There is a spiritual atmosphere at the medieval cloister in Herzlake, north of Osnabrück. It is located at the heart of a forest in a quiet, secluded area far away from the nearest village. The mood is contemplative at Börstel Abbey, a former Cistercian convent where nuns once lived and prayed. This spring, however, 14 DMK employees met there to work on their shared goal of professional development. All are taking part in DMK’s new Passion program, which aims to give employees a chance to develop their skills and work their way up in the company.
The program consists of a range of modules along with three joint training sessions. Attendees, who all come from different backgrounds, spent two days at their first group meeting at Börstel, focusing on getting to know each other better. The attendees interviewed each other, asking questions that were designed to help them articulate their own personal values and spell out their professional goals. IT expert Dennis Schierenbeck, who describes himself as someone who focuses on technology, says he doesn’t often take the time to reflect on situations and emotions. During the seminar, he gained many insights and had a lot of “aha moments,” he says.
“The insights and methods are helping me understand other people better,” he says. Reflecting on yourself is a fundamental part of enabling people to be team players even they are managers, says Sabina Wieczorek, HR Development Manager who co-developed the Passion program. “When we are aware of our own needs, that puts us in a position to create a working life that suits us and that we feel comfortable with.” She says that involves gaining a better understanding of our own personalities and patterns of behavior, which also helps reduce stress and increases people’s ability to deal with conflict.
... DMK employees can apply to join the Passion program to develop their potential. Participants take part in a series of projects at different departments in the company. They can decide how long they spend in the program, with a maximum of 24 months possible. Participants are assigned mentors who help them in their personal and professional development. The learning opportunities offered in the Passion program include modules where participants meet up together in order to gain a deeper understanding of their own values and to promote leadership culture.