What are the implications for top management?
Ten years ago, firms still had a manageable number of goals to focus on. Nowadays, top managers have to be stellar performers. Able to juggle a lot of topics and issues at the same time! You simply can’t do that any more without the full online transparency you get from digital processes.
One of these challenges is undoubtedly the “war for talent” – what’s your take on that?
The skills shortage has been a major challenge for companies for a long time now. But these days it’s being compounded by the phenomenon of the multi-optional society. It means employers have the tricky task of offering staff a stimulating working environment and securing their long-term loyalty with meaningful career prospects in a world of multifarious options and frequent fast-paced change. Today, recruitment and staff loyalty have become a top management priority.
How can ATOSS help companies?
In the “war for talent”, it helps if you stand out from the crowd by integrating your staff well in your workforce management processes. Being able to deploy them with great flexibility – managed via mobile apps – is also a bonus. In both respects, we offer solutions that can generate major strategic benefits. For instance, our solution enabled a major German hospital to cut its sickness rate by 2.5 percentage points and significantly reduce staff turnover, all thanks to greater employee satisfaction.
What has ATOSS learned in the “war for talent”?
For us too, recruiting the right people is a key growth driver and something our entire top management team is focusing on. We join forces in our search for the most talented individuals so we can build the best teams – the more varied and diverse, the better. Here are some examples of how we’ve actively lived diversity: 42 percent of our staff are female, which is above average for the IT industry, and we have a multi-generational workforce, with people hailing from 21 different countries, all of whom are working together to achieve our vision in a spirit of mutual trust and respect. As CEO, I’m particularly delighted that we were certified as a “Top Employer Germany” earlier this year.
You’re calling for more digitization – but aren’t issues like automation and robotics threatening your business model? After all, your software is used to plan and schedule people, not robots.
In Europe, the opposite is true. In Germany, for instance, there are now some three million fewer people working in the manufacturing industry than in the early ‘90s. This is all down to the automation that you mention and to production and logistics processes being controlled and connected up more smartly – Industry 4.0, in other words. In the same period, however, nearly ten million new jobs have been created in the service sector. What we’re actually seeing, in fact, is the transformation towards a service society. Some 75 percent of Germany’s entire working population is already employed in this sector, while in the USA it’s nearly 90 percent. That shows you how far things could still go.
Does that mean Europe won’t be manufacturing anything at all in the future?
No, I don’t think that will be the case. Rather, I believe that advancing automation will soon mean low-wage countries will lose their competitive edge for some goods as they’ll be competing with fully automated production lines. In the USA, for example, they’ve just unveiled the Sewbot – a sewing robot that can produce T-shirts faster and more cheaply than any worker in a low-wage country. If trends like these continue, production facilities could be brought back to where the end customers are. Back to Europe, for instance.
How can your workforce management suites contribute to the digitization that’s being called for?
Our solution used to be about supporting the admin side of managing and calculating working times. Today, that’s merely the platform on which we build high-performance algorithms with data on companies, employee requests and statutory frameworks. The result is an accurate forecast of personnel requirements and optimized planning aligned with that forecast. The quality of this planning allows companies to endow their workforce with greater flexibility. And this flexibility is urgently needed nowadays if staff are to be deployed with pinpoint accuracy to cope with all the fluctuating demands of business models.