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Our heart beats high tech

The opinion of Katrin Robeck, Managing Director of B.I.G. Corporate Services, on the subject of talent

The “talent issue”: Is it really as threatening as it likes to be portrayed? A medium-sized group of companies with a very high demand for skilled workers from the STEM sector takes the issue very seriously. But in the end, it’s not the seriousness, but “a lot of heart” that counts. A practical example from the CleanTech Park Marzahn.

In order to create customized technological solutions and real added value, we need people who are enthusiastic about technology and enjoy success. Finding these people and ensuring that they are happy to stay is a real challenge in this talent-hungry market. In addition, as a medium-sized company, we have to be a lot more creative and visible than large and well-known employer brands in order to be found at all.

We basically have two simple answers to the talent question: we love what we do and how we do it. Of course, fundamental issues such as salary, a modern work infrastructure and attractive offices are also important. But these factors are set and not necessarily “eye-catchers” or immediate unique selling points.

Our heart beats high tech. This gives us an employer brand that – developed together with our employees, by the way – quite simply summarizes what we do. The products also have to be somehow cool for engineers and inventors. Sophisticated, ingenious, complex and loved by customers.

But it’s not just the what. How solutions are found and added value is created has become extremely important. How includes belonging, appreciation and the opportunity to grow personally. It needs an environment full of trust, but also fun at work and, last but not least, a real chance and serious opportunities to help shape the company.

B.I.G. advocates self-organization – we call it collegial or shared leadership. We are convinced that people are more enthusiastic and motivated when they are allowed to make as many decisions as possible themselves.

We only have a few managers left and in some companies there are even no managers at all. For us, sharing management tasks is part of our working environment. Every team member is encouraged to make their own contributions, everyone bears responsibility and at the same time has a great deal of creative freedom. It is part of our DNA to include different positions and approaches regardless of hierarchies.

However, if there are no or very flat hierarchies, there is also no central organizing authority. Order or structure as an anchor point and “emotional home” can only emerge from within the organization when leadership is shared. This is also an analytical and methodological challenge: who has to talk to whom and when? How are decisions made? How do we deal with conflicts? When more people have a say, there is actually more friction.

We were worried that without leadership in the traditional sense, employees would be a little lost and insecure. However, the psychological safety of our employees is actually very high. A few weeks ago, we had the Energy Factory – a spin-off from the University of St. Gallen – measure them in a methodologically watertight manner.

It’s all hard work. It requires us managing directors to have the courage to let go, to let the teams make important decisions and to trust in the power of collegial knowledge. But it’s worth it. Maybe that’s why the talent issue isn’t quite so threatening for us.

Katrin Robeck is Managing Director of B.I.G. Corporate Services. Located at the Zukunftsort CleanTech Marzahn, the Berlin.Industrial.Group. brings together companies that are active in a wide range of industrial segments, such as medical and energy technology, toolmaking and mechanical engineering or the automotive industry.

Current issue – Adlershof Journal – Technology Park Adlershof


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