Annual Report and Sustainability Report 2020


Safety, diversity and competence

Health, Safety and the Environment & Our Employees

KONGSBERG is an enterprise based on knowledge and expertise, where the greatest asset is our employees. In order to secure the broad expertise we require and manage it in relation to our international operations, our aim is to offer a secure, attractive and stimulating workplace.

Our position

KONGSBERG has a unique and strong corporate culture that has been developed over many years. The company’s values were revitalised in 2020 as part of our ongoing improvement work. This was done to meet growing demand amongst our stakeholders for sustainable solutions and responsible business practice.

KONGSBERG’s vision for Health, Safety and the Environment (HSE) is zero incidents, accidents or fatal injuries involv­ing our employees, visitors, customers and partners in our global operations.

KONGSBERG has welcomed many new colleagues across the world in recent years. We are entering new markets and facing stronger competition. One of our most important resources in such a situation is the strength that lies in our clear group identity, our vision and our values. Therefore, we launched a process to revitalise our values at the company’s annual strategy meeting in 2020.

KONGSBERG’s vision for Health, Safety and the Environment (HSE) is zero incidents, accidents or fatal injuries involving our employees, visitors, customers and partners in our global operations. In order to achieve this vision, KONGSBERG never stops working to build a strong HSE culture. 

Safety must always come first, and our employees and partners are instructed to stop work if a safety risk arises. We all have a personal responsibility for making our joint HSE efforts preventive.

We place emphasis on the increased reporting of near-accidents and HSE observations, and these measures will contribute to reducing the number of injuries and accidents. HSE data is collected from all companies in the Group and reported to the Corporate Executive Management and the Board each quarter.

Work has been ongoing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to protect lives and health in the Group. The central crisis team and the crisis teams in the business areas have worked closely together, with a tightly knit team of around 20 dedicated employees working on analyses, risk assessments and measures. The main focus has been on creating the right conditions to ensure appropriate operations in the Group. The crisis team has continually prepared status reports and recommendations for the Corporate Executive Management.

A global HSE campaign was rolled out in 2020 to strengthen the focus on mental health and well-being via the year’s “Global HSE day”. During the year, various training initiatives and campaigns were carried out which, based on risk analyses and incidents that have occurred, are helping to prevent further incidents and promote a strong HSE culture. Extensive use of home offices has meant various digital learning platforms have been used to provide training at times when attending the workplace in person has not been possible.

We are committed to preventing both discrimination and harassment. In this year’s global employee survey, not one employee reported that they had been discriminated against or had experienced harassment. The survey also confirms that our staff are familiar with our whistleblower system. We also perform follow-up work, with regular surveys of the general working environment. We have zero tolerance for unacceptable behaviour and motivate our employees to report such incidents.

We support and respect international human rights and labour rights that are set out in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ILO Core Conventions (International Labour Organisation) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Leadership in KONGSBERG is about creating value and achieving results through people. The key to success lies in the combination of good management and dedicated employees. Managers shall exercise their leadership based on our values, the Corporate Code of Ethics and management principles. Our managers shall create an environment in which our employees are able to prosper and succeed in meeting our strategic priorities. On the basis of this, we have implemented a management development programme, known as Leadership@KONGSBERG, that will help to clarify and quality-assure processes for goal setting, follow-up and evaluation of all of our employees. In 2020, a high proportion of our employees worked from home due to COVID-19, and we have therefore prioritised the close follow-up of employees and clear leadership.

A key prerequisite for long-term success is that KONGSBERG properly manages employee competencies. The Group is aiming to increase the exchange of knowledge and staff between the business areas. Good work processes and development opportunities are important incentives in recruiting and retaining good employees. KONGSBERG places emphasis on strengthening competences and is continuously working to develop its employees. Individuals and teams who comply with our values and demonstrate desirable conduct are to be valued. This culture will help us to attract people with the right skills and behaviour to address the technical challenges of tomorrow in a sustainable manner. Every other year, a global job satisfaction survey is conducted to provide feedback on how employees experience working conditions and the working environment.

In KONGSBERG we are focusing on competence development, with the aim to continuously  developing our employees.

KONGSBERG will reward its employees both for results achieved and desirable conduct. We will be competitive, but not salary leaders. KONGSBERG ensures that the salaries and conditions of all employees are in accordance with local legislation, agreements and guidelines. The principles and systems for remuneration of executive management are determined by the Board. The Board has a separate Compensation Committee which deals with all significant matters related to wages and other remuneration to senior executives prior to formal discussion and decision by the Board.

Diversity and gender equality create value and make us more competitive. They expand the mindset and have a positive influence on the company’s strategy and management. The importance of this work is reflected in our HR strategy and by the Corporate Executive Management and the Board, and the work is monitored by the Compensation Committee. We work systematically and purposefully to recruit and develop people of different age groups, ethnicity and gender. Our focus on diversity is reflected in promotion, recruitment and leadership development, and is monitored with periodic surveys and follow-up work.

The 2020 goal was to increase the share of women in management roles, with a focus on operational positions and international operations. The percentage of female managers in KONGSBERG has risen in recent years, and 23 per cent of our managers at level 1–3 are now women. There are a number of reasons behind this increase, but a key factor has been awareness when hiring new managers. One of our initiatives to motivate women to apply for management roles has been the Female Forum. The purpose of the forum is to give female managers an opportunity to meet and use the network as a tool. It is also important to have goals and targets, and then measure the results driving behavioural change. The HR strategy includes several concrete measures supporting these targets. We have also been successful in increasing the share of women through recruitment, and in 2020, this was 27 per cent.

Our challenges

We operate in about 40 countries, and security and emergency preparedness for our personnel is our top priority. Our ethical guidelines provide a clear framework for how we work, regardless of country and region. They give us licence to operate and are essential for our existence and reputation. Our international growth involves new partners and supplier chains, which means increased focus on matters related to both human and labour rights.

A world of instability and multiple threats require a higher degree of security for our information and intellectual property rights. We rely on having loyal employees who follow our standards of confidentiality and integrity. Risk management and vulnerability analysis are tools for applying the right level of security.

Due to digitalisation and accelerating technological development, our employees need to upgrade their skills continuously. Moreover, this will lead to new knowledge requirements in the future. KONGSBERG is a global company with employees located throughout the world. This leads to major variations within language, culture and ethnicity, and requires good and effective leadership. Knowledge sharing and collaboration through networks across the established structures provides added value for the company and is expected to become a more usual working method.

We must communicate effectively and through appropriate channels both internally and externally. Both our social media profile and our employees should reflect this in relation to the outside world.

KONGSBERG wants to motivate more women to pursue their studies in technology-based subjects.

Goals and activities

We shall further develop our global organisation and actively pursue diversity to foster an environment and a culture where everyone feels included
  • Goals for 2020 – what did we say?

    • Invite all employees to tell us what they think about our values in an electronic survey.
    • Revitalise our values in order to face up to changes in society and the expectations of our employees.
  • Goals for 2020 – what did we say?

    • KONGSBERG aims to promote inclusion in working life. Our goal is to have a minimum of 20 people in occupational training.
    • The target for the percentage of nationalities other than Norwegian in our management teams is 14 per cent.
    • The target for the percentage of female managers is 22 per cent, and 15 per cent for female operational management.
  • Goals for 2020 – what did we say?

    • Contribute to ongoing improvements in HSE by sharing experiences and cooperation across the Group.
    • Improve HSE KPI goals relative to the results achieved in 2019.
    • Further improvement and increased efficiency of reporting process.
  • Goals for 2020 – what did we say?


    • Minimum 90 per cent completion rate for appraisal interviews.
    • Implement process for strategic planning of the workforce and competence requirements for Group.

Health, safety and the environment

Handling of the COVID-19 pandemic at KONGSBERG

Handling of the COVID-19 pandemic at KONGSBERG

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continuously worked to protect the lives and health of all our employees around the world, and to help maintain the Group’s business operations. We realised early on that this could become a very serious situation that could impact on our business and therefore immediately established emergency preparedness measures as news came in about virus outbreaks in Asia in February 2020. To ensure the best possible performance and cooperation within the Group, a central crisis team was established, supplemented by local crisis teams in our business areas. The crisis teams have cooperated closely and continuously over the course of the pandemic to ensure that the need for essential measures, capacity, communication, training on infection control and resources for critical operations and projects was mapped out at all times. The work done to manage the crisis has taught us important lessons for dealing with other crises that may arise in the future.

We have introduced infection control measures at all our locations and arranged for employees to work from home as much as possible. This has resulted in us having very few infection outbreaks at our workplaces. This has been especially important in countries with high infection rates and poorly developed local infection control. Parts of our business are defined as socially critical activities. As a result of this, the part of the workforce unable to carry out tasks from home has largely been able to go to work in order to perform their duties more or less as normal, provided the necessary measures are maintained.

We have developed a strong digital meeting culture. Our managers have been trained in “digital management”, and we have followed up our employees tight during the pandemic. We have not received any signals through our reporting procedures or alert systems regarding negative events or challenges concerning human rights from any of our companies.

We have had to temporarily lay off a small number of staff, especially at the start of the pandemic before we got a full overview of the situation. KONGSBERG has at most temporarily laid off around 750 employees as a result of COVID-19. By the end of 2020, most of these employees were back at work.

In addition to protecting lives and health, we have continuously assessed risks and measures for carrying out critical operations and projects, including IT systems and data security in all countries in which the Group operates. Collectively, the measures have safeguarded the working environment and sustained business throughout the pandemic without significant negative consequences for our customers or partners.

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