The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How UniCredit promotes employee development

UniCredit is an Italian commercial bank offering local and international expertise and access to market leading products and services in 13 core markets. UniCredit supports its employees throughout their professional lives by listening to their needs, valuing their skills, implementing training programmes and development plans and promoting diversity.

This case study is based on the 2019 Integrated Report by UniCredit published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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UniCredit seeks to be an employer of choice, investing in attracting, managing and developing talent  Tweet This! – a company where people can fully deploy their skills, abilities and qualities. In order to promote employee development UniCredit took action to:

  • manage employee performance
  • create a development track

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Integrated Report UniCredit identified a range of material issues, such as business ethics, cyber security, fair business behaviour, climate change. Among these, promoting employee development stands out as a key material issue for UniCredit.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups UniCredit engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics UniCredit engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement


·      Customer satisfaction assessment

·      Brand reputation assessment

·      Mystery shopping

·      Instant feedback

·      Focus groups, workshops, seminars





·      People Survey of professional engagement

·      Internal clients’ perceptions of headquarters services

·      Group Intranet Portal

·      Departmental online communities

Investors/ shareholders



·      Quarterly webcasts and conference calls to present results

·      One-on-one and group meetings, calls

·      Shareholders’ meeting

Regulators ·      One-on-one and group meetings, calls


·      Surveys

·      Social Media

What actions were taken by UniCredit to promote employee development?

In its 2019 Integrated Report UniCredit reports that it took the following actions for promoting employee development:

  • Managing employee performance
  • UniCredit implements processes to set goals, assess employee performance and define career development based on the following key principles: achieving ambitious goals connecting the Group’s strategy with individual contributions; empowering managers to make decisions about their people; rewarding merit and performance; ensuring respect of its Ethics and Respect values and Five Fundamentals; encouraging individual development and learning; increasing transparency with continuous feedback. UniCredit Performance Management is the Group-wide appraisal and development process for all employees. All employees receive a performance review from their manager and the behaviours expected are based on UniCredit’s guiding principle Do the right thing!. This process ensures a common approach to performance management and decisions on reward, career development and learning opportunities. In addition, UniCredit’s annual review enables it to define career and succession plans that ensure a sustainable leadership pipeline with regard to both executives and employees on the executive track.
  • Creating a development track
  • A development track is available to all UniCredit employees. Both vertical growth and horizontal moves may be possible, based on emerging opportunities and the fulfilment of individual goals. The track can be locally customised to meet specific business needs. For a selected pool of employees, identified according to outstanding performance and potential, a fast-track development path is available. In 2019, UniCredit redesigned its executive development offer with the intention of supporting its executives in each stage of their career. Five phases have been identified: onboarding, settlement, performance, consolidation and transition. In particular, UniCredit introduced dedicated paths to meet the development needs in the onboarding and settlement phase, in order to support those skills required to face new challenges and tasks versus key competencies. These leadership development paths last from 18 to 36 months and in 2019 were initiated by more than 300 executives. Over the course of the year UniCredit continued to foster professional growth in its competence and business lines using the modular and flexible programmes available in its learning catalogue, in fields such as finance and risk management. In addition, training opportunities specific to local business needs in each country and division were provided in order to enhance professional skills and assist employees in their roles. UniCredit’s efforts address skills in retail, corporate and private banking and upskilling in data science, advanced analytics and engineering. UniCredit achieved a total of more than 30 hours training per capita in 2019.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee

2) Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

3) Disclosure 404-3 Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews


Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee corresponds to:

 Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:

Disclosure 404-3 Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP



1) This case study is based on published information by UniCredit, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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