The importance of personnel development
BY TEMEL KAHYAOGLU
How can companies win the most talented employees while skilled workers are scarce today? How does good and honest loyalty work in detail? Dirk Jurkowksi, Managing Director of Xtentio GmbH, and graduate psychologist Silke M. Jürgensen reveal the positive effects a consistent strategy for personnel development can have.
Mr Jurkowski, how do you think your employees perceive your company?
DJ: You should ask our employees this question. But I believe they are very happy to work with us. Most of our vacancies are filled through recommendations from our own people. So our colleagues seem to regard us as a top employer and recommend us.
Why do you think that is?
DJ: We live a very modern working model. We employ experienced experts who work autonomously on the client’s premises. Our teams spend three to four days a week directly at our customers’ locations. Our employees have a lot of freedom and act independently. This form of cooperation involves trust and the willingness to take on responsibility, of course.
Describe your company culture. What is it living by?
DJ: We work very trustingly together. Our corporate culture is cooperative and open. We live up to our values consistently and authentically. We deal with each other in an honest and attentive manner. Room for ideas and design as well as very good team work not only ensure a good atmosphere among the employees but also within the project. We offer regular trainings, events and annual company gatherings. Our employees can evolve within our company and the jointly developed mission. It is important to us that they have a balanced private and family life. We support this with flexible working hours and indefinite contracts. Modern parental leave regulations have been successfully established, too. Our employees have the option to work from home, and modern communication tools enable virtual meetings. The creation of standards for cooperation and well-being in the modern working environment, the feeling of “Us” in personnel development, have played a role already when we founded the company.
Does this affect the perception of external partners?
DJ: We get positive feedback, especially from our clients. Our consultants are able to fully focus on their consulting activities. We value the fact that our senior consultants do not counsel more than two customers. There is no overselling with a 120 percent workload as at other companies, as this would only go at the expense of the employees and the project quality. All tasks that are not part of the consultancy, such as travel planning, are carried out by a specialised office team. The consultants concentrate a 100 percent on our clients’ projects. Surely, this is one of the reasons why customers like to work with us apart from our professional competence.
SJ: I agree. I have been accompanying Xtentio for a long time and am pleased with the positive development. In my experience, it is rare for companies of this size to address the issue of strategic human resource development so intensively and to implement it sustainably within the organisation.
Which methods of personnel development do you apply?
SJ: Generally, we work with our customers very individually and look closely at the measures required for strategic organisational development. Personnel development is part of a firm’s development. At Xtentio, we use individually coordinated and calibrated methods of human resource development, i.e. coaching and training programmes, tools for appraisals and substantiated potential assessment. Personnel development begins with the selection of suitable candidates. To select new employees, we use the Jobfidence® measuring method which offers state-of-the-art aptitude diagnostics based in science and technology. As a tool for staff development, we created a customised solution for position determination together with Xtentio executives and employees. In the course of annual discussions, employees’ activities, company values as well as potentials for development are discussed.
DJ: The criteria applied in the position determination can be assessed transparently and in relation to the place. In the discussion between the employee and the manager, we first assess the development that has been achieved and then discuss topics such as the Xtentio core fields as well as behaviour and performance. We set targets for further development. The most important and elaborate work then is the topic of ‘evaluation and behavioural anchors’.
Could you kindly clarify the term behavioural anchors?
SJ: These reflect the company’s expectations of the employee. The crucial factor for a successful realisation is the involvement of the staff. These management tasks can not be delegated and demand the management’s full attention.
DJ: Therefore, we work in a dialogue with verifiable facts rather than with assumptions. Our employees have a clear idea of their tasks and are supported by targeted measures. The executives receive feedback as well and know what their workforce requires from them.
What skills do your employees need?
DJ: In the sector of digital change, we focus on project management, ISCM process optimisation and change management. Apart from professional and systemic knowledge, our employees require the ability to communicate with customers as well as a sense for potential conflicts. Projects are no longer about introducing systems primarily. The real challenge is to adapt our clients’ processes and organisation to the rapid digitalisation. Our members of staff need to understand and explain complex contexts. They must have the social competence to carry out the change together with our customers’ employees.
What kind of support do you offer to your employees in this regard?
DJ: They are trained as needed. Last year, for example, we offered what we dubbed ‘Collegial Consulting’ as well as a training session with Ms Juergensen called ‘Communication and Conflict’. One focus of our professional training is IPMA project management. With our project managers and their extensive experience, we almost certainly have the most competent consulting team in the area of ISCM in the DACH market.
SJ: During individual coaching, we work according to individual requirements and draw from a broad methodical background. The starting point is always the reason for the coaching: What shall be different afterwards?
How do you see the further development?
DJ: We are on track for growth and are expanding our leadership as a specialist in digital transformation. We will only be able to achieve this if our team is continually developing both in terms of size and quality. We need employees who will go all the way with us in the long-term and with strong identification. Today, we see the results of targeted, sustainably managed personnel development. We are consistently pursuing our goal to be the best consultant team for the digital transformation of enterprises.
Dirk Jurkowski has been the Managing Director of Xtentio GmbH since 2013 and oversees the consulting division. With its team of almost 30 employees, the firm supports its clients in tackling the challenges of digitisation with strategic and system-independent services in the areas of consulting, project management, design and process management.
Silke M. Jürgensen
Silke M. Jürgensen is a graduate psychologist and supports the optimal interaction of people and organisation with scientifically founded and practice-oriented psychology for companies. Her company m&o Organisationspsychologie advises clients who have one thing in common: their success is essentially dependent on people. For several years, she has been supporting Xtentio GmbH in the field of organisational development.
Xtentio GmbH supports companies through their holistic ISCM analysis and action recommendation with subsequent project management in the design of their digital transformation.
This article was published in The Produktkulturmagazin, issue Q4 2016. Picture credit © Barcin/Getty Images