Project Description

CASE STUDY

PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT:
AN EMPOWERMENT PATH DEDICATED TO THE TECHNICAL COMMUNITY OF A COMPANY

Case Study

People Development

Company

Multinational in semiconductors sector

Place

Italy

Edited by

Ornella Serrantini
February 2020

THE CHALLENGE: FROM “CLARK KENT” TO “SUPERMAN” 

When they called us for this project (we were already doing several self-empowerment workshops in that company) we immediately understood that it was going to be something radically different. And difficult.
We had already met some members of that community in other classrooms, and for the most part they were very introverted and hard to get involved, to scratch. Furthermore, the technical career path in the company had already existed “formally” for years, so many of them had already been “parked” there for some time, without having received any real development opportunities.
We immediately understood that an impact action was needed, but that it would not be enough. We worked together with HR precisely to build organisational coherence, cultural prerequisites (in the line, in the direct leaders and also in the executives) so that a new team was integrated into the company. We imagined a community made up of active, proactive, recognised, visible, authoritative members.

THE ACTION: A COORDINATED PATH BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT AND ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

In the field, we have designed a residential workshop that has been enriched and updated over the years.
The path includes:

Opening with a kick off session with all the participants in which the executive VP explains the meaning and objectives of the initiative. We, together with the HR business partner, explain the steps of the path and the methodological approach. The path, after the kick off, is divided as follows:

A kick-off session in which the participants and their direct managers are engaged

An individual initial interview

A three-day residential self-empowerment workshop. During the third day, a company testimonial comes to present the company vision with respect to the contribution from the members of the technical community

An interview dedicated to the construction of an incisive action plan

A meeting with all the direct managers, to activate them with respect to the contribution they can make (or may not give!) to the development and growth of the participants

An interview between the person and his/her direct manager, to create a pact of development and reciprocity

A series of internal meetings, in which the participants plan their own contribution to the community

A final day of personal branding: the consolidated quality leap, how to “demonstrate it” in an increasingly evident way in the company

This path, supported by HR, is flanked by a whole series of actions that the members of the community have independently started to implement, eager to build the present and the future of their role in the company with protagonism.

The organisations were involved, the certification committees of the community members were strengthened, the members themselves were involved in numerous initiatives (training, patent review, advisory on technological innovation) in which they could be accredited and give added value.

The quality leap of each member has ensured that people enthusiastically seize the opportunities that the organisation has created. The organisational openness has, on the other hand, allowed people to have visibility, gratification and the possibility of impact in the company, strengthening the pact created in the classroom and in the field.

The journey was long and demanding. Having started in 2010, it is essentially still underway with a second phase of innovative challenge in course, in which community members are called to demonstrate their ability to think outside the box and provide different – but at the same time- solid solutions.

Today the technical community is a reality in that company. People who were partially worn down by the lack of opportunities are now engaged and recognised members of the company

THE RESULT: THE TECHNICAL CAREER AS A LEVER OF EMPLOYER BRANDING

The initiative overturned the internal and external perception of the technical career in the company. What was initially defined as “Indian reservation” or “elephant cemetery” is now a sought-after career in the company by young people who join and want to establish themselves on a scientific level, who see their senior colleagues being recognised, appreciated and influential, as well as having the possibility of growth free from the more usual managerial criteria (the number of people being overlooked, for example).

AT THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL:

  • Active, proactive community members, more confident in themselves and their role, more serene and eager to contribute and communicate with colleagues and customers.

AT THE LEVEL OF ORGANISATIONAL IMPACT:

  • A lively community oriented towards bringing ideas and contributions
  • A population finally motivated and engaged, capable of giving greater added value to the company
  • A strong lever of employer branding to attract people with a very high technical and scientific profile
  • A series of high-profile initiatives, dedicated to internal staff or customers, in which the community is able to involve top-level academic and business figures
  • A community capable of thinking of itself as a task force, of overcoming divisional barriers (silos) to create spaces for dialogue and comparison, for the search for solutions and resources that go beyond the classic hierarchical structure of the organisation
  • A community capable of exploiting the diversity of knowledge to address the theme of innovation in a new and across the board way
  • A community that shares the same technological environment and forms a recognisable group, united by common values, interests, and motivations

TESTIMONIALS

I joined the path in November 2012 and took home something that I digested throughout the entire Christmas holidays 2012 and fought with myself about for another six months only then to build something that I hoped would succeed! You know when you move into situations that have become entrenched and rigid? Here, on the path, I heard only about picking up habits, demolish the schemes and use awareness to decide which ones to rebuild. I decided to do it … a 6-month construction site! Now autonomously I rearrange something from time to time!
From a group of people who initially shared “only” a career path we became a real community.
The work on the individual, on their strengths and areas for improvement, has made it possible to transform the individual into a group member from which the community draws strength, sharing and cooperation.
For an organisation to succeed in its field of business, it is not enough to have people with a high level of know-how, but a real and sincere spirit of collaboration is needed that allows it to exploit the strengths of individuals and overcome difficulties through effective collaboration between the various organisational individuals.
To win in a team sport, it is not enough to have a team of “phenomena”, but it is necessary that the “phenomena” work together, suffer together and prioritise team goals over personal goals.
The Torreluna workshop has precisely the objective of increasing the awareness of individuals with respect to their strengths and improvement but, above all, of increasing the awareness of how much stronger an organisation is in which all people are united in contributing to the achievement of the common goal. To get the best from the workshop it is essential that everyone participates actively with the appropriate mental openness focused on “change”.
I took part in the self-development workshop for my technical career and still today, after a few years, I am able to put into practice what I learned during this path.
I think this is the most effective and concrete confirmation of the validity and positive impact that this experience has had on my professional life.
The workshop gave us the push and the desire to think “out of the box”, not to put limits on the creativity that we could develop, and to commit ourselves with passion and generosity in the execution of the project, with the aim of building a prototype to present to top management.
This was the workshop for me: a valuable tool for both technical and personal growth, working together as peers with colleagues from different backgrounds to mine, which enriched me a lot. And I also took home the desire to stimulate other colleagues to work as a team on innovative projects, because it is a beautiful and worthwhile thing to do.