Celle Castle Talk: The human success factor

On 12 November 2015, the fourth Celle Castle Talk dealt with the most important enterprise resource: people. Under the motto "The human success factor", experts,entrepreneurs and employees examined two important aspects of this comprehensive set of topics, namely the integration of migrants into the world of work and the recruitment of young employees.

Flexibility, openness and the willingness for lifelong learning are more important today than ever before, stressed DMAN managing director Ralf Othmer in an interview with moderator Astrid Frohloff. "Only those who proactively educate themselves become 'success factors' for their companies."

Dr. Volker Schmidt, managing director of NiedersachsenMetall, reported: "The majority of our companies have already dealt with the question of employing refugees or are planning to do so." He presented the results of a survey among the members of his association. According to the report, more than 60 percent of the metal and electrical companies are rather sceptical as to whether the recruitment of refugees can contribute to solving the shortage of skilled workers. Consumer-oriented service providers are much more optimistic: Almost 80 percent of them hope for positive impulses on the skilled labour market.

Jobs for refugees - opportunities for the economy

How can migrants be integrated into the German working world? How can companies use the potential of asylum seekers? And how does the Federal Employment Agency support them in this journey? These highly topical questions were discussed in the first part of the event.

Dr. Mehmet Gürcan Daimagüler described his path from a guest workers' child to a successful lawyer with a Harvard degree. He was optimistic: "The fairy tale of failed integration is long outdated. Migrant children know that they want to stay in Germany." But integration is not a "multi-cultural street festival", but hard work, he added. Three aspects should be given attention, without which integration would not be possible: language, education and jobs.

Ulrich Christ of the Federal Employment Agency sees lack of language skills as the greatest obstacle to integration. "It is important for companies to provide migrants with continuous qualification opportunities," he says. Because: "The path to an employment contract leads through qualification and competence. After all, employing migrants is not an end in itself for companies. It's all about finding suitable, qualified employees."

This was confirmed by Martin Bauermeister, who employs a young refugee from Somalia in his craft business. However, he had to overcome many bureaucratic hurdles. "We went to the authorities together to get all the permits," says Bauermeister, who speaks highly of his African apprentice: "He is very motivated, extremely positive - a benefit for my company."

Generation Facebook – Employer attractiveness is decisive

After a musical interlude, the second part of the event was dedicated to the question of what makes employers attractive to young people. 

Professor Michael Haller of the Hamburg Media School presented the results of a study that examined the communication behaviour, values and expectations of "Generation Y". "They have a high capacity for teamwork, would like to remain anchored  in their home regions, and are only mobile to a limited extent." Personal freedom and self-realization are just as important to them as the balance between work, family and friends. "They always think in context," Haller says, "but they are afraid of making decisions." His advice to the companies: They should challenge and support employees of this generation, motivate them to seek further qualification - but also "familiarize them with the toils of the plain".

Will companies soon turn into "applicants"? HR Manager Steffen Brinkmann from Continental AG in Hanover answered this question with a clear yes. Orientation and values of a company are becoming increasingly important, he says, and the meaningfulness of a job plays an important role for applicants. Brinkmann: "Trust and freedom are decisive reasons for future employees when they choose their employers. And they ask themselves: Is my job fulfilling?"

This was also the view of young entrepreneur Oliver Ihn - who spoke as a representative of the Facebook generation that evening. The journalist, moderator and media designer specializes in media productions. "Money alone does not make you happy. Fun is just as important," he said. "The atmosphere in the working environment must be right, that is crucial to me."

The programme was framed musically by the band "Sophie(l) zum Thema Jazz" from Celle. The audience greeted their interpretations of well-known Amy Winehouse songs with lively applause.

During the get-together in the Caroline Mathilde rooms of the Celle Residence Museum, the participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences in an informal atmosphere.

DMAN and NiedersachsenMetall organise the Celle Castle Talks with the aim to provide decision-makers in Lower Saxony companies with impulses and concrete support for their activities on domestic and international markets.

Photos: Anne Friesenborg