On Friday, 16th October 2020, Siemens Ltd. hosted the quarterly meet of the Indo-German HR Partner Forum on the topic “HReimagined: A New Era of HR Leadership”.

Organizations have been facing umpteen challenges in unknown situations; with no defined solutions. The pressure has been mounting on the HR partners to step up their game, to focus on inclusion, leadership, learning, empowerment, AI and technology, communication, skill development and information management, and to provide solutions to secure the future of their employees and the organization. Hence, as a part of the Indo-German HR Partner Forum, professionals connect, collaborate and share best practices that empower them to create new opportunities for businesses and to build a stronger ecosystem.

Dr. Shilpa Kabra Maheshwari, EVP & Country Head HR, Siemens Ltd. launched the event by setting the context and by sharing what Siemens is doing around the key pillars of the theme. Key insights from her presentation included:

  • The new era of HR Leadership is anchored around four key levers – Leadership 4.0, Continuous Learning, Workplace Strategy and Technology.
  • Siemens is moving towards a Trust-Based Leadership, where managers empower teams and outcomes are most important. They are shifting away from the traditional PMP to growth talks & development.
  • The Siemens Scholarship program for economically weaker backgrounds, especially women, and the apprenticeship program at the Siemens Technical Academy are gaining recognition globally, as the students continue to develop business aligned innovations.
  • Power packed sessions on important people topics and AI based learning platforms are rolled out for employees to learn anytime anywhere.
  • HR Chat bot called CARL is being used to answer questions on transactional topics, and digital tools such as concept board are being used to collaborate and ideate within and outside Siemens.
  • Mobile working guidelines are released to allow employees to work from home for 2-3 days in a week.


Sunil Mathur, MD & CEO, Siemens Ltd. set the business context and shared perspectives on how to stay ahead of competition in this new normal. Key insights from his inspiring address included:

  • Change will be constant and disruptive. Business continuity needs to be looked at holistically.
  • Shareholders will expect more focus on society, environment, government and law issues.
  • Customers are demanding more and asking for customized solutions within limited time. Collaborating with customers in this virtual environment will be the key.
  • Classical supplier relationship are changing to co-developing solutions for the customer. This will require fresh competencies and new ecosystems.
  • With digitalization coming in, geography has become history. The traditional mindset that we need the workforce to be close to customer is now changing. There is a need for a skilled and competent workforce that can deliver value to the customer from anywhere.
  • Company will be as strong as the weakest link in the leadership team.
  • Most important priority is Communication, Communication and Communication.

Bernhard Steinruecke, Director General, IGCC acknowledged and applauded the efforts of the HR professionals in maintaining business continuity over the last six months. He mentioned that the German government has recently introduced a new Indo-Pacific strategy where it is now questioning the over dependency on few countries which was realized during this whole pandemic situation. They are now keen to shift the focus to other countries such as India, Australia etc. The ‘can-do’ attitude of Germans and the ‘never-give-up’ attitude of Indians will only further strengthen the Indo-German relations. On this optimistic note, Bernhard Steinruecke also announced his upcoming retirement and introduced his successor Stefan Halusa, Designate Director General, IGCC to the Indo-German HR Partner Forum.

The meeting moved on to a Panel Discussion with 3 eminent HR partners: KS Harish, Country Group HR Head – South Asia, Bayer, Mr. Suresh BR, Country Head HR, Bosch India and Dr. Shilpa Kabra Maheshwari, EVP & Country Head HR, Siemens
Key takeaways:

  • In the new normal, Bayer has passionately communicated its vision, “Health for all, hunger for none” and refreshed the 12 attributes under their LIFE values – Leadership, Integrity, Flexibility and Efficiency to make their employees understand the company vision clearly. Harish had an interesting perspective that the employees’ skills will be the new currency of the future. Keeping this in mind, they have stepped up the learning and social initiatives. Self-learning, micro-learning and wellbeing programs have been introduced for employees. Organisation wide learning applications have enabled the field force to onboard customers to new technology platforms. In the Pharma business, doctors have moved to meeting medical representatives through digital connect programs, while in the CropScience business, they have successfully migrated their customers, the farmers, to the digital platforms to share agricultural practice information and demonstrate product efficacy.
  • Bosch has been positively handling working virtually and ensuring employee engagement and collaboration. The pandemic has certainly accelerated the pace of change and there is super energy and enthusiasm to bring about a change at Bosch. According to Suresh, employee experience will be the DNA of the organization. It is important to reimagine work and redefine the workplace design, which will define how work gets done.
  • Siemens believes that the gig economy will change the way we work. Millennials desire work, which is challenging along with flexibility. Full time and part time work has been implemented and flexi/freelance work is being implemented. Sabbatical options are also available to allow employees to pursue their passion and enhance their skills. There is a significant focus on reskilling and upskilling for future employability.

Dr. Juergen Morhard, Counsel General, Federal Republic of Germany in Mumbai addressed the high-profile audience by praising the IGTC management programs and the high quality of engagement maintained with the German companies. He endorsed the responsibility of the leadership in today’s turbulent times to ensure how their teams are coping, their wellbeing, the impact of digitalization and the acclimatization to home offices. On behalf of the HR Partners, he warmly welcomed Dr. Wayne Brockbank, Clinical Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan as the Power Speaker on the “Role of HR in Creating Market Leadership”. In his keynote address to the HR Partners, Dr. Brockbank touched on the following:

  • Shared detailed results of research conducted to understand the challenges of market leadership faced due to the environmental trends impacting the world today such as high velocity disruptions, complexity, dynamic and non-linear inconsistencies.
  • Questioned the fundamental HR assumptions and biases to make all the partners understand that HR’s role is not only to build individual capabilities but also organizational capabilities to win in the market at a speed and quality that is at a higher level than the competition.
  • Demonstrated the use of insightful statistics to objectively measure the effectiveness of HR activities and to derive the value created by HR for various stakeholders.
  • Explained the correlation among Employee Performance HR, Strategically Integrated HR practices, HR Analytics and HR’s role in Information Management on business performance, external customers, investors, communities, regulators, line managers and employees.
  • Emphasized the need to fully understand the company portfolio before designing the HR strategy and shared the sources of competitive advantage and their weightage in overall success. Raised curiosity to introspect and think on the question, what is the culture we need to have to increase competitive advantage?
  • Exemplified Disneyland as the best example of customer service that makes everyone go back again and again.

Dr. Brockbank concluded his presentation by giving the HR Partners the AAA model as a mantra for success:

  • Acquire and Explore; be intellectually curious, access information and insights from qualitative and quantitative sources with an open mind; understand the business question
  • Analyze, prioritize and debate what is important and what is less important; have honest discussions with different views and perspectives to inform better conclusions
  • Apply to Action the information that is available

This insightful meeting was attended by 60+ HR Partners from leading German organizations. The 3.5 hours long engaging discussions and exchange of ideas came to an end with the realization that it is the right time to look at the opportunities that this pandemic situation has brought with it. This event surely gave the platform to strategize on the way forward beyond these turbulent times.

To know more about the activities of the Indo-German HR Partner Forum, please connect with Radhieka R Mehta, Director, Indo-German Training Centre on director@igtcindia.com.