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Besi Grows Leaders to Manage Growth

Need:

Develop leaders to support a massive ramp up of production.

Solution:

Interaction Management®, Communicating for Leadership Success, Building and Sustaining Trust

Results:

Leaders showed improved performance on all competencies, according to post-development assessment.

 

"Leadership is the key to business sustainability and an engaged, diversified workforce."

Henk Jan Jonge Poerink, Senior VP Global Operations, Besi and Managing Director, Besi APac

Business Had Grown Beyond the Capability of Talent

In 2013, BE Semiconductor Industries (Besi) was facing an enviable dilemma. The global manufacturer of semiconductor assembly equipment had exceeded all growth expectations. In just two years, and despite a highly volatile market, Besi had doubled its sales. And, demand for products was still growing. From Besi’s perspective, there was only one problem: The company had successfully grown its business beyond the capabilities of its current talent.

At the time, many in Besi’s leadership roles had been promoted from operational roles. While extremely technically savvy, they lacked skills sufficiently strong for managing people. Some were also fairly young and hadn’t had adequate time for on-the-job learning and skills practice.

Besi required a leadership development solution that would support a massive ramp up of production, without a corresponding expansion of facilities and workforce. It wanted to work smarter and build a people culture of lean. Additionally, Besi was looking for help with succession planning. Within its fairly flat organizational hierarchy, Besi had yet to create a pool of leaders who’d be ready to step into senior roles when needed.

Corporate leadership selected Besi’s packing equipment plant as both the hub for its planned production expansion, and the launch site for its new development initiative. The Malaysia plant’s young management team—charged with meeting Besi’s aggressive production targets—welcomed this support.

Assessment as a First Step

To pinpoint where skill gaps existed, 235 staff members evaluated the capability of current leadership using DDI’s Leadership Mirror® 360-degree multirater tool. Based on the results, and in partnership with DDI, HR developed a set of learning journeys for two leader cohorts. Thirteen “Tier One” directors participated in the Accelerated Leadership Program, while 25 “Tier Two” senior managers enrolled in the Emerging Leadership Program.

The journeys began with feedback from the assessment, delivered one-on-one to the senior leaders and in group form to the Tier Twos. “The feedback gave them some reflection time to think about their strengths and discover their gaps,” says facilitator Irene Chay. “It also set them up to be more open to new concepts and more collaborative.”

Eight courses from DDI’s Interaction Management® (IM®) series followed over a five-month period. The courses were delivered two at a time, in four parts. Each part focused on a particular subset of management: self, others, teams, and performance.

By design, the first three parts of the directors’ program were presented in advance of the Tier Two sessions. This gave the directors adequate time to model the skills and behaviors that would be expected of their Tier Two reports. The order was reversed at the programs’ end: The Tier Twos were in the classroom ahead of their managers, so that both groups could complete their programs at the same time.

“To create a common leadership language—a synergy between leader levels—at Besi,” says Chay, “the two programs offered some of the same content—but with messages, examples, and exercises tailored to each group’s level of experience and seniority.”

“Managing self” was the first of the four program parts. Participants from both programs took Communicating for Leadership Success, the IM® foundational course, with either Mastering Emotional Intelligence (Tier One) or Your Leadership Journey (Tier Two). In feedback collected immediately after, Tier Two participants observed Tier One leaders applying course concepts in the workplace.

Lunches to Sustain Learning

Between classroom days, leaders participated in lunch-and-learns. These offered opportunities for relationship and team building, and learning support. They were led by HR liaisons who customized the discussions based on facilitator feedback. After the lunches, the HR leaders would circle back with the facilitators about concepts needing more clarification in the classroom. As time went on, learners grew more comfortable with the informal get-togethers and not only suggested the session topics, but also led the discussions.

HR reassessed Tier Two participants using Leadership Mirror® in 2015 and 2016, and compared the results with the data collected back in 2013. Participants received higher ratings on every competency measured. Gaining Commitment and Initiating Action were most improved over time. Big jumps were also seen in Communication, Coaching, Decision Making, and Formal Presentation between 2013 and 2015.

Development Across More of the Pipeline

The success of the programs prompted the creation of a new learning journey for a third tier of Besi employees: supervisors and individual contributors. This Supervisory Development Program comprised four courses when launched as a pilot 2014, and has since grown to eight. “Including more levels of the organization in development, and building a strong leadership pipeline is important,” says Valarmathi Subramaniam, senior HR manager, “because great leaders make great companies!”

 

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