Siemens Builds a Strategy-Oriented HR System
Siemens is a 150-year-old German company, but it's not the company it was even a few years ago. Until recently, Siemens focused on producing electrical products. Today the firm has diversified into software, engi¬neering, and services. It is also global, with more than 400,000 employ¬ees working in 190 countries. In other words, Siemens became a world leader by pursuing a corporate strategy that emphasized diversifying into high-tech products and services, and doing so on a global basis.
With a corporate strategy like that, human resource management plays a big role at Siemens. Sophisticated engineering and services re¬quire more focus on employee selection, training, and compensation than in the average firm, and globalization requires delivering these services globally. Siemens sums up the basic themes of its HR strategy in several points. These include:
1. A living company is a learning company. The high-tech nature of Siemens' business means that employees must be able to learn on a continuing basis. Siemens uses its system of combined classroom and hands-on apprenticeship train¬ing around the world to help facilitate this. It also offers employees extensive continuing education and management development.
2. Global teamwork is the key to developing and using all the potential of the firm's human resources. Because it is so important for employees throughout Siemens to feel free to work together and interact, employees have to understand the whole process, not just bits and pieces. To support this, Siemens provides extensive training and devel¬opment. It also ensures that all employees feel they're part of a strong, unifying corporate identity. For example, HR uses cross-border, cross-cultural experiences as prerequisites for career advances.
3. A climate of mutual respect is the basis of all relationships— within the company and with society. Siemens contends that the wealth of nationalities, cultures, languages, and out¬looks represented by its employees is one of its most valuable assets. It therefore engages in numerous HR activities aimed at building openness, transparency, and fairness, and support¬ing diversity.
3-18. Based on the information in this case, provide examples for Siemens of at least four strategically required organizational outcomes, and four required workforce competencies and behaviors.
3-19. Identify at least four strategically relevant HR policies and activities that Siemens has instituted in order to help human resource management contribute to achieving Siemens' strategic goals.
3-20. Provide a brief illustrative outline of a strategy map for Siemens.