Employees as the basis for success 4 minutes spent reading
Working environments

Employees as the basis for success

Christopher Eberl
Christopher Eberl is editorially responsible for the topics on the blog as well as for the apprentice website. With his stories he provides deep insights into the diverse world of the voestalpine Group.

voestalpine’s current position as a leading global technology group in its business segments is primarily due to the 52,000 people who work for the company. Every day they work together in shaping our future anew, by constantly striving to develop new products and taking on responsibility. However, the changing demands and requirements of modern workforces pose a challenge for every company, including the voestalpine Group.

It is the vested interest of employers to make every effort to attract the best employees, initially by convincing them to join the company, and then to retain them over the long term. Reliable and committed skilled employees and specialists are scare commodities, not only because many of today’s youngsters no longer consider apprenticeships, instead favoring an “academic path.” Once qualified and looking for jobs, it is the task of the company to present itself as an attractive employer. What makes this more challenging than previously is that employees’ demands, needs, and individual expectations, as well as the social framework conditions, are subject to ever-accelerating change.

Nurture and motivate

Nowadays, companies are forced to question their own attractiveness to both their customers and employees more often than ever before. This attraction is measured in more than just adequate remuneration. In the hierarchy of needs, money comes way down the list. Employees place greater value on how they can fulfil their potential and develop their careers, whether their activities are valued and recognized, whether their social needs are considered and, finally, workplace safety.

"A winner mentality means delighting in success. We are involved in an international competition, and competitions are things you want to win. And I think that for us this means bringing the best innovations, having the most efficient processes, taking a solution-oriented approach to customers, and quickly adapting to new challenges. Our employees are well trained, motivated, and pulling in the right direction."
Herbert Eibensteiner, CEO voestalpine AG

Buzzword “work-life balance”

Although these values are not new, it is in demand more than ever before, and also needs to be broadened for the younger generations. A key consideration for young people in this context is the concept of a work-life balance. They attach great importance to having free time, allowing them to adapt their working hours in order to reflect their personal needs where possible. This shouldn’t be confused with a lack of willingness to work, but rather the philosophy of everything at the proper time.

New recruitment methods needed

In view of these shifts, personnel departments, today’s HR, are faced with major challenges. It is no longer sufficient to simply place an advertisement when searching for new staff; today a skilled metal worker is usually found in a different place than an IT employee. And the process is different in Austria to that in China or the USA. Whether a logistics expert in Africa, a skilled worker in Austria, or an IT specialist in China, a company like voestalpine is confronted with the entire spectrum of the global jobs market. Which means it is no longer enough to state “We’re a great company.” An appropriate answer needs to be found in each individual case if the company wants to be seen as attractive.

Eibensteiner Interview

Increasingly, solutions to the question of how a life-phase-related workplace can be designed must be sought, one which meets the needs of both employees and the company, whatever the country, and often on the basis of completely different framework conditions. The answer lies in hundreds of different work time models, offering everything from attractive shift work to home office time. Offering employees personal development perspectives is now far more important than it once was. However, these and many other wishes and offerings all depend upon understanding an important point: in return employees must treat the company—their employer—and the voestalpine brand with loyalty and respect.

Training and continuing education

Today training and continuing education is an essential element of long-term success. More than ever, it is unrealistic to expect that employees will arrive at a company fully trained. Apart from the increase in educational deficits amongst school leavers, the demands on today’s workforce are changing so fast that ongoing professional development is a must in order to secure the required level of qualifications over the long term. Well-functioning in-house professional development, with competent and external support as required, is essential for everyone, from skilled worker to executive.

"The thirst for knowledge and pleasure in excellent performance are extremely important drivers of the innovations which make us a success in our markets. That’s what I expect from our employees."
Herbert Eibensteiner, CEO voestalpine AG

Conclusion: Nowadays, companies are permanently faced with new developments and challenges in the personnel sector. They have to create incentives, motivate, and react promptly. They have to take employees’ worries seriously, including the recurring question of the consequences digitalization will have on the future of the workplace—“my workplace.” In a fair and open working relationship it should be clear, however, that demands are also made of the employees as a means of ensuring effective cooperation over the long term, because where something is being offered, it is not presumptuous to expect commitment, quality, flexibility, and the will to succeed in return.

However you view it, in the end the more the interests of the employee overlap with those of the company, the greater their shared future success.

Christopher Eberl

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