The Road Ahead
Crafting an effective approach to talent management is as challenging and complex as any other C-suite mandate. The global talent innovation model described here can move companies beyond cookie-cutter best practices and standard tool kits. Each building block — differentiated capabilities, performance acceleration, leadership development, and talent culture — is essential. All four elements work in concert within the context of an organization’s business strategy. Following this systematic approach, companies can move beyond the best practices of their competitors to best-in-class innovation and performance. And that, in turn, will pay off in sustained talent advantage on a global scale.
The GLOW Network at Siemens
by Peter Löscher and Jill Lee
On March 19, 2009, Siemens AG launched the Global Leadership Organization of Women (GLOW), a network dedicated to enlarging the contribution of women to our business. The launch event, held in Munich, drew the 100 most senior women from across the company and from all parts of the world. It marked the first step in the rollout of an ambitious change agenda that encompasses mentoring, establishing flexible working conditions, on- and off-ramping for parental leave, and developing ways to expand the external visibility of women in the company.
We created GLOW because we want to proactively recruit and retain highly qualified women. We believe this will greatly enhance our talent pool. Throughout the world, women deliver outstanding academic and professional performance, and they represent an important resource for companies. Against the backdrop of demographic change and globalization, companies cannot afford to leave this resource untapped.
GLOW is not an isolated initiative. It is part of the ongoing development of our corporate culture. In the future, we want our management to reflect the diversity of our customers. This is the only way we can satisfy the needs and requirements of more than 2 million customers, with whom we are in contact every day. We experience the benefits of diversity again and again. For example, Japanese, Chinese, or Arab customers prefer to talk to us in their own language. If decision makers in our company speak that language, it gives us a real competitive advantage.
Having a diverse group of senior leaders in place will help us all develop a better understanding of customer needs. The potential for networking is enormous: Innovative ideas can be channeled back to our R&D centers in Germany or used in different parts of the world. Take, for example, the entry-level CT scan device called the Somatom Spirit. It was originally designed, engineered, and manufactured in China exclusively for Chinese hospitals. But because our teams are increasingly global, we soon realized that this product has potential outside China, as well. It’s ideally suited for community hospitals in the United States that can’t afford more expensive high-end models. Today, 75 percent of the Somatom Spirits are sold outside China.
Approximately 80 percent of Siemens’s revenues are generated outside Germany; we operate in 190 countries. Yet the representation of women and many nationalities, ethnic groups, and cultures within our management ranks could be stronger. For example, currently only slightly more than one-third of our top management is non-German and only 7 percent are women.
Our diversity initiative reflects the commitments and beliefs of senior executives and the management board, and it has the highest priority within the company. However, we are not using diversity to “rainbow wash” the company, nor are we interested in establishing rigid quotas for gender, nationality, and ethnicity. Rather, we want to unleash the enormous potential of our employees — their cultural and personal backgrounds, their broad range of experience, their special skills — for their benefit and for the benefit of the company. We know that diverse teams are more creative and that creativity drives innovation. And innovation has been our lifeblood for 162 years. All of us at Siemens benefit if every employee can fully live up to her or his potential.