How Umicore Invests in People Sustainability to Drive its Business Sustainably

BrandPost By Kristin Mestre, SAP Contributor
Sep 06, 20224 mins
Data Management
Umicore Team
Credit: Umicore

For materials technology company Umicore N.V., understanding the skills of its people is crucial to delivering on its sustainability goals.

When workers are handling dangerous chemicals, specialist expertise and a thorough knowledge of health and safety processes is essential for employee welfare. Furthermore, a commitment to valuing people based on their skills is at the heart of the company’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) strategy.

Umicore was recently awarded a 2022 SAP Innovation Award for its innovation in optimizing its workforce with safety, sustainability, skills, and continuous learning at the forefront. Keeping people safe means making sure they have the right knowledge to carry out specific tasks. It’s critical that they complete training courses to a satisfactory level. At the same time, assigning job roles based solely on skills requires an understanding first of what those skills are.

Getting a clear view of employee skills

Taking an inventory of skills was proving a challenge for learning and development professionals in Umicore’s rechargeable battery materials (RBM) division. A reliance on numerous spreadsheets and disconnected tracking tools across different production lines made it difficult to get an overview of the overall training status of its workforce.

Umicore needed a harmonized and straightforward way of tracking and analyzing the current skill levels and qualifications of different groups of employees.

Creating a matrix for competency management

Working closely with the RBM team, SAP partner Flexso helped Umicore to refine its Competency Matrix extension for SAP SuccessFactors to meet Umicore’s precise requirements.

The result was an innovative competency management solution that provides at-a-glance information about each employee’s competencies, including their skills, abilities and expertise, as well as details of courses taken or qualifications gained.

Umicore defined required skills and qualifications for specific job roles to ensure that employees have the knowledge they need to complete tasks effectively and safely. An intuitive dashboard clearly displays skills gaps that employees may have, along with appropriate training courses to fill the gaps, giving employees, teams, and departments visibility into how they can continue to upskill and reskill to meet changing demands and requirements. And, due to tight integration with the SAP SuccessFactors Learning solution, course and qualification status details are always up to date.

With an overview of competencies across the workforce, it’s straightforward for leaders and HR teams to identify key areas where further training is required. This helps inform future training strategy and enables Umicore to make the most of its learning and development investment.

Enabling effective strategic workforce planning

One area in which the competency matrix delivers significant value is in helping managers react in an agile way to meeting last-minute staffing needs due to unforeseen employee absences or turnover. With full details of each employee’s skills available at the touch of a button, Umicore can quickly and easily find an employee who is qualified to stand in. Umicore also uses the competency matrix for the future planning of new hires to ensure its up-and-coming talent is prepared. It enables the company to make hiring decisions based on a candidates’ skills, in line with the company’s DEIB principles.

Empowering employees to take control of their careers

Employees are empowered to easily identify key areas where they need to reskill and upskill in order to reach a particular level of seniority or apply for a desired job role. Thanks to the integration with SAP SuccessFactors Learning, employees can access further details on a specific course and even subscribe to it directly from the matrix.

By making skills requirements transparent in this way, Umicore is empowering its people to take the steps to attain career goals needed to map out each employee’s unique learning and career path. In this way, the matrix supports internal mobility and helps ensure an equitable recruitment process.

Find out more

Learn more about how to foster continuous learning and make learning and development decisions that enable companies to run more-efficient operations while empowering employees with SAP SuccessFactors Learning.