rate of 44%, with 83% reporting favorable engagement and 88% “proud to be a part of RPM.” Approximately one-third of the respondents provided constructive comments as part of the survey. To make that feedback actionable, we have used the survey results, including associate comments, to focus efforts. Our companies are tasked with preparing an action plan to address specific feedback areas over the next year and report progress to RPM senior leadership.
We plan to conduct an associate engagement survey annually to monitor the impact of our action plans and track associate morale, satisfaction and engagement.
We developed the Building a Better World program to integrate sustainability into our company culture from the top down and the bottom up. It is critical that our associates are informed of what sustainability means to our business and how it and climate change may impact our risks, opportunities and strategy and that our associates contribute to our sustainability success through opportunities to lead and share their ideas. The program’s success depends on and involves commitment from leaders and associates throughout all the departments and functions within our organization.
RPM Around the World Newsletter
RPM Around the World, our global newsletter, highlights our sustainability efforts through a section in every issue dedicated to Building a Better World. We use this section to build awareness, deliver messaging about goals and objectives and showcase how RPM companies and associates integrate sustainability across their workstreams.
We share inspiring stories about how our companies and associates help build a better world through new ideas and products, unique engagements and initiatives. We spotlight our associates’ ideas, contributions and achievements and celebrate how they impact their colleagues, communities, customers and the environment, both inside and outside RPM.
Building A Better World Internal Awareness Campaign
RPM has launched an official corporate-wide Building a Better World awareness campaign. We designed this program to increase awareness, create inspiration and facilitate engagement internally around RPM’s ongoing commitment to a sustainable future.
Associate Recognition and Awards Programs
Our 168 Awards annually recognize excellence within RPM across many categories, such as innovation, operational excellence, efficiency, sustainability, teamwork and more. The awards spotlight great new products, acquisitions, teamwork, sustainability and operational excellence. Award winners receive recognition at an awards ceremony in honor of their valuable contributions.
In 2021, we introduced two Building a Better World-specific accolades to our 168 Awards program to empower and encourage our associates to participate in our sustainability journey.
- Building a Better World – Environmental Impact Award
- Building a Better World – Social Responsibility Award
For 2022, we have added a Building a Better World – Product Sustainability Award, which will be granted to an RPM associate or team that has enhanced the sustainability profile of a new or existing product. Our operating companies also have employee recognition programs, examples of which are below:
- Tremco CPG celebrates the achievement of production and safety milestones
- Stonhard hosts monthly associate appreciation days
- Carboline recognizes its associates’ achievements by providing them with service awards and hosting appreciation events
At RPM, we put associates first by offering comprehensive benefits packages and resources that cultivate livelihoods in and outside the workplace. Our benefits package for full-time U.S. associates includes:
Associate Assistance Program
We deeply value the mental health and wellbeing of our associates. Our associate assistance program provides short-term, no-cost or low-cost mental health and counseling services, legal guidance and financial wellness education and assistance.
Retirement and Pension Programs
RPM is proud to provide a defined benefit pension plan as well as a matching 401(k) plan to its eligible U.S. associates. Our retirement plans enable our associates to plan for their future to remain financially stable as they enter their next stage of life. Associates with full careers at RPM who actively participate in the 401(k) plan will enjoy a significant percentage of their pre- retirement income level after they retire.
Recognizing the stress that finances can cause, we have implemented a program that provides access to low-cost, individual financial planning to our associates. Our initial level of participation is higher than the provider’s book of business.
Since expanding remote work at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, RPM has created numerous new remote or flexible work opportunities for our associates around the world.
Our experience has found that providing flexible work options allows us to attract and accommodate a more diverse talent pool, bringing a host of different viewpoints and ideas to foster innovation and collaboration. The flexibility also helps us continue cultivating inclusion throughout our workforce regardless of location.
Our organization develops thoughtful ways to attract new associates to promote diversity and access to skills and knowledge. Our recruitment strategy includes career fairs, internships, apprenticeships and other programs to attract new diverse talent. Our operating companies also promote customized talent attraction programs that advance our core values and cater to specific business needs in a rapidly changing workforce. A key part of our strategy is attracting talent across generations and of diverse backgrounds. We have partnered with a job posting board focused on connecting all U.S. businesses with diverse candidates, including veterans, women, people of color and individuals with disabilities
Diversity And Inclusion
At RPM, we embrace the ways our associates are different, including their background, age, gender, ability, sexuality or any other characteristics that make our associates unique.
Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy states that all associates and other parties performing work or providing services on behalf of our companies are required to comply with RPM’s Code of Conduct and are prohibited from discriminating against individuals during all stages of work and hiring.
Our Code of Conduct and Hotline and Non-Retaliation Policies maintain a zero tolerance response requirement to any inappropriate conduct or behavior against others, including, but not limited to, employment discrimination perpetrated by associates, supervisors, customers or vendors, and strictly prohibit retaliation and harassment.
Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are center-led and overseen by the CEO and the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors. Our Engaged People Subcommittee is working to develop and enhance related programming and training efforts.
The embodiment of diversity and inclusion starts at the top; the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors amended its Charter in 2020 to require each search for new Directors to include qualified candidates who reflect diverse backgrounds, including diversity of gender and ethnicity.
As indicated by our Code of Conduct, The Values & Expectations of 168, equal employment opportunity, human rights and diversity, equity and inclusion policies, and supplier code of conduct, RPM is committed to equitable treatment of our associates and individuals performing work and providing services within our supply chain. That commitment includes compensating associates equitably for the same work, regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or other protected status. Our business units employ various compensation best practices, including the use of pay grades and ranges, career bands and levels, benchmarking, defined commission programs, defined bonus programs and goal and objective setting.
RPM also performs periodic studies to ensure practices are working as they should — completing its latest U.S. pay equity audit in 2021.
Fair & Living Wage
We require our companies and suppliers to pay a fair and living wage to all workers and investigate all instances of reported or feared non-compliance.
Through the support and vision of its Diversity & Inclusion Council, Rust-Oleum has launched initiatives to improve access to opportunities and more effectively reach diverse candidates during the recruiting process.
Since 2019, the Women at Rust-Oleum group has focused on professional enrichment, personal engagement, social connectivity and community giving, and has events monthly. With its outstanding success, the group is expanding to become the Women of RPM.
Rust-Oleum’s relationship with the Kenosha Chamber of Commerce has resulted in the hiring of military veterans newly returning to the community. And in 2021, Rust-Oleum partnered with the “Mom Project” to hire women who may have been out of the workforce or need additional flexibility to accommodate parental needs.
After Tremco associates launched a grassroots initiative to integrate a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and programming at all levels of Tremco CPG, the company established a formal diversity, equity and inclusion steering committee with subcommittees focused on inclusion-related communication, education, policies and procedures.
Globally Taking the Stage
Our Global Service Centers in India and Mexico have implemented a Women’s Resource Group, “Taking the Stage,” to support strengthening women’s physical, inner and financial growth. Members create workshops, training opportunities and work with leadership to help define career paths that prepare women for leadership positions.
Tremco Roofing and Weatherproofing Technologies Inc. work together on creating unique programs to help the workforce of the future.
- The RISE (Roofing Individuals Succeed through Education) program helps educate a new generation of roofing professionals in technical and business skills, including offering apprenticeships and scholarships.
- The ELEVATE program partners with the Department of Corrections in Missouri, Ohio and Texas to connect incarcerated people with job opportunities in fieldwork, customer service and administration.
- Our partnership with SkillsUSA empowers teens of all backgrounds with vocational skills and resources to help them progress their careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.
Rising Stars Program
The Rising Stars program aims to create sustainable growth in the construction industry by supporting youth in vocational programs as well as minority and women-owned businesses through mentorship and hands-on education with subject matter experts. The program provides collaborative educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth in New York City, Boston and Newark, and educates participants on how the construction industry works, by focusing on sustainable construction and emerging technologies.
Associate Wellbeing, Health & Safety
RPM works to continuously improve the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of our workforce. Associate health and safety are monitored and managed by the EHS managers at our operating companies and is overseen by RPM’s Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety through our center-led approach.
RPM fosters a proactive safety culture by setting high expectations and operational standards aligned to our Environmental, Health and Safety Policy. We achieve this through the dissemination and reinforcement of six Core EHS Fundamentals:
Our six Core EHS Fundamentals facilitate proactive response to and prevention of safety incidents by requiring accountability at all locations. The program provides EHS guidance on best practices, as well as associate engagement and leadership responsibilities across our operating companies. Through the center-led EHS management program, we deliver training, develop safety policies and procedures specific to our facilities and create goals to address areas for improvement. We require an incident investigation report with a full root-cause analysis to be submitted to our senior EHS management and operating company presidents for each recordable safety incident.
As part of our center-led EHS management program, we review the content and effectiveness of our EHS protocols through a comprehensive annual EHS audit program. This audit program consists of:
- Targeted environmental compliance audits
- Health and safety compliance audits
- Property risk/fire protection audits.
These audits are prioritized based on risk assessments by the center-led EHS management team, and conducted by qualified third-party consulting firms with extensive expertise in the subject matter. These audits not only help determine the actionable steps we can take to improve our EHS performance, but they also serve as a resource for local managers to improve health and safety outcomes and enable compliance with standards set forth by governing agencies, RPM and industry best practices.
Each year, EHS audits are performed on more than 40% of our worldwide manufacturing locations. Our audit escalation mechanisms consist of direct involvement from our center-led EHS and operations teams, database tracking of findings and remediation plans and immediate resource mobilization for any identified high-risk scenarios.
EHS Training & Awareness
To further integrate safety into our culture, we deploy regular center-led communications with plant and distribution center associates and temporary workers, including “Toolbox Talks,” trainings and printed posters translated into local languages that stress the importance of complying with EHS and security protocols. RPM also hosts monthly EHS leadership forums to use and share best practices among our EHS teams. And to supplement RPM programs, our operating company EHS professionals develop and deliver comprehensive local EHS training programs to our associates, including temporary workers, to comply with applicable regulations and incorporate RPM and industry best practices.
Our weekly and monthly EHS training programs are designed to not only meet regulatory requirements, but also to keep compliance and safety topics at the forefront of our engagement with our global workforce.
Through Building a Better World, we strive to elevate the communities where we operate. Although Covid-19 has greatly impacted how we reach the people around us, we continue to adapt our involvement and maintain our role as a long-standing community partner.
Over the past five years, we have donated or pledged nearly $6 million to more than 200 organizations. Our contributions in 2021 totaled more than $1,725,000. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, our corporate giving program pledged to support partnered nonprofits at the same monetary level to help our community through these challenging times.
Associate engagement is critical to our goal of strengthening the communities in which we operate. We encourage our associates to actively support nonprofits they care about via our corporate matching program, under which RPM matches eligible RPM HQ associate donations up to $2,500 per year
- Rust-Oleum Cares supports organizations that change, restore and transform the lives of others. Making a difference is part of our culture, and all of our associates have a voice in who we help.
- Euclid Chemical Toxement S.A. (Colombia) provides career-oriented student training at the Commercial Technical College of Tocancipa. The skills learned in “How to make a resume and present an interview” are key factors in a successful job search.
- Viapol (Brazil) donates scrap materials to a nonprofit organization where they are repurposed to create a thermal insulation used in housing and construction. The nonprofit works with incarcerated individuals to support community re-entry though a time-on-job credit and early release program.
- At Cleveland State University, RPM helped create a scholarship program for prospective college students aging out of the foster care system who face obstacles in receiving a degree. Since creating the program, we have supported over 20 students from their time in college to graduation.
Tremco has long-standing community partnerships with Harvest for Hunger, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Women Safe, the Cleveland Foodbank, Replay for Kids and more.
In 2022, Tremco was awarded the Helping Hands award from WomenSafe, Inc., a domestic violence shelter in northeastern Ohio.