Siemens is inspiring psychological ownership

Psychological ownership

Siemens is building an ownership culture in which people feel empowered to make decisions and take risks. Making it easier for employees to own shares was a start, but on its own the initiative wasn’t enough to inspire psychological ownership. So, the company revamped its global employee survey and approach to engagement.

  • Focus groups were run with employees across the world to tease out what people needed to perform at a high level.
  • A new, focused and more personal employee survey was launched to more than 250,000 employees.
  • A how-to guide for managers and employees was released with hints and tips on ways to tackle each survey item.

What’s happening?

Siemens took the new survey results to heart, focusing on the items that would accelerate engagement the most.

Leadership role modelling underpins engagement at Siemens and correlates strongly with employee loyalty. CEO Joe Kaeser has become role model in chief. He’s started speaking about social matters, as well as everything else expected of the head of a huge global company. Many of the company’s top 50 leaders now follow suit.

Personal growth and development is a key element in Siemens’ ownership culture and was the most mentioned theme in the survey’s open-ended responses.

  • Siemens has opened up the internal job market, starting at the top. In the past, senior vacancies were filled behind closed doors. Now, there’s a mandatory posting of senior management vacancies, with few exceptions and a single gatekeeper.
  • ‘Shadowing’ was introduced. Employees can spend a day, a week or even an entire business trip informally observing one of the company’s leaders going about their work. People learn from people who inspire them. Unsurprisingly, shadowing has gone viral.

What people are saying

“The new approach for our Employee Survey has been especially useful for the team discussions. It helped managers and team members to understand what is going on in their team and to initiate a meaningful dialogue.”

Martina Gutschick, Munich
Senior Talent Manager
Siemens Mobility




“The transparent communication of the survey results was a big and very important step. Every employee has access to the results of the team as well as to Siemens overall. With this, everyone is in the position to take ownership for the follow-up discussion.”

Torsten Oehme, Munich
Senior Expert People Analytics
Siemens AG



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