Manuel, Herchenbach keeps winning awards for being a ‘Top Employer’. Which award is most important to you?
True to the motto "Do good and talk about it", every award is important to me, and in my eyes we have earned each one. So this year I was very pleased that we were once again recognised by Kununu, Germany's largest job application portal, for our corporate culture and outstanding employee satisfaction. But I am much more delighted by the reason for these awards than by the awards themselves.
Why did Herchenbach win this award?
What is special about Herchenbach, as I see it, is the truly extraordinary corporate culture in the most positive sense. I always find it inspiring that a state-of-the-art company operating throughout Europe still incorporates the family values it had as a medium-sized business. We treat with each other with appreciation, and team solidarity plays a big role – and that's exactly what leads to the successes we get to celebrate together every year. This special corporate culture is reflected in the many positive reviews on Kununu, which led to the ‘Top Company’ award.
You yourself have only been with Herchenbach for about half a year. How did you find out about the company?
As you know, I was able to support Herchenbach's personnel recruitment actively for about 3 years as an external personnel consultant under the flag of HAPEKO Germany before I ‘switched sides’. In my 6 years in personnel consultancy, I grew to know many companies of different sizes, structures and cultures. There were certainly some companies among them that, in my view, well deserved such awards and seals of approval. The fact that last year I switched jobs to Herchenbach of all places, completely of my own accord and on my own initiative by the way, as I had considered doing for a long time, was anything but a coincidence.
Why did you choose Herchenbach?
What had impressed me about this company for years was its unusual mix of a start-up atmosphere, pragmatic can-do mindset, courage to innovate, an unusual process and system landscape for its sector, as well as its focus on performance and a sporting sense of team play. At the same time, Herchenbach is a locally rooted company that remains unpretentious and extremely down-to-earth. You can clearly tell that we are a ‘medium-sized company’ from the moment you drive into the yard. But thanks to an innovative and unrivalled customer-centred approach, Herchenbach has managed to rise at a rapid pace to become one of the undisputed market and innovation leaders in a very competitive industry. And all this without forgetting its roots or sacrificing that feeling of family unity. A ‘hidden champion’ at its best.
The number of employees is growing steadily, and working across international borders as well as working from home is part of everyday life at Herchenbach. What does this mean for the corporate culture?
The increasing number of international colleagues shows me that we are managing to inspire people beyond Germany’s borders as well. Given the strong growth in staff numbers and the renowned challenges of the current pandemic, it really makes me quite proud that we can maintain our spirit even with such a high proportion of staff working from home as well as across international borders, and still pass this spirit on to our new colleagues.
Anyone applying to Herchenbach will usually have their first face-to-face meeting with you. What is important to you when applying?
I look at their professional suitability, of course. More important for me, however, are factors such as commitment, motivation and a clear ambition to get involved as well as to develop personally and professionally. Despite all the differences and refreshing diversity among our more than 100 colleagues, those are actually the unifying elements at Herchenbach in my view. Which is to say, at Herchenbach, it’s the person themselves that counts more than their educational background or relevant experience. That’s why it’s not uncommon for former career changers to become managers here within a few years with the right dedication.
What career opportunities are there at Herchenbach?
Half in fun: Careerists and self-optimisers are looking for opportunities for advancement, Herchenbachs want to develop themselves and Herchenbach! Serious mode: Of course, it also depends a bit on the area. If you join us directly in a management position, you don't have too much room for advancement due to our still very flat structure in the organisational chart. Basically, however, Herchenbach always offers the opportunity to "grow" professionally and personally, if only because of the strong growth and the dynamic development of the company, even if this does not always necessarily have to go hand in hand with a regular change of title. However, especially career and / or lateral entrants have really excellent development opportunities. There are enough very good examples of this in the team. Anyone with the ambition to develop personally and professionally will be offered plenty of opportunities here. I say ‘with the ambition’ deliberately, because I must admit I’m always annoyed by people who continually complain about things they have the power to change themselves. But in my opinion, if you want to grow, you also have to be prepared to achieve something. Even my great-grandmother knew that "nothing comes from nothing". Fortunately, that kind of person is very rare in our company. If you show commitment at Herchenbach, are willing to work hard and are ready to take part in shaping and further developing your working environment, all doors will be open to you in the long term.
Herchenbach scores particularly well in the ratings for its corporate culture. What else earns stars in the comments?
Appreciation for performance, individual support, the high level of trust and the self-critical and constructive handling of mistakes – even at management level – are highlighted. Our transparent communication is also rated very positively in the comments. One example is the monthly Company Update. This is where the management takes time every month to update staff on business development, goals and challenges in an open and transparent way. Every colleague is also invited to be actively involved. My favourite comment, or rather my favourite comment heading, is: "Polish up your skills or Herchenbach’s profile – an enrichment for both (career entrants or professionals)".
How does Herchenbach encourage communication within departments?
Depending on the department, there is a regular weekly or fortnightly meeting with the respective manager. The focus is mainly on current day-to-day issues. The structured annual feedback meetings give employees and supervisors the opportunity to discuss fundamental issues in their working relationship. Participation plays a major role at Herchenbach; for example, annual goals are set for each employee in a joint discussion. Our voluntary and anonymous staff survey gave us a lot of feedback, including evaluations and requests. We want to expand on this further.
We offer plenty of interesting jobs on our homepage. Who should apply to Herchenbach?
As a modern company operating throughout Europe, Herchenbach offers attractive jobs in various areas. We are looking for people who want to have active involvement and personal fulfilment in a performance-oriented environment, and who value respectful interaction and communication on equal terms. If this sounds like the kind of corporate culture you would like to be a part of, then we would certainly be an excellent employer.