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Development and training

Appraising human resources is one of the basic objectives that A2A set itself on creation. In 2009 the Group put significant emphasis on the development of the managerial skills resulting from the Group’s Values, with targeted training courses. This commitment continued in 2009 with the addition of further basic activities for managing human resources. Alongside tools that have already been consolidated, such as job posting, performance management and mapping by professional family, new initiatives were carried out designed to develop knowledge and self-awareness with respect to the organisational conduct that is fundamental for A2A.

To accompany young employees in the development of their professional path the following were introduced in 2011:

  •  tutoring sessions for newly-hired staff, to “take stock of the situation together a year after entering the Group”, creating an individual moment outside everyday work. This moment is also fundamental for focusing on the path taken and expressing professional aspirations by identifying the skills needed for being able to tackle working challenges successfully;

  •  a development centre for young professionals, development and strengthening paths where the moment for observing and assessing skills meets up with training. The aim of these measures is to go into further detail with respect to the knowledge of the Group’s young professional graduates and provide them with opportunities to acquire greater self-awareness about their skills, their motivational orientation and their aspirations for the future. The first 6 editions were carried out in 2011, involving 53 young people (30 men and 23 women) for a total of 550 hours. The activity will continue in 2012 and 5 editions have been planned for January and February which will involve another 37 young people belonging to the various companies in the Group; in this way, 50% of the population cluster of young professionals will be involved in the development centre’s activities.

A2A is equipped with a performance management system that involves increasingly broad sections of the Group’s staff in a gradual manner. In 2009 the process was started that in 2011 led to an appraisal being carried out for all of the managers, middle managers and white collar workers of Group companies, with the exception of ASPEM, ASPEM Energia, Gruppo Ecodeco, Partenope Ambiente and Varese Risorse. These companies were involved in the start-up process of the 2011 course and will take part for the first time in the appraisal of managers, middle managers and white collar workers at the beginning of 2012. Coriance and Camuna Energia, however, are still outside the scope of application of the Group’s performance management system.
A2A’s performance management system is applied on an annual basis with a distinction in terms of the process and assessment areas which depends on the reference population.
The tool appraises and addresses three basic components of a person’s organisational work:

  • the results achieved individually compared to the allocated objectives (only for managers / supervisors / middle managers);

  • the conduct of people compared to a map of relevant skills for the position; skills that reflect the Group’s values, including Sustainability;

  • the personal improvement plan which identifies the personal improvement goals for the skills held and the learning action required.

The persons involved as appraisers in the performance management system, around 500, have received suitable training on both the model adopted by the Group and on skill assessment and the feedback meeting. The training process was started up in 2009. In 2011, the courses (in the various formulae given) saw around 400 people take part for a total of approximately 3,400 hours.

The e-learning platform

The use of the e-learning platform for the preparation for classroom training, and in certain cases activities after the classroom sessions, continued during the year. This platform enables traditional teaching to be accompanied by e-learning training, which requires initiative and a pro-active approach from the participant who becomes a player in his training and not only the simple user. This approach also enables the time employed in consulting and using the courses to be recorded and allows the distribution of paper materials to be considerably reduced.
Courses relating to Legislative Decree no. 231/01, information courses on safety at work (Legislative Decree no.81) and a course on privacy were given using this platform in 2011.
The courses led to a total of 2,167 hours of training being given in total with 906 people taking part.
The 2011 training strategy and the resulting operational plan maintain a vision of togetherness that integrates training with other tools for development. Managerial training has been planned on the basis of this logic, which over a medium- to long-term time period envisages the gradual introduction of courses designed to accompany the person over the course of his or her professional path through four crucial stages: newly hired, professional, middle manager/head, manager.
The contents and complexity of each training path are progressively enhanced, consistent with the professional development and responsibilities allocated to staff.
A total of 21 managerial courses, 142 conferences, 3 types of English course and 1 German course were held in 2011.
Of the 21 managerial courses, 11 were carried out for those belonging to the training clusters of newly hired, professional and middle manager/head and involved 15,649 hours of training with approximately 1,200 participants. The participants’ assessment of the courses remained at high levels: an average rating of 5.6 (on a scale of 1 to 7) was given.
Alongside the training by cluster was training by role, which was designed on the basis of the specific needs of the functions and which on a transverse basis can involve all the members of a cluster but also others. Considerable space was given in 2011 to training for the role, with 12 courses dedicated to the development of skills of a technical-professional, managerial and operational nature, useful for “acting and interpreting” a specific role to the best of one’s ability. The courses given involved approximately 8,900 hours of training and over 1,000 participants.
Since 2011 it has been possible for all clusters to complete an overall view of the Group’s staff by professional family. This has enabled the composition and size of the population to be clearly identified for each professional role and, as a consequence, training courses to be planned that are more in line with professional specifications.
Taking part in managerial training during the year there were also 172 members of staff with fixed-term contracts for a total of 1,822 hours of training.
An overall average rating of 5.5 (on a scale of 1 to 7) was given to all managerial training in 2011 (for clusters and training for the role).

The voices of middle managers

The “Voices” project came to an end in 2011, an engagement survey designed to determine the level of satisfaction of middle managers and identify the factors that have a positive or critical impact on their involvement. This listening initiative, started off in 2010 and based on days of encounter between general managers and middle managers, involved 329 of the Group’s middle managers, who welcomed the initiative quite positively. An average rating of 5.7 was given (on a scale of 1 to 7) to the initiative.

Language training, structured again this year into two different thematic streams (grammar for basic level groups and business English for the intermediate and advanced levels), involved 191 people and approximately 5,200 hours: language training sees English as the protagonist, which is accompanied by courses in other languages for specific needs, such as French, German and Italian.

In addition to managerial and language courses the Group has started an on-the-job training plan, which groups together the training courses linked to a specific sector and directed towards acquiring technical skills and know-how - mandatory and non-mandatory - depending on a person’s role, position or responsibility. The on-the-job training courses, addressed to the whole of the Group’s staff, are grouped by subject on the basis of category: environment, administrative, communication, ICT, quality, safety and technical.

Course content Number of  attendances* Number of hours
Environment 979 4,634
of which high professional content 12 110
Administrative 1,555 4,792
of which high professional content 61 389
ICT 1,292 10,288
of which high professional content 1 7
Quality 56 153
Communication 115 523
Safety 8,125 35,721
Technical 3,483 32,169
of which high professional content 123 992
Managerial training 2,550 25,752
of which high professional content 272 1,064
of which training for the role 1,004 8,877
Foreign language 191 5,193
Other high professional content training651,337
Total 18,411 120,563
* Each person is counted once each time he attends a course

In total over 120 thousand hours of training were given in 2011, representing an average of 13.25 hours per person.




Business game for middle managers and supervisors

A new version of the training course for middle managers and supervisors was tested during the year in which the participants, in work groups,  take on the roles of CFO, Head of Production and Purchasing, Head of Marketing and Sales and Head of Strategy in a theoretical manufacturing company, with the task of taking strategic decisions and managing the business efficiently in order to lead it to success and where they are in competition with the businesses run by the other work groups.
The aim of this simulation, accompanied by frequent moments of sharing, is to analyse and identify the critical matters that emerge and to rework the concepts learnt in a structured manner. Six sessions were performed (each lasting one day) which in total saw the involvement of 79 people. An average rating of 5.8 was given (on a scale of 1 to 7).
At the end of the pilot sessions, based on the comments received from the participants it was decided that it would be more appropriate to use this particularly interactive technique for a complete and independent course lasting 2 days. The new version of the course, structured in this way, will be introduced in 2012 and also extended to new employees, in this case in a light version (of 1 day).


Induction: get to know the a2a world

Designed in 2010, the aim of the induction plan is to assist new employees to the Group to get to know the detailed and complex A2A organisation. The learning path envisages one session in the classroom (lasting two days) and a plant visit. The classroom section, called A2A Day, consists of presentations made by around twenty internal speakers belonging to the middle management of the individual departments/companies. The two sessions that were carried out in 2011 involved 154 people and an average rating of 5.8 (on a scale of 1 to 7) was given to the initiative.

Internships and sandwich courses

A2A Group offers students, new graduates and new diploma students the possibility of supplementing or completing their study path with a training period, carried out in the Group, aimed at obtaining direct experience in the world of work.
The internship process envisages the collaboration of universities and entities in the Lombardy provinces who are responsible in this sector through the signing of framework agreements with the A2A Group. The number and type of internships in the Group are set out in the table below. Of the interns working with the Group in 2011, ten were subsequently employed using various forms of contract.


Numero stage

TypeDurationContent 2010 2011
Secondary school students 4 weeks Consistent with qualification 63 61
Post high school certificate/bachelors or masters degree 3/6 months Trading, engineering, procurement, commercial/marketing area, administration, finance and control, human resources, legal 35 36
Curriculars and preparation of dissertation 3/6 months Consistent with the university course 15 17
Obtaining licence for running steam generators from 180 to  240 working days Technical training at the Group’s plants 14 14
    TOTALE 127 128