Page 35 - zumtobel Nachhaltigkeitsbericht 2012 EN

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How can Human Resources Management
support technological change?
Preserving and further developing our
know-how, upskilling and globalisation are
just a few of the important key concepts
in this context. We have to ask ourselves
the following questions: how can we make
sure that our company and its employees
are fit enough to cope with change? What
kind of skills do we need in order to stay
successful? How can we encourage our
employees’ continuous professional devel-
opment? Or, where can we get backing?
Unfortunately, sometimes we are confronted with the limits of our
capabilities. In the case of Tridonic, we had to reduce the workforce
at sites that worked on old technology, e. g. magnetic ballasts. Require-
ments have also changed in the conventional control gear sector, and
we were unfortunately obliged to let employees in Administration and
Development go.
How do you deal with this issue in a responsible manner?
For us it is important that, even in difficult situations, we continue to
live by our corporate values in a credible manner. We assume respon-
sibility by seeking to devise, together with employee representatives,
solutions that support affected employees individually as effectively as
possible. This may involve extra voluntary financial benefits or men-
toring by an outside HR consultant who helps employees find new
How do you support current employees?
True to our motto “Let our people be the brightest light”, every
employee must be able to develop his or her capabilities and poten-
tial in the context of achieving shared objectives. Because change can
lead to employees feeling insecure, our senior staff members play a vital
role because they can convey a sense of security. We support them,
for example, through our holistic leadership development programme,
by providing management tools such as the employee development
meeting and through measures that are individually adapted to meet
relevant needs, e. g. designing and conduct-
ing in-house workshops. It is also important
to carry on fostering the development of our
employees’ technical and personal skills. We do
this with on-line learning concepts or training
courses that are brand-specific and methodical,
in-house or external – the schemes available
are diverse and can be used flexibly all over the
world. We work in partnership with universi-
ties because we need the latest knowledge, e. g.
software, semiconductor electronics and phys-
ics knowledge, and it also plays an important
role in the recruitment of new employees.
Have you also noticed changes in job applicants’ preferences?
Yes, there is a trend towards individualism, i.e. tailor-made offerings
and measures such as flexible working hours, the possibility of taking
time off for training, travelling around the world etc. Another trend is
that many employees like the idea of a change after a few years. The
process of announcing vacant in-house positions is transparent and we
encourage people to switch brands or regions regardless of whether
or not this involves hierarchical promotions. We welcome short-term
exchange programmes between different sites or international assign-
ments that last several years.
What role do corporate culture, sustainability and values play as far as job
applicants are concerned?
More and more applicants want to make sure right at the outset
whether our corporate values and the way that these are lived out in
the company are compatible with their own values. The issue of sustain-
ability is also becoming increasingly important: talented applicants sound
us out in advance to establish how good we are in terms of sustainability,
and how credible our efforts in this area are.
For me, sustainable HR work means the opportunity to help shape a
corporate culture that fosters motivation and also helps us cope with
times of crisis. It involves pointing colleagues in the direction of shared
objectives, enabling them to fulfil their tasks, play to their strengths and
deal with challenges that ultimately make them stronger.
“Let our people be the brightest light” –
HR work in a time of change
Technological change is confronting the company with critical challenges.
We talked to Birgit Sonnbichler, Director of Group-wide Human Resources Management ,
about these and other challenges.
Working for the Zumtobel Group
Birgit Sonnbichler, SVP Corporate Human Resources