Leadership Development For All, Says Mercedes-Benz Malaysia

Mar 17, 2014 1 Min Read
happy employees

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has launched a five-month Leadership Development Programme (“LDP”) for its management staff.

Like many organisations today, the company is recognising the need to find and groom individuals who are able to lead in today’s disruptive marketplace.

Roland Folger, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, says he believes not only in hiring the right people but also in developing existing high-performing employees.

According to Matthias Adis, senior manager and head of human resources, the company’s aim is to develop leadership skills and behaviours across the organisation.

“It was from the results of our employee survey in 2011, that we realised there was a need to improve the development of our people, with a special focus on leadership. This is how the development of this programme came about,” says Adis.

“We want to ensure all our leaders can cast and communicate vision, are passionate about our products and services, and able to motivate and develop others,” he says. “We promote situation-based leadership rather than a directive approach.”

Aside from talent development, two other areas that stood out in their employee survey results were a greater need for collaboration within the company, and the company’s brand and culture.

The company responded to these suggestions by creating the “Employer of Choice 2014” initiative to address these three core areas. The LDP is one of its fruits.

The committee is made up of senior leaders from various functions, including Veerappan Annamalai, general manager of procurement and Mohd Tahir Kader Mohideen, general manager of finance and controlling.

Veerappan, who is spearheading greater collaboration within the company says this cross-function collaboration reveals Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s commitment to addressing the needs of employees.

“This isn’t just a human resources initiative, even though they oversee the overall implementation.

“This is a company initiative. The CEO believes in this and employees have been empowered to make decisions,” he says.

The organisation sees their employees as the ultimate measure of the success of their initiatives.

“Being an employer of choice is not about collecting external awards, but about how employees of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia perceive and judge the company,” says Tahir.

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia is part of the Daimler group, which employs more than 275,000 employees in more than 120 countries. The Malaysian subsidiary is 10 years old, and has many long-serving staff.

In January 2014, 10-year service awards were given to 50 employees, amounting to 16% of the total workforce in Malaysia. Attrition rate sits at 7%, compared to the national average of 15%.

“I’ve been with Mercedes-Benz Malaysia for 10 years,” says Adis, “and I’m very proud to see how the company has grown. We want to keep growing and the people are the basis to take this company forward.”

CEO Folger is confident that Mercedes-Benz Malaysia is moving in the right direction in keeping the company a great place to work.

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Lily Cheah is a former head of Enterprise at Leaderonomics. Prior to that role, she was editor of www.leaderonomics.com (Ldotcom) and also was part of a special projects team in Leaderonomics. She believes that small details play a big part in huge successes, including always explaining “why”. She is a senior leader in HR today.

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