A Challenging Starting Point
In the scope of a comprehensive educational program (“Accelerate”), LafargeHolcim wanted to develop their talents for plant management on an international level, involving people from different countries across the MEA region. As this sophisticated program was designed for 10 participants only, but there were more than 20 candidates across the company, it was decided to conduct development centers to select the most eligible people for the program.
When calculating the costs of carrying out the DCs in one location, it became apparent that the travel costs for participants and observers would exceed the actual costs of the DCs itself. Thus, an experienced HR diagnostics provider with an international track record was needed, who could offer a more cost-effective solution than the conventional face-to-face development centers.
ITO´s Online Concept
As ITO works on a worldwide level and has more than 25 years of experience in people diagnostics, they were asked to build a concept for DCs at reduced travel costs.
The Serbian ITO team came up with an online DC which consisted of the following elements:
- a multi-dimensional questionnaire which gives insight on personal motivations, thinking styles, personality traits and occupational interests (this questionnaire was filled in by the participants prior to the online DC)
- a competency-based interview
- a business case presentation which was tailored to the needs of the company
- roleplays to assess leadership qualities
Not only ITO consultants would assess the candidates´ performance, but also internal observers from LafargeHolcim, who were senior managers who had been designated to become the mentors of the chosen participants in the program. They, together with internal HR people, were trained beforehand to observe and to evaluate the participant´s performance during the DCs. After the participants had left the online meeting, they would discuss their findings with the consultant to determine the participants´ main strengths and areas for development.
The DCs schedules were made in a compact and very time-efficient way in order to keep the required online presence for LafargeHolcim´s internal senior managers as short as possible.
After the DC, both the company and the participants received detailed feedback: the company was sent a written report which contained the main findings as well as some recommendations for development. Each participant had an in-depth online feedback-session with their ITO consultant, reviewing their main strengths, areas for development as well as recommendations. After this talk, each participant – regardless of whether they had been accepted as a member of the Accelerate program or not – created their own development plan which was submitted to the consultant for approval and was then passed on to their line manager and HR. Thus, the results of the DCs were a useful basis for further development measures for all participants, which motivated also those people, who had not been selected for the Accelerate program.
Thorough Preparation to Encounter Challenges
As DC participants, consultants and observers lived in several time zones, a project manager in the ITO office took care of connecting everybody on time and of keeping an eye on the information flow.
Another challenge concerned the risk of information leakage about the content of exercises. This was avoided through a number of rotating exercises with different content, but the same level of difficulty.
Benefits for LafargeHolcim
LafargeHolcim benefited from the program in several ways:
- The most promising candidates for their talent program were selected by skilled and experienced consultants, who made sure that the company was optimizing their investment in people development.
- All participants, regarding of whether they were selected for the program or not, received individual plans which were tailormade to their needs, which minimized the frustration of those who were not accepted on the program.
- Senior management members who would become mentors of the participants on the program were trained and actively involved in seeing their talents perform; this allowed them to get to know them and their individual profiles better.
- The company saved a lot of money on travel costs and time.
ITO is an international company founded 27 years ago in Austria which focuses on diagnostics and the development of individuals, teams and organizations. The company consists of 60 consultants, coaches and trainers in 13 European countries and works with more than 200 globally operating customers from a wide range of industries, including Coca-Cola Hellenic, Paysafe, VIG and Wuerth.
LafargeHolcim is the global leader in building materials and solutions. They are active in four business segments: cement, aggregates, ready-mix concrete and solutions & products. With leading positions in all regions of the world and a balanced portfolio between developing and mature markets, LafargeHolcim offers a broad range of high-quality building materials and solutions. LafargeHolcim experts solve the challenges that customers face around the world, whether they are building individual homes or major infrastructure projects. Around 75000 people work for the company in around 80 countries.