Participation as a key principle: Why we are shaping #newtk together
Company | Corporate culture | In the “#newtk Perspectives” series of workshops, also thyssenkrupp employees will have the chance to contribute new ideas for thyssenkrupp’s bright future. Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Oliver Burkhard firmly believes that involving the workforce is a unique opportunity to gain new perspectives in the #newtk mission.
In order to be successful in the future together, thyssenkrupp needs to change on many different levels. It needs to dramatically improve its performance and to rethink its portfolio and organization. Because of this, the Executive Board announced the strategic realignment of thyssenkrupp in May 2019 – under the project name #newtk. One of the cornerstones of this approach is the systematic involvement of employees.
Realignment towards success – by thyssenkrupp for thyssenkrupp
But why should employees be actively involved now of all times in the strategic realignment of the company? Isn’t it up to the Board to determine what form the new thyssenkrupp should take? As thyssenkrupp CHRO Oliver Burkhard explains: “This would have been a possible alternative for developing the new strategy for the Group. However, it was an alternative that we deliberately did not choose.”
This is because the thyssenkrupp CHRO sees #newtk as representing a new organizational structure that is geared towards people – after all, no one knows thyssenkrupp better than those who come into contact with its structures, products and customers on a daily basis. Oliver Burkhard: “As the Board, we trust that our employees will know best from their experience how thyssenkrupp can become successful again.” Aspiration: by thyssenkrupp for thyssenkrupp.
“#newtk perspectives” workshops: More courage, more openness!
With a workshop series being held under the heading “#newtk Perspectives,” the Executive Board is aiming to embody this strong trust in the workforce even more. And to regularly invite thyssenkrupp employees to share their view of the Group’s new strategy.
At the first “#newtk Perspectives Workshop,” which took place on 14 and 15 July 2019, a total of 80 employees had the opportunity to present their perspective on the new strategy – well over 100 had responded to the invitation. The participants worked together in teams to prime thyssenkrupp for a successful future. The central question was: What exactly can we make better? In order to find the answer, the most important rule was: no taboos, no fear – and plenty of courage to change!
Outcome of first workshops: lasting impression made
The very first time it was held, the workshop approach demonstrated that it was worthwhile asking employees themselves what they would change as part of thyssenkrupp’s realignment. The proposals put forward by the workforce were already formulated very specifically. For instance, many teams expressed the wish to work in more flexible project teams rather than within rigid departmental boundaries. Equally courageous were suggestions for streamlining the Corporate Headquarters in Essen. Among other things, this included the proposal to offer only those services that are directly requested by the businesses and are therefore billable.
As Oliver Burkhard summed up: “This first workshop was a pilot with which we wanted to try out the new involvement approach. A number of things made a lasting impression on me: the large number of different contributions and the openness to radical change. I didn’t expect this strong a response – and it motivates my Executive Board colleagues and me to build a new thyssenkrupp together with our workforce. I firmly believe that every single suggestion is of value. Some ideas even inspired me so much that I would like to implement them right away.” Ample motivation for the next employee workshops in the coming days, weeks and months.
No-holds-barred thinking – every idea is of value
Which is why Oliver Burkhard is calling upon all thyssenkrupp colleagues to be courageous. And to say what they think thyssenkrupp can do differently and do better in the future: “Our people are allowed to say anything that is constructive and that can help thyssenkrupp to improve. My Board colleagues and I will then ensure that good ideas are implemented.”
It is also clear that ultimate responsibility for the outcome remains with the Executive Board – accordingly, it is also responsible for deciding which suggestions end up being implemented. However, according to the CHRO, one realization has already firmly established itself after the first “#newtk Perspectives” workshops: “Steering a more successful path for thyssenkrupp is something that we can only do together. By questioning ourselves critically. And by working together constructively to build a new, successful thyssenkrupp. And I would urge everyone to play their part.”