Organization and people
As it became clear that a further integration of our functional capabilities will lead to a more agile and efficient business, the following organization principles have been formulated at the beginning of 2018:
- We organize our processes, protocols and systems with the consumer at the center;
- The Accell Group functional areas will be integrated to increase efficiency;
- Accell Group will have strong central coordination where adding value to processes such as innovation management, procurement, and digital and IT support, and local expertise where agility is needed most;
- Communication is essential; by having an easy accessibility of information we prevent inventing the frame twice.
While this may sound logical now, Accell Group for a long time had its excellent products and the dealer world at the nr.1 spot in our organization philosophy. Therefore, with the strategy in mind, much time and effort was invested in successfully implementing a new organizational structure, different way-of-working and changed mind-set.
- Our consumer facing activities get the attention they deserve by consistently presenting our brands in our chosen markets;
- Innovation and design focus on the things that matter for the riders; not so much for our engineers;
- We share great design features across categories and countries without compromising the uniqueness of each brand;
- We connect knowledge and experience by introducing a matrix-type of organization which is led by a strong central team;
- We re-design internal processes with the purpose to soon work in an integrated and on-line environment;
- The with the above related change processes are facilitated by our very own change management expert.
These are just a couple of examples of breaking down internal walls for the benefit of the greater Accell Group cause of ‘Great Bikes win great likes’.
As can be observed in the enclosed high-level organization overview Accell Group has established strong working relations between the market-oriented regional organisations and the centralized expert teams (eg Technology & innovation, marketing & e-commerce, Finance, IT).
For much of our staff 2018 meant a year of learning - changing roles and processes, being part of international/ multi-disciplinary teams for the first time, working across brands, etc. - and coping with a certain degree of uncertainness.
In general people welcomed the new strategy. There is a lot of support for the direction chosen and the willingness to change was and is high. People understand the need, see the benefits of working together as one Accell Group and enjoy meeting colleagues from other brands, companies and countries, who have so much experience and share the same passion for bikes.
To create the right foundation for change, most of the time and energy of HR was put to facilitate the organization, teams and people during this transition. At the end of 2018 the organizational foundation was laid-down, people understand the way-forward, new teams have started working together and first successes have been celebrated. Ready to grow.
Changing the way the Accell Group organization works also has significant implications for governance and leadership. New forums for consulting experts before decision making, building and connecting international networks and other ways of creating one community have been established and are maturing quickly.
To manage and inspire these new ways and new teams 2018 has been a year of investing in leadership. Newly formulated ‘winning values’ and a supporting 360 assessment tool, leadership training for teams as well as individuals form a solid foundation to build a leadership framework and agenda.
It is understood that for existing leadership and management working in a new fast-pace, consumer focused environment with strong centralized and international elements is not always an easy fit. Accell Group therefore has seen change in leadership and management at various organization levels. We are proud to have been able to continue our successful attraction of new talent with a variety of industry and functional backgrounds. On-boarding and business simulation programs are in place to ensure the basics of Accell Group and the bicycle industry are transferred in a quick and creative way.
Within the Accell Group, the male-female ratio (in FTE) is 71%: 29%. In terms of age structure, the majority of employees are aged between 30 and 50 years.
Coming to work in the morning means for most people at Accell Group to work for their own subsidiary, in their own area of expertise, within their own team. The horizon of many experts and managers is different; often national or regional or even global.
Both perspectives are of high importance to ensure our consumers are efficiently serviced with great products. The connection between the local and global point of view is made through sharing information, building trust and respect and considering all arguments. With the help of constructive employee representatives in many of our subsidiaries a wide array of subjects has been discussed and brought to a close. On Group level a joint works-council for Accell Operations B.V. and Accell Service B.V. was put in place, which once more shows the significance and how much management values structured consultation of staff.
The Board of Directors considers it therefore unfortunate that while going through an important change process in 2018 some trade unions have targeted specific Accell Group subsidiaries to strike for national labour relation reasons.
Next to the change of perspective in many teams and roles, Accell Group continues to keep its focus on essential people matters. Some of the highlights are mentioned below.
- Recruitment and selection: each year Accell Group production facilities attract hundreds of seasonal workers, essential for the production of High Quality bicycles and logistics activities at our warehousing locations. Noticeable is the success of the targeted media campaign in Hungary for production and warehouse staff, the social media campaign to attract highly skilled e-commerce and marketing specialists in the Netherlands and the attraction, training and inclusion of female welders in Turkey. Accell Group is also proud to be the employer of choice for an increasing number of bachelor and master of science trained young professionals in Supply Chain, IT, Commerce, Technology and design as well as Finance.
- Training and development: the new organization brings not only a new structure for many, yet also new accountabilities. These are trained on-the-job as well as by targeted programs for teams as well as individuals. We have also started preparations for the 2019 first roll-out of new IT / ERP solutions for a wide part of the Accell Group population. With the help of a third party, we have started to take our new regional and functional management teams through essential team oriented leadership training. Giving and receiving feedback is becoming an essential part of the employee experience.
This year the average number of training hours per employee has again increased. In 2018 the goal was increased to an average of 15 hours per employee per year. This revised objective has not yet been realized. In the coming years we will continue to invest extra in knowledge and we will raise the bar step by step.
Health and safety
The safety and health of our employees is of great importance to us. We are well aware of the safety and health risks associated with work in production, warehouses and offices. Within each company a responsible person has been appointed, who, in addition to compliance with regulations, gives attention to strengthening the health and safety culture. In addition to a healthy and safe working environment, we also promote awareness of staff in the broader sense and attention to a healthy lifestyle. An example of this is encouraging employees to come to work by bicycle.
- Building a community: the very essence of building an effective and inspiring matrix organization which focuses on the consumer, is stimulated by great workshops, conferences, inspiration meetings, forums and much more. During these, long standing issues are tackled and resolved and new ways of working together developed in a consumer focused way. A great example on how this translates is the self-propelling initiative of Accell Young; a new way in Accell Group in the Netherlands to bring together young professionals.
- Accell Group values and behaviour: During our transformation journey it became clear that clarity about our most important values and behaviors is important to reflect on how we work with one another at Accell Group, yet also with consumers, customers and suppliers. Acting as one Accell Group asks for a set of shared and sharpened values; Consumer and customer obsession, Act as one team, Excellence and a passion for winning, Lead by example.
2019 will be another exciting year in terms of organization and people. Next to continued work in attracting and retaining great people we anticipate a continued stream of change initiatives. Preparing and facilitating the Accell Group crew for this is a continuous activity area, therefore our management should have ‘a license to change’ as part of their skills set.
On the 2019 agenda is a review and modernization of our compensation and benefits to ensure a closer link is built between our results, individual performance and behaviors.
In Q1 2019, Accell Group will launch its first global Employee Engagement Survey to get a data driven insight on how our staff experiences working at Accell Group in the broadest possible sense.
Also under preparation is an investment in a global payroll and HR information system to allow management and staff to get insights on individual, team and business levels, unheard of thus far at Accell Group.