Colleagues with passion
Passionate as a start-up – as innovative as W&H
Employees who are passionate get stuck in, they take the initiative, and they are responsible. They are enthusiastic themselves, which in turn makes others enthusiastic. Here at W&H Dentalwerk Bürmoos, we know for sure that anyone who is passionate about what they do will do it well. This also creates added value for the company. All applicants need to find the perfect task for themselves.
This is easier said than done, however, and requires experience and instinct, as HR manager Markus Fegg knows. His addition of Christof Baier, was a conscious effort to strengthen his Human Resources team. In this interview, Markus Fegg and Christof Baier tell us what they look out for in particular during interviews and provide us with an insight into changing careers within the company.
Mr Fegg, in your opinion, in what way does your entry scheme for talented young people and experienced professionals have a decisive edge over other companies?
Markus Fegg: We would like to make it easier for those starting out in their careers by offering a new entry-level scheme for talented young people. This enables them to work in a wide variety of different teams over the first few months and to know the different tasks involved.
In the case of the experienced professionals, we pay a good deal of attention to the individual's skills as well as the application that is submitted specifically for the advertised position. When we are talking in the interview, we try to find out what the individual is passionate about and what they are interested in. This enables us – working in close collaboration with our managers – to determine which range of tasks will be just right for each applicant. Our aim is to link up the employees' own personal passion with the work tasks in the best possible way. We place our focus firmly on 'career', i.e. centring the work on professional development and progression. For us, 'career' is not the same as a typical promotion to a management position.
You have mentioned passion in the employees. Why is this aspect so important?
Fegg:Anyone who is passionate about what they do will do it well. Sometimes during the interview, you find out that the person would be much better suited to another area and the perfect addition to another W&H team because of their passion for something, technical or otherwise. In the past, this has often resulted in a long-term collaboration. It is important to us that employees transfer their passion to colleagues in the company. Just as the saying goes: "Anyone who loves their job will never need to work again."
After the settling-in period, how do you establish what the employee actually wants themselves? How do you tie this in with the company's interests?
Fegg: After the settling-in phase, we expect every employee to be having concrete thoughts about their professional development. There is a firm focus on individual responsibility at our company. Individual initiative and responsibility for one another, in my opinion, are important if we are to target our efforts as a team of people and also key to continuing professional development of the employee. These things make long-term collaboration a possibility.
Your colleague Christof Baier is a classic example of someone who was able to change career paths within the company – why did you open up this avenue for him?
Fegg: After gaining qualifications at a technical college and benefiting from many years of professional experience at W&H in the areas of Account Management and Development, Mr Baier went on to qualify as an industrial engineer. During his studies, he approached me on several occasions to discuss projects and personal areas of interest. Over the course of this collaboration, his passion for recruitment and recruitment marketing became clear to see. After gaining his qualification, we arranged for him to do a 6-month internship within Human Resources, which culminated with him being appointed in a role permanently. Mr Baier's broad range of experience is of major benefit to recruitment. For instance, he can communicate with technicians and managers on their level and knows exactly what interviews are all about.
It was the right decision for Christof Baier. Are there other examples of career changes within your company?
Fegg: Changing career development has been part and parcel of our practice for years; we make targeted efforts to encourage this even. There are countless examples of people at our company changing their career path: from apprentice to operations manager, from apprentice to account manager for international customers, or from apprentice to health and safety officer – we have had it all. Retaining employees in the long term is a cause close to our heart, which is why we help people to change team or department and with it support our employees' interests. I think that means that we are a passionate employer.
Mr Baier, what made you switch to the Human Resources department?
Christof Baier: When I was studying part-time, I was able to focus on topics of personal interest to me all the time, which made it a lot of fun. The title of my final year project was “University/college marketing at a technical company, focusing on the area of Research & Development", which was a perfect opportunity to tie in my professional experience i.e. work both financial and technical aspects into my work. My employer and I were always on the lookout for shared interests and ways to add value for both sides. This meant, of course, that I was very motivated and always open to new things. I was also very keen to give something back to the company via my final year project.
What tasks do you have in your role?
Baier:I am responsible for careers fairs; as a project manager I am also responsible for introducing a new HR software that should make the application process as simple as possible for applicants.
My other main responsibilities are "We are hiring", W&H's current campaign, and recruitment for current vacancies. Here, I look after the entire recruitment process, from creating the job ad, to the interview, all the way through to on boarding.
How much are you able to draw on your previous experience when carrying out your recruitment tasks at W&H?
Baier: As I have worked as a development engineer myself in the past, it's a lot of fun for me doing interviews with engineers and talking to them on their level. In my opinion, this is also important if you are going to have a respectful conversation. If you have a wide range of professional experience, you also have the intuition necessary to find out the applicant's talents and interests. You soon have an idea of whether the person is the right fit or not.
Which qualifications and experiences do you look out for in an applicant?
Baier: We need people with the ability to be enthusiastic; I regard that as a basic requirement for the many different tasks we do at W&H. Whether material sciences, electrical engineering, automation technology or connectivity solutions, we face many exciting challenges at our company. New tasks which need project managing come up time and time again across the entire product life cycle – from the initial idea for the product all the way through to the end of the series. This spectrum soon makes it clear that we offer talented young people and experienced professionals with different passions and interests exciting jobs with further development opportunities.
About Christof Baier:
Christof Baier began his career at W&H after graduating from HTBLuVA Salzburg with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, joining the Key Account Management team in 2006 and assuming responsibility for W&H customers in North America, South America and Australia, as well as subsidiaries in Spain and Scandinavia. The majority of his exciting tasks, such as managing a wide variety of customer enquiries and agreeing new partnerships, required him to use the English language. He worked as the interface on projects involving international partners. In 2009, Christof, from Salzburg, accepted a new challenge in the Development team. In his roles as project manager and as a member of the project team, he saw countless product development projects through from beginning to end. Developing motors aside, this W&H employee was also involved in launching a probe for the detection of caries on the market.
In 2012, Christof Baier became a member of the ENT-SA team (vibrating drives and battery powered devices), whose job was to develop piezo scalers and technology for the removal of tartar and plaque. In 2015, the qualified engineer decided to study part-time to become an industrial engineer, which gave him the opportunity to take part in various project work covering HR-related topics time and time again. After Christof discovered his interest in this field, the company allowed him to switch to Human Resources in 2017, where he now takes care of HR marketing, recruitment and trade fair agendas, as well as actively contributing his vast professional experience.