Empowered employees for the future

We believe that empowered employees in an innovative and learning organisation are our main competitive advantage in meeting the needs and wants of our customers.
News, Published: (Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA)

Our response to the war for talent
The war for talent continues. Retaining and attracting talent is key to ensure future growth and essential for the ability to deliver on our long-term strategic ambitions.

In 2016, we developed a talent strategy and a new process to map and manage talents in the organisation. As part of our annual performance appraisal process, a new talent identification tool has been introduced. High performers with strong leadership potential are identified and will, through a combination of internal training programmes, on-the-job training and job rotations, be prepared to take on key positions in the Wilhelmsen group.

Digital Trainees
We have over the past decade had 20 trainees, all through the maritime trainee programme hosted by the Norwegian Shipowners' Association (NSA). Since this programme is discontinued, we have developed a new programme focusing on digital technologies and innovation to support the group's ambitions and business goals. At the end of 2016, we hired four digital trainees and they started their journey with the group in January 2017.

Developing leaders for the future
We have a leadership programme tailored at preparing existing and future leaders for a more complex, challenging and changing business environment. The programme, developed together with Thunderbird School of Global Management, focuses on expanding senior leaders’ field of vision on the global maritime industry and the global economic trends that will continue to drive demand and competition.

Participants are challenged to develop their versatility skills and their ability to play multiple roles in a complex global business. Adding to this, they learn to balance running the business, while at the same time leading for the future long-term growth of the group. The programme is also a great opportunity to build a global network of leaders across the entire Wilhelmsen group. By the end of 2016, more than 30 future senior leaders have conducted our advanced leadership programme. Due to major restructuring of the group, the decision of when to run the third programme will be taken during 2017.

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Driving performance
We strive to create a performance culture where engaged employees deliver desired results and are rewarded accordingly. Employee performance is measured through annual engagement surveys, performance appraisals and annual activity plans.

The performance appraisal (PA) process is mainly a dialogue between manager and employee. During the first quarter of 2016, we introduced a digital PA process to be used by selected pilot users. 77% of our employees conducted their PA in 2016, down from 80% the year before. This was below our ambition of 80%, mainly due to restructuring processes and a major application change within parts of our organisation. To improve and further develop our performance management process and our employees, our ambition is that the whole organisation will utilise the digital platform when reviewing their PA for 2016, in the first quarter of 2017.

We believe that our business performance is driven by motivated and engaged employees. To measure our ability to provide an engaging and safe work environment in which all employees are motivated to achieve their full potential, we conduct annual engagement surveys. Due to major restructuring processes, we decided to not conduct a survey in 2016. The next survey is planned to take place in 2017.

Building a strong culture
High ethical standards and strong governance are prerequisites for doing business in the future. We consider it our licence to operate. By building a strong, sustainable culture we believe we achieve a competitive advance. Our governing elements include our Code of Conduct, vision, values and leadership expectations. These have all been revisited and updates will be launched in 2017.

Improving gender and cultural diversity
In 2016, approximately 34% of our onshore employeeswere women, which reflects that our industry by nature is male dominated. Our ambition is to enrich the group with diversity. Both in terms of increasing the number of female leaders and making sure various cultures are represented in management teams. As one of several initiatives to achieve greater diversity, the group has set diversity criteria as one of several requirements for the newly developed talent programme.

Investing in competence development
“Learning and innovation” is one of our core values, and we pay particular attention to competence and knowledge development. A learning organisation, with motivated employees, contributes to efficient operations and has a positive impact on revenue and earnings.

Our internal training institution, WW Academy, offered in 2016 employees a variation of courses and development opportunities. WW Academy also provided programmes for leadership development, in addition to a broad range of specific training programmes. WW Academy has been an important contributor in order to develop common attitudes, expectations, ways of working, and common business standards.

2016 was an extraordinary busy year for many of our employees and businesses. WW Academy reduced and/or postponed the number of planned training initiatives, especially classroom learning programmes. 144 employees went through classroom learning programmes or instructor lead training arranged by WW Academy, down from 246 employees in 2015. In addition, 54 046 eLearning modules where completed, corresponding to a 32% decrease from 2015. However, a substantial part of the organisation went through extensive training related to a new enterprise resource planning system. This major application change required several thousand people to be trained during a both extensive and intensive course over several weeks.

In 2017, WW Academy will focus on leadership development and talent management. Business related training and general management development will first and foremost be handled by the separate entities within the group.

Focus areas for 2017
Talent management, driving performance, ethics and governance will continue as focus areas also in 2017. In addition, we will have a stronger focus on innovation and experimentation.