Posted on 11/14/2018 via BSH Home Appliances Group

“Work-shadowing” at a factory-site: Broadening perspectives

Wanting to understand the challenges of HR at a factory, Doris Henke took the opportunity to stay two weeks at our production site in Traunreut.

Doris Henke, responsible for Corporate Talent Management, wanted to get insights into the challenges of a factory. “At Corporate HR, we are developing tools for all employees”, Doris explains, “I wanted to learn from colleagues outside of the headquarters to understand their day-to-day job, concerns and challenges and bring these insights back to Munich”. So she asked for staying two weeks at the HR department in Traunreut, situated near the lake Chiemsee in Southern Germany. Traunreut is the production site for cookers and hobs – furthermore BSH develops and manufactures innovative concepts for the modern home there.

During her two weeks stay, Doris closely accompanied her colleague Torsten Aha and the HR team. “The colleagues took a lot of time to explain the whole value stream in the factory and the challenges that occur on a day-to-day basis. I could as well get great insights by joining the colleagues at the assembly line and trying to assemble a cooker with the help of them. On the shopfloor, it’s a lot about flexibility, feedback and strength-orientation when we talk about increasing efficiency and productivity – things about which we talk in the headquarters a lot when it comes to culture development.”

The “work-shadowing” of Doris in Traunreut was a beneficial experience for Torsten and the whole HR team. Doris was integrated as an effective team member within a very short time, so that shadowing became co-working. Even if the work content between Corporate HR and operational HR in a factory is completely different, the “working visit” of Doris showed that both are united in their goals to give room for empowering people and to shape a learning culture at the company.
“It was wonderful to share our personal and professional experiences which helped me to broaden my knowledge in strategic HR topics. Our close cooperation was highly motivating and gave me the opportunity to understand corporate HR processes improving their local implementation”, says Torsten.

“After Doris came back from Traunreut we all felt a difference in her way of thinking when she shared her learnings and insights with us. She was very impressed by the work which is done in our factories and the day-to-day challenges the colleagues are facing”, says Lara from the Corporate Talent Management Team.

After being back in Munich and reflecting on her “Work shadowing”, Doris considers her horizon broadened: “A practice-oriented exchange of this kind helps immensely,” she says. “We can only respond to the needs of our employees if we can understand things from their perspective. I can only encourage to strive for a perspective change from time to time and make use of the various possibilities we have here at BSH.”