At Infineon, our focus is on talents. We strive to discover and nurture them, so that we establish a learning and development culture fully in line with our values and strategy, turning our employees into high performers. How do we put that into practice? We offer diverse careers to give employees the opportunity to follow the right path for them. And we invest a lot in our career management to continually optimize Infineon’s career landscape.
“It’s all about creating perspectives, making expectations transparent and fostering development”, says Silvia Mertl, Head of our Career Management Project. Career management means: Employees get a clear idea of how they can move up in Infineon and exactly how they can achieve it. “Clearly formulating expectations gives employees orientation and shows them which skills are needed for the next stage of their development. Here, it’s not always necessarily about the next rung up on the career ladder, but also about gaining experience in a neighboring department or at one of our many locations worldwide. By offering such career-specific programs, we support highly skilled and dedicated employees who will drive the company’s success.
We currently have four career paths our employees can take to individually develop: Our Individual Contributor career is the backbone of our company. It is designed for all employees who have performed particularly well in terms of their skills and technical expertise in a traditional corporate area, such as Finance, Procurement, or Sales. Then we have technical experts, who work their way up the Technical Ladder. And in 2015, the newly-launched Project Management Career gives our project processing professionals a clear perspective, supports them with tailored learning options in their challenging task and thereby optimizes the quality of our projects. Young executive talents embark on a Managerial Career path, on which they specifically develop their executive skills and take on increasing responsibility within the Company.
“All four career paths are equivalent – success lies in their balanced interplay. We think it is important that employees develop according to their individual preferences, skills and abilities and in alignment with the Company’s strategic requirements. That’s why we focus on transparency and permeability” says Torsten Schmeichel, Global Head of People Development about the current career landscape at Infineon. “Switching between career paths is always possible.”
But just designing the career path isn’t enough. We’re there for the whole journey! Meaning: We manage the development steps of our employees proactively. In Global Development and Succession Conferences, executives discuss common succession planning for key positions in their areas, and think about how they can further develop identified employees across hierarchical and organizational boundaries. This is how we cultivate our “One Infineon” approach and break free from a silo mentality.
A successful development naturally includes the right learning process – or seen from a business perspective: If we want high performers who truly develop their potential, then we offer them optimal learning opportunities. And we do. With a wide variety of programs and initiatives based on the 70-20-10 philosophy:
We are convinced that 70 percent of learning takes place on the job, 20 percent near the job and ten percent off the job. On the job means: in practice, through experience - with increasing challenges during an employee’s career. Near the job means: through exchanging with others, mutual guidance and support. And off the job means: in structured trainings, workshops and seminars, including through e-Learning. All three kinds of learning have their own purpose and are important. That’s why we designed our Learning & Development offer according to the same principle. You can see by how we have weighted it, that on the job learning is by far the most important for us. As we always say, “sustainable learning depends on real-life application and experience.”
Here are some examples of how we promote development and knowledge sharing in the most practical way possible and through exchange and mutual support:
Tutoring: If an Infineon employee is new to a role or task, we are happy to set them up with a tutor, i.e., employees who are already experienced and who help their protégés with technical knowledge and support as they go.
Coaching: The same approach goes for how we use coaches, professional, certified trainers from outside the Company. They help employees at Infineon in different situations, to expand their skills and capacities. They guide them and give them the tools they need for dealing with very specific professional challenges.
Mentoring: This is where experienced and less experienced employees come together as mentors and mentees. They both work together towards an individual goal within a jointly-defined program. It’s about professional issues and it also encourages personality development. In contrast to a coach, a mentor is usually not trained specifically for this role, but solely has the advantage of greater experience and/or knowledge. Infineon is committed to this type of support and learning.
We recently introduced a special form of mentoring at our Munich site: It’s called Cross-mentoring, where mentors and mentees from different companies match up. This enhances possibilities and perspectives. The mentorings are always set for one year. Currently three employees from Infineon are participating as mentees and three as mentors. What are their experiences?
“Excellent,” says Peter Dressler, Head of Logistics at Infineon. As a cross-mentor he has already guided mentees from different companies - last year even a former teacher who had switched to working on the school board and was now facing completely different challenges. An interesting topic for a logistician from a semiconductor company. As he tells it:
“When you’re mentoring in another company, you find yourself in another world. That’s both a challenge and an opportunity. Because, even though you know the issues in your company and are familiar with the workflows, when you’re in another organization you have to look closely and ask around to really understand what the problem is. So with a cross-mentoring you use different, and sometimes pointed questions to get to the heart of the matter – and automatically, there’s your answer. At the same time, you feel freer in a cross-mentoring. You might find yourself able to articulate things that you might not confide to someone from your own ranks. And this has a completely distinct dynamic of its own. Overall, cross-mentoring definitely promotes a mind opening – and ultimately, inspiration and innovation.”
In addition to Cross-mentoring in Germany, there is Reverse Mentoring in the Asia-Pacific region. The mentee briefs the mentor in specific subject areas and thereby builds a bridge between the generations.
Infineon also has numerous internal trainers active, who pass on their knowledge to their colleagues. Since the mid-90s, we have used internal trainers to cover the majority of our courses, workshops, seminars and e-learning. Over 1,000 internal trainers have helped over the years to expand our own knowledge base and to promote a self-motivated learning culture. Our recognition for this commitment could not be greater, and we show this time and again:
Our internal trainers also do their work in our own Academies – educational units, which we have defined and structured to bundle and organize learning in different areas. At present there are a total of eleven “functional academies.” They are dedicated to building professional skills such as in procurement and sales, production and quality management.
For example, there is our Sales & Marketing Academy: Here, training concepts and content for the colleagues in the sales, distribution and marketing are developed. And it extends across countries from four sites: Munich, Singapore, Tokyo and Milpitas (California). It is an extremely important academy. This is where employees working at the very forefront get into shape. They conduct customer and market needs analysis, they explain the use of our products, and negotiate contracts and prices. For them to succeed against the tough competition, they need special skills. That’s what our Sales & Marketing Academy gives them.
Which success of your department are you most proud of?
“Of the Business Workshops. Unlike trainings, where external experts pass on their knowledge to this or that participant, the focus here is more on cooperation and especially on issues that truly concern Infineon’s specific markets and customers. The facilitated workshops are clearly structured, and the participants will be selected based on their expertise. They have a fantastic dynamic. Our business workshops on the topics, Competitive Product Positioning” and “Account Development” for instance are currently big hits.”
Bruce Paul, in the Sales & Business Academy, responsible for the Americas region
In the Asia-Pacific region, we foster and promote talent in our employees by means of two talent management programs specially developed to meet the specific needs in this area: ENGINE is a program to make aspiring employees fit for a management career at Infineon, and TechStar is a program for technical experts. Both programs provide a systematic and compact introduction to our corporate philosophy and the key factors of our success.
We naturally ask ourselves how the topic of learning and employee development will continue to change in the future. We believe that learning in the future will become significantly more individual and digital. The border between knowledge and learning management will increasingly blur. The demand for shorter learning offers and faster, more mobile accessibility to the content will rise. Learning will become more individual and person-centered. And we are gearing up for that future. We’re on it already.
We want to provide a learning and development landscape from which employees along with their managers can easily take what they need, from which they can put together a learning and development plan that is perfectly tailored to their individual needs
Further training is worth a lot to us: We invested 10.1 million euros (2015: 9.2 million euros) in further education in the past fiscal year.
Our employees spent a total of 1,177,170 hours in training (2015: 836,554). A look at the distribution of training hours in the hierarchy shows that we were able to reach employees at all levels and functions: