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Up and coming Bosch executives volunteer with social projects
“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” – John le Carré
What are the characteristics of a good executive? In addition to specialist knowledge and sound judgment, many employers place a great deal of importance on their employees’ social skills and commitment to charitable causes. With its “Talent Pool” program, Bosch also encourages up and coming executives to volunteer. In teams comprising associates from different locations and divisions, young executives have the opportunity to volunteer for social projects.
This year’s Talent Pool participants at an event promoting social commitment at Bosch locations
Participants can decide how much time they spend working on the project and coordinate their work independently within the project team. In most cases, the teams also define targets and distribute roles and responsibilities themselves. “We strongly believe that this type of cooperation is very important,” says Mariana Peters, who works in HR development for Bosch corporate departments. “Often, participants are confronted with tasks that are completely new to them. So they need to be flexible and able to adapt to new situations.”
In 2016, 79 members of the Bosch Talent Pool from corporate departments took part in the program. Divided into eight teams, they supported a selection of charitable projects from the region, among them a local initiative that supports the integration of refugees in the workplace, as well as a project that promotes access for people with disabilities. In recent months, the project team comprising 10 up and coming executives helped create a city map for people with disabilities in Gerlingen, a suburb of Stuttgart. To this end, they scoped the town for barriers to accessibility and spoke with restaurant owners and local clubs about improving offers for people with disabilities.
In October, the participants presented their projects at a local event and talked about their experiences, which were positive across the board. The volunteers stated that the teamwork was decisive to the success of their projects. “For us, volunteering for a social project is an important building block for leadership skills,” says Mariana Peters. “We see how important open communication and responsibility are, and their importance keeps growing every day. With this project, we aim to enable up and coming executives to further sharpen these skills in an unknown environment, reflect on them in a timely manner, and make adjustments wherever necessary.” In the spirit of company founder Robert Bosch, participants make an important contribution to social well-being with their involvement in charitable initiatives. At the same time, they sharpen their leadership skills and set a good example for their future employees.
More information on the Bosch Talent Pool can be found here.
Bosch is investing in its training program for up-and-coming executives
More spots for the bosses of the future: in 2016, Bosch plans to fill some 280 positions in its training program for up-and-coming executives. The Junior Managers Program, or JMP for short, prepares young professionals for their future tasks as decision makers. Bosch actively seeks graduates with top marks in IT, economics, or engineering. The traineeship comprises several individual modules, which the participant selects in cooperation with a mentor from senior management.
26-year-old information systems graduate Theresa Best (JMP trainee) in discussion with colleagues
Bosch is currently recruiting trainees in more than 30 countries around the world. The company aims to fill a large number of trainee positions in Germany (65) and China (41). Bosch will also be launching the program in Southeast Asia, with 34 positions in the region. In addition to this, this year the company will be recruiting four candidates in Africa for the first time. Female applicants have especially good prospects. By 2020, Bosch aims to increase its share of women in management positions to 20 percent.
“The bosses of the future have to be navigators and beacons,” says Christoph Kübel, member of the Bosch board of management and director of industrial relations at Robert Bosch GmbH. In addition to their specialist education, future Bosch executives also need to be familiar with the company’s corporate culture. “As trainees, they will get to know our corporate culture from the bottom up. It is a culture based on values and a sustainable approach to doing business rather than on short-term gain,” Christoph Kübel says. The JMP is considered a career springboard: four current members of the Bosch board of management are former trainees.
More information on the Junior Managers Program can be found here.
Bosch supports women in leadership positions
In Germany, it is still relatively unusual for women to hold leadership positions. This is something Bosch wants to change. Since 2010, the company has been working hard to support female specialists and executives and boost their numbers within the Group. After all, actively recruiting talented female graduates and qualified engineers helps Bosch counter any shortage of specialists. What’s more, there is clear evidence that mixed-sex teams work more efficiently and develop better solutions. The company’s stated target is for 20 percent of all executive positions worldwide to be filled by women by 2020.
To spark interest in the company among female young professionals and optimize their career development opportunities, Bosch has set up a number of special mentoring and support programs. These include the Business Women’s Program, a training initiative for female specialists and executives that focuses on negotiation strategies and career planning.
Women who wish to combine their careers with family life also receive special support. Cornelia Giessler, for instance, is a platform manager in the field of gasoline direct injection at Bosch and is currently expecting her second child. Just as she did after the birth of her first son, she wants to be able to return to her job full-time after half a year off – with Bosch childcare provision ensuring the flexibility she needs.
Video only available in German
Her colleague Anja Melsheimer joined Bosch after studying aerospace technology. She is now a team leader in the Mobility Solutions division, as well as a mother. Among other factors, she owes her career to her flexible working hours – since the birth of her sons, Anja Melsheimer has worked on a part-time basis and has therefore not needed to take any long breaks from the job. “It is thanks to this professional experience that I am now able to continue progressing in my career, even at 40.”
Video only available in German
Karina Metzdorf, meanwhile, heads a department of 80 associates in the field of Engineering Testing for Reliability. She believes that one reason why there are fewer women in technology-related careers is that they often lack the necessary role models: “Bosch needs to have more women in executive positions. I never had a woman as my boss, for example.” Her main advice to young women is not to be afraid of studying engineering. “We’re always told that engineering is difficult – but all subjects are difficult. So just believe in yourselves, girls!”
You can find out more about equal opportunities at Bosch in Germany here.