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Leadership Development

Employee development is crucial to delivering our vision of building great products that contribute to a better world. The most important thing we can do is stay focused on creating a skilled and motivated work force. We do that by investing in our employees, strengthening their technical and leadership skills and recognizing them for delivering results that cultivate success. Our company is in growth mode, making it even more essential for us to expand the capabilities of our people. Our vision is to be recognized for world-class learning and development excellence.

In 2013, we assembled a team to determine our learning and development strategic priorities and structure for a truly global learning organization. As a company with operations around the world, we need certain standards and processes for developing leaders who can take Ford to the next levels of performance. We have been standardizing, simplifying and integrating talent-management processes; implementing global competency frameworks; and enhancing leadership development programs for experienced managers.

In growth markets such as Asia, we need a hands-on development approach that is integrated with our human resource (HR) talent management system as we look to develop a pipeline of talent.

We want to create a learning culture, where employees are able to continuously learn new things and adapt to change. Anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of what we learn is not in a classroom. Because of that, we focus on “blended learning,” which is a combination of classroom, self-study, relationships and experience.

We have developed a new set of competency frameworks to help Ford salaried employees determine where they are in their development and to map out individual plans for themselves to improve their capabilities. Individual Development Plans, or IDPs, enable employees to meet current and future goals while maximizing performance in their current assignments. Using the IDP, employees work with their managers to help them identify strengths and areas for improvement, and then create customized plans for their individual developmental needs.

The competency framework is a part of our efforts to build a culture of continuous improvement, with employees taking active roles in their own professional development and the success of our business.

We provide a comprehensive range of learning and development resources that align with One Ford and the key competencies required to support each functional area. These resources include virtual, Web-based and classroom training, experiential learning, special projects, task forces, mentoring and coaching, social networking, team “lunch and learn” and other similar workshops. All of these seek to foster functional and technical excellence, encourage teamwork, promote Ford values and enhance our ability to deliver results.

Development at Ford falls into two categories: functional/technical and leadership. Each skill team/function offers learning solutions tailored to their skill team/functional competencies. We offer global leadership development programs, including the following: the Global Leadership Summit, which is aimed at executives and general managers; the Global Executive Leadership Program, which is geared toward directors and senior managers; and the Experienced Leader Program, aimed at middle management. We also offer the Salaried Supervisor Institute/Program (SSI) for new or experienced leaders who want to enhance their One Ford skills. One Ford is designed to build our employees’ individual capability as well as our organization’s capability to drive the business forward.

All of our leadership programs focus on the following key areas:

  • self insight
  • developing others
  • team effectiveness
  • building relationships
  • operating in a global environment
  • creating a leadership environment

Similar to our vehicle development strategy, our learning and development strategy has been to leverage our global scale and standardize as much as possible at all levels of the organization.

One of our key principles is that development is for all employees. Across our global manufacturing operations, we offer standardized “Process Coach and Team Leader” training to equip our front-line production leadership with the competencies needed to successfully foster teamwork, and achieve plant and business goals and objectives.

Easing Toward Retirement

The Phased Retirement Program (PRP) was first piloted in 2011 and has been offered in the U.S. each year since. The voluntary program allows retirement-eligible employees to work halftime at full pay for a period of six months immediately prior to exiting the company. The program is an effective tool for mentoring and transferring important knowledge while transitioning employees into retirement.

One retiring employee who participated in the program in 2013 called PRP “a great way to prepare for the future while I left the company I love.” His manager, meanwhile, found it equally beneficial.

“Because this role is unique within Ford, it was especially important to have a successful handoff, and PRP was a key enabler,” she said.