Making a difference through our own actions

It is a special situation in the Q2 training room in the Quartier in Essen this Monday: Martina Merz and Oliver Burkhard are sitting generously spaced with seven other colleagues in front of a camera, looking at the screen showing dozens of colleagues joining them in a video conference. Special times require special means and so in corona times ´”klar:text”(German for plain text) is spoken in this setup. Because despite the circumstances, the dialogue format in which the Executive Board exchanges information with a small group of employees at a time, shall continue. Everyone is curious to see how this works when a few colleagues in the room pass questions to the Board on behalf of their colleagues on the monitors. Will the exchange be as open and interactive as at the previous events?

It very quickly becomes clear that it is different, but even in this form an open and very personal dialogue is possible. When asked about the biggest challenge they face, Martina Merz and Oliver Burkhard answer: "The many balls that the management team has to keep in the air at the moment.” This is the biggest challenge, they say, and one that the corona pandemic has made even greater. Like almost all companies, thyssenkrupp, too, can "navigate by sight" in this situation, there remains a great deal of uncertainty.

But there is also an opportunity in the crisis, says Oliver Burkhard: "Who would have believed thyssenkrupp at the beginning of the year that up to 30,000 employees would work in the home office and that it would work, both from a technical point of view and with the mentality of all those involved. Everyone can be proud of this."

For the future: Things will be more colorful and lively at thyssenkrupp. And Martina Merz and Oliver Burkhard agree: "A Group of Companies is not easy to manage, it will be chaotic in parts, but that is precisely when trust is needed - and that is something that needs to be built up on all sides and reestablished again and again. In addition, Martina Merz emphasizes that every manager, but also every employee, must ask himself the question, "Where do I make the difference through my actions?”

In the second part of the event, the interviewees become questioners and directly address their colleagues in the video conference. Martina Merz asks about potential improvements in communication. Oliver Burkhard comes back to the corona pandemic and asks what we want to take away from this crisis. The colleagues on the screens do not mince their words and express both praise and criticism. Oliver Burkhard adds that all employees worldwide can give an answer to his question on "Learnings from the Crisis" by posting their findings in the we2go App on the NWOW channel.

The first contact-free edition of klar:text is up and running, the format has proven its worth and it will continue. Oliver Burkhard will use this virtual form of exchange with colleagues in India and China in the short term. In addition, Ursula Gather, Chairwoman of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, will be a guest on June 19, 2020, speaking together with Martina Merz and Oliver Burkhard klar:text.