WorkingOutLoud initiative at Siemens – an employee based movement for open communication

WorkingOutLoud has reached Siemens. After 200 engaged employees have gathered in Erlangen November 3rd for an intensive experience of WorkingOutLoud it can be said, that WOL reached Siemens indeed. 200 employees took the decision to leave their workplace and followed the open invitation of five WOL-enthusiasts around Claudia Mayer. Participants originated from all over Germany and even several worldwide Siemens affiliates.

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How could WorkingOutLoud draw the attention of so many and why would employees even engage to organize an event in their company. I think the reasons are twofold:

  • On the one hand WOL meets a core human desire, which has been oppressed for too long: WorkingOutLoud promotes the spirit of collaboration based on gracious appreciation, which is the foundation of human networking and the development of individual potentials.
  • On the other hand the movement has reached a critical mass of companies already and the picture has a clear message: WorkingOutLoud can unleash a dynamic movement within companies. The movement is directed towards the desired mindset for the digital transformation.

Enterprise culture in german companies and even the culture in our modern society in my eyes has been shaped by the everlasting approach towards higher efficiency within the last decades. The increase in efficiency in the past however came along with the need to transform human work along machine compatible processes and interfaces. The consequence was a trend towards precisely defined job profiles and work packages, leaving little room for unfolding of individual potentials. Appreciation was widely deemed sufficiently expressed by the monthly paycheck.

What WorkingOutLoud aims for, is much more than that. WorkingOutLoud is a method to guide people towards open exchange, thus creating purposeful networks. Creating networks, where individual strengths can be uncovered and developed – networks to uncover potentials through exchange with experts from diverse disciplines. Gracious contributions are encouraged, which form the start of appreciative networking. Appreciation then comes naturally and will be associated with individual purpose and fulfillment for the employee.

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WorkingOutLoud fosters core competences to prepare employees for the digital transformation. While machine compatible work will be conducted by machines, it is time for humans to focus on human strengths, which are diverse and individual. For companies to employ humans, it will be necessary to encourage employees to thrive in their individual strengths and to support the unfolding of full potential within the job.

Five intrinsically motivated employees have organized the WorkingOutLoud Kickoff at Siemens in Erlangen and 200 followed the invitation. For me, this is the essential message of the whole initiative – because it shows, that our company has already implemented an open-minded enterprise culture, where engagement across sectors and job profiles is possible. Further it has shown, that attention and awareness for the need of change is present. And not only that, but also the readiness to take action and consider behavioral change is proven. More than 100 participants have been registered to start WorkingOutLoud in circles of five for twelve weeks. A start, which will be meaningful for each of them, but even more meaningful for the company, when their working becomes more interconnected and employees unfold full potentials.

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Accordingly I wish for the company that WorkingOutLoud – the method, but even more the associated mindset will unleash a valuable development – preparing ourselves for the company of tomorrow.

Benedikt Pape


Further Information:

  • Who organized the #WOLkickoff @Siemens: Claudia Mayer, Harald Lauritsch, Nico Rander, Nicole Dierauf and Benedikt Pape with special featuring by Sabine Kluge. Thank you Claudia, for finding the team together and for starting the initiative! Thanks to the team for enabling the most productive collaboration, I have ever experienced.
  • Who invented the WOL-methodology: John Stepper, an ex DeutscheBank employee, who dedicated himself for the improvement of employee situations in companies. At this point: Thank you John, for being with us for our WOLkickoff in Erlangen!
  • What is WOL? Working Out Loud is a self-organized 12 weeks training for building purposeful networks that matter. The training is conducted by circles of five, which meet weekly for one hour. The program is guided by PDF guides, graciously made available by John Stepper at www.workingoutloud.com.
  • Which companies have implemented WOL? The list is continuously growing, but comprises Bosch, Audi, ZF, Daimler, BMW, Continental, Bayer, …
  • How can I get started? Just find a circle of 5 and settle a regular meeting – online via video conferencing or locally in real life. Download the first guide and the rest will be self explanatory.
  • How can I find peers for my WOL-circle? Your company might offer support in dedicated communities in your enterprise social network. Within Siemens help is also offered at the designated Wikisphere page for WOL. Further you might want to just call for participants on your preferred network, i.e. by using the hashtag #wolwithme.

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