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As Australians Look to Mindfulness, Ford Offers Company-First Employee Training to Maximize Local $300M R&D Investment
13/05/2016
  • Ford is investing in Australia like no other automaker with $300 million in R&D in 2015 alone and by offering employees unique on-the-job mindfulness training
  • Global Ford Futurist Sheryl Connelly reports that two-thirds of Australians agree that mindfulness is not just a fad but that half are not able to prioritize it according to the ‘Looking Further with Ford’ 2016 trends book
  • Phillip Chen Yi Mei, a 35-year Australian Ford engineer turned psychologist, launched the company’s first mindfulness training locally in early 2015; Participation in the program has jumped by 125 per cent following a successful phase-one pilot program

 

MELBOURNE– Ford Australia is offering mindfulness training to employees to help them de-clutter their daily distractions as the company pushes an aggressive new innovation agenda at its local and global facilities.

Ford Australia is leading the charge in connecting mindfulness with business practice, both inside and outside the company. Ford’s global futurist Sheryl Connelly pointed to the global consumer trend of mindfulness in her annual trend book, and found in subsequent research that Australians believe this mindset is here to stay.

“Australians see mindfulness as much more than a fad, they believe it is becoming a core part of our society,” said Connelly. “That’s important for companies like Ford and others such as government officials to recognize as it can lead to important behavioral changes – perhaps including the desire to tune out the numerous features in cars today.”

According to Ford’s trends book, in Australia, 76 per cent of adults understand the importance of practicing mindfulness as their lives become increasingly complicated and demanding. The need to be connected is becoming increasingly necessary.

Mindfulness research shows that yoga, meditation, breathing exercises or even a workplace nap can help improve focus, productivity, efficiency and creativity. More than half of Australians recognise the importance of mindfulness but are unable make it a priority. Australian adults under the age of 35 are roughly two-times more likely to feel anxiety when they’re away from their smart devices compared to those older.

Trend setters

After decades of developing exciting new vehicles as a Ford engineer, Phillip Chen Yi Mei recognized the power of strengthening the mind whilst going back to school for a degree in psychology.

He specialised in mindfulness and convinced leaders at Ford Australia to bring the work inside, quickly learning employees are keen to leverage the important mind-training techniques to improve their work and home lives.

“My interest in psychology started about 15 years ago, while completing my thesis I focussed on how to use mindfulness training to improve personal wellness and effectiveness of senior managers in the business world,” said Chen Yi Mei, who has been working for Ford for 36 years, currently as an Electrical System Engineer.

The mindfulness course involves four days of off-site training during which Ford employees are taught to cultivate personal wellness, provision effectiveness and integrate mindfulness in day-to-day activities.

“Ford’s investment in training and development enables us to work more collaboratively and innovate more while creating an environment that is conscious of employee mindfulness,” said Chen Yi Mei.

The average office worker checks their email 70x every hour, is interrupted every three minutes and takes approximately 28 minutes for the office worker to return to the task they were doing before the interruption. For this reason, mindfulness has become topical in the workplace and is why Ford Australia is investing in their employees to be able to adapt work place practices in light of this evolving trend.

“We also recognise that we need to invest in our employees to free them up to create the innovations of tomorrow for our customers through our vast R&D facilities in Australia,” said Graydon Reitz, director, Asia-Pacific Product Development, Ford of Australia.

“Ford invested $300 million in product development in Australia in 2015 alone to help create products such the all-new Everest SUV and market-leading Ranger,” said Reitz.

“We are committed to fostering an organisational culture where a strong sense of ‘family’ exists, good relationships are valued, teamwork is internally motivated, people feel genuinely valued and empowerment and employee involvement are inherently part of our nature,” says Graeme Whickman, President and CEO, Ford of Australia.

“We have already committed to another 100 Ford managers to engage in mindfulness training on top of the 82 who have already completed the phase one training program, with discussions to look at offering it to all employees.”




About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 187,000 employees and 62 plants worldwide, the company's core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics. For more information regarding Ford, its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

 

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  • Ford’s ‘Dealerships of the Future’ cover more than 75 percent of customers, combining with Ford’s unique service offerings such as the free loan car program to improve sales while continuing to increase service retention, which is up 37 percent since 2012
  • Ford launches free yearly SYNC 2 SatNav updates for up to seven years** with scheduled services at participating dealers to help customers keep up 120,000 kilometres of new roads in Australia annually
  • Ford’s sweeping dealership transformations add to the company’s local R&D investment of nearly $2 billion the past six years

 

MELBOURNE– To accelerate rising customer satisfaction levels, Ford is doubling down on the consumer experience by transforming more dealerships and launching new Free SatNav Updates program.

Ford’s customer satisfaction levels for sales and service continue improving after launching new ‘Dealerships of the Future’ in December 2014 and adding the Free Loan Car program in February 2015 to create a leading package of service offerings. These improving ratings and a high-profile advertising campaign have helped Ford continue increasing service retention, which is up 37 percent since 2012, while contributing to overall sales gains for nearly the past year.

Ford’s ‘Dealerships of the Future’ now cover 75 percent of customers nationally, using a blend of the best of bricks-and-mortar retailing with web-based innovations to make it easier for customers to buy and service vehicles.

“This is an exciting time at Ford as we transform our dealerships while launching a record number of new vehicles – all to make our customers’ lives better and easier throughout their sales and ownership experience,” said Graeme Whickman, CEO and President, Ford of Australia. “We are just getting started and we already have seen significant progress in sales and service satisfaction, which has helped us increase sales and improve service retention as this has become a differentiator for Ford.”

Ford’s efforts to improve the consumer experience also have been recognized externally with the company winning Canstar’s Motoring Awards for overall satisfaction and after sales satisfaction in 2014.

Navigating our changing roadways

From July 1, 2016 Ford takes customer care one step further with free SYNC 2 SatNav updates during scheduled services at participating dealers, a market-leading and global Ford-first program that helps customers stay current with numerous changes to Australian roads annually. Customers with SYNC2 who complete their scheduled servicing with participating Ford Dealers will receive free yearly map updates for up to seven years.

Australia has a rapidly changing road infrastructure with more than 120,000 kilometres of roads added annually, almost 23,000 road name changes and around 2,000 roundabout changes.

“The free map updates makes it easier for our customers to get around, and adds to other unique conveniences such as our free loan car program and the value of our unique Auto Club program,” said Whickman. “We are investing more in Australia than any other automaker, including billions in R&D, a record number of new vehicles and a new way of doing business at our dealerships.”

Comprehensive Service

 

  • Modern tools used to streamline the customer’s experience, including iPad-based shopping and service apps, SYNC-based product information during test drives and convenient online scheduling to make the process easier and more transparent
  • Non-sales-oriented concierges to welcome customers and ask how they want to engage with the sales staff. This permission-based sales process continues throughout the experience
  • Higher-tech test drives with a feature called the Smart Drive USB. In real time during the test drive, potential car buyers can receive an explanation of the car features via the SYNC voice control system
  • Personalised reveals similar to motor show unveilings in which dealership staff pull a silk lining off vehicles for customers to highlight beginning of customers’ ownership experiences

 

** SYNC 2 map updates will be available for seven years after vehicle is produced, will not be offered after 2024




About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Mich. With about 199,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

 

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