Interview #12 Stefanie Gold: "The interpersonal things make the difference."
Having evolved from the personnel department, which previously performed a secondary service function, now the Human Resources department is increasingly assuming the full role of a business partner.
It initiates strategic changes, participates in their implementation, and directly affects the company's financial performance indicators. By this, the terms of reference for an HR specialist change. Also, HR’s area of responsibility, tools, status within the organization and external perception are changing too.
According to statistics from the CEB Corporate Leadership Council’s research reports:
71 % of HR heads are spending more time on business issues not related to HR or talent and 70 % of heads of HR are spending more time participating in business projects in a leadership capacity.
We continue to look for true HR professionals to find out how the HR sphere is changing, what tasks modern HRs solve, what interesting situations happen in HR departments and much more.
Today a guest from Stuttgart visited our AcademyOcean "studio."
Stefanie Gold did an internship at MAHLE GmbH Stuttgart during her studies. She studied business administration at the university of applied sciences in Aalen with the main topic: Human Resources.
She did an internship in the US, Florida for 6 months, at MSHS company at the HR department and then worked as an HR manager in Zürich, Switzerland. Stefanie worked for one of the BIG 4 "Ernst & Young" called EY in Stuttgart as a Team Coordinator for Recruiting and Onboarding.
At the moment she is an HR Manager in Stuttgart. She is responsible for Stuttgart, Munich and Shanghai.
Her main topics: Recruiting and onboarding. She is also accountable for all personnel-related and labor law issues during the employment process.
According to Kronos, 76% of HR leaders say employee onboarding practices are underutilized at their organization.
Read the interview with Stefanie to the end to find out how the onboarding process goes into her organization and how Mercedes can vacate a vacancy in the company.
AO: Nice to meet you, Stefanie! Let’s start with your attitude to your profession. What is the one thing that you enjoy most about working in HR?
S: What I enjoy most is working with highly specialized people. To support and advance them, these are things that drive me in HR. Direct contact with our employees is very important for me.
AO: Did you work somewhere before becoming an HR professional, why did you decide to become an HR?
S: I did my first internship in the HR department. It soon became clear to me that I was exactly right. This hasn't changed in the last 10 years.
AO: In fact, it is cool that you were not mistaken in your choice of education and profession. According to PR Newswire, only 13 % of the US workforce is passionate about their jobs. And this is a very frighteningly small number. Can you name three areas that you feel need the most improvement, based on your understanding of common HR practices?
S:1. Recruiting: Many companies work with outdated methods and do not work with modern tools. This leads to delays in the application process. Good candidates are then usually no longer available. In my opinion, recruiting processes have to be highly efficient and as digital as necessary, as humane and accessible as possible.
2. Development/Coaching: Employees must have the opportunity to continue their training whenever they want. For this purpose, there are great platforms that should be available around the clock. Individual coachings are nice but can only be a form of support when it comes to development.
Ideally, every employee has a mentor, regular meetings, team feedback and a digital platform he can use. In my opinion, employee development does not belong in the hands of external consultants – it is in the managers' hands in your own company.
3. Employer Branding. Many companies offer great benefits, but nobody knows about it. Significant initiatives are not or insufficiently communicated. I'm afraid that's not right. To believe that suitable applicants find the company by chance is wrong. Find suitable channels and make yourself visible as a company! Then the right people will see each other!
AO: Stefanie, who do you think is the top 1 HR expert in the world and why?
S: For me, there is not a single HR expert. I have met many great HR people in the last 10 years. I was most enthusiastic about people who were passionate about their work and who placed value on the little things. They recognized that trust in people is always rewarded and that they were very successful.
The interpersonal things make the difference.
AO: As you already said, development and coaching were some of the areas that need the most improvement. And how does the adaptation (employee onboarding) of new employees go into your company?
S: There is a detailed onboarding program. Here all necessary programs are explained, the colleagues are introduced, and the first projects are worked out. Each employee receives a buddy/mentor. There is a welcome package for each employee. In short: We do everything to make the employee feel comfortable from day 1 – as I said before, it is the small interpersonal things that make the difference.
AO: It's nice to hear when companies care about their employees. Let's talk a little about inspiration.What is the most valuable professional development advice you have ever gotten?
S: My very first boss said to me during an internship: "If you want to be successful, practice penetrance if you don't get an answer." I have remembered this to this day and do not give up at first "no." This has helped me many times. Not to accept things but to persistently stick with them when you think it is right.
AO: Nice, I think every person remembers well his/her first job and first boss. Let's move to the current situation.How did the HR sphere change after the spread of COVID-19?
S: Initially, some open vacancies were closed to wait out the economic situation and employees were unsettled. Little by little, a piece of "new normality" is returning. For me, personally, it was nice to see that work processes also function under "unusual conditions."
AO: Stefanie, let's close our interview with a relaxing question. What was the funniest/most unusual incident during your HR practice?
S: I once had a trainee who dropped out at short notice because he said he couldn't cover his Mercedes' leasing rate with the trainee's salary (which is usual in the industry). Another student was then happy about the place.
AO: Hahaha, what a lucky guy! Thank you so much, Stefanie! We wish you good luck and prosperity!
That's all for today, friends. See you at the next interview!
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Take care 😇