Ford Otosan: Innovating with a Workforce Agility Platform

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How workforce agility galvanized Ford Otosan’s culture transformation

Ali Riza Aksoy, HR Lead, and Learning and Development Lead Nazan Gulcan Yurdakul on reimagining long-standing business practices

Though Ford Otosan has risen to great heights over its history, even a business with decades of success in its current form needed to adapt. In 2015, the organization revised its vision statement to better reflect its ambitions toward a transformational shift toward the future of work.

Ali Riza Aksoy, HR Lead at Ford Otosan, has spent the past 26 years with the organization and knew that its 11,000 employees had the capability to deliver change. But to unlock the potential of their workforce, they needed to fully embrace an agile transformation.

“We recognized that being agile on the business side requires being agile on the people side as well,” Aksoy said. “So what does it mean to be agile on the employee side? It means being adaptive, being responsive, proactive, and also being in a growth mindset. It means that instead of looking for a next step in a career ladder, you’re looking for the next step on a career climbing wall.”

A talent marketplace was not in their original plans, but after researching ways to make their workforce more flexible and future-ready, the benefits of talent marketplaces compelled Ford Otosan to give it a try. The results? An agile workforce: one empowered to take ownership of their careers through projects, training, and mentorship opportunities to meet a rapidly-shifting business environment. 

Watch the video above to see all the ways Ford Otosan has benefitted from Gloat’s Workforce Agility Platform, and be sure to check out how other leading enterprises have unlocked a future-fit workforce.

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‣Top takeaways

We recognized that being agile on the business side requires being agile on the people side, as well. So what does it mean being agile for your employees? It means being adaptive, being responsive, being proactive, and also being in a growth mindset.

It means instead of looking for a next step in a career ladder, it means for a next step in a career "climbing wall." That approach requires gaining visibility in the market and in the company, with the help of developing upskilling and/or reskilling capabilities that you have for your department.

That approach requires very rich and visible career opportunities. If you're on a climbing wall, it's not only the up- or down-steps; sometimes it will be the other-side-steps. But if you plan your career steps, looking at the climbing wall, and looking for the requirements for your next step, you can easily choose your career steps on that wall.

That approach also requires accessing new skills and new experiences. We believe that approach requires learning from each other's opportunities.

So through the help of those kinds of requirements, we knew we needed a workforce agility platform. We recognized that we needed a platform, a solution, a structure, to have a solution for those requirements. Gloat was the answer for us, because (Gloat) is the leading solution provider in terms of experience, size references, and ease of implementation.

Our top management was an excellent place to start, but the challenge was for us to make their sponsorship visible throughout the business. So we provided that visibility via, again, our talent marketplace called FOTalentUp. Some of the leaders posted projects as a role model, and matched as mentor or mentee. We shared all these experiences and feedbacks via town hall talks, online coffee chats, and experience-sharing videos.

Another thing is, strong communication by using all kinds of channels was another important point. We actively used all of our communication platforms at every stage of the launch process. We collaborated with our Corporate Communication Department on creating attractive announcements during the soft launch, and published small, fun teasers through our internal communication platform. We made our intention clear to all employees with a statement: "An innovative AI-based talent and career platform is on the way.".

"Alignment creates autonomy." That's the answer. For daily business, no, a manager doesn't always have to give an opportunity to their team members to go for looking another possible job offers. But if every leader at the management level, even at the executive level, if everyone agrees that agility is a requirement for the next level of the business, then we have to do this.

So while trying to manage those approaches, because the requirement for rotation is a priority to support the business, this is the biggest problem at every industry— the ware for talent. We need to help our people re-skill or upskill. How we are going to provide this to let them to experience different job profiles, different job opportunities, different roles? So this is, again, come to the point of alignment at a very high level.

As in every change process, the new approach creates excitement, but also brought some questions as well. It's not just about technology here; we are changing the way work gets done and the nature of careers, how people develop, and the role of leaders at the same time.

So this requires a new mindset for employees, leaders, the organization, and all stakeholders. In order to change minds, we had stakeholders who needed to be convinced and included in the implementation process.

Firstly, we started with people leaders. We sensed that there could be some hesitation, like, "Why should I share my talent? My team is already at full capacity, and my team worked on the new project. So there is no time for another one."

Our Change and Enablement team worked hard on communication the plan to get senior leaders to buy in. We highlighted that it's a win-win process for both employees and leaders. As employees are looking for new opportunities, skills, and experiences in order to expand their career and development, leaders are looking for new talent who have different experiences and skills. FOTalentUp is able to bring the talent and opportunity together in the same place, in a transparent way, without any borders.

So while we are trying to explain this, there has been a great interest in the projects right after the big launch. Our Innovation Team created two projects about electrical vehicles and battery reuse, and they needed 10 team members. And in two days, approximately 65 people applied. So they completed the project application step very quickly, which is very great. This was surprising, actually, and encouraging for other projects. We shared this immediately as a success story with the entire company.

We've always believed that there is another 'you' in you that will unleash the next level of your potential. But the question, then, is why should I care about another me to unleash? Our answer is that we believe people are after a desire, a kind of dream, a kind of ambition, and want opportunities to advance to the next level. As a company, we need to provide some solutions in order to support them. So this, again, comes to the answer of a workforce agile platform.

This is what Gloat for Ford Otosan Talent Up does, because we believe in what these kinds of platforms provides, connecting employees with the right opportunities in their organization.

A Workforce Agility Platform provides a flexible and diverse environment where people practice their current skills in different projects, not only in their current positions, but also with different projects. That kind of platform avoids the silo mentality by putting together different views and insights with the opportunity of working together. So that kind of platform gives workers the opportunity to uncover hidden talents by including them. That kind of platform provides transparency into the opportunities around the company. That kind of capability of a workforce agility platform helps us to create an environment that enables our people to unleash their potential.

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