Koelliker’s Approach to Practicing the Resilience of its Co-Workers

Exclusive Interview for Kilpatrick Group 

By Claudia Paoletti | Managing Partner 

The Koelliker Group, leader for more than eighty years in the automotive sector, imports and distributes “new brands” for the Italian market which over time have become synonymous with quality, reliability and innovation. The Group currently imports, distributes and markets the Mitsubishi and SsangYong passenger car brands.

A great venture, which began in 1936 and has allowed us to successfully introduce and manage automotive brands with deeply different histories and origins, made possible thanks to the experience of the Group’s professionals, built and constantly updated over the time operating in the Italian and European automotive sector.

For over a decade, through Autotrade and Logistics Spa – also a Group company – it has also opened its logistics business to all car manufacturers in Italy, in addition to those marketed directly, offering them their own logistics and transport capacity as well as the certified quality.

It’s very clear now that the key to success in the current unprecedented context is resilience. In this opportunity, the Group HR & FM Director Marta Elena Signore, tells us exclusively some very interesting insights about how they have been incentivising and building resilience among the collaborators of the company as well as why they chose the Kilpatrick Smart Resilience Test to assess and address the issue. 

The covid-19 health emergency has severely impacted the automotive sector as well as many others. How is Koelliker facing this difficult moment? 

The automotive sector was one of the hardest hit by this emergency, with a -97% in April. In our case we used the only leverage made available to companies to reduce costs: the use of the Redundancy Fund. In addition, those who worked, did it exclusively from home, with the exception of some activities in the logistics sector, which in fact never stopped completely.

With dealers and offices closed you had to face work in smart working mode. Were you ready? How did you move to enable people to operate better from a distance?

The Group was in the second pilot phase of the smart working diffusion project, with a good 80% of the employees already active remotely, when it was time to forcefully involve everyone, we were ready for rules and software tools, and we only had to complete the hardware adjustment for some who were not yet equipped with a laptop PC. The main critical issues were linked to people’s connectivity, and to digital skills, which are still distributed very unevenly. We very quickly organized webinars for the use of digital collaboration systems that we all already have in our MS suite but that we had never been forced to use so massively. Despite this, the need to adapt these skills, also to tend towards the “new normal” remains a theme that we will have to face as soon as possible, to fill the gaps that still slow us down.

The issues of motivation and resilience at a time like this are the key factors to success or fail at remote working. What are the methods you have adopted to support your employees and train them to continue to give their best even from their homes?

In addition to providing innovative digital tools, training and remote support, we have used some already active programs, such as the newsletter or gamification, intensifying them, to keep everyone “hooked” at a time when feeling distant from the company and alone is a very real risk. Working from home, staying in the layoff fund, knowing that the company has not been billing anything for two months, is a test of resilience. A key role is in the hands of the leaders, and their ability to keep the team united, create “coffee” moments, talk often with people, and involve them in everyday life. It is not easy, not everyone has these “new” innate skills, and even for us in HR it is much more complicated to assist them remotely and intercept any inconvenience. Also for this reason we have chosen to use the Kilpatrick’s Smart Resilience Test.

By adopting the Kilpatrick Smart Resilience Test what kind of message did you want to give to your collaborators?

The message was above all about closeness and support, to help individuals in their awareness. How ready am I for a “smart” job? How resilient can I be, and how resilient do I believe my company is? Sometimes you really need professional feedback to find out, and this can help everyone get to know each other better, which is always the first step towards improvement. The change in this unprecedented situation has in some sense been forced, but in the long run it leads to tiredness, disaffection and fatigue, if it is not internalized. We also wanted everyone to know that the results of their self-analysis would then have been very useful, in aggregate form, for an assessment of the “readiness” of the “Koelliker system”, which being made of people, is the mirror of all of us.

Click here to learn more about the Koelliker Group and its philosophy