Experiences as a trainee: Johnson Controls Power Solutions
What kind of trainee program are you passing at Johnson Controls?
I am part of the Finance Graduate Program.
Can you tell us something about the selection process?
Referring to my application, the company invited me for an interview at a job fair at Gisma Business School in Hanover. First, I had an hour interview at the fair and an hour interview on the phone followed by an assessment center. We attended a one day Assessment Center at the JCI Headquarters in Hanover. The whole application procedure lasted about two months.
Do you have an advice for applicants who want to join a trainee program at Johnson Controls?
I believe it’s important that the candidates show real interest for the program and are not afraid to expose their real personality during the assessment center. It’s obviously paramount to be prepared and know main details about the company. From my experience it’s important to be dynamic and interact proactively with the other candidates.
What about the basic structure of your trainee program at Johnson Controls?
The finance program lasts 18 months. The graduate program is based mainly on job rotation and complex projects in different departments, in my case strongly focused on finance topics. A very important advantage in Johnson Controls is the global reach of the company that allows you to participate in projects anywhere around the world. As a graduate at JCI you have access to soft skills trainings, e-learnings and any kind of training your project manager or mentor might find useful for your development. The Graduates are mainly based in Hanover at the Power Solutions Headquarters but can travel extensively depending on the scope of the projects.
Is there the possibility of going abroad? And if, which experiences did you have?
Generally, international assignments are considered essential in the development of the graduates, but the details of the assignment will be established for each participant individually to fit the needs of the company and the interests of the graduates.
During my program I traveled to Spain for two months with frequent follow ups during the year and to Paris, France for another one and half months. These projects helped me to know different sides of the company and to understand the cultural aspects that one has to keep in mind when working in international teams. More, the networks created during these international assignments are great help for future collaborations across departments.
Can you give us some information about the support and the feedback you get from your colleagues?
The structure of the JCI Power solution Graduate Program is strongly based on mentorship, guidance from management and honest feedback. During the program, the Graduate reports to a member of top management (the sponsor) and receives continuous guidance from a mentor with seniority in the company. For each department one assignment manger/ project manager is allocated that will give the graduate a proper onboarding and will be the contact person for project questions. After each rotation the Graduate receives feedback from the project manager and then delivers a report to the Sponsor.
What about the balance between theory and practice, between „training-on-the-job“ and „training-off-the-job“?
From my perspective the JCI program is a very balanced experience, especially in finance. During the last 18 months I learned new concepts that rounded my previous education but also practiced them in different environments.
Can you describe an ordinary working day? What are your tasks and exercises?
Fortunately, most of my tasks were project based which allowed me to learn a lot of new concepts in a short time without losing hours with repetitive tasks. This of course, supposes a higher level of complexity and more concentration power, but it is priceless in terms of experience.
And what about the work-life-balance: How many hours per week do you spend at work?
At Johnson the working times and schedules are flexible and each employee is allowed to adapt his working day in order to reach objectives. Here, the weekly benchmark is set at 40 hrs, but each employee is free to adapt these times in terms of the workload. I personally was eager to learn more and make the best of these 18 months and therefore invested more hours. However, that was strictly tied to my personal ambitions.
Which characteristics are necessary to graduate a trainee program at Johnson Controls successfully?
In my opinion, the main characteristics of a graduate at Johnson Controls should be openness, curiosity and proactive thinking. I understand that our role in the company is to bring fresh thinking and energy to work.
How close is your contact to other trainees at Johnson Controls?
My contact with the other trainees is very close as through this program we have became friends and now exchange experiences on a daily basis. Moreover, as they are part of sales and I am part of finance, I believe that with time we will continuously try to improve collaboration between the two departments.
Can you tell us some details about the remuneration of the trainees at Johnson Controls?
In my view remuneration at Johnson Controls is fair and superior to most other programs of this type. I personally was satisfied with the benefits received for my work.
What has been your personal highlight of the trainee program so far?
I have a lot of personal highlights from the last one and a half years. Actually, without overstating it, I believe every day was different and special. I permanently met new, interesting people and learned from them. I also made friends and was very welcomed in every team I joined. If I would be to mention two experiences that I particularly enjoyed those would be my first two projects in the company: one in Hanover and one in Spain. During these months I was able to learn many new things, but also created lasting friendships.
What’s going to be the next step after finishing the trainee program at Johnson Controls?
After finishing my program, I will take a finance position in one of our manifacturing plants in Guadamar, Spain. Me taking this position was a result of my close work with the Spanish team during the program and the synergies we created. Very important to mention is that this position was my first preference, which management has fully embraced. In my opinion, this strongly recommends Johnson Controls as future employer.