Trust and the desire for change

Organizational Development, People & Culture

For seven years, noventum consulting has participated with great success in the nationwide "Great Place to Work" competition organized by the Cologne-based institute of the same name. In 2012, noventum employees promoted their employer to first place in the group of companies with up to 500 employees for the third time in the anonymous survey that accompanies every competition participation. Frank Petersen, HR Manager at Germany's most popular employer, takes a look back in a novum interview.

novum: Mr. Petersen, how does it feel to be the HR manager at Germany's most popular employer?

Frank Petersen: Very good! Our employees give us an excellent report card. That certainly makes me and us proud. Above all, it gives us the confidence that we are doing the right thing in times when personnel resources are becoming scarcer.

novum: You don't have any problems finding the right employees?

Frank Petersen: Yes, we face the same problem as all companies in the IT industry. But our applicants tell us that we are particularly attractive among the large number of otherwise very similar companies. There are many IT management consultancies, but noventum is clearly different. And that helps.

novum: noventum has been participating in this competition since 2006. Have you changed since then and does that have anything to do with the GPtW ranking?

Frank Petersen: Yes and no. Of course, we have brought a great openness to the topic of "employee orientation". noventum has always been a company that has related the idea of "good work" to its own employees as well. The consulting industry has some recurring problems, prominently including high employee turnover. So we've always been very committed to working on that issue. However, we have been much more systematic and also consistent in our corresponding efforts with our repeated participation in the competition and the self-examination that goes along with it. That changes details and deepens attitudes. Yes, we have changed.

novum: Where is this noticeable?

Frank Petersen: Let's take the aspects of sustainability and culture of trust. Despite having only about 100 employees, we have a very differentiated internal management structure. We have 10 employees with personnel responsibility. In an effort to understand and live the basic insights from the GPtW approach, all of these colleagues are very actively challenged. Employee orientation is not just a sum of e.g. financial blessings, it is about an attitude from the employer to the employee. And this attitude is based on something other than "I give you money, in return you give me your labor".

novum: Can you describe the "different" attitude in a positive way?

Frank Petersen: Let me try it this way: We spend the essential part of our waking time together. For many years, work colleagues are the most time-consuming social environment we all have. And that should be good, supported by honesty and trust, resilient and caring. From such a "safe castle" we can do all our demanding and sometimes exhausting jobs. However, in order not to subject such a claim to any randomness or daily opportunities, measures have to be defined. We have a very extensive to-do list that our employees responsible for human resources have to work through. They are also measured against this.

novum: Can you give us an example?

Frank Petersen: Let's take the "contact" example: Each supervisor invites his or her employees individually to an appraisal interview twice a year. Here, expectations, criticism and change requests are discussed in detail and mutually. In addition, each supervisor is always approachable for his employees and also actively seeks contact with his employees on a regular basis. This is not easy in a consulting company, where employees are often widely scattered in various customer projects. But that is our claim.

novum: That doesn't sound as if a revolution in the world of work has taken place at your company?

Frank Petersen: No, that's not the point. But at noventum, all measures that are noticeable and relevant for employees must be measured against the high standard of being employee-oriented. And in the end, the sum of all the measures is quite imposing.

novum: Can you give us another example that shows that you do things differently than usual?

Frank Petersen: With pleasure. I choose an example that directs the view outwards. noventum consulting is a company that faces up to its social responsibility, which successful companies have to face. We work in a concrete society and, apart from taxes, we also want to give back our share and help to this society of which we are a part. We are involved in a wide range of small and large measures, sometimes in terms of personnel, sometimes financially. And these fields for our social commitment have very often been suggested by our employees. Every employee can and should identify points in his or her environment where we should get involved. The result is often sponsorship, sometimes volunteering. Why do we do it this way? We are a successful consulting firm together, we also want to participate and have a say in the distribution of added value together. And that is then noticeably more than just marketing.

novum: What is the future of the "Great Place to Work" competition and noventum consulting?

Frank Petersen: On two levels: On the one hand, together with the Cologne Institute, we set out to bring the basic idea of the GPtW to Münsterland. This year, a Münsterland regional competition will start for the first time. We are available as contact persons for colleagues from other companies who are interested in participating. Of course, we do not participate ourselves, not even in the national competition. We play a similar role in establishing the GPtW model in Turkey, where our subsidiary is effective as a sponsor of the newly founded institute. We have become part of the initiative during the years of our participation. On the other hand, without participating in the competition, we will continue to have our employees surveyed and incorporate the corresponding evaluations into our concrete HR work. We, too, must constantly change, adapt and improve. We have become accustomed to this, we believe in it and we will continue to do so.

novum: Thank you very much for this interview!

Haben wir Ihr Interesse geweckt?

Frank Petersen
Geschäftsleitung, Director

noventum consulting GmbH

Münsterstraße 111

48155 Münster

+49 2506 93020

Dr. Matthias Rensing

noventum consulting GmbH
Münsterstraße 111
48155 Münster

+49 2506 93020

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