Excellent leadership is one of the foundations of Infineon's success. It helps us to achieve our operational and strategic goals. That’s why good and strong managers are so important to us. Human Resources promotes and supports them with sophisticated programs and tools.
It is the responsibility of managers to assign their employees the right tasks so that business objectives can be met. It is also important for them to create an attractive work environment and to retain these employees long term. That’s what we here at Infineon call “excellent leadership.”

In recent years, Infineon has made good progress in terms of financial performance, on the journey from product to system, and in the way we approach things. This success also leads to new challenges. How do we cope with the growth of our workforce and of our organization? How do we integrate the many new employees? How can we be successful when applications become more and more complex? Looking at our recent achievements, it becomes clear that leadership capabilities are a key to success – and will be even more so in the future. We are making good progress and now want to take a big step forward.

Reinhard Ploss Chief Executive Officer

New management challenges

It is not just a matter of steadily improving leadership skills at Infineon, but also of adapting them to changing market conditions. Customers expect faster response times than just a few years ago, forcing businesses to act faster and more agile to requests. Infineon has to speed up assessment and decision-making processes at global level, even if that means not always taking all risks and details into account. However, making the right decisions is as important as ever to meet the ambitious growth targets and to guide Infineon towards profitable growth areas.

One measure to become more agile was the introduction of functional organizations in the last fiscal year. This means that employees often have a professional manager in addition to their disciplinary manager. For managers, this means that they can only lead their functional teams with technical influence and often across national borders – an entirely new experience for many people.

A completely new challenge is the generational change. The "new generation" not only deals with technology in a very different way, but can also contribute with valuable new perspectives and knowledge, which need to be taken into account. The knowledge of the younger generation is very valuable for a technology company like Infineon. Mutual appreciation along with the recognition and further development of new talents and skills play a major role here. Leaders must increasingly act as career coaches. In some cases, they have to learn new coaching qualities and engage intensively with their employees in order to be able to lead and develop them appropriately.  

Leadership Development

With the already established Infineon Leadership Excellence Program (ILEP), Infineon is working consistently on the further development of managers at all levels. ILEP fosters comprehensive competencies ranging from management basics to leading leaders.

In addition, several new training programs are currently being implemented:

  • ILEP will be extended by an additional level: In the ILEP Excellence Program, top management leading organizational units is supported. The first pilot training took place in the last fiscal year, and the program will continue to be rolled out this fiscal year.
  • The ILEP program will also be offered specifically to managers in manufacturing. At the first production level, management challenges are completely different compared to everyday office life. The program includes an exchange of experience between the production sites and prepares the managers for current topics such as Industry 4.0, automation and digitalization. Local programs had already existed at individual locations. This pilot training was initially launched at the Austrian production site Villach in the last fiscal year, however, this year HR is adding the new cross-company concept with a common leadership understanding.
  • Health management: HR has been offering new courses since 2018, which take into account the health aspect for leaders at all levels. Top topics are, for example, perceiving self and others; showing, recognizing and appreciating authenticity; promoting empathy; and supporting employees in dealing with stress.

Preparing our employees with digital capabilities

The gradual automation of Infineon's manufacturing sites comes with significant changes for many employees. They need digital skills and have to open up to accept this transformation before they can take on new tasks. In order to prepare for these challenges, appropriate and timely information and training is key. And not only the workforce – management and colleagues in administration must also learn to deal with this new situation.

In coordination with the works council, Infineon is currently preparing a concept to implement these preparations in a location-specific way and with the right training offerings.

HR is also supporting the Test Segment located in Singapore in their multi-year digital transformation journey to capitalize the benefits with focus on enabling a digital workforce. Leveraging on government support schemes, HR initiated the set-up of the People@ Smart factory work package. It is based on a three pronged approach with focus on change management, people development and workforce planning. With derived use cases from our experiences with the Test Segment, HR will in turn cascade best practices to other factory locations embarking on the same journey.

Organizational development

In order to keep up with the dynamic change in the markets and to be able to act quickly and agilely, Infineon needs a company-oriented organization with clear roles and responsibilities.

If the strategic orientation or other internal or external factors change, for example through significant growth of a business unit, the organization must be adapted to be able to remain effective and efficient. The optimization of individual business areas can only be useful in the context of the overall organization. What is the best way to execute this sensitive and complex topic?

Infineon has globally standardized methods for organizational development that are adaptable to different complexities. They make it possible to quickly identify the necessary need for change, to develop holistic solutions and to anchor them in the organization in a sustainable manner.

Identifying and approaching the need for organizational development is a leadership task. However, leaders need support through expert advice and methods. In addition to a common language, the use of uniform methods creates a comparability of organizational challenges and solutions from individual areas – this applies both to the conception and design of an organization, as well as to its introduction. On the one hand, this prepares the basis for organizational learning and consequently the systematic development of organizational competencies across all management levels. On the other hand, it allows for holistic organizational solutions that reflect the context and the consequences.

Martin Stöckl Global Head of Organization Effectiveness

HR provides support with specialized and experienced consultants for organizational development. They advise and support the business areas with analysis, conceptual organizational design and the implementation of the organizational change. Two methods are used consistently: the Five Star Model and the Seven Step Process.

  • The Five Star Model by Jay Galbraith systematizes the content. It ensures that all five aspects and their interactions are taken into account in the course of organizational development: personnel and leadership, structures, processes, culture and measurement / motivational systems. The changes are decisively aligned with the strategy.
  • The Seven Step Process, developed by Infineon, structures the organizational development process. It provides a fixed pattern, along which the organization can orient itself. Starting with the definition of the objectives, derived from the organizational strategy and the various design principles, a future scenario that specifies detailed measures is developed from the current situation. These are then implemented and ultimately also assessed.
Over a period of one and a half years, the Business Line Sense and Control has been realigned according to the Five Star Model. As more than 650 employees were affected by this reorganization, the focus was on intensive communication.

After it was clear how the new organization would look like, we looked at what would change for the employees. In a six-month change project, we described and communicated in detail what would happen for the individual employee, how we would be working together, and what the new organization would be doing in the future. This was a key factor for the great acceptance and success of our project.

Ralf Bornefeld Vice President and General Manager Sense and Control, Automotive Division

Because the Five Star Model worked so successfully in the previous fiscal year, we decided to use it on a regular basis: From now onwards, we will continually develop and prepare our organization, for example to conquer new business areas, foster new talents or explore digitalization opportunities. What I like most about this methodology is its structured approach. It provides a framework that people can easily understand and in which they can find themselves. All aspects are included, and you can see the connections between the different elements of an organization. The Five Star Model is extremely helpful and key to the economic success of our Business Line.

Thomas Schafbauer Vice President of the Business Line Power Conversion

The new STEPS employee dialog

Infineon's global STEPS process stands for "Steps To Employee's Personal Success." In a continuous, open dialog, manager and employee discuss and align goals, behavioral expectations and personal development.

Timely and constructive feedback is a key success factor for all of us, as are development opportunities.

STEPS 2018: Same name, new content

Infineon has grown significantly and set new goals for itself. Our markets are gaining momentum, and we too need to become more agile if we are to further expand the company's success. In the course of the HR ‘connect’ project (see chapter Human Resources@Infineon), we integrated these changes into the new STEPS process and introduced a new tool to map them.

Continuous management of our goals and improved feedback functionalities support the agility we need in our company. Employees take responsibility for their results, development and careers. Leaders act as coaches and accompany their employees on the way to success.