“The labor market is on fire!”

19. July 2022

A conversation with Wolf Reiner Kriegler about baby boomers, the battle for talent and a systemic tsunami

When Wolf Reiner Kriegler reports on the current situation on the labor market, the socio-political relevance is immediately apparent to the listener. “In 2020, the first baby boomers will take early retirement. That’s when the scramble for qualified applicants begins, especially in the IT sector,” says Kriegler. Companies need to build up a strong employer brand in order to be as attractive as possible on the labor market. And this is where Kriegler comes in with his consulting firm “DEBA”. He advises companies on how to build such a brand. Founded by Kriegler in 2006 and launched in 2007, he and his team have been at Satellite Office virtually from the start, first on Friedrichstrasse and later on Berlin’s Ku’damm. In the beginning, he had two permanent employees, but the core team has since grown to nine people. The workstations at Satellite Office have grown with us. In addition, there is a network of freelance consultants spread across Germany. “We also use Satellite Office outside of Berlin for meetings and projects. It is very advantageous for us that we can work with Satellite Office in so many locations and soon also in Düsseldorf,” Kriegler is pleased about the development.

Is your company fit for the future?

The digital transformation is a “systemic tsunami” because the economy is facing the greatest upheavals since industrialization. “The next few years will decide the next few decades,” Kriegler describes the situation. Companies must now ask themselves whether they are fit for the future. Also and especially in terms of attractiveness for current and future employees. Desired changes would have to be initiated soon, because changes are processes that are not anchored in people’s minds overnight. The topic of building a real employer brand therefore always starts internally first. Because if a brand is not carried and lived by the organization, it is simply not credible, says the brand expert. Neither internally nor externally.

DEBA’s experts first analyze the client’s culture. Talk to employees, management and the works council about identity, work culture and future needs. “We kick up dust when we work. We can always rely firmly on the hallway radio,” Kriegler smiles. For this reason, roles and responsibilities were clarified at an early stage in the companies, steering committees were formed and the project was also given an official name. “There is a lot of transparency in our processes, which is also immensely important,” Kriegler affirms. After all, it’s about finding the core identity that makes employees proud. Identification and willingness to perform has an extremely high correlation, Kriegler knows from many projects.

Once the internal strategy is in place, it’s time for everyone to know about it. DEBA then creates a brand experience that gets under the skin and convinces both employees and labor markets. But anyone who now thinks that the company should present itself in all its glory to the public as an employer is mistaken. “No one is interested in glossy anymore, that already doesn’t pick up any applicants,” Kriegler surprises us. “Showing rough edges, presenting myself as a company in my ambivalence, that’s the name of the game.” In this way, people should be able to see from the outset whether they fit into the company. “The more self-confident a company is about its profile and making a difference, the more successful it will be on the job market in the long run. And the less it has to spend to become widely visible,” Kriegler sums up. DEBA’s mantra is therefore: “Effectiveness of honesty”. As an example, he cites the extremely successful employer branding of an IT consulting firm that DEBA positioned as the “home of silent stars.” The success has been textbook: fewer applications, more hires, better applicant fit, more satisfaction and performance.

We at Satellite Office walk away from the conversation with the feeling that we’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest. Are we at Satellite Office fit for the future? What is the core of our corporate identity? Where do we have rough edges? What are we particularly proud of? We can already answer the last question in part: We are proud of our customers! Having a company like DEBA on our premises. People who permanently deal with processes of change in society feel comfortable with us. That’s what sets us apart. And gives us a good reason to come to work every morning. Maybe we’ll see each other again today for a quick chat at the coffee machine or in the hallway? That would be nice!

Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Kriegler. See you soon!

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