Strong teams of experts comprising talented individuals armed with complex technical knowledge are valuable assets to any company. Managers, however, need more; they also need people skills if they are to manage effectively. When we at Bruker realized that we could do more to support our managers, we initiated a training program that would enable them to lead others with confidence.
Like many companies, Bruker BioSpin boasts many great managers, all experts in their own fields of work. Also like many companies, BioSpin has tended to focus on developing the technical skills of its leaders, rather than looking at the 'softer skills' of, for example, people management, communication skills and emotional intelligence.
Our managers receive technical training to enhance and augment their levels of expertize, but tended to receive little managerial or leadership training.
With that in mind, we decided to change the status quo. In 2016, we introduced a Leadership Training Program to support our global network of managers. Broadly speaking, the initiative has been designed to ensure company-wide adoption of harmonized managing methods and to equip our managers with the relevant tools to manage others effectively, with the goal of creating a productive and rewarding company culture.
The Leadership Training Program
Specifically, the course objectives are threefold: to develop stronger leadership competencies, which are demonstrated through action; to ensure a shared leadership understanding throughout Bruker BioSpin; and to provide a shared leadership culture.
Each year, we run a series of courses with a group of 12 people covering five modules - self-awareness, self-management, communication skills, effective leadership, and conflict management. Each module takes one day to complete.
In 2017, the program's first year, approximately eight groups of managers participated in the leadership training initiative. To date, more than 200 people have successfully completed the course.
Work. It occupies a significant portion of our life - approximately one third of it.
Our people are the narrative behind Bruker. Their diversity, creativity and talent enable us to bring innovative technology to science communities across the world to improve quality of life. We want their time at work to have a positive impact on their lives. Supporting our employees' health and wellbeing, therefore, is an important focal point for Bruker and has been the driving force behind a number of internal initiatives.
At our sites in France, Germany and Switzerland, we have installed water stations throughout the campus buildings and given all staff personal reusable water bottles for free refills. Employees can choose between still, sparkling, ambient, and chilled water. Our employees have particularly welcomed this water initiative for its health benefits and the positive impact on the environment - dramatically reducing the number of single-serve plastic bottles.
It's not always easy or convenient to make appointments for health checks around working hours. To make life a little easier for our staff, we have introduced Health Days. In the past we have invited qualified, out-of-house professionals to our Rheinstetten, Germany, and Wissembourg, France, sites to promote and encourage good physical and mental health. The team of specialists provided opportunities for our staff to participate in various activities, workshops and lectures such as measuring muscle tension and heart rate variability, stress management, electromagnetic fields and health, ergonomics at the working place, a medical check-up to measure cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure, balance board, yoga, and dietary advice. Staff were free to dip in and out of as many of these activities as they want, all offered free of charge during work hours.
Due to the current situation facing the Covid-19 pandemic, this year's annual health day in Germany will be organized remotely: experts will hold sessions on stress management and healthy nutrition to which our employees can have access throughout the day.
To further promote wellbeing, we also support sport and leisure activities. In Fällanden, Switzerland, an in-house fitness studio is available for our employees, and we offer annual tickets for staff and their families to visit the nearby Zurich Zoo. Each ticket grants entry for up to four people and is hugely popular among our employees to enjoy quality family time together. In Germany, Bruker employees have access to a bicycle scheme for their commute to work and for their families via our subscription to JobRad - a national company that offers a range of fully serviced bikes. In France and Germany, Bruker teams of employees regularly participate in different runs such as "Le relais du houblon" or "Die badische Meile".
These are only some of all the actions that are undertaken to promote health and wellbeing at Bruker.
As a company that prides itself on developing talent and inspiring creativity, we can also confirm that supporting a healthy and happy workforce is undoubtedly good for productivity - and therefore good for business.