Deutsch demand: five tips for talent acquisition in Germany

From creating open and transparent workplace cultures to providing competitive work perks, new talent acquisition models in Germany aim to cast the net wider in the global talent pool

In Germany, the current challenge for organisations is acquiring and retaining the right talent. The labour market in Germany is one of the best in the world, with unemployment rates around 3.6 per cent – better than US at 4.1 per cent, UK at 3.9 per cent, and China at 4.8 per cent. This is because the German government has put in place solid employee protection measures that make the German labour market one of the most exciting in the G7.

The cost of living index in Germany is lower than in France, the UK, the US, and Italy. That means the top 10 biggest cities in Germany have relatively affordable living costs compared to other top cities in Western Europe.

Berlin, Germany’s capital, is home to big companies especially in manufacturing, ICT, media, energy, tourism, and environmental technology. Munich is also a dynamic city for job seekers, especially in engineering, innovative technology, and health sectors. Other notable sectors that are big in Munich include communication, entertainment, and science. If you are more into trade and commerce, you are guaranteed opportunities in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Stuttgart.

Germany’s opportunity for business growth and its unique and diverse landscape makes it a popular place for talent, but how can organisations in Germany capitalise on this? Below are five steps to improve talent acquisition in Germany.

1: Position your company as the best place to work

It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting or have an already established business in Germany, telling potential candidates what your business is all about and why you’re the best place to work is extremely important. One way to do this is to organise networking events to give job seekers a chance to meet with other like-minded peers and to learn more about your business and available career opportunities. Start networking groups on your social networks to build a strong pipeline of prospective workers who may be unemployed today but who you can bring onboard once suitable openings arise with time.

You need to get your story out there because that’s the only way potential employees and customers will get the right narrative about your business. Use your website as a means to show potential employees what differentiates you from other companies and ensure that message is reflected throughout all your promotional content, social media platforms, and in-person stories.  For instance, you may showcase written as well as video testimonials on your site and official social media accounts from current staff detailing why they love and value their jobs.

2: Take advantage of employee referrals

Data from the Society for Human Resources shows that employee referrals are the leading source of new hires for many employers, providing over 30 per cent of all recruits in 2016.  The good thing with employee referral programs is that they tend to give employers higher quality applicants compared to those that apply via a career website or jobs board.

In Germany, the key to starting an employee referral program is thinking about its structure.  The right employee referral programme needs:

Status of Employment and Performance Standards – Referrers must be actively working for your company and meeting performance requirements to reap the benefits of the referral program.

New-hire tenure – Determine the minimum amount of time that an employee hired through referral must have worked for their referrer to be eligible for the payout.

Payout amount – Decide if the amount paid to the referrer is constant for any vacant position or depends on how hard filling the position is.

Communication – Regularly communicate with your employees and new hires regarding the referral program and open positions. If your current employees know the bonus they can get, they’ll continuously search for interested potential hires in their network.

3: Provide a competitive compensation package and be as transparent as possible

Typically, Germans prefer to work in an open and transparent culture. This means that direct communication is critical when building a compensation package. If the compensation package is less than competitors in the same market, the reasons need to be shared openly with the workforce.

The compensation package also needs to align with company culture. An important park of creating an open and direct culture is to present potential hires with their expected salary from the onset. This can also be coupled with discussions on workplace perks from employee autonomy to flexible working policies.

4: Streamline job applications

Difficult to complete online applications can lead to the loss of higher calibre applicants, and a wide variety of other problems. For instance, negative word-of-mouth opinions regarding too intricate processes or poor reviews in leading rating sites like Glassdoor may significantly hurt the company.

Simplify job applications by cutting the duration of the application process to just five minutes or even less. If the application process is simple, quick, and mobile-friendly, it will attract skilled applicants and improve completion rates.

5: Enlist the services of a reliable professional employer organisation

In Germany and a wide range of other markets, a global professional employer organisation (PEO) is an effective way to recruit the best talent without having a legal professional or company there. The PEO provider complies with all requirements that go into hiring workers, while the organisation directly supervises the workers and their roles.

Working with a Hiring in Germany PEO, for instance, means that the provider will handle all the payroll functions. It’ll report, assemble, and submit employment taxes to the government. It’ll also provide human resource support and a competitive benefits package for your workers. This kind of contractual arrangement enables organisations to focus on day-to-day business operations, while the PEO provider complies with Germany’s labour laws.

Factors like changes in talent markets, skills scarcity, new models of working, and widespread adoption of social media have significantly changed talent acquisition in Germany and many other markets. This guide to talent acquisition in Germany can point the way to break through these challenges for organisations who are re-negotiating their onboarding strategies in the post-pandemic era.

Nicole Crawford is an employee recruitment and retention specialist who oversees the areas of global HR operations, compensation & benefits, employee safety, and HR compliance.
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