The term cultural transformation is often used in companies in connection with the digitization and its effects. Frequently, this refers to the implementation of tools and instruments – even though culture arises from the people working with them. Working Out Loud (WOL) starts with people and puts their needs in a connected working world at the heart of the digital transformation. Daimler AG has been using this learning method developed in the USA by John Stepper already since March of 2016, and, entirely in keeping with the spirit of this method, today together with Bosch hosts the first inter-company event under the motto "Change Perspectives and Culture with Working Out Loud".
Working Out Loud means making one's own work and creation processes visible and transparent. A WOL circle refers to a group of three to five people with individual goals, who set a fixed time for a virtual or actual meeting once a week for 12 weeks. The purpose: jointly achieving the individual goals, providing mutual feedback and expanding the skills. That is why the group structures its meeting in line with a weekly plan - the so-called "Circle Guide“. In addition to the new skill set resulting from the personal goals, the group also builds new relationships and social skills. These facilitate networking in the company. The individual employee makes the way he or she works more visible to others. The others help him or her to become more efficient. The knowledge of individuals is shared, cross-departmental collaboration is strengthened. The company grows with its employees and becomes more agile, more networked and boosts its innovative strength.
Various DigitalLife@Daimler initiatives and word of mouth have grown the first WOL circle from 2016 into a community with more than 1100 followers on the Daimler Social Intranet. More than 400 Daimler employees worldwide have already participated in a WOL Circle at least once by now. 98 percent of them recommend the method to others and 100 percent stated to have more fun doing their job thanks to the method. No wonder that the method was a pillar of the strategy of DigitalLife@Daimler and is being introduced and promoted Group-wide – by a cross-functional co-creation team, which in addition to its own core tasks is working on the advancement and adaptation of the method to Daimler needs. WOL ties the interests of the individual employee to those of the company and also enjoys the full support of the employee representative body.
"Working Out Loud proves that the digital transformation does not need to instil fear and worry. It comes down to how it is designed. If you make your work visible, you also learn what it is worth. And if you network, you find additional possibilities of belonging and recognition", says Michael Brecht, Chairman of the General Works Council of Daimler AG. "If 100 percent of all users of a new method have more fun doing their job, the method is right and makes work more humane. And as the works council, we can only support this“.
Because other companies are having similarly positive experiences, there is a first joint conference today with 200 employees from Daimler and Bosch each. All hierarchy levels, functions and units are represented. The attendants include experienced WOL multipliers as well as interested novices. In addition to the "inventor" of WOL, John Stepper, the speakers also include the external expert on digital transformation processes Celine Schillinger, Christoph Kübel, Managing Director and Director of Labour Relations of Bosch, as well as Michael Brecht, Daimler General Works Council Chairman.
From the beginning, the Daimler employees working on advancing the method understood the exchange of experience with Bosch on the subject of WOL to be part and it is in line with the approach of Working Out Loud, because "growing by sharing" is the principle that makes networks perform the best. Beyond the two companies, there is also a "Working Out Loud Community of Practice“, or WOLCOP for short, in which eight more companies (Audi, BMW, Continental, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, Siemens Healthineers, ZF Friedrichshafen, Deutsche Post/DHL) together with Bosch and Daimler regularly and on a self-organised basis enter into an exchange of experience on this subject. All participating companies are jointly organising what is already the second WOL Camp on 28 November in Berlin.
DigitalLife@Daimler: pioneer in connected collaboration
DigitalLife@Daimler advances digital topics on a cross-divisional basis and initiates projects on the digital transformation. One of the main focuses is the subject of employee networking for more agility and innovativeness. The "Working Out Loud“ methodology makes work transparent and visible to colleagues, and enables them to collaborate in a networked environment. The Group-wide Social Intranet makes effective communication and digital exchange possible in the process.