Siemens’ journey to empowerment and hybrid work

Siemens' Evelyn Stier highlights the need for personal connections, understanding preferences, and fostering trust in hybrid work.
By: | June 26, 2024

As the world grapples with the future of work, Siemens stands out as an example of an organisation that has successfully embraced hybrid work. Evelyn Stier, Head of Business Consulting and Digitalisation at Siemens IT Global Hub, shared her insights with HRM Asia, highlighting the German technology conglomerate’s journey towards creating a culture of trust, feedback, and empowerment.

Siemens’ ‘new normal’ working model established mobile working as a core component of the organisation’s culture. This model empowers employees to choose where, when, and how they work, with an average of two to three days per week spent remotely. This flexibility caters to a diverse workforce with varying needs and preferences.

However, one of the biggest challenges in hybrid work practices is balancing mobile and office work to ensure regular personal interactions and bonding among team members. Siemens’ approach to hybrid work is built on the understanding that each team and role is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Stier emphasised the importance of investing time in building personal connections through quality interactions. This involves understanding individual working preferences and creating coachable moments that foster trust and effective communication.

“To be able to reap the benefits of hybrid work, you need to understand the dynamics – how people work, communicate, and collaborate,” said Stier. She prioritises active listening and creating a safe space for open and honest communication, which encourages team members to share their challenges and workloads openly.

A successful hybrid work model also requires a shift in leadership style. Stier shared that she embraces a “secure base leadership style”, a concept by renowned leadership and organisational behaviour guru George Kohlrieser. This concept combines elements of trust, inspiration and safety to create an environment that encourages daring, exploration and seeking challenges. Defining clear goals and objectives is the responsibility of the leadership, while the ‘how’ to achieve these goals is left to individual teams. Stier’s motto, “You are fully empowered, I fully trust you, also on when you get your work done,” underscores the importance of trust and autonomy in driving high performance.

Organisations need to consciously invest to drive the adoption of new ways of working. This is exactly what Siemens does, for example through targeted e-learning, methods and tools, actionable tips and experience sharing about hybrid working.

“High performance is driven by a focus on outcome, trust, and empathy,” she stressed. “To empower teams, I advocate balancing synchronous and asynchronous work, and clear hybrid collaboration agreements set by the team and in line with the overall company guidelines.”

For organisations with blue-collar workforce, implementing a hybrid model for office employees while maintaining effective communication across different environments can be challenging. Acknowledging that job types play a significant role in the feasibility of hybrid work, Stier added that effective management and a focus on work-life balance are crucial to capitalising on these evolving opportunities.

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Siemens has also invested in modernising its infrastructure and refining communication practices to support hybrid work. This includes ensuring mobile equipment works seamlessly anytime, anywhere, and providing instant and where feasible touchless IT support. The introduction of tools like the Siemens workplace experience app “Comfy”, which allows employees to book office spaces and manage their work environments efficiently, exemplifies this commitment.

Stier concluded, “Each organisation and team need to design hybrid work models that align with organisational, customer, and employee requirements. There are many good practices in modernising your infrastructure but above all venturing into new ways of working.”

“I fully believe we can all create environments in which teams can thrive and focus on outcomes – one of trust, feedback, and empowerment. We all long for a hybrid home where we can bring our true selves, and this is something we as HR and digital transformation leaders have to grow and nurture.”

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