This annual award for employee satisfaction is presented by the company in Germany for the fifth time. "Best Employer 2020" is based on feedback from employees. At Glassdoor, employees can voluntarily and anonymously submit employer evaluations and, among other things, evaluate working conditions, corporate culture or management. Below is the interview that Glassdoor conducted with Andreas Haffner, Member of the Executive Board, Human Resources and Social Affairs, for his blog.
What are the most important steps that your company undertook last year to improve the company culture and employee engagement, and which may be reflected in the positive feedback from your employees?
Definitely our culture initiative. We know that our extraordinary team spirit has always been a distinguishing feature of Porsche. Even with all of our growth, we have kept that soul of the garage—even as a manufacturer of sports cars in the premium segment. Reinforcing those strengths was particularly important to us over the past two years. The special Porsche culture had always been there, but we had never committed it to paper. So we brought together employees of different ages, different levels, and different departments in order to hash out the core of our company culture. This set of reference points is all the more important when one considers that we have practically tripled our workforce over the past ten years. We have a workforce in which millennials and younger now make up more than 50 percent of our total employees.
What were the results of the initiative?
Heart, sportiness, pioneering spirit and family are the four core values of our cultural principles. Out of that, Porsche employees and managers developed a set of management principles together. In the first half of 2019, we held management labs with more than 1,500 managers in which we thoroughly discussed our concept of management in order to enable the managers to better function as role models. The requirements of a manager are naturally much different in this era of rapid change in the automotive sector. We will continue the process in 2020 as well.
Why should job-seekers apply for an open position with you? What characterizes your company culture, and what makes working for you so unique?
We develop and manufacture cars that many people dream about. We have just brought the sports car of the future to the market with the Taycan: all-electric, with a high degree of connectivity and numerous groundbreaking digital features. It demonstrates that we offer a plethora of innovative and exciting jobs in and around the future-oriented fields of mobility. Yet for all that advancement and innovative drive, we have never forgotten where we came from. The cohesiveness within the workforce and the down-to-earth spirit of Porsche employees never fail to impress our new colleagues and are certainly among the main reasons that our employee turnover rate is below 1 percent.
What types of roles and job profile are you currently focusing on?
In this age of e-mobility, autonomous driving, smart mobility and connected cars, IT specialists are currently at the top of the list, as well as electronics and production experts. In the area of digital platforms, we are also looking for software engineers, data analysts and AI experts.
What should candidates who would like to work for you bring to the table in terms of technical qualifications? What skills are increasingly important?
Beyond the specializations described in the previous answer, it is increasingly important to effectively work within defined methods. New Work, to use the catchphrase, is much more than a concept. Culture, processes and systems are essential. Also of particular importance to us, naturally, is enthusiasm for our products. And the ability to work in teams and form networks is more important than ever. Particularly with the increasing share of flexible and remote working options in the modern office context, these characteristics are ever more important.
How do you ensure, in the recruiting process, that candidates are not only technically highly qualified, but also fit with the company culture?
We give the highest priority to the interview with candidates. This is where we get to know the person behind all the certificates and degrees. Authenticity is enormously important to us. We also look for people with a good head on their shoulders. A company like Porsche in particular thrives by having passionate employees who often think a bit differently and find unconventional ways of doing things. Our products are exceptional because our employees are exceptional.
Would you agree that that the company culture plays an ever greater role in job decisions?
That’s definitely the case. Precisely for that reason, in 2018 we launched a new employer branding campaign aimed at boost our image as an employer. In it, we highlight that we are not an elitist company but rather a down-to-earth and approachable employer that cares about its employees.
In what ways do you intend to invest further in your company in the future?
We will continue the initiatives described at the outset and expand those efforts to include a focus on change management. Overall, our aim is to prepare people for the advancements ahead and enable them to engage in lifelong learning. This is a never-ending process. With the rapid pace of change in the automotive industry, we need to continuously question our self-image, our manner of collaboration and our knowledge base.
How do you use Glassdoor to attract the candidates you’re looking for?
As an HR person, I know how important feedback is. As such, we keep a close eye on our reviews. We are delighted by the volume of positive feedback, but we pay even closer attention to the critical feedback and try to make improvements on that basis.
What do you personally find to be the most important trends in terms of recruiting and employee development and accordingly apply within the company?
As an engineering-driven enterprise we place great importance on efficient processes and we are currently taking a closer look at them. The focus is on the customer or candidate, to whom we want to offer an exciting candidate journey — from the first contact through the onboarding process. Beyond that, as I mentioned previously, the topic of culture will continue to play an overarching role for us in the coming years. In my view, this is the key to achieving a successful digital transformation.
Where is the journey heading? What will recruiting look like in 2030?
Ideally, in 2030 we will no longer have to actively recruit when we have an opening. In my vision, we will be able to identify the best candidates at an early stage though intelligent systems and will already have established contact in a manner that is both personal and exciting, whether internally or externally.