We accompanied the measuring instrument manufacturer Testo SE & Co. KGaA to create more space for agile and creative work in its new building at its headquarters in the Black Forest. Now we wanted to hear from Lara Burger, Corporate Communications Manager, how Testo SE & Co. KGaA attracts new employees to the Black Forest - and keeps talents there.
Dear Ms. Burger, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview on the topic of employer attractiveness.
K+N: Like many companies, Testo is also facing the challenge of finding the right talents and appropriately qualified employees, and keeping them in the long term. How will you respond to this challenge, and what emphasis do you place on the theme of employer attractiveness? What makes your company attractive, given its location far away from the big cities, and how can you bring the right people into the Black Forest?
Lara Burger: The Upper Black Forest is part of the tradition at Testo. But that doesn’t make us a rural company – in reality we offer existing and prospective employees an international, agile work structure and culture. We’re world market leaders: world-class but with our roots in the Black Forest – that simple fact opens up a wide range of perspectives for professionals. At the same time we’re taking on an increasing number of graduates. The truth is that it’s become more difficult and more expensive to secure qualified employees of this type. But people are interested in us, in our vision, and they can identify with us because we manufacture advanced measurement equipment for the health sector.
K+N: What characterises your work culture at Testo, and in what ways can it be perceived tangibly in the company?
Lara Burger: We like to sum up our work culture with an expression that anyone who works at Testo will understand: “Testo Spirit”. This means that from one person to the next we work together effectively in an atmosphere almost like a family, with the ultimate goal of achieving the best result for our customers. Of course our work is defined by agile working methods, a strategic target/result orientation and digital cooperation – but also a high regard for colleagues, a diversity of personalities and ideas, and the resulting synergetic effects that are ultimately an investment in precisely the value we stand for: safety.
K+N: What role does the corporate/work culture play for the talents of tomorrow?
Lara Burger: An attractive working environment and the much-cited work-life balance are very important these days. After all, we do spend most of the day at our desks – so here at Testo we think it’s important for our employees to feel comfortable. The workplace surroundings have a huge influence on this. With an environment that’s designed to support the wellbeing and health of our employees, we’re providing scope for optimum satisfaction – which in turn goes hand-in-hand with exceptional performance and success. The goal of our Testo culture is that employees identify with Testo as a company and with their own workspace – and that they go home at the end of the day with a sense of pride.
K+N: What role is played by interior design and the furniture used for the workstations?
Lara Burger: The role should not be underestimated. Even the exterior architecture sends out a signal: this is a state-of-the-art, exciting place to work. We’ve incorporated a lot of glass into the structure, and as a result you might say we’ve brought the Black Forest inside the building. But the most important thing of all was to create top-notch workspaces in a unique open atmosphere. That’s another way of showing our employees how much we value them.
Not only do we attach importance to functional workstations – borne out by approaches such as the clean-desk philosophy – we also value an aesthetically pleasing working environment. The desks are furnished the same throughout – but we’ve used a series of accents to add interest. In addition to colourful, attractive furniture of superior quality, this also involves features like the green areas in both buildings.
K+N: How important are the factors of health and safety in the workplace with regard to the recruiting process as well as for existing employees?
Lara Burger: The health and safety of our employees at work are important factors for us, and we make every effort to uphold these principles. Regular training on safety in the workplace is routine here, as are sports opportunities at all locations: fitness trainers provide a variety of courses in the on-site gym facilities, with a choice ranging from yoga and spinning to bodypump, there’s something for everyone. Of course, our proximity to nature has allowed us to relocate the fitness units outside – a particular advantage in times of corona because it also allows space for social distancing. To soothe any tension resulting from sitting at a desk for a long time, you can book a massage with one of the professional physiotherapists and massage therapists who come into our company.
K+N: How have you reacted to the current Covid-19 situation to allow employees to work in the office and from home? To what extent do you support different work models (ergonomic specifications for home workstations)?
Lara Burger: Of course, there is provision to work from home at Testo. During the intensive corona crisis period from March to June, employees were free to choose whether to come into the office, work alternating shifts with team colleagues or swap completely to a home office set-up: the third option was especially helpful for parents who no longer had guaranteed childcare or people in high-risk groups. During this period it was also possible to borrow hardware from the company (screens, keyboards etc.) so that the home office was equipped as well as possible. Even after all the Testorians returned to the workplace again in July, special arrangements like this (see above) were still possible.
K+N: How and via which channels do you present your company, Testo, as an attractive employer?
Lara Burger: Just like presumably every medium-sized company in Germany, you can of course find Testo on the relevant channels like Xing, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s becoming increasingly important to extend our presence beyond the traditional website – to ensure not only that we reach our customer target groups but potential applicants as well. So we’d like to be equally easy to find for anyone who might be interested, whatever their experience level or age group, and we’d like to come across as attractive: to potential apprentices, highly qualified women and career changers. To achieve this, we need a communication style that’s appropriate to the target group and engages the media audience, along with positive messages relating to all aspects of working with and at Testo – above all focusing on our products, which speak for themselves: measurement technology and solutions from Testo help to improve the quality of products and services, saving time and resources, and protecting the health of people as well as the environment.
K+N: How do you structure the onboarding process, and how do you support employees over the long term?
Lara Burger: The classic onboarding process for new employees at Testo starts on the first day – ranging from an in-depth introductory event that Testorians from all departments hold for new colleagues, followed by a traditional induction plan and theme handover within the team, as well as get-to-know-you sessions (such as interdepartmental team lunches) – there are plenty of ways in which we try to make things easier for our new colleagues when they start work here. One of the longest-running processes is our mentoring programme: every new face at Testo is allocated a mentor on the very first day – someone who has been with the company for at least a year, who will advise and support the new protégé for up to six months if they have any questions. The idea of this scheme is to ensure that they have an alternative point of reference they can trust if they need to ask anything (other than their direct line manager).
K+N: In your view, what are the 3 most important factors for positioning the company successfully in the field of Employer Branding over the long term?