Iren’s human Capital

The growth and development of employees, especially in terms of diversity and inclusion and together with health and safety, are fundamental values for Iren Group: pillars that are transposed into the mission and vision of the Strategic Plan and in the actions of personnel.

These values were even more relevant in 2020 in the context of the Covid-19 emergency, which immediately affected the areas in which Iren operates.

On 21 February 2020, the Group instituted, and has since maintained, a Crisis Unit (consisting of: Manager of Personnel, Organisation and Information Systems, Head of Personnel, Head of Welfare and Safety in the Workplace and Coordinator of the Group’s Occupational Health Physicians), which began working in close contact with all First-Level Managers to prevent and monitor the spread of the infection, guarantee the continuity of the services provided, and initiate an ongoing dialogue with all Group employees.

Activity for constant internal communication was immediately organised. The general measures to be complied with for preventive and precautionary purposes and specific additional company measures for protecting employees’ health and operational continuity were disseminated to all employees – via the company intranet, e-mail and text messages.

In particular, from the beginning of March 2020 with Italy’s entry into lockdown, smart working options (which, following an initial experiment, involved around 1,000 employees by that date) were extended to the opportunity of working remotely, guaranteeing continuity of service and, at the same time, into a powerful means of containing the infection; within three weeks the number of people able to work remotely tripled, reaching 3,166 people by the end of the year.

Only employees dedicated to providing essential services and activities that are essential for business continuity were authorised to attend work, for whom suitable procedures and means of protection were defined for operating in person, especially in situations of greater risk (closed environments) or at essential points for the provision of the service (e.g. remote control rooms). Measures were also implemented to avoid situations of contact and crowds as much as possible. Examples of this are the encouragement, where possible, of the use of company cars to go directly to the worksite, or the staggered entry into service and a system of shifts for access to the canteen; access control and daily cleaning operations through disinfection have also been intensified. In addition to installing disinfectant dispensers, signs indicating the sanitation actions to be taken have been posted in company premises. An app has also been set up to allow each employee to report their physical presence to proceed immediately to the subsequent sanitisation of the premises.

For all employees, all travel was suspended, and meetings could only be held by tele- or videoconferencing, and all necessary IT and communication infrastructures were enhanced, enabling peaks of over 1,000 video or teleconferences per day to be supported.

To adapt the presence of personnel to situations of reduced or suspended activities without impacting wages, an agreement was signed with the Trade Unions. Given the Group’s decision not to make use of social shock absorbers, the agreement provided that planned absences could be justified not only with the usual justifications but also with “recuperative leave” and/or solidarity holidays, donated by Group employees and Companies to those who had exhausted their holiday entitlement. More than 2,130 days of solidarity holidays were donated by employees, in addition to the Group’s commitment corresponding to the amount made available by workers.

In addition, at least one day of distance training was provided for each employee, thus transforming the health emergency into an opportunity for professional enrichment.

With the nationwide start of the so-called “phase 2” of the Coronavirus emergency, characterised by a gradual recommencement of production and commercial activities, starting on 4 May 2020, all employees who, for reasons of necessity, physically went to work were given a protection kit containing masks, wipes and disinfectant products. During this phase, the commercial help desks were reopened, with the return to headquarters (for one or more days a week) of the people who had been working remotely until that date.

As previously described, the Covid-19 health emergency accelerated some processes of change and the adoption of new working methods, in particular distance working, based on the one hand on trust and listening, and on the other on the assumption of responsibility by individuals. In this context, in addition to managing all the interventions to allow the adoption of new working methods and avoid the risk of reducing internal cohesion, a specific training intervention was implemented for the development of new leadership, a fundamental factor for adequately managing the situation that had come about.

In the socio-economic context generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, employment has taken on even greater social importance and is confirmed as a determining factor for the Group, which sees human resources as a fundamental capital for its growth. Maintaining adequate employment levels, skill coverage and development, occupational health and safety, together with the quality of employment, are essential for pursuing corporate strategies.

This is why Iren Group is actively committed to improving working conditions and the personal growth of its employees, encouraging a stimulating and constructive working environment: investments in training and development, careful career planning, targeted strategies to enhance talent, tailored benefits, personalised remuneration policies and an innovative corporate culture are some of the elements on which the Group has continued to focus. Moreover, the involvement and engagement of collaborators are considered essential to teamwork and to developing a corporate culture consistent with the Group’s development prospects.

This approach is part of the process, launched in 2020, to manage individual skills and knowledge as part of a model that aims to maintain a high quality of human resources through policies for increased professionalism and guarantee of necessary involvement (see page 130 of the “Sustainability Report”).

In 2020, Iren Group was once again awarded the Top Employers Italia certification, destined for the best companies in the world in the field of human resources: those that offer excellent working conditions, that train and develop talents at all company levels and that constantly strive to improve and optimise their best practices in the field of human resources. A level of attention that is also confirmed by other awards (see page 26 of the “Sustainability Report”) obtained during the year: the Top Utility award in the Diversity category and recognition, in the online training category, by HR Mission, an initiative promoted by AIDP to recognise and enhance the creativity and innovation deployed by companies during the Covid-19 emergency.

People are a fundamental capital for the Group, as shown by its 2020 Top Employers certification.

The Group also contributes to maintaining employment levels by promoting the development of businesses from which it commissions services and work, by requesting guarantees from them in terms of both personnel and safety policies through the application of some of its own standards. Moreover, the Group offers employees of supplier companies the possibility to use some of the services and attend training courses organised by the Group itself.

The Group contributes to the quality of employment of the local inhabitants and its suppliers through actions aimed at increasing professional skills and improving education level. While having no specific local recruitment policy, given the specific features of the Italian labour market, a high percentage of employees reside in the province where their place of work is located. Furthermore, considering the types of business, the geographical areas in which the Group operates, and the procedures adopted to ensure compliance with current legislation, no risk of child labour or forced labour exists for Iren Group.


Iren Group personnel (*)

At 31 December 2020, the employees working for Iren Group totalled 8,465, up compared to the 8,102 employees at 31 December 2019.

The main personnel changes are due to:

  • changes in the scope of consolidation during the year, mainly with the acquisition of I.Blu, for a total of 286 resources;
  • the characteristics of the annual workforce trend of the company San Germano due to the launch/conclusion of contracted services, including those of a seasonal nature;
  • continuation of the generational turnover plan.

(*) N.B. The personnel data contained in the Sustainability Report do not contain the data of the former Unieco Environment Division.

99% of the Group’s employees and employed on permanent or apprenticeship contracts.

Personnel as at 31/12 by position (no.) 2020 2019 2018
Executives 92 94 93
Junior managers 305 314 296
White collars workers 3,618 3,495 3,304
Blue collars workers 4,450 4,199 3,349
TOTAL 8,465 8,102 7,042

About 99% of personnel are employed on permanent or, in the case of young people, apprenticeship contracts.

This figure confirms that the Group favours long-term working relationships with its personnel, also offering opportunities for internships to give young people, in particular, substantial professional experience. In 2020, 78 people were given internships and 17 students took part in School-Work programmes.

38% of the employees fall within the 30 and 50 age group, while the average age is 48.

Average personnel by area



Average personnel by Business Unit



Personnel by contract type



The Group believes that maintaining long-term relations with its own employees, in combination with lifelong learning programmes, is an essential part of its corporate responsibility and is committed to avoiding any form of collective or unfair dismissal, always in compliance with legal and contractual provisions, in the case of positive economic results or otherwise those in line with shareholders’ expectations. The management of redundancies, should these occur, prioritises the incentivization of voluntary resignation for those eligible to access pension funds, and the reassignment of excess personnel to other activities within or promoted by the Group, with due retraining, and the use of the available social safety nets, promoting forms of internal solidarity and, where necessary, insourcing activities which had previously been outsourced. The Group is committed to protecting, in line with legal and contractual provisions, people belonging to protected categories and/or suffering from long-term illness, avoiding any form of discrimination in their regard.

New hires and contract treminations

There were 612 hires in 2020, despite the situation affected by the Covid-19 health emergency. The overall figure is influenced by the characteristics of the San Germano company, which makes extensive use of hiring under fixed-term contracts (196 in 2020 and 203 in 2019) to cope with the start-up of contracted services, including those of a seasonal nature. Excluding this Company, approximately 90% of new hires are on permanent or apprenticeship contracts. The remaining hires on fixed-term contracts are due to seasonal or replacement needs.

Hires by type of contract (no.) 2020 2019 2018
Permanent contract 177 202 84
Fixed-term contract 238 238 55
Apprenticeship contract 197 305 174
TOTAL 612 745 313
Hires by age (no.) 2020 2019 2018
under 30 years old 308 360 225
from 30 to 50 years old 199 296 79
over 50 years 105 89 9
TOTAL 612 745 313

Consistent with Group policies, among contracts subject to expiration, 100% of apprenticeship contracts were confirmed (except for one case of extension for maternity leave in 2020 and one case of voluntary resignation in 2019); fixed-term contracts were renewed within the limits of replacement needs and seasonal operations.

Employees with contracts expiring during the year (no.) 2020 2019 2018
Expiring Fixed-term/ apprenticeship contracts 176 341 67
- of which confirmed on a permanent basis 132 132 52

The main reasons for terminations, excluding those due to resignations and the expiry of fixed-term contracts, included terminations linked to the demographic rebalancing plan, with incentives to leave. Almost all terminations due to the expiration of fixed-term contracts depend on the San Germano company (129 in 2020 and 174 in 2019).

The changes in resignations are mainly due to terminations due to the attainment of pension rights without incentive (37 in 2020 and 44 in 2019) and the peculiarities of the San Germano company (37 in 2019 and 2020). There were no collective redundancies and/or redundancies for economic reasons.

Outbound employees by reason (no.) and turnover 2020 2019 2018
Resignations 145 131 60
Voluntary termination/retirement 145 133 300
Death 12 14 11
Dismissals 22 26 29
Inability to work 5 15 19
Expiration of fixed-term contract 140 191 10
Transfer to other Group Companies (1) 0 4 8
TOTAL 469 514 437
TURNOVER (2) 5.5% 6.3% 6.2%

(1) Agreed transfer to companies which are not part of the analysed perimeter.

(2) Turnover was calculated as ratio of outbound employees to the number of total employees at 31/12.

The regulatory provisions provide for the possibility of encouraging the advancement of the pension with the so-called “quota 100” (Italian Legislative Decree 4/2019, converted with amendments by Law 26/2019) for those who have reached a minimum age of 62 and a minimum contribution period of 38 years. Under the agreement signed in 2019 with the trade unions in applying these regulatory provisions, 110 employees left in 2020.

Turnover decreased compared to 2019, although it remained consistent due to the generational turnover process for which numerous terminations were addressed, and workforce was restored through training internships preparatory to hiring.

Specific studies and simulations were carried out within the context of the Business Plan to assess the Group employees eligible to retire in the 2018-2030 period. Consequently, the Group is making preparations to handle employees that are eligible to retire during the current decade, accounting for possible organisational changes to work and the new skills needed.

Within the Group there are no specific pension plans, however, all legal and contractual obligations are respected.

Hours worked and hours of absence

Over 95% of hours worked are normal working hours.

Hours worked (no.) 2020 2019 2018
Normal working hours 12,778,051 12,354,017 10,571,908
Overtime 617,038 781,767 627,554
TOTAL 13,395,089 13,135,784 11,199,462

Concerning hours worked, the flexible development of the working day, especially for the office workers who took advantage of smart working due to the health emergency, had an impact on both ordinary and extraordinary services.

The increase in cases of illness, caused by the spread of Covid-19, quarantines and absences of frail and immunocompromised individuals traced back to illness, resulted in an increase, compared to 2019, in sick leave – ratio between hours of absence due to illness and hours worked, which is equal to 5.7% (5.1% in 2019).

Hours of absence by type (%) 2020 2019 2018
Sick leave 60 57 54
Maternity leave 4 6 7
Accident 6 8 7
Strike 0 0 1
Trade union meetings and leave 4 5 5
Other absences (paid and unpaid) 26 24 26
TOTAL 100 100 100

The increase in absolute terms in the number of hours of absence also derives from the greater use of the types of absence provided for by emergency legislation for the care of children or disabled family members (e.g. extraordinary leave of 50%, leave under Law 104).

Also affected by pandemic-related absences is the increase in the absenteeism rate, which is 5.4% in 2020 (5.2% in 2019)1.

1. The absenteeism rate is calculated as the ratio of days of absence due to illness, accidents, strikes and certain other types of absence to working days in the year per employee, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, multiplied by the average number of employees.

Relevant topics

Employment, development of human resources and welfare

SDG 10

Industrial relations


Occupational health and safety


Diversity and inclusion

SDG 10

Human rights

SDG 10

Internal and external communication

SDG 17