At Infineon, fostering talent also means recognizing and acknowledging the uniqueness of each and every employee. Our global Diversity Management provides the framework for a corporate culture that values the individuality of each person and promotes equal opportunities – irrespective of a person's age, disability, ethnic and cultural heritage, gender, religion, beliefs, and sexual orientation.
Mathias Kamolz, Managing Director of Infineon Dresden, has been the sponsor of Infineon Dresden’s Diversity Network since fall 2015. In this interview he talks about what’s important to him:
What prompted you to get involved in diversity?
The topic is of steadily increasing importance at Infineon and I wanted to support that. I am convinced that we need diversity in order to grow. It’s only through the diversity of the people that we can get even more creativity and innovation into the Company. And it’s only when we present ourselves as contemporary and we live diversity that we become attractive as an employer. As a major organization, we are also sending a social signal and playing an exemplary role when we promote diversity.
Which aspect is particularly important to you?
One of the main themes of Diversity Management is certainly gender diversity. We need to stay on the ball when it comes to the development of women in leadership positions. We have a large number of women with a high potential for management positions. There is an awareness of this among the managers – they have the potential in mind and will continue to drive the development.
Infineon has set itself ambitious targets in terms of the proportion of women in management positions...
...Yes, 15 percent by 2020, 20 percent in the long term. This is a challenging and demanding task. We already do a lot to realize this – for instance the "Women on Board” platform, on which women and submit their profiles and can be found for leadership roles. Nevertheless, we still have reach out specifically to women more - to observe them and address them directly.
Promoting gender diversity is becoming an increasingly important goal at Infineon. Already by 2011, Infineon managers established a Gender Diversity Network to help shape an attractive working world for women and men, in which equal opportunity was lived, thereby contributing to increasing the proportion of women at Infineon. Meanwhile, there are local Gender Diversity Networks (GDN) at many Company sites with committed employees who support local activities and thereby support their site’s implementation of gender diversity.
In late 2015, the Gender Diversity Network in Munich had its first anniversary. In a meeting with the management and the GDN, there was intensive discussion about of how gender diversity is lived and experienced in the various organizational units and concrete proposals and activities were presented. An important issue here, besides to that of striking a healthy work/private life balance was the early recognition and retention of junior staff. We continue to build out flexible working arrangements, part-time and assistance with childcare - so that both women and men can make their career with us equally.
A large gender diversity event at the Villach site in Austria in the past financial year showed that the Networks at all Infineon sites are well-established and well-organized. Gender Diversity Networkers from all over Germany and Austria came together here for their annual meeting. Conclusion: “We are well positioned. Now it’s important that we continue to work together extensively to push the issue of gender diversity and to bring it to the center of the organization,” said Sigrun Alten, Gender Diversity Manager of Infineon Austria.
Another opportunity to address the Women Power at Infineon, is always International Women’s Day in March. At various Infineon sites on that day, celebrations and actions for promoting the theme of Diversity are held.
For example 450 employees at our Kulim site in Malaysia participated in the “International Women’s Day Celebration”. In addition to plenty of entertainment there was also a survey. One of the questions for example was, "What do you need from the management, so that you can successfully pursue your career?” The feedback went directly into new measures to promote equal opportunity.
Women in management positions - here Infineon China is way ahead. “We’re seeing a great trend in terms of women’s careers," said Grace Chung, Diversity Officer at Infineon Asia-Pacific. "29 percent of our managers from middle management up are women. This places Infineon China in a leading position within our whole organization.”
What are we doing to promote this? Here are some examples:
As part of a bi-annual Leadership Forum that Infineon China organized, its own senior managers from the region came together in September 2016 - to discuss gender diversity issues and challenges and paths to success. They got input from prominent internal guests: Su Hua, Managing Director of Infineon China, explained how important of a culture of equal opportunity is for Infineon. And Sabine Herlitschka – who had been a management board member for technology and Innovation and Chairperson of Infineon Austria – how she succeed in pursuing this flagship career.
Women of Willpower – WOW!
In China, Singapore and Kulim, Infineon "Women of Will Power" are also active – currently a total of 15 female executives who deal with leadership issues in regular meetings and workshops. The initiative was launched by Roxane Desmicht, Head of Corporate Supply Chain for Infineon Asia-Pacific, – with the aim of encouraging women to apply for management roles and to advance in their current positions. Originally WOW was an initiative by and for women in the Logistics division of Infineon Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile female managers from the backend manufacturing in Singapore are joining in, and the project is expanding its circle of members.
At Infineon, we live diversity in many different ways. Our international work also plays a critical role. Here, people of different nationalities and cultures are in continual exchange, employees change the locations and countries, partners and children go with them, new experiences await them and horizons are expanded. We all experience this as a great enrichment.
But moving to another country for work is also a challenge. We therefore support our Assignees - employees on foreign missions - to the fullest. We help them with the arrangements for their job relocation: The team from HR International Assignments oversees all aspects relating to their move, so that the employees can focus on familiarizing themselves with their new work, transferring knowledge, and meeting and getting to know new colleagues.
Currently there are approximately 140 Infineon employees working in international assignments in over 15 countries. Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Austria and the USA are the five most important target countries for worldwide mobile employees. Infineon offers three types of international assignments: Short-term assignments and on-the-job trainings of three to twelve months, and long-term assignments of 13 to 36 months.
In this interview, Stefan Piranty, Head of International Assignments, explains what’s most important for international assignments.
What’s your approach when sending Infineon employees abroad?
My team and I always have an end-to-end process in mind – in other words: We take care of (nearly) everything that involves the employee in connection with their international assignment. From start to finish. Meaning, right up to where the assignee has completely arrived at their new place of work. We do this internally with our team in Singapore with the support of outside service providers. Our approach ensures that the steps in the process are optimally coordinated with each other and that the customer’s needs – in this case the assignee’s – are satisfactorily met.
What values are important in your work?
Open communication, equality and fairness and mutual trust. People’s expectations of an international assignment differ. So it’s important that we’re clear with them at the outset as to what’s included in the package, and what’s not. Our assignment program is fair. We have also confirmed this by comparing it against other companies in the market. But when something unexpected happens, as it can, what’s critical is how you handle it. So far we’ve been able to tackle any difficulty we’ve faced and proven ourselves flexible in dealing with the situation.
And what qualities should assignees have for their assignments?
Both flexibility and openness for other people and cultures. We also need the active support of the employee especially at start of assignment and sufficient time for preparation. And most important: Candidates should really like to change and to have new experiences, i.e., be looking for a bit of adventure. So a stay abroad is a challenge for oneself and the family, but it also allows for extraordinary experiences.
What is a typical profile for an assignee?
Early 40s, middle management, family. Most of them bring their life partners and preschool or school age children along with them. We’ve recently adapted our scope of support and services in this area as well. Besides families we also support several younger employees who want to gain experience abroad, as part of a trainee program, for example.
Is an international assignment right for everyone?
The decision for an international assignment follows business considerations above all. There’s probably no right time or stage of life for it: The stay abroad has to fit into the employee’s personal life and family planning. That’s something only the family can decide for itself.
Two male and two female employees report their experiences.
From Singapore to California…
… is where Clarice Loh moved. She went to our new site in El Segundo, southern California, which was created with the acquisition of the US semiconductor manufacturer International Rectifier in 2015. Here Clarice Loh works on a post merger integration project in the HR Department. She gets to apply her knowledge in the field of Human Resources, which she’s gained from various positions in Infineon since 2006.
“I’ve always found it fascinating immersing myself into new cultures. Admittedly, the step I took to get to the US – 16 hours away from my home country – was a big one. But in doing so, i dared to break free from my usual routine, which was definitely a huge step for me, personally and professionally. Like Singapore, the US is a melting pot of people with different cultural backgrounds. That really inspires me. Working in our office in El Segundo are colleagues from very different ethnic origins – African, Chinese, Europeans, Japanese, Mexicans and many others. They’re all highly motivated and adaptable, always ready to make a difference. For me this exactly the action-oriented culture America is so famous for. You also see it in the open and direct way ideas and feedback are shared at work. It’s a totally positive and unaffected atmosphere. And I think it’s great. It’s especially this openness that differs so much from the work environment I’m familiar with from home. Also, coming from a densely populated island state, I love how wide and expansive California is. I love the palm trees rising up into the clear blue sky and framing themselves against the vast ocean horizon. The national parks and the vineyards. And on top of all its natural beauty, California also has urban attractions and shopping paradises to offer. As a woman from Singapore, that’s a huge magnet – I simply have to shop.”
Hightech between mountains and lakes...
… is what Bob Ng is experiencing. In 2015 he came with his family from Tokyo to our Villach site in Austria. He’ll be working here for three years, in charge of Marketing for our OptiMOSTM product. Bob Ng grew up in Singapore and has been working for Infineon since 2004. In 2007 he moved to Tokyo, working in the Infineon Marketing department. He’s a seasoned city-dweller, but now in Villach he’s found himself in a completely different world.
“In Villach I enjoy the magnificent nature and the simple things in life. Here we take excursions to the beautiful lakes, jump in and swim our laps. In the winter we strap on our skis and ski down the slopes. That’s something I can’t do in the big cities of Tokyo and Singapore. What’s great about being here is that we’ve got the mountains and the lakes right at our doorstep. This is an experience me and my family will never forget. And there’s a lot different in the job too. The relationship to time, for instance. In Tokyo meetings always start right on time and the participants adhere strictly to the agenda. In Villach they see these things in a more relaxed way. Here, everything is very human. Colleagues in the office keep traditions like Carnival, Easter and Christmas and even at work, holidays and birthdays are celebrated. Almost every week someone brings a cake in. There was even a cake for math geeks and technicians important “Pi Day”. I think that’s fantastic. At the same time, Infineon is the largest employer in Villach and as such is of great importance and highly regarded. That does make me a bit proud.“
A one-for-one rotation...
… was what Dajana Jurkic from Germany and István Csapó from Hungary made this past fiscal year. It was the first so-called cross-site job rotation at Infineon. But the employees didn't just rotate work places with each other for a year – they also exchanged duties. Dajana Jurkic moved from Warstein, Germany to Cegléd, Hungary and in place of her colleague István Csapó worked on the planning of a new 62-mm manufacturing facility. And in Warstein, István Csapó took over Dajana Jurkic’s responsibility for the PrimePACK3 product family.
"I am very open and wanted to experience something new in my work, to develop myself. The year in Hungary exceeded my expectations in both regards. The atmosphere in the team was very warm, so I’ve settled in very well. I couldn’t have wished for any nicer or more helpful colleagues. There were also no notable technical problems – at least nothing that couldn’t be solved. On the whole, the production processes in Warstein and Cegléd are quite similar. Nevertheless, of course, were many little things that I had to get used to, but which have definitely helped me grow. For instance, I now know that I don’t need to use Excel spreadsheets for batch tracking, because in Hungary I’ve learned how SAP simply provides data like that. Overall, I can only recommend a job rotation. It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself, to break out of your comfort zone and to see how the world works in other places.”
"My goal was to better understand the German Infineon colleagues and the structure of the Group. I also wanted to use and improve my knowledge of German. I was a bit nervous before the move, but everything went smoothly. We’ve had a very nice year. Our family has grown closer. And of course I’ve learned a lot professionally. The product group whose planning I was responsible for in Warstein was a bit foreign to me at first. That was a big challenge. But my colleagues helped me a great deal and I was quickly able to get over the hurdles. Even though the processes and tasks in production in Cegléd and Warstein are essentially the same, in Germany had to become familiar with a very unique facility and its specific problems and solutions. And in the end I was able to gain a better overview of the processes and hierarchies within the company. That’s tremendously valuable.”