1

Introduction

Increasingly we are working with clients who are seeking innovative ways to embed values and get meaningful cultural change.  DB Schenker is one of the world’s leading logistics companies, specialising in air, land and sea freight. They employ over 73,000 staff in 2000 locations across approximately 140 countries. Much of their of growth has come through acquisition.

2017/18 was a great financial year but senior leaders recognising the need for change, have created their own burning platform.   They understand that we live in rapidly changing times and that they must future-proof the organisation.  A key prerequisite is the need for real cultural change, ensuring that the values truly underpin how everyone in the company behaves.

2

The Challenge

Over 4000 leaders have already completed an online cultural change learning programme. The quality of material and thinking is truly impressive. But there was still one burning question, “How do we truly embed the desired changes and make it relevant to everyone in the organisation, irrespective of job role or location?”

The Head of Global Talent had commissioned AKD in previous roles and so introduced AKD to Yvonne Villinger, Head of Global Transformation. Immediately we saw the great potential of applying our learning methodologies to meet this challenge. For AKD it was an exciting proposition. We were asked to create a learning map that would be used globally, with three tiers of staff, leaders/managers, office-based, and frontline staff.

3

People learn more when they’re having fun

Playfulness is key to the design and delivery of our learning solutions because it comprises two important components, creativity and problem-solving. In recognising that people learn through experience, playfulness is at the heart of AKD’s approach; with every event offering learners an opportunity to be both active and reflective. In the classroom, we witnessed an amazing energy, bundles of ideas and people actively identifying how things could change.

Playfulness has greater human connectivity than other methods and if you want real change, you need both an intellectual comprehension and a human connection to the subject.  What we have seen in the design and early roll out of the programme is how play has made the subject matter personal to the participants. They have been able to truly see and feel how they can live the values. The messages stuck!

For such large numbers of employees, a digital solution would be the obvious and “efficient choice”. But Yvonne Villinger saw things differently. “I felt the importance of connecting the core of human behaviour to the learning, this includes connections and creating the sense of a community or tribe, digital solutions are not able to provide this. They can provide the platform to bring people together but cannot connect feelings”.

4

The Outcome

We spent six months developing a learning map called ‘We Are Schenker’. This learning map brings to life the need for change, using the scenario of an unethical competitor stealing Schenker’s market share.  The way to win back their markets is for everyone to apply the values to everything they do. The game appears competitive, but the only way to win is to collaborate, hence demonstrating the value of ‘Win Together’.  The lightbulb moments are amazing.
We ran pilots and trained 30 Super Trainers. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Participants said they now really understand the values in practice and know what they need to do back in their regions.

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Can it work for everyone?

We are confident that a learning map can be used globally. Yvonne Villinger agreed “Because there is flexibility in a learning map, in terms of examples and languages/translations it will be well received.  Although it’s a standard process, it provides enough flexibility that every person can make it their own”.   Martin Perelstein, Country HR Head for Argentina and one of the Super Trainers said, ‘We Are Schenker’ will give staff the opportunity to understand the ‘real’  meaning of the values and how can they match with their personal ‘Values Scale’. And the most important thing, they will be involved and get a lot of fun in the process!!! It will be a training they will never forget!!”  Yury Dementyev HR Business Partner in Russia said, “I think that ‘We Are Schenker’ is absolutely new and exciting way of communication with new employees. I believe that this game will bring fun and more understanding of our values and behaviours”

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Final words of advice  from the Head of Global Transformation

We asked Yvonne Villinger what advice she would give other HR professionals on using playfulness for cultural change projects. Here are her top three tips:
– Getting back to basics is important – that is  human connection, to create learning and once a layer of playfulness is introduced it breaks concerns, egos quickly
– Give it a go. You will be surprised at the results
– It provides personal space for sharing and bringing to the surface concerns quickly, which can be addressed by the whole group and not just the facilitator

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