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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.
The company’s LGBT network is celebrating its 10th anniversary
Ten years ago, Bosch associates joined forces to found RBg, the Bosch gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender associate network. Their aim was to make the LGBT community more visible at the company, and to promote greater tolerance and acceptance. A great deal has happened since then: today, more than 290 members in 10 countries are active members of RBg. And Bosch sponsored this year’s Christopher Street Day celebrations in Stuttgart, demonstrating the company’s commitment to promoting diversity. This sent out an important signal, says Dr. Jean-Claude Loux, a Bosch engineer and the associate network’s spokesperson.
Dr. Loux, this year’s CSD was held under the banner of “Operation Visibility”. How visible is the LGBT community at Bosch?
As a result of our involvement in events such as Christopher Street Day, it is become increasingly visible. The Bosch sponsorship was communicated through a variety of channels: there were articles on the intranet, in the associate newspaper, and on Facebook. As a result, colleagues see what we are doing and just how important diversity and the LGBT community are at Bosch. The sponsorship has helped Bosch strengthen its position, also vis-à-vis its associates. Today, Germany has the greatest RBg representation, but our network is also growing in other countries in which the topic of homosexuality is still taboo. This is mainly the result of our board of management’s clear support of our network.
How can an associate network promote greater tolerance with regard to sexual orientation?
As the network has grown, each and every one of us has become more visible. This is important, because it has contributed to making interaction with the LGBT community more natural and relaxed. Many people still associate homosexuality mainly with sex. We want to change that: after all, sexual identity is a great deal more, and shouldn’t be reduced to physicality.
What would you like to see for your community in the next ten years?
If I look around at Bosch in Germany, I can see that tolerance is widespread. But sometimes there is still a lack of acceptance. For this reason, I would like the LGBT community to be just a normal part of the Bosch community. I’d also like to reach out more to our colleagues in production as well. Since they aren’t sitting at a computer, they are more difficult for us to reach.
Thank you very much for the interview, Dr. Loux.
More information on diversity at Bosch can be found here.
Bosch and Primavera e.V. are supporting projects for refugees
No one expected such outstanding results: at the end of 2015, Bosch called for donations for its “Bosch hilft” project. The aim was to collect funds for refugees. From the outset, it was clear that associates were eager to help. By the beginning of 2016, associates in Germany and abroad had donated 410,000 euros to the Primavera e.V. charitable initiative, which is run by Bosch associates. The company pledged to double the total. As a result, 820,000 euros have now gone toward refugee aid projects. Associates were invited to suggest which projects they wished to support.
A committee comprising representatives of Primavera e.V., the group works council, the group advisory board, the group committee of executive representatives, coordinators for refugee aid projects, and the corporate citizenship department, selected 113 our of 185 suggestions, and these projects have since received financial support. Selection criteria included project sustainability, the volunteer involvement of Bosch associates, and regional distribution. “We spent six days discussing each submission in an open and constructive manner. In the end, the decisions were unanimous,” said Sabine Lutz, head of the corporate citizenship department.
Most of the selected projects aim to help people who have fled war and poverty become part of German society: with language lessons, sports, leisure activities, or support with bureaucracy. Organizations that provide local emergency aid have also received funding. One of them is an outpatient clinic run by Hassan Naggar, a German surgeon with Syrian roots. For the past three years, he has provided free medical treatment to refugees in Antakya, near the Syrian border. His team includes specialist physicians, a dentist, a pharmacist, a lab technician, and nurses. Just like their patients, all of them fled Syria. The clinical team treats up to 500 patients each day, among them children, pregnant women, and older people. Thanks to the Bosch donation, the hospital can now cover the cost of medication for a period of six months.
At the end of 2015, before the call for donations was made, Bosch had already made 500,000 euros available to create additional internship spots at some 30 Bosch locations for 400 young refugees, among other things. One of them is Ebrima, a young man from Gambia who has lived in Germany for two years. He is completing an internship in Waiblingen, where Bosch has created ten additional internship spots. His daily work includes gaining insights into production and assembly processes, and learning about filing, millilng, and drilling. “We want to help young people gain skills for the labor market,” says Nico Wachter, a department head at Bosch in Waiblingen. This is precisely what Ebrima is doing: he hopes to begin an apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic as soon as possible.
More information on Primavera e.V.’s call for donations can be found here.
More information on how Bosch and its associates are supporting refugee aid projects can be found here.
More than 200 locations around the world took part in the third annual Bosch Diversity Day
Diversity comes in many forms, from gender and age to ethnic and cultural background. Around the world, Bosch is committed to ensuring that associates of all backgrounds and lifestyles cooperate with one another. This is because the company believes that combining different areas of expertise and experiences can bring forth unique ideas and solutions. Against this backdrop, the company celebrated Bosch Diversity Day for the third time on June 7. The slogan of this year’s event was “Discover Diversity – you are a part of it!”. Associates at more than 200 Bosch locations around the world addressed the different aspects of diversity at the company. One thing was clear: Diversity makes Bosch strong and successful all over the world.
Here are a few images of Diversity Day 2016:
Associates in Vietnam held a photography contest for the most diverse team. Associates either wore traditional clothing, or garments that reflected their hobbies, and talked about it.
In Turkey, associates tested their knowledge with a Diversity Day quiz.
In Malaysia, associates presented traditional Malaysian dances, among other things.
In Abstatt, Germany, associates were invited to have their picture taken as part of the “most diverse team contest”.
At the Budapest location, associates took on challenging tasks as part of an Escape Games event. Under time pressure, teams had to play for the parts of a vehicle that they then had to make fit to drive.
More information on the third annual Bosch Diversity Day can be found here (only in German available).
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.