TDK is a multinational Japanese electronics company with decades of experience developing cutting-edge technology around the globe. To learn how the company keeps its talent fresh, motivated, and innovative in an ever-changing world, GLOBIS faculty Cristian Vlad interviewed Andreas Keller, who oversees TDK human resource operations.
CV: How do you innovate talent operations at TDK?
AK: Our policy is to put the best people in the best place at the best possible time. To do this, we cultivate various management training programs to find successors for important positions. This isn’t limited to technical positions—we extend these opportunities to all employees, giving everyone a chance to play an active role on a global scale.
Our aim is to accelerate interactions between cultures, languages, nationalities, and companies through career development programs. These are divided into four different programs, from junior level to senior level, which helps to develop leadership skills for outstanding talents who are selected from worldwide group companies.
CV: How does technology support your transformation process?
AK: We are rolling out a talent management system to support the integration of a number of global HR initiatives such as succession planning, defining global competencies, global grading, etc. The idea is not just to utilize talent from Japan, but from around the world. In order to do so, we need to have common platforms and definitions, like global competencies and evaluation criteria. In addition, standardized global KPIs will make it easier for local and global management to monitor and manage risk to improve the resilience of TDK.
CV: How do you ensure talent engagement across regions?
AK: We actively promote interaction, not only between our headquarters and group companies, but also between group companies themselves. The Territorial Career Development Program is TDK Group’s first group-wide career development initiative. It’s a leadership education program held in the US, Europe, China, and the rest of Asia. The goals of the annual program include strengthening leadership and management, fostering a supportive corporate culture, and creating stronger bonds among TDK Group members. If employees feel that they are part of a company, it becomes possible for people from diverse backgrounds to come together, provide their own ideas, and create something together.
CV: What kinds of changes have you made to your landscape and working style to develop talent at home?
AK: After spending more than 5 years in our Shibaura office in Tamachi, we relocated our HQ office to Nihonbashi in November last year. The relocation has led to positive changes such as more flexibility in working areas and an environment that supports different working styles. The HQ in Shibaura had eight floors, and each department was separated from other divisions. The new HQ building in Nihonbashi has three floors with a wider area for each floor. Now our people can see each other more easily. With the introduction of the “free address” system and flexible working areas, we also have the opportunity to interact and communicate with colleagues from other divisions as we have never done before. We hope that this change will help stimulate and develop our employees, as well as bring an element of enjoyment to their work.
CV: What are your expectations of future TDK employees, either existing or planning to join your workforce?
AK: We are looking for people who can approach the job with an open mind and grow within the company. We expect future TDK employees to be global.
In order to realize the company’s motto, “Contribute to culture and industry through creativity,” each member of the organization should be self-motivated. Our goal is to develop such self-motivated individuals with a challenging mind, the ability to think and act effectively, flexibility, and the drive to do his or her best till the end.