On the 7th-9th March 2018, Aarsleff kicked off its second ‘Young Talent’ event. Aarsleff in Denmark hosted the meet-up for its delegates over the three-day period in Copenhagen. In 2017, when the initiative was first launched in the UK, Managing Directors from our European sister companies each nominated delegates to attend. In its second year, the same core group got together to define the Group’s purpose and product, engage in a variety of interactive workshops, learn from their leaders and most importantly share knowledge and experience. We also welcomed 5 new talents into the network.
Wednesday, 1 pm
After landing in Kastrup on Wednesday, 15 bright-eyed delegates made their way to Aarsleff A/S office in Avedøre Holme, where they gathered together in one of the meeting rooms to meet with Stig Weis. Stig Weis, Divisional Manager of Ground Engineering, warmly welcomed the group and delivered an insightful presentation on the development of Group, its structure and business model, its core values and some history behind the man himself – Group Founder and Danish engineer Per Aarsleff. The Young Talent (YT) network should aim to motivate participants to evolve within Group and demonstrate how important relations are and always will be.
From Denmark – the host country, we welcomed: Peter, Stig, Anders and Rune
From Germany, we welcomed: Nele, Katja, Matthis and Nils
From Poland, we welcomed: Natalia, Jan, Michał and Sylwia
From the UK, we welcomed: Jessica, Parth and Simon
After lunch, Rune then outlined the event’s agenda and announced the theme – “Defining Young Talent as a Group – it’s purpose and product”. After introductions, delegates quickly became absorbed in a workshop titled ‘Culture Clash’ led by the brilliant and refreshingly energetic Hanne Boutrip.
Hanne has worked internationally since 1993 – in Europe, Asia, USA – and recently as the Communication Director at LEGO Gruppen. Her special strength is in the ability to excite and involve people in a process – and make them work together towards common goals. Originally a primary school teacher, Hanne is certified in Business Psychology and in her spare time likes to play golf, go swimming and play tennis! Since 2004, Hanne has run her own consultancy specialising in workshops and seminars that inspire, motivate, and involve the participants. Hanne is the best combination of being both professional and entertaining at the same time, and due to her comprehensive global experience, working with large groups of many different nationalities is one of her key competencies. In fact, Hanne has worked in over 51 countries! It is therefore highly fitting that Hanne delivered her workshop to those within Aarsleff, a dynamic group consisting of English, Polish, Danish, Swedish and German minds.
During the workshop, participants actively discussed the meaning of the word ‘perception’ and how, like an iceberg, only 10% of culture is visible. Aside from the obvious cultural differences in dress code, food, office layout, there is a host of factors that contribute to a company’s culture – its core values being one of them. We then worked on the meaning of ‘Rank’, ‘Risk’, ‘Responsibility’ and ‘Relationship’ in relation to our own countries and how they differed from others. Did you know the Danish culture is the most different from all other cultures? Hanne’s session made all of us think a little bit harder about communication within a business. Her golden rule? Ask and Tell.
The YT group then relaxed by playing some Foosball, and after, heading into Copenhagen city for dinner and a game of Boule.
Thursday, 7 am
It was an early start on a cold and snowy Thursday morning when the Aarsleff YT group travelled 1.5 hours by bus to visit one of Aarsleff’s live sites. This was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to see a Banut driven piling rig installing 400mm square precast raking piles. The attention to delivering safe working practice on site was brilliant to see – particularly paramount on a project next to live rail. Parth commented:
“Working extremely close to an existing railway, showed just how little space is required to effectively install piles without interrupting/affecting current transport services”.
Aarsleff entered into a contract with a National Rail company to build a new bridge over Masnedsund between Vordingborg and the island of Masnedø. The existing bascule bridge over Masnedsund will be locked and will become only a road bridge in the future. Right next to the bridge, a new concrete bridge carrying double tracks will be built. The bridge, which will be built as a 6-span bridge, will be 200 metres long, 14 metres wide and the passage height will be 5 metres. In addition to the construction of the new bridge, Aarsleff is extending the existing rail embankment from single to double tracks on a 1,400-metre-long section before and after the bridge. At the same time, Aarsleff is to also extend the existing tunnel at Orevej in Vordingborg. The contract has a total value of approx. DKK 200 million. The work has already begun, with expected completion in June 2020. The bridge work is a part of the Ringsted-Fehmarn Railway Line project. The project includes expansion from single to double track between Vordingborg and Rødby as well as electrification of the entire section.
After the site visit, delegates returned to the office for their second workshop led by Allan Vinther Jensen. Allan is the partner and co-founder of Business Greenhouse, an Aarhus based consulting firm specialising in driving employee engagement.
Allan Vinther Jensen of Business Greenhouse
Business Greenhouse is an Aarhus based consultancy firm built on Allan and business partner Susanne’s personal passion for achieving results together with their clients in the private sector. It is their strong belief that engaging people in the process is critical to a long-term commitment towards those desired results in business. As Senior Human Resource leaders with a combined +35 years of experience, Allan and Susanne focus exactly on what drives increased engagement amongst employees, how to enable the workforce to release their full potential and achieve high efficiency in their organisation.
Allan’s key experience stems from his work as HR Senior Manager and Business Partner supporting executive leadership teams across different business units, including Production, R&D, Product Management, Finance, and Sales. He is passionate about the transformational impact employee-engagement has on organisations, and twice he has played a key role in transforming a workplace into an award-winning, highly-engaged company, both as a communicator and a consultant.
Allan is recognised for his engaging communication skills, and for being an inspiring and thought-provoking communicator with a special ability to translate HR theory into easy-to-use practice.Allan is convinced that creating business value is fully linked to engaging the workforce, and he is guided by a strong belief in this approach:
“… if we stop trying to “fix” our leaders and employees and rather focus on their strengths and their passions, we can create a fervent group of people who, when empowered, could take the organisation to a whole new level”.
During Allan’s constructive workshop, the group managed to formulate a structure to the group and establish its overarching purpose. Stig and Natalia also presented their ideas on a portal which would be used as a source of information and tool of communication. Soon, we will be able to regularly communicate, share files, address concerns, and ultimately stay connected with one another.
The YT group can now be defined and understood as:
“Creating a network which nurtures and develops young talents to tackle the challenges of tomorrow”.
Its core purpose is:
“To provide an innovative knowledge and experience sharing network capable of strategically influencing the future of a more combined Aarsleff by introducing and presenting competent brand ambassadors across the company”.
Feeling secure in the knowledge that the Young Talent Group had become defined, delegates were then joined by Aarsleff Group CEO Ebbe Malte Iversen.
Ebbe delivered a thoughtful and motivating presentation on the Aarsleff company. He spoke about learning best practice from past projects and bringing that newfound knowledge and experience to the next similar job (particularly in projects of similar size and technique). Ebbe showed how one can benefit from repetition; embrace industrialisation and new technologies, and always look to be more efficient. Ebbe referred to the Young Talent’s core purpose, and highlighted his fondness in the phrase – ‘a more combined Aarsleff’. Ebbe illustrated that if the Aarsleff organisation can work together and create synergy between departments and countries, then opportunities are maximised and relationships are strengthened. We can learn more, adapt more, and achieve an even greater competitive advantage. Together we are better and initiatives like ‘Young Talent’ will help us to continually achieve the notion of cross-collaboration. Ebbe finished his presentation with 3 top tips to becoming a great manager:
- Be an organisation builder – train and develop those talents around you
- Perform – always lead the way by example
- Strategy – find a way to deliver and express competitive advantage that is not easily duplicated
It was clear to see that everyone in the room felt honoured to hear and learn from Aarsleff Group’s CEO, Ebbe Malte Iversen.
With a spring in our step, delegates then enjoyed dinner, drinks and ping-pong in Copenhagen City.
Friday, 9 am
On the final day, YT members heard from Jesper Pilegaard, Head of Region at Aarsleff A/S. It was wonderful to hear from a leader within the Aarsleff Group, who detailed his biography and presented a timeline of ground engineering projects he had worked on over the years. Like Ebbe, Jesper asserts the importance of sharing resource and knowledge across our countries. Specifically, how can Aarsleff work together to align the tools we use for reporting and management of sites? Can we cross-train our staff members? The questions Jesper posed made everyone think about how we could more effectively work together. The YT group should be used as a platform to influence the strategic direction of the business, however, this is only possible if we stay connected. During Q&A, and when asked why Jesper remained at the company, he answered: “because of the Aarsleff spirit”, and this ethos is filtered throughout the entire organisation.
After announcing the winner of the YT Foosball tournament, delegates concluded their thoughts and evaluated the event. The ‘Aarsleff Blue’ baton has been passed on to Germany for the next Young Talent Event.
It was then time for goodbye, but not before one final photo of the Young Talent Class of 2018…