Cultivating and managing a global diverse workforce for AGCO

By Guest Columnist LUCINDA B. SMITH, senior vice president of global business services for AGCO

U.S. businesses and their global reach have grown tremendously over the past 30 years creating a need for an expanded global workforce.

Today many global companies are focused, not just on their day-to-day business operations, they are also focused on finding the best ways to manage their global workforce.

Lucinda Smith

Lucinda Smith

AGCO, a Duluth-based global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and solutions, is one of those companies. It is not only focused on managing its company’s global operations successfully, but we also are dedicated to finding the best ways to manage our global workforce.

Becoming one global company

The biggest challenge Martin Richenhagen faced when he took the leadership role at AGCO in 2004 was to form one corporate culture. As the new chairman, president and CEO of AGCO, Richenhagen realized he had to form one global company out of the more than 30 acquisitions made during AGCO’s first 15 years of business.

During this time, many of the acquired companies operated as separate entities under the AGCO brand.
Wanting to create a stronger brand portfolio, Richenhagen’s brand strategy and key objective was to integrate the acquired companies and to shift the focus toward more organic growth.

In doing so, we now have five global core brands – Challenger, Fendt, GSI, Massey Ferguson and Valtra – with more than 22,000 employees in more than 30 countries.

Change management

As companies acquire a global workforce, they have to find the best ways that their workforce can operate under one global culture. Rolling out an effective and efficient change management strategy is vital when it comes to managing a global workforce.

Creating our one company culture at AGCO has been and still is an ongoing process to drive effectiveness and market strengths. Numerous strategic initiatives were put into place to identify how the different companies and brands could all learn and benefit from each other – thus help AGCO to become a leader in the agricultural equipment industry.

Dedicated change management is an important element in this shift. Particularly after seeing the success devoted to our change management actions in two of our major global transformation initiatives, in 2013, we established a global change council along with a global approach and curriculum to help continue to drive our one company culture focus. Thus, our one company focus along with our global employee initiatives and programs became the basis of how we manage our global workforce.

AGCO employee training and development

Another important element to managing a global workforce is having training and development programs in place. The challenge many businesses face is the development of interconnected and state-of-the-art training and development programs that are motivational, encourage the workforce to achieve their professional goals, benefit the business, and so forth.

AGCO’s human resources department has implemented many successful global employee initiatives and programs in the past decade to help create our one corporate culture.

A part of our global learning approach is our 70/20/10 methodology to employee development – 70 percent is from on-the-job experiences; 20 percent is from coaching/mentoring; and 10 percent is from training (in person or virtually). We also have programs such as AGCO University and AGCO Women’s Network that are successfully leading the change toward our one global company vision.

AGCO University, our own corporate learning institution, is used as a management training vehicle. Similar to faculties at universities, we have established schools that cover a variety of subjects like management, purchasing, compliance and organizational transformation. Each school has a dean – who is usually a SVP or VP of the subject area – to oversee the school’s progress and shape its strategic focus areas in alignment with our business needs.

We also established the AGCO Women’s Network (AGWN) to develop, promote and advocate leadership of women as growers of profitability, collaboration and a diverse culture across AGCO.

The efforts are starting to payoff, as seen through significantly higher percentages of female leaders in AGCO. AGWN also provides developmental opportunities through events such as product and industry education, panel discussions, guest keynote speakers and career planning workshops. In addition, AGWN teams are working on business solutions to drive diversity in decision-making processes.

“50 Best Employers In America”

The processes we have put in place have been recognized as good ones by Business Insider. We were very pleased to have been acknowledged this year in Business Insider’s ranking of the “50 Best Employers In America.”

AGCO is the only Georgia company represented on this list. The ranking has helped us shine a light on how we are managing our global employees – one of the factors for being included on the list is high job satisfaction.

We pride ourselves in offering innovative thinking, outside-the-box employee training, and development programs that energize our workforce, help motivate our workforce and increase workforce morale – all of which leads to high job satisfaction.

At AGCO, we believe in the continuous development of our employees. This is why we have put a lot of effort and time in developing and implementing our employee global initiatives and programs.

We understand that without our more than 22,000 employees around the world, we wouldn’t be a leading provider of modern agricultural machinery and solutions.

To view the Business Insider ranking visit – businessinsider.com. 

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

3 replies
  1. rmacklyn says:

    Any industry it would be workforce gets treated with specific approach in order to make the things move out in all possible cases. The more segregated the tasks would be the the more efficient would be the end result. There is one post that I encountered recently which defines the various ways for achieving a competitive advantage through the work force. Making the productivity taken to the next level. Check it out here – http://www.replicon.com/white-paper/achieving-competitive-advantage-through-your-workforceReport

    Reply
  2. rmacklyn says:

    Any industry it would be workforce gets treated with specific approach in order to make the things move out in all possible cases. The more segregated the tasks would be the the more efficient would be the end result. There is one post that I encountered recently which defines the various ways for achieving a competitive advantage through the work force. Making the productivity taken to the next level. Check it out here – http://www.replicon.com/white-paper/achieving-competitive-advantage-through-your-workforceReport

    Reply

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