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Talent Management was and always will be at the top of HR’s agenda – how to recruit, train, retain and engage the people who make or break an organisation. Luckily, there are tools and platforms available for them on the market, which, if properly utilised, can make a big difference in bringing the right people on board and ensuring their success. We spoke to Bernhard Münster, Senior Product Manager at Haufe, about the value that technology can add in creating engaged, innovative and adaptable organisations.

Bernhard Münster has been a product manager at Haufe since 2009. In this position, he is responsible for the umantis Talent Management and Haufe Zeugnis Manager web-based solutions. His goal is to develop the Haufe products to reflect customer requirements and to consistently expand their market share.

Haufe has been sponsoring HR Tech Europe for the past couple of years, and we are excited to now have it on board as the Emerald Sponsor of the HR Tech World Congress 2015.

XrAHGHbN_400x400One of Haufe’s strongest messages is creating employee-centric organisations. Clearly, the company practices what it preaches with democratic annual elections of its senior management. Was that the original design of Haufe’s business model? If not, what was the transition to this model like?

csm_itl-muenster-haufe-lexware_ca12dd4eefHaufe is convinced that staff who do the right thing lead companies to success. We give expression to this conviction among others on our haufe.de/vision blog. Surveys like our Leadership Trend Study prove – and we experience that ourselves – that employees can make an active contribution to company success. Today and in future, companies can only be successful if they react quickly and effectively to changes in the market. In order to reach this target, the staff must be absolutely motivated to go along the path of permanent change together. Both – reaction and motivation – can only be achieved is the individual staff member is capable of action, brought into decision-making and can shape this.

This is why we at Haufe-umantis have for years involved the entire team in the definition of the strategy and business plan. This also includes the financial targets. We have also completely reorganized recruitment. It is our staff who define the personnel requirements, who look for candidates and then make the decision on their recruitment. So if the staff determine the strategy, if the also determine who will join the team, why should they not elect their own boss? Quite simply, that is the logical consequence of our democratic company culture.

Future of Work is a rather vague concept without an action and time plans behind it. When it comes to talent management, what do you think the practice should look like tomorrow and what do organisations need to do today to achieve it?

An important precondition for success in volatile markets is employee-centered personnel management. Only if employees have the chance of helping to determine their tasks, their activities and their development do they do the right thing for themselves and the company. Staff members who approach talent management correctly become movers and shakers and support culture change: from more hierarchical structures to an open leadership culture. This radical change is necessary in order to help teams work together effectively, to encourage the application of their talent by each individual and ultimately to ensure the success of the company.

What specific recruitment and talent market needs is Haufe addressing with the Umantis Talent Management product?

The precondition for actively involving members of staff is extremely simple software that can be used intuitively and supports bottom-up processes. It is decisive that the software be designed for end users, that it – unlike ERP software for instance – will not be used exclusively by experts. Talent Management, for example, is oriented towards common Internet applications like Google. In this way staff members can actively contribute to the shaping of their development in the company. In this connection Frost & Sullivan refers to an end-to-end solution. Besides functions like applicant management, goal agreement, successor planning or event management the solution includes an internal corporate network which simplifies information interchange between personnel department, managhaufe.umantis_140x90ement and staff.

Precisely in talent management, it is not a matter of automation or mechanical orientation towards the most objective possible performance indicators. Our solution therefore presents only the really important and decisive functions – but these excellently. Because if the effort is too great, staff and managers don’t use these systems or use them wrongly. Relevant data such as skills, qualifications or goals must be collected and used as efficiently as possible and without a big effort. This approach, where the aim is effectiveness and not the complete or correct representation of processes, distinguishes it from many non-European providers of talent management solutions.

Research shows that 60% of HR practitioners plan on changing their Talent Acquisition or Analytics platforms within the next 2 years. What should HR teams take into consideration before replacing their current systems?

It is really important to consider what exactly the company wants to achieve with the new solution. What challenges and goals does the company have in general, and what can or should the talent management system contribute here? Are HR managers interested in optimizing processes, or do they want to involve their staff in important personnel processes via an easy to use platform? How talent management is used depends quite strongly on the corporate culture. A company with top-down control would choose different software from a management which is aiming for agility. Only when this is clear to me can I select the right product. The introduction process must be developed together with the supplier in the direction of the goals defined. This is the only way to ensure that the solution matches the corporate culture and the talent management can be established successfully.

Based on your experience and observations, what are the top three things organisations do wrong in talent retention?

The first problem actually lies in the expression “talent retention”. It suggests that this is just a question of high potentials. But a company can only be successful if it respects all staff members. Because no one is a talent, but all members of staff have talent. Therefore, the focus of all measures must lie in the area of development and loyalty of all employees, naturally with different emphases and strategies. The second hurdle is the fact that many companies regard talent management as a HR discipline. But it is of essential importance exactly here that all participants, that is employees, managers and the HR department are involved in the process and can have their say. The third and last mistake is the result of the first two: Up to now the awareness has been lacking in many areas that talent management has become a core discipline, which is decisive for the whole success of the company, and therefore also deserves more attention on the C level.

What about recruitment?

Recruiting must be thought through anew and performed differently. What was an employer market has long turned into an applicant market and demography does the rest. A professional approach to potential employees and quick reactions to applications are preconditions for an attractive employer brand and a short time to hire. But not only does the employer communication take place unprofessionally, the problem often lies in the selection of the employees. Bad decisions in personnel selection cost companies more than just money. We therefore recommend social recruiting. This is not the same as social media recruiting – it simply means, for example, that the team which is looking for reinforcement presents itself in the job advertisement with a picture. In this way, the recruiting automatically becomes social recruiting. Because members of staff who are actively looking for new colleagues themselves are happy to share “their advert” in their own social networks. If current studies are to be believed, it is exactly this personal aspect which is decisive for successful recruiting.

Is Haufe planning to add new products to its portfolio in 2015-2016, and, if so, what market needs will it address?

Yes we are planning that. In particular extensions and expansion of our current solutions in the area of talent management, certificate management and knowledge management. At the same time we are further expanding our consultancy offerings. Because it is incredibly important for success in all HR relevant topics to open all procedures and processes in the company to discussion, and to find the right or a better way in each case. All our services, whether consultancy, content, software or training have one aim: To make our customers successful.

Haufe has been a proud sponsor of HR Tech Europe and now HR Tech World for a while now – why do you continue to choose this platform?

HR Tech Events belong to the leading HR Tech events in Europe and provide wonderful speakers and keynotes. They are therefore the ideal platform for our international activities.

At the HR Tech World Congress, what is the most important message you want the attendees to take away after visiting your stand?

The biggest lever for sustainable success in a company is the people who do the right things.


Sponsor HR Tech World Congress