Creating values playfully

Creating values playfully

Motivated and qualified employees play a key role in the success of a company. But that is only half the truth. Staff who additionally think entrepreneurially and  understand the financial mechanisms of a company are the basis for long-term success. ALTANA relies on value management and the so-called value creation indicator AVA (ALTANA Value Added).

For ALTANA, successful business means sustainable growth, having leading positions in its target markets, as well as high profitability and capital efficiency. These goals can be reached through the company’s value management, an integrated corporate concept introduced in 2002. But not every employee is familiar with business management practices. For this reason, until the end of 2012 around 340 managerial staff from all ALTANA divisions were trained in matters pertaining to AVA in two-day seminars. In the end, 600 employees will receive AVA training, 250 of them at non-German sites. In addition, a brochure entitled “Value Management” was published.

“Value management is a very complex issue. We wanted to avoid dry chalk-and-talk teaching at all costs,” says Dr. Paul Reuter, AVA project manager at ALTANA. “Therefore, we opted for a business simulation game. This type of approach worked well when dealing with such requirements in the past.” In a business game, the participants are motivated to use their newly acquired skills and develop concrete measures to enhance their own business success. But before the game began under the guidance of business consultants, terms such as operating earnings, return on capital, and net current assets had to be explained first.

Three fictive years of management

The game simulates a company and the levers it uses to improve its profitability. For a fictive period of three years, each team took over the management of a company and thus was called upon to make corporate decisions, to analyze the economic repercussions, and to optimize the business processes. As in a real company, a management board with different departments such as finance, production, and development was established. Each staff member had their own area of responsibility. This kind of impartation of knowledge enhances employees’ practical orientation and learning success and, not least, is fun. “We became acquainted with the interplay between the different components that determine AVA in a game,” says Thomas Kröller, Business Line Manager at BYK. “In everyday work, we normally only have an influence on a few individual factors.”

Thus, new access was created to business administration in a very playful way. The business game, in which different groups played against each other, was interrupted by presentations of different best-practice examples. At the end, each group presented their results in a fictive press conference. The 2012 different outcomes had one thing in common: All of the groups achieved the initial goal of increasing AVA. Due to the great success, the AVA seminar is expected to be a regular offer in the training catalogue. ALTANA honored the increase in value created by the different groups by donating € 20,000 for social causes.

Two days for more value

The two-day training to increase ALTANA Added Value (AVA) was successful, because the employees had a very positive assessment of it. The following two opinions are representative:

“Great training program. I learned a lot about AVA, about improvements and implementations such as the use of appropriate resources at the right time.”

“I very much liked the fact that what is actually a dry topic was presented in such an exciting and vivid way.”