Case Studies

These case studies illustrate how Alcoa is acting upon its commitment to sustainable development throughout the world. We are pleased with this progress, but look forward to achieving even more.

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Spain - 2009

Spanish Location Receives Certification for Work/Life Balance Support


In an effort to comply with both Alcoa’s internal diversity targets and Spanish equity law, the company’s Alicante, Spain, facility sought and, in January 2009, received independent certification of its support for work/life balance.

The Empresa Familiarmente Responsable (Family-Friendly Enterprise) certification, known as EFR certification, is offered by the Fundacion Mas Familia and supported by the local government. The certification is only granted after a business implements EFR requirements and successfully passes a third-party audit conducted by a registered agency.

Key aspects of the business that are assessed during the in-depth audit include the following:

  • Leadership style;
  • Measures related to quality of employment, work flexibility, support of employees’ families and family life, professional development opportunities, equal opportunities, and diversity;
  • Internal and external communication; and
  • Employee engagement.

Alicante began the audit process in July 2008 through interviews with more than 170 employees, line managers, and leaders. The location passed the audit in November 2008 and was granted certification in January 2009.

“At Alicante, we found many established work/life balance programs that the employees are using,” said Jesús Cañizares Plata, an auditor from AENOR who assessed the Alicante facility. “Employee needs are evaluated, and there is high commitment from plant management. Areas requiring improvement include communicating program benefits to all levels, increasing middle management’s involvement in supporting and addressing employee needs, and offering more development and promotion opportunities to females.”

Some of the programs in place at Alicante that address work/life balance include work-time flexibility, onsite occupational health services, an annual camp for the children of employees, an employee assistance program, training on diversity, equality and work/life balance, and a social club.

“These programs allow me to gain time to spend with my family,” said one female respondent to an anonymous survey of all shop floor employees conducted in 2008. “If an employee receives help with his or her personal and family life, then that employee is grateful and more engaged with the company.”

To begin closing some of the gaps uncovered in the audit, Alicante is currently focused on including diversity and work/life balance in its strategic plan, implementing actions to support and promote women, providing anti-stress training to all employees, and improving its flextime and other workday options.