Agile HR development

In shaping the future world of work, human resources management must establish processes allowing for flexible behaviour while empowering employees to move within these new structures.

In taking quick decisions and adapting instead of relying on long planning cycles companies today must increasingly fly “in low visibility” if they want to Keep pace with the growing complexity and volatility of the markets. Companies that want to remain flexible Need a fit workforce. One thing that agile companies have come to realise is that continuous learning and dynamic adaptation can only become part of their corporate DNA if human resources development lays the right foundations.

Setting the right framework

In recent years, WILD has introduced a series of measures aimed at consistently improving the company’s degree of flexibility. According to Andrea Gritsch, Head of Human Resources at the WILD Group, creating a fertile ground for this development means that communication and collaboration must be given precedence over hierarchical roles or static job descriptions. Networked organisations thrive on openness and transversality between departments, as well as on an influx of external know-how. Therefore, the distribution of roles within WILD teams is flexible and project-related.

“The aim is to take into account the staff members’ individual strengths. One may have a lot of knowledge and experience in transition to serial production, another in product development. Where necessary, we resort to expert knowledge from our WIN Partner network. Therefore, in total we draw from a pool of very diverse skills”, the HR manager explains. Team members are closely networked with each other and have sufficient room for manoeuvre. To allow for this, WILD nurtures a culture of speed meetings, enabling all participants to meet quickly in the so-called “task force room” and take swift decisions. Digitalisation is put to the service of this development. “When staff members are more agile and more willing to engage in greater dialogue when cooperating across all departments, the information exchange must function accordingly. We have appointed a digitalisation officer who takes care of all these issues ‘from above’” Gritsch explains.

Not afraid of responsibility

Requirements in production have also undergone significant change. Activities with a high degree of standardisation and routine procedures are on the decline. Companies are asking their employees to quickly familiarise themselves with new work routines. “At the level of specialised personnel, it is important to quickly obtain people with the right qualifications for every new construction or assembly group. This requires, among other things, flexible work time accounts, suitable shift schedules, transparency and the ability to manage change”, Gritsch stresses.

Initial and further training

At the same time, it is necessary to map where sufficient know-how is available in the company and where the “blind spots” are. How can you decide today, however, who should be on board tomorrow in order to remain competitive in the future? To find answers to These questions, WILD regularly screens its customers’ requirements and challenges in defined target markets. These are then compared to the available know-how. In case of discrepancies, the company determines across departments and sites whether know-how needs to be developed internally or be contributed by WIN partners. “It is essential to be able to resort to it quickly and reliably when the need arises”, stresses WILD Group CEO Wolfgang Warum.

Successful generation management

Another unique component of agile HR Management is that staff members assume greater responsibility for their upskilling. Executives morph into learning companions, HR developers into consultants. Today, agile learning is part and parcel of the work routine and often happens digitally, individually and on demand. In this context, experience transfer from one Generation to the next is of essence. According to Alexandra Roth, the youngest project manager at WILD’s Völkermarkt site, this is done best in practice. “Although there are templates for this, the fastest way to learn is to try out things yourself and get support in the process”. This is why she works closely with Erwin Meritschnig. He is project manager in the Medical Technology Division and has been working at WILD for almost 40 years. It’s a team constellation that benefits both sides. “Erwin has an incredible amount of experience. On the other hand, young people are often more unbiased in their thinking. They contribute new perspectives and ideas”, says Roth. Meritschnig, too, is convinced that “the greatest learning success can be achieved through new projects and their challenges. One must be willing to accept the knowledge introduced into the company by the new generation and to determine whether it can be integrated in the available product and process expertise.”

Cross-generational teams have already proven their worth in the assembly division.  “Young employees benefit from the years of experience in the handling of optical components which we pass on to them. Older ones benefit from the skilful use of modern Technologies by the young generation”, explains Group Manager Ernst Petritz, who has been at WILD for 35 years. His cooperation with assembly co-worker Manuela Stocker demonstrates the potential of this know-how Tandem based on mutual support in day-to-day work.