Porsche is synonymous with performance. And while a twin-turbo six-cylinder engine powers the famed 911 model, employees are the revving engine of the company. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, Porsche employs over 30,000 people across the globe and prides itself on “excellent general conditions, the strong corporate culture and co-determination, and the extensive options for reconciling a career and family life.” These are specifically called out in dozens of employee reviews on Glassdoor which helped steer the company towards a 4.5 company rating, earning the top spot on the German Best Places to Work list for 2020.
The company’s new focuses on electric technology, innovation and ongoing skills acquisition are sure to pave the way for years of growth. We caught up with Porsche executive Andreas Haffner, a Member of the Executive Board, Human Resources and Social Affairs, to discuss the Best Places win and what kinds of candidates they are eager to hire. Here’s what he had to say.
Glassdoor: Congratulations on Winning #1 Best Place to Work in Germany. What do you think led to gaining to top spot?
Andreas Haffner: Definitely our culture initiative. We know that our extraordinary team spirit has always been a distinguishing feature of Porsche. Even with all of our growth, we have kept that soul of the garage – even as a manufacturer of sports cars in the premium segment. Reinforcing those strengths was particularly important to us over the past two years. The special Porsche culture had always been there, but we had never committed it to paper. So we brought together employees of different ages, different levels, and different departments in order to hash out the core of our company culture. This set of reference points is all the more important when one considers that we have practically tripled our workforce over the past ten years. We have a workforce in which millennials and younger now make up more than 50 percent of our total employees.
Glassdoor: What were the results of the culture initiative? How did employees respond?
Andreas Haffner: Heart, sportiness, pioneering spirit and family are the four core values of our cultural principles. Out of that, Porsche employees and managers developed a set of management principles together. In the first half of 2019, we held management labs with more than 1,500 managers in which we thoroughly discussed our concept of management in order to enable the managers to better function as role models. The requirements of a manager are naturally much different in this era of rapid change in the automotive sector. We will continue the process in 2020 as well.
Glassdoor: We know why we should all want a Porsche in the driveway, but why should job seekers want to work at Porsche?
Andreas Haffner: We develop and manufacture cars that many people dream about. We have just brought the sports car of the future to the market with the Taycan: all-electric, with a high degree of connectivity and numerous groundbreaking digital features. It demonstrates that we offer a plethora of innovative and exciting jobs in and around the future-oriented fields of mobility. Yet for all that advancement and innovative drive, we have never forgotten where we came from. The cohesiveness within the workforce and the down-to-earth spirit of Porsche employees never fail to impress our new colleagues and are certainly among the main reasons that our employee turnover rate is below 1 percent.
Our products are exceptional because our employees are exceptional. —Andreas Haffner
Glassdoor: What roles are you eager to hire?
Andreas Haffner: In this age of e-mobility, autonomous driving, smart mobility and connected cars, IT specialists are currently at the top of the list, as well as electronics and production experts. In the area of digital platforms, we are also looking for software engineers, data analysts and AI experts.
Glassdoor: For the roles you mentioned as well as others, what skills and qualifications should candidates possess to get an offer from Porsche?
Andreas Haffner: Beyond the specializations described in the previous answer, it is increasingly important to effectively work within defined methods. New work, to use the catchphrase, is much more than a concept. Culture, processes and systems are essential. Also of particular importance to us, naturally, is enthusiasm for our products. And the ability to work in teams and form networks is more important than ever. Particularly with the increasing share of flexible and remote working options in the modern office context, these characteristics are ever more important.
Glassdoor: How do you ensure, in the recruiting process, that candidates are not only technically highly qualified, but also fit with the company culture?
Andreas Haffner: We give the highest priority to the interview with candidates. This is where we get to know the person behind all the certificates and degrees. Authenticity is enormously important to us. We also look for people with a good head on their shoulders. A company like Porsche, in particular, thrives by having passionate employees who often think a bit differently and find unconventional ways of doing things. Our products are exceptional because our employees are exceptional.
Glassdoor: Lastly, how is Porsche innovating, driving into 2020 and beyond?
Andreas Haffner: We will continue the initiatives described at the outset and expand those efforts to include a focus on change management. Overall, our aim is to prepare people for the advancements ahead and enable them to engage in lifelong learning. This is a never-ending process. With the rapid pace of change in the automotive industry, we need to continuously question our self-image, our manner of collaboration and our knowledge base.
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