20. January 2016

A clear view of the future work place

How to maintain highly skilled professionals

Hubert Hofmann and Marta Führich
enspira Connect GmbH supports companies in tapping into the unused potential of employees and executives and in improving their strategic positioning. “From Adlershof, for Adlershof” is the motto of its founder Hubert Hofmann. Hubert Hofmann grew tired of commuting between Bonn and Berlin after a while – and had a growing feeling of wanting to pass on his experience in a new setting: after working for 25 years as a manager for sales, human resources, and innovation for Telekom, he and his family now live just around the corner from the Science City Adlershof. In 2014 a small office in Volmerstraße became his new workplace. His company enspira Connect – enspira is a portmanteau of ‘energy’ and ‘inspiration’ – advises companies on how to better use their employees for the benefit of everybody involved and supports them to strategically position themselves in an ever-changing job market and economic environment. “In larger projects we look at the company’s processes and interview customers as well as suppliers to find out which issues need to be ironed out,” explains Hofmann. Some of enspira Connect’s customers are also based in Adlershof. “There are many off-the-radar high achievers here,” he says. It isn’t always easy to win their trust. “Many have reservations regarding external consultants and are scared of theoretical concepts being imposed on them.” Hofmann tries to win them over with a down-to-earth attitude and simple pragmatic methods: as a trained communications engineer he has an excellent understanding of the technology sector. While working as head of HR for Telekom, he would often sit in the call center to gather information on the expectations of his customers and colleagues. In his view, medium-sized companies working in the technology sector haven’t yet realized how profoundly their work environments are changing. The young professionals, who will be badly needed in view of future demographic changes, expect their job to offer them more participation, more freedom, and flexibility, especially regarding their work hours: “Entrepreneurs must create an environment that their employees enjoy working in.” However, medium-sized technology companies usually focus strongly on products and cultivate a hierarchical or almost authoritarian style of leadership. “Many things will have to change to ensure success in the future,” says Hofmann. Marta Führich, whose consulting company goodpoint fellows set up shop next to enspira Connect, also had this experience. Hofmann helped financial expert Führich to clearly carve out her own business idea – which includes advising medium-sized companies on fusing with start-ups. “We look at company mergers and corporate acquisitions not just in financial terms. Instead we develop concepts how to persuade the respective staff to tag along,” says Führich. These processes often require some getting used to by her clientel, but “at the end of the day, improvements of the group dynamic and of relations between supplier, customer, and company are also reflected in the numbers.” Ralf Krause didn’t have any reservations about taking advantage of the consulting services of enspira Connect. Together with a team of five he runs the “Adapt Apartments Berlin” near Adlershof station. Workmen, film crews, project staff, or visiting researchers can rent a room there for periods of weeks or months. Due to large demand the apartment complex grew from one building to six buildings in three years. “The requirements for our employees changed rapidly.” Hofmann’s team helped to find out what their strengths were in workshops and role playing games. At first the staff members were actually more open to suggestions than their employer. The hotel manager will continue to rely on Hofmann’s experience in the future: “We have to look into the future: what kind of team will we likely need in 15 years? I myself just become blinded by routine.” Hofmann now wants to further expand networking among Adlershof-based companies. Enspira Connect hosts so-called CEO-Lounges where executives can meet on a regular basis. A workshop titled “Innovative Talent Strategies” will take place on 21st January 2016 as part of the “Talent Magnet Adlershof” events. Moreover it is planned to start an online portal for companies that makes possible recommending promising candidates to others. “Such a highly specialized location has to make an effort to maintain professionals,” he says. By Claudia Wessling for Adlershof Journal

Three questions for Hubert Hofmann, enspira Connect:

How do you recognize talent?

By getting rid of job interviews
  • A lot of times not immediately but after using discourse and argument and other aptitude tests
  • By being mindful of social and personal competence and cultural fit

How does one attract talent?

By not always trying to find the ideal candidate
  • Companies should aim at becoming attractive employers
  • By communicating a company’s DNA and strengths by way of personal stories
  • By passing on good applicants to other companies
  • By appealing to requirements of young target groups
  • By exchanging information in networks

How does one maintain talent?

By being a companion for one’s staff and stop just being their boss
  • By offering one’s employees freedom and responsibility
  • By living a staff-oriented approach to leading
  • By being responsive to the requirements of a multigenerational staff
  • By actually living up to the advertised benefits of one’s company
  • By using employees according to their skill set
  • By creating additional staff benefits such as health-promoting measure, childcare, flexible organization of working hours