The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to reduce costs, to scale down and become more agile as an organisation. NS has already taken steps in this direction. Leaders play a crucial role in our strategy and in ensuring a successful outcome of change programmes. For that reason, in 2020 we once again made targeted investments in leadership development. For example, in the spring and the summer we organised leadership sessions targeting the fifty most senior leaders, including the members of our Executive Board. The discussions focused on issues such as:
leadership in times of crisis, and the COVID-19 crisis in particular;
virtual leadership, managing people remotely;
the crisis as a catalyst to help us become more agile and resilient;
the commitment, safety and vitality of our people.
In the second half of the year we launched a programme with a long-term focus aimed at inspiring our managers, connecting them and supporting them in their development as leaders. In this context, the commitment, vitality, connection and trust of all our people are important prerequisites for the successful transformation of NS starting in 2021. For that reason, we intend to continue the leadership programme with a special focus on this subject.
In 2020, we continued our strong focus on promoting the current managers and preparing the managers of the future. In doing so, we aim to increase diversity among our most senior leaders and in our succession planning strategy. We have already identified potential successors for staff in key positions for the short and long term, and we conduct succession planning reviews three times a year.
Leadership development for middle management
Employees who are able and willing to advance to managerial roles can count on us to provide tailor-made assistance and in-company leadership development programmes. For example, we concluded such a programme for a group of twenty prospective managers. Of these individuals, one took a follow-up step during the programme. All participants stated that the programme had enabled them to achieve their personal development goals. Due to cost savings, no new group enrolled in the programme in 2020.