People: the mothers and fathers of success 3 minutes spent reading
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People: the mothers and fathers of 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.

Together with many other colleagues, Head of Corporate HR, Max Stelzer, and his HR employees support everyone working at the Group, all around the world.

People? The essential element.

What is the basis for outstanding products such as those made by voestalpine? The raw materials, of course, as the starting point for processing and refining, turning ores, for example, into ultra high-strength steels which offer maximum safety at minimum weight. And of course the facilities and production processes this requires. But more than anything else, it depends on the people involved. Without their intelligence, imagination, energy, and learning capacity, there would be no novel products or perfectly organized processes between Kapfenberg and Houston, not to mention business success.

voestalpine Mitarbeiterin und Mitarbeiter

Ahead and on message

Max Stelzer, Head of Corporate HR at voestalpine, puts it in a nutshell: “People are the mothers and fathers of our success.” Being “one step ahead” is more than just the voestalpine claim, it’s also the standard upon which Max Stelzer’s HR endeavors and those of his HR team are based. The Group’s HR strategy is the largest common denominator, as well as the collective vision shared by voestalpine HR managers worldwide. Their focus is currently on the ongoing process of digitalization, and the already advanced evolution of voestalpine into an Industry 4.0 operator.

No one will be left behind

“It’s our responsibility to secure voestalpine’s competitive advantage by pro-actively focusing on future topics, and so we are actively looking after our colleagues at all levels within the Group,” says Stelzer, describing one of his core HR tasks: “We don’t leave anyone to cope with the new developments themselves. We turn employees into co-creators by showing them how they can benefit personally from what’s to come.” This depends upon the willingness of employees themselves to learn which, in turn, is a condition demanded by voestalpine as an employer. “We see learning as being enthusiastic about innovation, and a willingness to constantly enhance one’s skills,” summarizes Susanne Nestler, Head of HR for the Metal Forming Division.

Respect is the currency

There is plenty of help available for learning at voestalpine. The Group offers all its employees a range of opportunities for further development, investing EUR 54 million alone in training and continuing education each year. There are specialist academies, tailor-made courses, as well as development opportunities on the shop floor, and management programs. The corporate value:program supports (tomorrow’s) managers and prepares them for their future tasks. “Our HR measures are designed to make us the clear winner in the industry,” says Max Stelzer. One example is the so-called employee participation plan: the employees can participate in the success of voestalpine by holding their own shares in the company, simultaneously taking on the role of the Group’s second largest shareholder. Currently 24,400 employees hold a total of 14.5% of the voting rights.


voestalpine Mitarbeiter

Management Board at Apprentice Day

Having the entire Management Board take time for all the apprentices at the Group’s annual Apprentice Day in order to motivate them with praise, and allowing shop foremen and women to present their ideas in person during a Management Board meeting, would be unthinkable in many companies—but completely normal at voestalpine. Because the currency of communication across all levels of the hierarchy is one of mutual respect. It is, as Stelzer says, “an asset which we all work on, every day.” And successfully too, as demonstrated by living up the corporate claim of staying one step ahead.

Voestalpine USA Mitarbeiter

Christopher Eberl

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