When employees “crack” their employer’s business model

Posted October 25, 2017, 7:02 am

Has your employer ever asked you to point out their own mistakes? ALD Automotive, a subsidiary of Societe Generale, has done so. The long-term car rental and fleet management specialist has invited its teams to take part in the ‘Kill your own business’ challenge. The idea of ​​”disrupting” the company’s business model appealed as 130 participants in 20 countries answered the call. “Our credo: encourage employees to take power and anticipate the needs of tomorrow’s customers”, summarizes Pao-Leng Damy, Director of Human Resources at ALD Automotive. Roadmap for the thirty registered teams: as a start-up, explore the mobility of tomorrow, with all that it entails in terms of new challenges in the form of shared cars, electric, smart, connected, autonomous vehicles, environmental restrictions, new city regulations, etc.

“Killing Your Own Job”

Valérie Beetham, business analyst at ALD Automotive, participated in this challenge together with Benoît Amiens, international “Customer Experience” project manager. Their team emerged as the winner of this general brainstorming – but the content of their innovation remains confidential to this day. “The Kill Your Own Business challenge was particularly attractive because it gave you the opportunity to build relationships with colleagues. Above all, it is transgressive and playful to be invited to “kill” one’s own profession”, she assures. Valérie Beetham retains from the experience the exaltation of “challenge each other” and “ALD Automotive’s ability to confront its teams with news”. “It’s very motivating”she thinks.

The automotive and mobility markets are constantly evolving. “To remain a leader, we must adapt to new customer needs and changes in our business. It is for this reason that we internally implement a culture of innovation on a global level”, explains Tim Albertsen, deputy managing director of ALD Automotive, which has 6,000 employees in 43 countries. The “Kill Your Own Business” challenge is just one brick among a host of units. But it brings together the ingredients that the company considers essential, such as the promotion of the entrepreneurial spirit, the “bottom up” approach or the culture of engagement. “We strive to bring ideas forward internally by bringing together as many people as possible”points out Pao-Leng Damy.

Internally pleases innovation as a team

To do this, ALD Automotive has structured its approach in favor of innovation. In addition to the creation of an innovation department and committee, innovation laboratories in several countries and centers of excellence established in France, Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands, the company multiplies collaborative events (driver experience challenges, hackathons, innovation days, start-up challenges, design thinking boot camps, etc.) . “Integrating innovation into the corporate culture is a strategy supported by the Executive Committee”, points out Tim Albertsen. It is not enough to generate new concepts, something must be done with them. “The ideas that come from our employees are used. It is important to create and maintain buy-in”, notes Pao-Leng Damy. For example, the winning project of the challenge “Kill Your Own Business” will be presented to an internal investment committee.

ALD Automotive goes further by measuring the teams’ perception. As part of the employer barometer, an internal survey conducted every two years, the company asks employees about their daily lives and the application of the company’s four values: responsibility, team spirit, commitment and innovation. With a participation rate of 86% recorded in the barometer published in June 2017 (more than 4,000 respondents), ALD Automotive has an overall picture of employee mood. On each of the points, the positive opinions are around 80%. Internally pleases innovation as a team.

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