Sirti: Appointment of a chief transformation officer
by Pietro Scardillo
A textbook example in the area of industrial change and relaunching strategy. This is what some experts from Sirti think, as it has been reinventing itself in recent years by broadening its scope of activities from the plant engineering of networks to the development of engineering services and solutions for telecommunications, transport and energy.
Balancing risk against opportunity, it began its business transformation, which lies at the base of a challenging strategic plan and consequent significant organisational changes. This obviously has been having a strong impact on management and human resources, who are undertaking significant professional retraining and obtaining new skills.
Revising outdated working methods This transformation strategy did not just involve revising the company organisational model, but also forced it to consider certain aspects of the corporate culture in detail in order to review outdated working methods. It is therefore passing from a task-oriented mentality to a goal-oriented one, from hierarchical management to individual accountability, understood as personal responsibility and from informal relationships to structured, inter-functional professional relationships. More importance is given to relationships in order to govern and influence the personnel through direct persuasion rather than through leadership, which implies that the hierarchical relationship did not work. One of the key initiatives in 2015 was carried out in collaboration with the Ipsoa training school; it involves a pilot group of 90 people, is called “Easy relations for simple working” and consists of a course where the aim is to improve intercompany relations at both an interpersonal level and in order to optimise operations.
Chief transformation officer In order to increase the prospects for success of the overall transformation framework, company management created a special strategic role at the beginning of 2015: the ‘chief transformation officer’ who reports directly to the CEO; this person will support management in the change management projects and reengineering initiatives for the numerous processes. Clemente Perrone was appointed to this new position; he is a management engineer from Telecom Italia, and joined Sirti in 2014; he will also keep his position as manager of organisation, development, selection, training, which all complement his new position. However, there will also be another manager to assist him, who will also deal with human resource management, but on a more traditional basis since it will include the standard duties such as personnel management and administration, trade union relations and safety. This will therefore involve the strategic, innovative management of staff with a view towards the areas of operation for the company in addition to more traditional management which will manage the day to day aspects of the working relationship.
The guiding lines for the new strategy and training. There will be two guiding lines directing the “new company strategy” according to Perrone. The first will involve the integrated management of change management projects, organisational restructuring initiatives and the re-engineering of critical processes. The second involves investment in a distinctive managerial model as a means of empowerment to redirect a series of key behaviours and skills. It is therefore clear that investment in terms of competence enrichment of our human resources will allow the professional roles to develop, along with the relative growth paths, with diversification and reconversion; it will also help retain the best resources. In 2014, we designed online managerial seminars with the people who were interested in order to pursue professional enrichment goals for managerial figures; we used specific learning methods (learning by action and action learning) which allow the resources to develop through real experience, also using coaching techniques and project management”. The training which the staff had in 2014 followed three lines: understanding managerial responsibility and developing the capacity to manage feedback; requalification of existing human resources in accordance with market requirements; certification paths for key staff.
The jewel in the crown. The ‘performance journey’ project was given an award by the Milan Polytechnic, and includes the concepts and goals expressed by Perrone and set out into three areas of intervention. The goal of the first area of intervention, the ‘performance appraisal’ is to involve and develop staff in a comprehensive assessment of managerial skills, and to plan the most suitable training course for each person. The second area, ‘social learning’ is aimed at providing a training plan that can be followed over the computer through a web platform both live and on demand. A second e-learning platform allows courses and content to be given in different formats which can be adapted to PCs, smart phones and tablets for people who are geographically unavailable. The final area of intervention ‘managerial skill development’ involves an assessment centre focused on ‘action learning’ and ‘learning by doing’ as mentioned above. The project involved 150 people in 2014 and 320 people will participate in 2015.
- Established in 1921, Sirti (Società Italiana Reti Telefoniche Interurbane) is a leading technology service company in Italy in the design and construction of network infrastructures and telecommunication system integration. It acts as a technological advisor and provides consultancy services and innovative solutions to the public and private sector in a number of different areas: telecommunications, energy, infrastructure ICT and transport.
- It has about 3,900 employees, including 2,000 specialised technicians and over 600 university graduates, with 3,773 in Italy and 117 abroad. It also generates work for about 4,000 workers in allied industries.
- 90% of staff are divided into three main macro-areas: 400 in the ICT sector, 600 in the energy and transport sector, and 2,400 in the telecommunication sector, aimed at the future of broadband.
- It invested EUR 50 million in the past 5 years in research and development with about 124 patents and has an engineering and innovation centre employing 100 people.
- Training is the main strategic instrument employed at this stage of the company ‘change management’. 896 training sessions were organised in 2014, which involved 2,942 employees (equal to 77% of the company workforce) for a total of 82,696 hours supplied.
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Article taken from Italia Oggi, page 36 no. 176 – 27 July 2015