Leadership excellence is one of the cornerstones of Infineon’s success as it helps us achieve our operational and strategic goals. Good managers are therefore extremely important for us. Human Resources offers rich programs and tools that foster and support our leaders.
Every manager is responsible for entrusting their staff with the right tasks – so that each employee can contribute to the realization of the company’s business objectives. Equally important is the ability to create an attractive work environment and build long-term bonds of loyalty to the company. This combination of skills is what we call “leadership excellence” at Infineon.

Expectations on leadership, be it in line management – or project management positions, are continuously increasing. Leadership excellence is a key success factor for Infineon. Which is why our HR department offers strategic approaches, methods, processes, advice and (development) programs for managers and employees. We have a broad portfolio in place, spanning from strategic organizational development to individual development opportunities. These tools equip managers with the holistic skillsets they need to lead effectively in a complex environment.

Martin Stöckl Global Head of People & Organization Effectiveness

Digital megatrends: Challenges and Opportunities in a VUCA world

We live and work in a world that keeps getting faster, more connected, more digital and more uncertain. It is becoming increasingly difficult to predict technology trends and progress. Our workplace is in a constant state of flux – in short, we are living in a VUCA world. VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. For our company to be successful, we have to continuously evolve. At Infineon, we face three core leadership and subsequent implementation challenges in organizational development:

Management is becoming more complex: This rising complexity is pushing the conventional one-to-one management style to its limits. Many issues can no longer be resolved by a single manager based solely on their expert knowledge. This is why, at Infineon, we embrace the many different facets of management. This approach gives us agility. Through the introduction of functional organizations, we have strengthened our organizational matrix and defined interfaces between roles and responsibilities at legal and functional levels. Leadership is always geared towards achieving goals – at both line and project levels. Moving forward, employee autonomy will become increasingly important.

Over this past year, Infineon’s human resources and management teams focused on the concept of leadership and implemented a number of initiatives in this area. As part of our work here, we created and rolled out the Infineon Leadership Principles. These establish a common understanding of how leadership is brought to life at Infineon (see section on “Leadership framework: Our new Infineon Leadership Principles” for more information on this). All organization design projects will continue to focus in particular on the leadership aspects of our organization. Alongside disciplinary managers, project managers also have important leadership roles. We looked closely at these roles last year and will soon be supplementing our extensive training portfolio, adding a leadership training course specifically for project managers to the modules already available for other target groups.

Embracing change as key success factor: Organizations have to continually implement change initiatives in order to adapt to evolving market conditions and remain successful. These can range from new processes and tools that may impact just a small part of an organization to far-reaching changes rolled out as part of integration projects or organization-wide transformation projects that affect the entire company. Today, the medium- and long-term success of an organization increasingly depends on its ability to embrace and valorize these kinds of small- and large-scale changes.

Over the past year, we focused on strengthening our ability to embrace change across the entire organization. In major projects and management teams, for example, we used the Change Simulation Game as a playful tool to raise awareness around the needs and requirements of an organization in times of change. We selected and trained HR business partners from across the world, who then actively champion the game. The Change Management Framework, which builds on this game, and the accompanying offers provide a uniform structure aimed at supporting change. Practical toolboxes for planning and managing change interventions together with a range of workshops round off our portfolio in this area.

The Change Simulation Game has already been successfully rolled out to our Design Enabling and Services (DES) division and “played” by an extended group of managers. “I personally think this is an extremely effective approach, especially today, where change is the only real constant in the workplace,” explains Hartmut Hiller (Head of DES). During the event, participants were able to transfer the knowledge they had gained from the game to concrete DES projects. This initiative has created an extremely long-lasting learning effect due to the upbeat mood of the game setting. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Retaining a shared identity: When an international corporation such as ours experiences a lot of changes and adaptations – whether large or small, local or global – it is vital that we retain our shared identity. If we do not, there is a risk that parts of the company will develop in different directions, eroding the foundations of trust that enable us to collaborate successfully across organizational and geographical boundaries.

The importance of global exchange in establishing a common understanding of leadership and managing change transcends our various integration projects. Many global, cross-regional initiatives such as OneSAP, Remote Frontend Technology Development (RFTD) and ‚Next-Level-of‘ already reflected the importance of a common understanding. To strengthen our sense of shared identity, we believe it is particularly important to apply uniform frameworks and models at global level. Examples here include our 5 Star Model, the Change Management Framework, the Change Simulation Game and our Leadership Principles. This approach ensures that individual initiatives build on each other, provides a uniform reference framework for mutual exchange and fosters a company-wide identity that bridges regional variations.

Challenges our leader face in volatile times

More than ever, leaders are called on to balance the challenging task of developing the operative business with the need to navigate the many changes in staff management. The teams they have to lead, for example, are becoming increasingly international. Today, Infineon already employs people from 111 countries. In addition to intercultural skills, managers also have to increasingly collaborate successfully in the virtual world. Furthermore, our workforce is becoming much more diverse. Managers are responsible for employees from different generations, each with their own set of expectations. The understanding of what constitutes “good leadership” at Infineon is as diverse as our workforce. We launched our High Performance Behavior Model to provide concrete orientation for each employee, outlining how individual behaviors can contribute to the success of our company. We have now further developed this framework by defining the “Infineon Leadership Principles” for managers at Infineon. These principles complement the behavior model by providing more concrete leadership guidance.

Leadership framework: Our new Infineon Leadership Principles

Our success depends largely on our leadership skills and our ability to effectively apply those skills. Our leadership principles are designed to help us further develop our capabilities in this area. They provide a common framework to drive the continuation of our success moving forward.

Reinhard Ploss Chief Executive Officer

An overview of the leadership principles:

Leadership excellence is one of Infineon’s basic pillars and the key to our future success. Our new Leadership Principles complement our High Performance Behavior Model, provide leaders with concrete guidance and round off our leadership model.

Eight leadership principles have been developed and operationalized to guide our managers.

They are aimed at multiple target groups, but all have the same overarching goal: To provide a framework for success for Infineon as a company and for each individual employee. They are designed to make all leaders think about how they want to lead and succeed in their role. This forms an important basis for continuous self-reflection and personal development.

We have defined the following goals for our Leadership Principles:

The Leadership Principles inspire and support various diagnostic procedures and training opportunities. They also form a basis for dialog, encouraging employees to work together to identify good practices and areas offering scope for improvement. These interactions could take place as part of the daily business or during STEPS talks or the leadership dialog.

Leading by example: Infineon Leadership Dialog

We presented our Leadership Principles at the Infineon High Performance Forum and are now rapidly incorporating them into existing management tools such as the leadership dialog. Leadership excellence is one of the key pillars of our future success; and leadership dialogs are an integral part of a feedback culture enabling high-quality leadership and highly effective teamwork. Integrating our Leadership Principles into leadership dialogs in this way creates another important opportunity for our employees to reflect on their performance.

At the start of the new fiscal year, our facilitators will complete training on how to deploy the Leadership Principles, thus ensuring that the new feedback tool is effectively integrated into leadership dialogs. The principles will provide a basis for employees to reflect more effectively on the leadership qualities they have experienced and the behaviors they would like to see, paving the way for concrete improvement suggestions around each principle.   

Future in focus: Succession management for top executives at Infineon

In today’s world, demographic change and a lack of skilled workers are key challenges facing more and more companies. In many cases, companies struggle to fill job vacancies in time or are unable to find the right person for a position. Business continuity depends on the ability to act with speed and agility. Equally important is the ability to identify successors at an early stage, and to offer employees attractive development opportunities so key positions can be filled as quickly as possible.

In fiscal 2019, Infineon implemented another future-fit solution throughout the company as part of ‘connect‘; namely a dedicated succession planning program for top executive positions. Building on the SuccessFactors app, this solution supports a transparent, organization- and site-wide search process so potential talent to succeed top executives can be identified in good time. This system-based tool brings significant value to succession management at Infineon by closely connecting succession planning with the necessary development measures and with the STEPS (Steps To Employees’ Personal Success) process with its corresponding career prospects. Employees are encouraged to take ownership here, expressing their personal aspirations through a career projection path so they can clearly state their willingness to be nominated as a successor for a key position. As such, every employee can individually shape their development path in the company and take the initiative for following up on agreed development measures. 

Managers can give visibility to talents at Infineon and support an individual’s development as a potential successor by coaching them, providing feedback, clearly communicating the requirements of each position and offering them suitable development measures. Benefits of this tool-driven successor management process include the fact that it is available 365 days of the year, making it a crucial tool to support short-, medium- and long-term talent development efforts and rapidly fill key positions.