Building Business Impact Throughout the Organization at Holcim
Serving an organization with over 70,000 employees across 70 countries, global building materials leader Holcim’s Learning & Development team seeks out partners capable of delivering world-class learning experiences at scale and with global support. To develop the business acumen skills of its early-career talent, Holcim turned to Abilitie.
Meeting The Needs of a Growing Team
Over the last few years, the number of individuals at Holcim with profit and loss responsibility grew from 70 to over 500. These P&L leaders need business acumen to make sound financial decisions and use financial data to coordinate activities across business functions. To build these organizational capabilities in the long term, the Holcim team rolled out the Early Career Leadership Program (ECLP). ECLP participants tackled four quadrants of development: growing as a leader; increasing exposure; gaining new experience; and increasing business skills.
Growing Holcim’s executive pipeline was a core goal of the ECLP. To participate in the program, nominees had to have demonstrated high-potential; however, many came from technical backgrounds and lacked direct experience or skills in business and finance. It was essential that participants begin widening their perspective beyond their respective functional areas and view the business as executives.
Designing The Leadership Program For Success
Initially, the ECLP was designed as a blended program. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it shifted to fully virtual. In order to make a long-term, fully virtual program successful, the team prioritized a few key principles:
In partnership with Abilitie, the team at Holcim integrated Business Challenge into the ECLP. This solution did not require expensive, lengthy customizations, empowering Holcim’s small but nimble corporate L&D team to remain agile as they continued to scale the program. Additionally, Business Challenge flexibly adapted to a virtual-first format in 2020, when the program needed to pivot in an instant to all-online delivery.
As the number of individuals with P&L and strategic decision-making responsibilities continues to grow, the simulation has remained a relevant and impactful sandbox environment for leaders to learn and test their skills.
Setting Participants Up for Success
Participants gained access to Abilitie’s Fluent in Finance™ course before beginning their ECLP journey. With its financial acumen assessments and review modules, participants could fill in basic knowledge gaps in a time-efficient and targeted manner, allowing them to participate in the instructor-led webinars and the business on a level playing field.
The curriculum built into Abilitie’s Fluent in Finance course naturally leads into the strategic decisions participants make in Business Challenge, setting them up for valuable program debriefs. This structure also allows participants to retain access to Fluent in Finance for a year following the course, should they wish to review any concepts after real-world application.
What People Said
“Abilitie doesn’t have a ‘one-size fits all’ offering. Their ability (pun intended) to adapt to our needs in such a short amount of time highlights the flexible nature of their product design and construct. As a client, that’s a highly valuable attribute of their offering.”
-Ursula Stocker, ECLP Program Lead
“It was great to understand how a business works from a high level perspective and see how all the parts fit together to run a successful company. Sometimes we concentrate so much on our specific areas, that we don’t always consider the larger picture.”
“This was a great course. I am walking away from this understanding the financials a lot better now.”