Siemens has a compelling vision. From powering cities through to providing healthcare, wind farms, solar and renewable energy, the company relies on its teams of engineers to create ‘grand designs’. “Engineers cannot achieve much alone – it’s all about teamwork,” says Toby Peyton-Jones, HR director. “You can’t build a power station unless you have an exceptional team,” he adds.
He says that when it comes to long-term competitiveness – culture will sustain you rather than products. “You have to look after, maintain, guard and keep up-to-date your values, otherwise they can fall by the wayside,” advises Peyton-Jones.“We work on employee engagement on an emotional level.” Siemens, which has around 13,000 employees in the UK, has a ‘Champion’ scheme which is driven from the top down but with bottom up reward. Recognition is given to colleagues across the business (including the engineers who work out on the street) who are bringing the company values to life – the unsung heroes.
He enthuses: “People are encouraged to share stories and nominate their colleagues who have gone well beyond their job description, who have helped others in inspirational ways or have moved mountains to meet a customer deadline. Some may have simply had the courage to stand up for what is right rather than take the easy path.”
For example, a couple of winters ago, the power went down in a village in Northern Ireland. A group of engineers worked in terrible conditions to fix the systems. While another engineer stopped his work on the street as someone was having a heart attack and gave first aid.
“These stories feed the fabric of our culture,” he says. As part of its champion employee recognition programme, which was created by P&MM Motivation, colleagues can be given instant rewards of £25, £50, £100, £200 and £2,000. Every year, the ‘Podium Awards’ recognise divisional, sector, and UK-wide ‘employee champions’ through tiered bronze, silver and gold awards.
“All the research exists to show the link is there between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. There is a big cost when people are not engaged,” argues Peyton-Jones. “We measure consistently and provide an environment where our employees believe in the company as well as enjoy working for one another. We also prepare people for their next move within the business when they have to take on more responsibility. By providing development and mentoring in this way, we train people so nothing goes wrong and everyone is happy,” he reveals.