Strengthening Safran’s multi-generational workforce in North America
September 20, 2017
Eric Kline, engineering manager at Safran Electrical & Power
Adam Lucci from Safran Landing Systems
The Safran North America Mentorship Program was launched in early 2017 to pair early career Safran employees with mid-to-late career professionals who provide guidance on career development and advancement in areas such as communication, leadership, and technical skills.
Eric Kline, an engineering manager at Safran Electrical & Power in Twinsburg, Ohio, was paired with Adam Lucci as his protégé (also known as a mentee), from Safran Landing Systems in Ajax, Canada near Toronto.
Kline described Lucci as: "very outgoing, willing to take on ‘stretch goals' that are beyond his job description." While separated by age, division and geography, the two men are joined by vocation.
"We're both mechanical engineers by training," said Kline, noting that some of the mechanisms worked on by Lucci at Safran Landing Systems share the same challenges addressed by Safran Electrical & Power in the development of its ram air turbine product line. A ram air turbine provides electrical power and/or hydraulic pressure to the critical systems on an aircraft in case of a failure of the main generation systems.
Kline has worked at Safran Electrical & Power for four and a half years, and had been at this operation for another year under Goodrich Power Systems' management until it became a part of the Safran group.
From mentee to mentor – building Safran's future
It was his positive experience as a mentee himself that helped drive his interest in formally guiding the next generation as part of the Safran North America Mentorship Program. "I benefitted significantly from a Safran Electrical & Power division program, which provided me with a mentor," he said. "This previous experience gave me an outside perspective on organizing my department and helped me think of some broader opportunities for my future career."
Kline believes that such a focus on an employee's future is vital to success – of both the employee and the company. "If we recruit top talent but then don't work with them to keep them growing and to have a long-term vision of where their career can go, their success will be limited." And when that happens "they will eventually go somewhere else," explained Kline. "It's not enough just to recruit talent; we also need to continue growing the talents of all our employees."
With such a dynamic in mind, Kline had been active in creating an internship and co-op program at Safran Electrical & Power in Twinsburg. When Kline was presented with the opportunity to mentor Lucci as a young engineer from another unit, he readily took it. "I think that mentoring is a natural part of the work anyhow, and it was appealing to actively learn more about another division, site, and discipline."
Kline considers the Safran North America Mentorship Program a two-way street. "From my experience, having a roadmap for employees' growth is very invigorating for them," said Kline. "It encourages the employee that the Group is investing in them and that they are learning marketable skills, and it ensures that the Group has the skills we need when we need them."
With locations around the globe, Kline noted that Safran is a diverse company and that the mentorship program "is one of the clever ways that the Group has allowed us to take advantage of that diversity."
In his relationship with Lucci, Kline may be in the official teacher role, but he adds: "I'm learning a lot from my mentee, too."