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TD Magazine Article

Shifting Gears

When an established tire manufacturer decided to become a mobility solutions company, the talent development team seized the moment.


Fri Jun 14 2024

Shifting Gears

Brisa Bridgestone Sabanci: 2024 BEST Award Winner, #9

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When an established tire manufacturer decided to become a mobility solutions company, the talent development team seized the moment.


It was a seismic change in direction the day the Turkey tire manufacturer Brisa, a joint venture of Bridgestone Corporation and Sabanci Holding, launched an energetic new talent development strategy to fuel its transition into a mobility solutions company.

That decision three years ago addressed cold business realities within the competitive tire sector and reflected some enlightened input from Brisa's two corporate parents. Today, all three entities are collaborating in an energetic business plan to transform Brisa into a 21st century mobility solutions leader.

Critical to the initiative is a TD strategy that encompasses talent attraction, strategic workforce planning, reskilling, upskilling, and retention. The company has tightly integrated those components within its carefully designed blueprint.

The upskilling initiative incorporates analytical skills, data architecture, advanced process control, process excellence, and marketing analysis—each based on clearly defined and actionable goals.

It was a project born out of necessity and practicality, says Tugba Gok, Brisa's chief HR officer and head of its 19-person TD department. That's because it "reflects several megatrends that have significantly shaped our business landscape, including technological advancements, changing consumer expectations, and global shifts toward sustainability," she explains.


Future-of-work transformation

The initiative began with the formation of a project team under HR with sponsorship at the C-level. The team established a digital and data-oriented recruitment process that focuses on collaboration and that the company can measure at every stage. Other elements include work-related projects for students at local universities that help develop useful skills while nurturing the company's relationships with participating universities.

Another pillar is the creation of a "One and Stronger" team project to improve retention, commitment, knowledge, and skills, fostering an innovative spirit to break down organizational silos. The company also launched a cultural transformation initiative within Brisa's factory to create a lean and agile working culture that emphasizes leadership and decision-making competencies.

As part of its future-of-work transformation, Brisa seeks to "create competency- \[and\] skill-based organizations that can bring agility, creativity, diversity, inclusivity, and equality," Gok states. The TD executive also sits on senior and transformational leadership teams.

She says the future-of-work initiative is designing and implementing a model that shifts the focus from a traditional job-centered approach to a competency- and skill-based one. Doing so "encompasses our recruitment processes, compensation approaches, organizational structures, and career management—all aimed at providing the best employee experience possible," Gok explains.

The initiative prioritizes the necessary agility to adapt to the changing world and technology. It seeks to align its new business strategy with talent practices, ensuring the right skills in the right place at the right time.


Gok's team prioritizes a new talent and skills paradigm, business-driven alignment, culture-transforming experiences, agile project management, and its future-of-work journey. "Our TD initiative isn't just about skills," she says. "It's about shaping a culture of continuous learning, agility, and innovation and a talent strategy that isn't static. It's a living, breathing force."

Gok notes that agile teams named "future of work developers" managed the future-of-work initiatives rather than HR. "These individuals were the architects of our agile, future-ready workforce. Their blend of specialization, curiosity, and adaptability propels us toward mobility excellence," she explains.

Rocket entrepreneurship

As digital transformation becomes the industry standard, skills such as innovation and problem solving will be increasingly essential for maintaining the company's leadership position, Gok contends. "Beyond the technical skills required for digitalization, we've developed a program, sponsored by the Sustainability Directorate, to foster mindsets, behaviors, and organizational knowledge that encourage innovation," she explains. Called the Rocket Entrepreneurship Program, it equips employees with the understanding to drive the organization forward.

Job number 1 was to identify skills needed to promote innovative thinking among employees. Based on those needs, the directorate defined learning objectives outlining the skills that staff would acquire, such as creative thinking, understanding innovation processes, design thinking, risk-taking, project management skills, and fostering an innovation culture. Brisa designed the program to help employees enhance those skills seamlessly within their daily work.

Following those guidelines, the participants established an innovation team to enhance customer service, optimize business processes, and work toward an industry leadership goal. Gok states that "The team's purpose is to promote employee participation, collaboration, and creativity."

The team also encourages internal innovation by providing development opportunities for staff to share and transform their ideas into successful projects. Participants undergo mentorship training through programs such as Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship, Discovery Mentoring, and Validation Mentoring.

In addition, the innovation team opens a new idea competition every year, encouraging employees to enter their ideas into the company's innovation portal. Selected candidates undergo the structured, two-module, nine-day Rocket Entrepreneurship Program and become company "innovation ambassadors."

The program primarily enhances participants' essential skills, including creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and Scrum principles. It also equips them with effective presentation and project management abilities.

Another initiative tackled by the One and Stronger team was to close the large gender gap within the sales department. The team created a recruitment and training program geared exclusively to righting a wrong. Elements include a six-month, on-the-job program for newly hired women and one-on-one mentoring on sales-related skills.

The project, piloted in September 2022, recruited and trained five women. This year, the plan is to hire 10 more. Outcomes to date include gains in succession planning to ensure that program graduates can become future sales leaders within Brisa. The company reports that not only does the initiative increase gender diversity, it also attracts talented women graduates to Brisa.

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