Although management can be a rewarding career choice, it sometimes lacks glamor. With a younger generation of employees losing interest in taking on managerial roles, and managers themselves becoming isolated in their positions, Siemens France decided to address the problem at its source. The company launched Siemens Management Academy, a digital training platform developed in collaboration with CrossKnowledge.
The Passeport Manager program is at the heart of the platform, and offers flexible learning paths for first-time managers that have achieved excellent results, including completion rates of 95 per cent for their digital training modules.
From wind turbines to the rail sector, and from gas turbines to healthcare equipment, German engineering conglomerate Siemens is ubiquitous in the energy, automation and medical technology markets. In France, Siemens employs 6,700 people, with around 800 in management positions.
Ensuring the future of management talent
“We understood that the new generation of employees wasn’t necessarily interested in having a management position; some seemed to find sufficient professional fulfillment in their role as experts,” explains David-Alexandre Gava, Head of L&D and Talent Acquisition at Siemens France. “To ensure the future availability of managerial talent, we had to help existing managers communicate better, and to be more open to others.” While the group already had distance learning expertise internally, notably through their in-house content creation studio at Munich head office, the French subsidiary took the initiative to go a step further, calling on
CrossKnowledge to develop a new digital training platform. “We found no better player on the market than CrossKnowledge. They brought us real solutions and helped us to rapidly visualize the final product,” reports Gava. The objectives of Siemens Management Academy were to develop managerial skills, secure the future of the profession, and build a sense of pride and belonging in the managerial community, particularly amongst first-time managers.
Introducing the Passeport Manager
“New managers don’t know everything about their jobs, and that is perfectly normal,” says Gava. “We decided to concentrate on this issue, and to implement training to support them.” First-time managers benefit from a dedicated learning path that is the heart of the Siemens Management Academy, and which is made up of 140 hours of training spread out over 18 months. The goal is to raise awareness of the wide array of management responsibilities, and provide concrete solutions and actions that managers can apply in their new roles. This program, titled Passeport Manager, involves 40 to 60 participants each year, grouped into several classes each sponsored by a member of the executive board. Digital training sessions precede classroom sessions, which are then reinforced with follow-up modules. “We deliver a large proportion of the theoretical concepts early on, so that we can focus on case studies and role-playing during the face-to-face sessions. This also makes it possible to shorten the classroom interactions,” said Gava, who himself participated in the first class to see how it progressed. Each Passeport Manager program is adapted to the individual learner’s profile. First, new managers go through a shared learning path on management fundamentals, leading teams and communication. Each learner then augments their basic training with several ‘satellite’ courses focusing on subjects suggested by the HR director and the learner’s direct supervisor. These courses can include, for example, psychosocial risks, labor law, finance for managers, or recruiting.
Supporting managerial behavior
The training also aims to give managers daily inspiration, and the tools they need in order to develop and to manage change. Siemens opted for a set of resources that summarize the key points that managers must know,
and also allows them to choose from a wide selection of content taken from the CrossKnowledge catalog. “The platform allowed us to easily integrate learning resources that support core managerial behaviors. These modules, videos, PowerPoints, etc., are ideal for reinforcing particular techniques, such as how to give feedback or how to set goals,” explains David-Alexandre Gava. Siemens also chose ‘The Team’, a series of dramatic TVstyle educational videos, to support managers in dealing with change. “We eliminated most personal office spaces as part of a large ‘flex-office’ effort when we moved. This has involved significant change for managers, and we had to provide support for that,” explains Gava. In addition, Siemens decided to include a bibliography module, so that managers can share what they are reading with their colleagues, review books and reports and provide a commentary, and so on.
95% participation rate
The opinions of the target audience of first-time managers were practically unanimous, and Gava is happy with the results: “When I ask them about the process, they tell me that they were astonished by the quality of the digital training. The managers had a completion rate for their digital training modules (prior to classroom sessions) of more than 95 percent.” The next steps for the Siemens Management Academy are to build its collaborative features, and to bring in new content. “New seasons of ‘The Team’ will be launched, and we’re also going to work with the Communications Director to take more advantage of the platform’s collaborative potential to bring together all of our managers,” Gava concludes.