“We will have a particularly high salary round this year.” Not that too!, many in the industry will have said to themselves after this announcement by Jochen Eckhold. “In view of rising inflation and the impact on energy and the cost of living, we are particularly concerned to send a positive signal to employees,” the Hugo Boss personnel manager told TW.
It is not only a signal to the employees.
According to Corona, the labour market is more than ever an employee market. Services can no longer be provided because skilled workers are lacking. Only now are many managers realising that employees really are the success factor they have always talked about in Sunday speeches. And that unfilled or unqualified positions are a failure factor. In itself, it is not a new insight: competition is also decided in “human resources” (actually a terribly technocratic term). That’s why companies compete on price here, too. And with other sectors. Aldi and Lidl already went ahead in the spring and announced a voluntary increase in hourly wages to 14 euros even before the minimum wage increase to 12 euros, which has since been decided.
Personnel cost increases are the next big issue for trade and industry. This is just what the industry needed after the lockdown, supply chain problems and the material and energy cost explosion.
Where before the pandemic table football was considered a sign of a contemporary corporate culture, some companies are now transforming themselves into event spaces, and HR specialists are becoming feel-good managers.
In the pandemic, companies have had to take an involuntary crash course in New Work. The home office option has become a matter of course for employees in many sectors. After the end of the lockdowns, some may be glad to see their colleagues in the flesh again. At the same time, people have become accustomed to the flexibility to quickly go shopping or to the gym in between, to put on laundry or pick up the children. Although it is probably meant to protect workers, the recent “time clock ruling” by the BAG did not go down well with many employees. It also doesn’t really fit the times.
Where before the pandemic table football was considered a sign of a contemporary corporate culture, some companies are currently transforming themselves into event spaces.
The way companies work together has changed rapidly and continues to change. At the same time, companies are forced to maintain an infrastructure that tends to be oversized. The fears that decentralised working does not exactly promote the creativity and innovative power of teams cannot be dismissed. Digitally mapping all processes does not make sense and is not possible everywhere and in every case. Employers are therefore making enormous efforts to make face-to-face work more attractive. This concerns not only the equipment and design of the offices, but also activities to strengthen the team spirit and keep colleagues in line. This sometimes has curious effects, in the truest sense of the word: at Simplicity in Oelde, for example, there is a “beekeeper” team that looks after the beehives on the company’s own flower meadow…
Where before the pandemic table football was considered a sign of a contemporary corporate culture, some companies are currently transforming themselves into event spaces, and HR specialists are becoming feel-good managers. Companies will probably no longer reach a not insignificant proportion of employees who have settled into the home office. But it still costs the companies more money.
In the end, not only the cooperation among employees will have changed, but also the bond between employees and the company. Those who do not build personal relationships in the company will find it easier to turn their backs on it. Four out of five employees are currently thinking of changing jobs, TW found out in its annual study “Working in Fashion”. This is especially true for the “Tinder generation”, which considers permanent availability in all areas of life to be normal and brushes everything else aside without hesitation when a supposedly better alternative appears.
But non-commitment is also increasing from the other side. Decision-makers who only know their colleagues from the computer screen (and soon possibly from the metaverse meeting) will find it easier to cut jobs than bosses who meet their employees every day and have even discussed private matters during the coffee break. Conversely, sympathy, interpersonal relations and social competence will play less of a role in the performance evaluation of employees and thus also in their career prospects.
Working relationships will thus become more transactional. It is not the case that new work will soon be replaced by old work; soft factors such as flexibility and mobile working, a good work-life balance, a good working atmosphere and training opportunities will remain important. At the same time, salary is more than ever the currency that matters. If everyone in your circle of friends earns more, even the best employer branding is of no use. This is all the more true in the looming economic crisis. For an increasing number of employees, “purpose” means being able to pay their bills at the end of the month.