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Managing Director Claudia Lässig of the family business Lässig spoke to Luna Journal about how important the employees are for the success of the company. In this regard, Lässig attaches great importance to sustainable personnel management that binds employees to the company. After all, every employee is important to the family business. True to Lässig’s motto: “be successful in a team”.
On your homepage you indicate that your employees are the foundation of Lässig’s success. As a result, sustainable personnel management and investments in employee retention and training are a matter of course for you. What do you understand by sustainable personnel management? How do you build employee loyalty to your staff?
Claudia Lässig, Managing Director of the traditional company Lässig: For us as a family-run company, it is important that our employees are involved in our decisions in order to participate in the success of our company with their ideas and their implementation. This strengthens the sense of unity, the willingness to perform as well as the productivity.
Sustainable personnel management is designed for the long-term and is intended to bind employees to the company in order to prevent possible loss of know-how due to fluctuation. Furthermore, it is important to ensure succession in good time and to guarantee the transfer of know-how when employees leave the company, for instance when they retire. In this context, communication as well as the participation of employees are important building blocks for strategic personnel management. This promotes motivation and contributes as a result to transparent communication and a very good working atmosphere.
Especially nowadays, the involvement of employees in decision-making processes, personal development and their personal share in the success of the company are important motivators. Used correctly, they not only promote enjoyment of work or serve to improve processes, but also contribute to the stability of mental and physical health. To this end, Lässig initiated the introduction of a company health management system at the end of 2017 and at the same time implemented the topic of change management by an employee in the company. Changes and innovations at the process level, but also at the human level, are to be designed and implemented jointly by the employees. To ensure that those affected become stakeholders, the change manager provides advice and support, including in the implementation of the new company health management system - Lässig’s care package - which deliberately focuses on the two fields of action “Strategically oriented personnel management” and “promotion of health”.
How do you integrate new employees into your company?
Each of our employees has the corresponding core competencies on the basis of which he or she is deployed. The expansion or extension of competences takes place through training and further education or also through personnel expansion.
As soon as a new employee starts at Lässig, meaning that the application process is completed and the contract is signed, an internal personnel notification about the new employee with the future, internal contact data and the function is made as soon as he or she joins the company. In addition, an initiation plan is defined in advance with the department management, in other words either the employee first learns about all the other departments and in particular the interfaces before going to his or her own department or he or she begins directly in his/her own department and the tour of the other departments takes place afterwards. This always depends on the situation and requirements.
On the first working day, the new employee receives a welcome folder with information about the company, working and vacation times, topics such as data protection and travel costs, but also a voucher for a welcome gift. Subsequently, a colleague from the personnel department guides the new employee through the company and introduces him or her to colleagues. Due to the different locations between Babenhausen and Weiskirchen, there will also be an official welcome during the weekly Monday meeting, which the employees from the Weiskirchen location will join by video conference.
In this way the employee(s) should feel welcome, have the most important topics around Lässig as a reference book in the form of a welcome folder and get a feeling for the company, the interfaces and the spirit through the familiarization and tours.
Before the probation period expires, each new member receives his or her first feedback meeting and the associated goals for the following year. In the future, a smaller amount of feedback will also be given during the first half of the probation period to ensure that the new employee feels comfortable and integrated and that the training is carried out effectively.
What do you do in case of harassing within the company?
Fortunately, we have not experienced any cases of harassing in the last 11 years since our company was founded. Our corporate culture offers neither time nor space for such a thing.
In the event of differences that may sometimes arise between employees, we have trusted third parties elected by the workforce at our two locations in Babenhausen and Weiskirchen. They can be contacted at any time and then act as mediators. Our human resources department, headed by co-director Karin Heinrich, is also open at all times to act as a go-between or mediator. As a rule, however, we are set up in such a way that employees address their topics directly and clarify them among themselves.
How do you ensure that your employees feel comfortable at their workplace?
With a personal welcome according to the motto “Lässig ins Leben starten” (translates as “a casual start into life”) and an extensive training period, we enable a smooth entry into our company - simply personal and uncomplicated.
We have been very fast in the last 11 years - both in terms of personnel and space - so that we are no longer all at one location within the GmbH, but our headquarters in Babenhausen is now spread over three buildings and our logistics center is located in Weiskirchen. Accordingly, we must ensure that everyone feels comfortable in the premises, has enough space and freedom for ideas and that industrial safety measures are adhered to. Our offices in Babenhausen are modern and bright and equipped with the appropriate PC, ergonomic chairs and daylight ceiling lighting.
In the course of this year’s BGM (workplace health management) an individual ergonomics consultation took place with every employee of the company. Every workplace was examined carefully and suggestions as well as recommendations were given for a pleasant working day in the office at the desk. Beyond that there were movement suggestions for loosening up and relaxation, with the recommendation to use these also really actively. The same was also carried out for our employees in the logistics center, taking other work processes into account. Personal concerns, wishes and needs of our employees at the workplace are also realized as far as technically possible.
With two safety officers, both at the company headquarters in Babenhausen and at the logistics center in Rodgau-Weiskirchen, we have the first contacts for safety-related questions.
In addition to setting up modern workplaces, the well-being of our employees is very important to us and over the years we have introduced many benefits for our employees. Starting with a welcome gift and gifts for Christmas and birthdays, our employees can buy casual products at a discount.
We offer a weekly lunch allowance, which will even be supplemented with fresh fruit every week from September 2019 on. Since our success is team-based, we share the profit with our employees in the form of an annual bonus.
In addition to the team events such as Christmas parties or grape harvesting together, we sometimes also have spontaneous Barbecues together. We have also participated as a team in a small city run. Anyone who felt like it, of course. Especially these team events promote cooperation and communication among each other, since we are separated by the many individual locations and usually all rarely come together.
What is management responsibility for you? How do you implement it in your company?
I see two roles in my leadership position: Encouragement and challenge! This means understanding and supporting the interests and motivation(s) of my employees as well as participating in their professional development. Where is demand? Who has the necessary skills? How can Lässig promote interests to competencies? One of my tasks is to lead my team so that everyone has fun and success with his or her tasks. The whole company benefits from this.
In many companies the “promotion” of the guiding principle often doesn’t get its fair share in the implementation. How do you promote your employees?
In two workshops and team meetings over the past nine months, representative representatives from different hierarchy levels worked out what employees want and what motivates them and, as a result, not just initial measures such as ergonomics training were implemented. In particular, the company’s mission statement and values were jointly analyzed, summarized and updated once again. This is how we meet today’s zeitgeist and the still valid vision of guaranteeing productivity and willingness to perform, promoting resistance to the outside world, but above all strengthening the participatory, casual corporate culture and thus creating room for optimizing structures. Especially in recent years, Lässig has grown very quickly - both in terms of space and personnel - and not all processes have grown equally with the organization structure and processes. Here the tried and tested mixes with the new and at one or the other interface friction losses can still occur. In order to keep the current structures - comparable to a clockwork of different cogwheels that interlock - in flow, a mutually lived culture, consisting of a jointly verified guiding principle and a common understanding of values, helps. This leads to a vision, which in turn is bundled in an umbrella slogan. Finally, there was also a kick-off for the implementation of corporate health management, so that the onboarding of all employees takes place and everyone has the same understanding. The ideas generated at the kick-off offer a starting point for turning one or the other adjusting screw and making processes more effective for everyone’s benefit. At the same time, the cross-functional event strengthens the sense of unity with and among each other, as all those that are present are colorful and diverse regardless of their department and position. There will be an exchange, getting to know each other and development together.
What do you think about trainee programs?
Currently, we have not considered hiring any trainees in our company and have not yet considered such programs, but we are always open and positive about changes. We currently work with working students or students who spend a semester working with us, as well as one-year interns who are doing their vocational baccalaureate diploma. In recent years we have also trained in the logistics sector and currently also an apprentice as an industrial clerk.
Promoting young talent is important to us. As far as our available space allows, these models will continue to exist and who knows, perhaps at some point we will also have a trainee program or even a dual study program. LÄSSIG is still quite young as a company.
Lässig has more than 80 employees from Germany, France, Hong Kong and the USA. How do you respond to the individual needs of your employees? What do you do against emerging language barriers?
The Lässig Holding has over 80 creative minds who are internationally positioned. It includes Lässig, Inc. in the USA, Lässig Ltd. in Hong Kong, our flagship store in Mallorca, but also our employee in France and of course Lässig GmbH based in Babenhausen and the surrounding area. Most of the more than 80 employees work here. We have never experienced language barriers as such, because our colleagues in the USA, as well as in Hong Kong, France or Mallorca, have their permanent internal contacts with whom they are in constant contact. Whether English, French, Spanish or even Chinese, over 16 languages are spoken fluently in our company. English is even standard and like a second mother tongue to German. Our team has intercultural skills and that is what makes us so diverse, colorful, varied and exciting. And we are proud of that.
Lässig presents itself as a family-friendly company. Which working models do you offer your employees?
Depending on the job situation, we offer both full-time and part-time models and will also introduce flexitime with core working hours from January 2019 in order to be in line with current working time developments and to make the work-life balance, which is very important to us, easier to live out.
We are a family business and want to stay one: With more room for creative leeway in terms of working hours. With flexible breaks, temporary reductions in working hours, individual working time regulations and working hours based on trust, all of which make it easier to reconcile working life and family life. Mothers and fathers with small children are welcome and should be able to create a flexible balance between work and family life.
How can a company express its appreciation for its employees?
With respectful treatment and mindfulness. The clear message to all and ourselves: “be successful in a team”. Our success story would not be possible without the commitment and motivation of each individual. And so that everyone can feel this, feedback is so important. A friendly, open-minded approach to each other is so essential. Reconciling the needs of the individual with those of the community is so fundamental. Understanding and using the motivation of our employees in order to be able to work together well and in a goal-oriented manner and to create a culture of trust in which simple praise can be motivating, constructive criticism is encouraged and learning from mistakes - for us, this is an appreciative environment that we have firmly entrenched in our guiding principle.
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