Exclusive: Axel Pannes of BMW Group talks L&D

by L&D29 Jun 2016
L&D Professional interviews Axel Pannes, managing director of BMW Group Asia, for his insights.

LDP: Is social learning important for BMW?

AP: Social learning is essential as our business, and workforce, evolves. As a business we can no longer work in silos, and in the same respect, we can also no longer teach in silos.

At BMW we encourage cross-departmental collaboration and knowledge sharing. For example, we are already using popular social platforms and mobile messaging applications to connect our Product Geniuses across markets in order to facilitate knowledge sharing and as a learning tool for those who are new to the role.

Taking it to the next step, we also encourage our employees to go beyond their comfort zones and explore roles in other departments so they learn how various parts of the business operate.

LDP: What do you see as the most important parts of your L&D program?

AP: At BMW we strive to attract, develop and retain the industry’s best talent to ensure high performance across all levels.

In line with our business model, we deliver performance-focused learning and development programs particularly focus on sustainable development for customer-facing BMW Group retailers. The idea is to drive increased achievements, employee motivation, and customer satisfaction.

Finally, we understand that everyone learns differently, so we use various methods for trainings and knowledge transfer including face-to-face, consulting, retail performance management, coaching, in-house training, e-learning, and new technologies (i.e. Apps).

LDP: Is the combination of face-to-face learning and e-learning particularly important for BMW?

AP: Yes, we understand the importance of using various methods of training, and e-learning is definitely gaining traction in the organisation. E-learning modules have been rolled out for internal employees, as well as our dealers.

LDP: What parts of L&D do you find the most exciting?

AP: The most exciting part of learning and development is developing people to a level they never expected to ever reach and helping them realise how much further they can go.

Demonstrating the importance of L&D, in 2013 BMW founded a joint venture called “The Retail Performance Company” (RPC), which focuses on training and development of retailers. They develop the most innovative methods and tools to increase the level of education further.

To date, the RPC has 186 employees across nine locations. They work in 15 different languages and have worked on 300 projects.
Part two of this interview will be published this week.
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