Article: Vitesco Global HR Head Christiane Bien on redefining talent management

Talent Management

Vitesco Global HR Head Christiane Bien on redefining talent management

Feedback for leaders from employees is another aspect that must be taken care of as part of the talent management process. Just offering good compensation cannot solve all the problems. Work-life balance and engagement level of employees are an integral part of the talent management strategy, says Christiane Bien.
Vitesco Global HR Head Christiane Bien on redefining talent management

Christiane Bien, Head of HR - Division Powertrain Solutions at Vitesco Technologies in Regensburg, Germany in an exclusive interaction with People Matters during her recent India visit spoke on the significance of talent management at the tumultuous time of layoff and the great talent war happening globally.

What prompted Continental AG’s Executive Board to spin off the Powertrain division to make a company Vitesco Technologies in its own right in 2019?

Powertrain was one of the five divisions of Continental AG. The idea behind the spinoff was to give the company an opportunity to create a standalone setup and get new investors so that there could be a focus on sustainable growth and electrification transformation. Our company therefore has a very clear strategy to focus on electrified and sustainable business.

Additionally, having a separate entity allows for focusing on specific markets and investors. It is good to have a unique space to communicate better in a specified business. A separate entity gives you an opportunity to stay focused and get the right investors. It was an excellent decision by Continental AG. Indeed, it allowed us to be more organised in the right direction.

Vitesco Technologies was founded to act as a more independent and entrepreneurially flexible company, what does it mean to the leadership and specifically the HR leadership?

A one answer-fit approach cannot help you sustain in the changing surroundings and businesses. It is important to find flexible and different answers in diverse settings. For instance, a similar situation in India and Germany cannot be addressed in the same manner.

Ten years down the line, we will be in a different situation. Hence, we need to be prepared to find the right answers. As an HR leader, I believe that a separate entity gives you the freedom to think in a more precise manner.

What problems and innovations have you noticed in the sustainable automobile industry globally which surprised you?

After the pandemic, there was a sudden spike in customers’ inclination toward sustainable mobility which is something that surprised me. The sustainability aspect was of big interest. Covid pushed people and businesses to focus on sustainability. Now, customers are constantly enquiring about what we are doing to ensure that emissions are going down, or how sustainable is our approach.

What are the challenges and issues you anticipate in the sustainable automobile industry regarding HR management?

Having a global roadmap towards electrification is the need of the hour. The world is moving towards electrification, but we still have some years to prepare ourselves to stay ahead in the market. Workforce transformation is anticipated as the current challenge for the sustainable automobile industry. Developing the desired competencies among the workforce must be prioritised.

I would see this as one of the main challenges for us as HR to support and to find the right approach to transform our workforce at the right time and with the right methods to make sure that we can. Being an HR leader, I have to provide the right processes, the right methods, and the right content, and keep everyone engaged.

The demand for sustainable mobility is growing worldwide and this is expected to lead to the creation of green jobs. How can companies prepare the future workforce to bridge the gap?

To bridge the future talent gap, we need to bring transformation in training. Companies can collaborate with educational institutions. Interacting with them and knowing more about the curriculum will help companies identify the gap that needs to be closed. As part of industry-academia collaboration, different measures for instance online training sessions can be organised as per the requirements of the industry.  Having such initiatives in place will for sure lead to a sustainable solution.

What are the skilling needs of green jobs globally? How do you strategise talent management to stay ahead in talent attraction and retention?

It depends on the jobs themselves. However, innovation is the key to success in the job market. Partnering with universities can help industries create a future workforce that meets the business requirements. Additionally, having a career expert relevant to our industry can help companies check and ensure that they have the right experts on board or not.

What we do is find the right answers for the different talents we have in each country. We have a specific set of different target groups and we focus on finding the right answers to attract them.

To manage the talent and groom them further, we have training programs such as LinkedIn courses. Internal training programs are also there to develop people.

Additionally, training our leaders on how to treat employees respectfully and take care of them, and creating a safe work environment are very important.

Family days or open days, open doors celebrations, and team outings are other aspects of taking care of your employees to keep them motivated. Meeting the needs and demands and wishes of our employees and asking them for feedback on a regular basis are some of the strategies that help manage your talent. These processes should be done on a regular basis as talent management is a constant process.

Feedback for leaders from employees is another aspect that must be taken care of.

Further, we have a talent management tool and a clear cycle of performance and potential evaluation. We have global talent programmes and local ones too. We also have employee resource groups to connect with colleagues worldwide.

Offering good compensation cannot solve all the problems. Work-life balance and engagement level of employees are an integral part of the talent management strategy.

What needs to be prioritised by global HR leaders to lead in the future of work in sustainable mobility?

For me, the first priority of HR leaders is always to understand where is the business going and what can be contributed, what can be foreseen, and what can be provided in terms of the right tools and methods to support this growth or the challenges faced.

A deep understanding of the business and setting the right priorities should be taken care of. However, there is no one approach that fits all. Finding the right answers to the problems in all the different countries and for all the different functions needs to be prioritised by the HR leaders globally.

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Topics: Talent Management, Talent Acquisition, Employee Relations, #HRTech, #HRCommunity, #TheGreatTalentWar

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