Transferring knowledge and fostering talent
Basic and further training at KHS: a win/win situation for all those involved
Well-trained, committed employees are the key to the long-term success of KHS. Personnel development therefore has a high priority at KHS. We aim to foster talent, transfer knowledge and valuable expertise to our workforce and retain their loyalty in the long term.
We have identified three key challenges with regard to personnel development:
- Demographic change: in the next few years many of our experts with their extremely valuable knowledge will leave KHS and retire.
- A general lack of specialist workers in the industry that will also hit KHS.
- Digital transformation that is making frequently changing demands of employees and executive managers and calls for new learning concepts in particular.
In answer to these challenges we have devised numerous measures as regards personnel development as part of our HR strategy that in turn is embedded in the policies stipulated by our parent company Salzgitter AG.
TransferWerk: transferring and safeguarding precious knowledge
In conjunction with the change in our demographic and our transformation from an industrial society to one based on knowledge, KHS is systematically implementing its TransferWerk process. This structured and moderated method of knowledge transfer passes on expertise critical to success and relevant to the company harbored by someone due to leave the company to their successor and is thus permanently retained for KHS.
In the 2021–2022 reporting period 16 knowledge transfer processes were successfully realized and supervised by Personnel Development. In addition, 40 employees were trained in house in the TransferWerk method to help promote this further within the company.
Our knowledge transfer process starts with preliminary talks in which the executive manager, knowledge provider and knowledge recipient take part. General conditions, requirements and expectations are discussed and a good personal basis for the transfer of knowledge is established. The creation of a job map is at the core of this method. With the help of special software, the knowledge and experience of the knowledge provider are actively requested, systematically recorded and structured. This enables the various fields in this person’s knowledge to be prioritized and broken down into details for handover to their successor.
Group-wide transfer of knowledge
We exploit the potential of knowledge transfer above and beyond the boundaries of our individual Group companies. Group-wide exchange was initiated several years ago with our KONZA program (short for “KONZernweiter Austausch”) to intensify cooperation throughout the Group. This initiative is derived from the Group-wide YOUNITED mission statement and encourages employees of Salzgitter AG and all its companies to see work processes, methods and expertise in the same light. Various workshops, idea labs and internships give employees an insight into how people in other departments work and thus identifies new areas of potential for process improvement.
In 2021 an intercompany workgroup was formed within the Salzgitter Group that explores to what extent the TransferWerk method is conveyed within the Group companies and how this can be gradually better applied. Together with the intercompany workgroup a Group-wide knowledge transfer network was set up that is not only capable of implementing the TransferWerk method in the companies but also develops new expertise through this regular exchange of information.
Training, fostering and retaining skilled workers
We have entered the competition for skilled workers at our company with a wide range of forward-looking training options. Each year we hire around 50 apprentices and trainees throughout Germany and attach great importance to imparting knowledge using a number of different formats right from the very start. Over 80 percent of our trainees are taken on for an unlimited duration, meaning that we satisfy much of our demand for specialist personnel ourselves. The spectrum of courses we run is large. Besides internships for high-school and university/college students and work/study programs, we also offer apprenticeships for the following careers:
- Mechatronics engineer (m/f/x)
- Electronics engineer (m/f/x)
- Metalwork specialist (m/f/x)
- Industrial clerk (m/f/x)
- Machining mechanic (m/f/x).
Interested young professionals can also apply for the following dual work/study programs:
- Industrial engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Business information technology.
In addition, we also operate special trainee programs for graduates and our post-apprenticeship courses Fit4Commissioning and Fit4Service. These specifically build on the basics learned during training and allow people to specialize in what could be the first step towards an expert career.
With our special Fit4KHS onboarding program we ensure that new employees have the best possible start at our company and are given the chance to familiarize themselves with our structures, procedures and team members early on. This also includes instruction in an area that is extremely important to us: occupational health and safety.
We want to keep and continue to foster people who have started out with us as a trainee or executive manager and have settled in well and made a good contribution to the company. This results in a clear win/win situation: employees continue to develop and amass knowledge in specialist areas that can be directly applied. We as a company counter the lack of specialist workers by recruiting new expert personnel ourselves and earning their loyalty as their qualifications are precisely tailored to their job and they can become involved in the company.
Effecting the digital transformation
Digitalization is changing the way we work – and will impact the working world of tomorrow in particular. We have to adapt to this now and continue to steadily build up new areas of expertise in the future in a life-long learning process. It is important to adjust this to the needs of our employees and make access to this expertise as simple as possible. This is why we are developing new concepts throughout the Group and assisting learning processes, also using software, in a dedicated Group learning management system.
We have instigated a diverse range of further training options for our workforce at our in-house KHS campus academy. It is available to all personnel and provides courses in soft skills (such as IT, languages, communication and methodological skills) as well as in a broad range of technical subjects. In order to prepare our employees as best we can for the changes in working conditions, we regularly assess further training requirements and adjust our KHS campus program accordingly. Our further training and personnel development measures are also provided digitally in the form of webinars, for example. On request Personnel Development also devises courses of further training for entire departments.
Another module in our personnel development program is our Step4Future system of talent management. It specifically promotes those with high potential and supports them through a mentoring program. The first program run brought 19 participants together with mentors specially selected to suit them. Besides developing their expertise in five workshops and training sessions, as there is a fixed study group those taking part have the chance to build up an interdisciplinary network within the company. At KHS talented individuals can also participate in our own special management development program entitled Fit4Leadership and in personnel development programs run by Salzgitter AG. Management lectures and experience discussion groups round off our range of educational services.
Careers for women
It is important that we offer women at KHS the same opportunities for development as their male colleagues. For this reason we have signed up to Salzgitter AG’s Career paths for women orientation program that addresses female employees who wish to specifically plan their career and aspire to a managerial role within the Group. The orientation program primarily concentrates on issues such as professional goals, skills, experience and whether a managerial or expert post is preferable.
Another measure in place is our mentoring program for women derived from the FORWARD personnel development scheme offered by Salzgitter AG. Here, participants have the opportunity to talk to mentors from the executive management about how best to plan and develop their career. Introductory and concluding sessions with the Salzgitter Executive Management Board and individual workshops staged by external providers complement this program.