Jorgen Wengel is the Director of Global HR & Operations of Sennheiser Electronics. In his current role, he drives the global HR strategy and builds a structure to support the organization’s strategic ambitions. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Jorgen shares some of the impactful talent practices implemented by Sennheiser Electronics, how they foster collaboration and engagement across a distributed workforce, and more. Here are some excerpts.
As we embrace the future of work, what are those top talent trends redefining how Sennheiser hires and retains talent?
Today, we’re trying to become a more active and attractive employer rather than simply hoping for the best candidate to join us. We do this through active sourcing and utilizing all opportunities to engage with talent across industries so that we have a candidate pool even before we post a job. It can be a very demanding process, so we’re also trying to partner with consultancies and recruitment agencies who can support us in this endeavour.
We're focusing on talent and career development on the talent retention front. However, along with lateral promotions, we’re equally curating avenues for vertical development and empowering employees to gain more skills and expertise while working in the same position and field. We do this to enable them to explore and open doors to new and unexplored opportunities.
Given the emergence of new ways of working, how are you at Sennheiser embracing flexible practices and accommodating the needs of a global and hybrid workforce?
Sennheiser is a matrix organization, which means we already embrace cross-border working and have managers and teams working together worldwide. However, when it comes to the hybrid workforce, we have also learnt our lessons during Covid-19, and one of the things we have seen is that work can be done anywhere. As a result, we implemented a 60-40 hybrid rule. Still, given the rising demands for flexible work practices, we have decided to offer our people complete flexibility in choosing how and where they want to get their work done. But to make it more practical, we also dive into discussions with local and regional offices and check whether such complete flexible frameworks are indeed possible. Of course, we also recognize the spaces, such as production, where this choice might not be entirely applicable. Still, we continue to support flexibility wherever possible and align ourselves with people’s demands.
Being a Global HR leader, how have you driven employee engagement and collaboration across geographies?
Collaboration and engagement don’t come easy, especially when people cannot meet. So, we have leveraged the virtual medium to bring people together and introduce them to one another. But with the world slowly opening, we have organized multiple events where teams and departments can come and work together. So, for example, through the APAC region, we have hosted an exclusive HR event where all employees had a chance to come together and meet in person. We also facilitated several workshops during this event to figure out how to proceed forward in this new world of flexibility and mobility.
Could you share how technology has played a role in designing that desirable employee experience at Sennheiser? What are some of the talent management practices in place?
When it comes to the digitization of HR, we are invested in our people development dialogues which is one of the cornerstones of our talent management practices. Employees and managers come together to chart their growth trajectories for the future of work, and all this data is uploaded to our HRMS systems for transparency. We’re also newly implementing a high-potential program across our offices where we recognize the top talents and give them extra tools that support their growth and development into managers and experts in our organization. Additionally, there’s a robust mentorship and coaching program along with an annual training calendar combining knowledge, skills and attitude.
Being a matrix organization, we empower our leaders to manage teams effectively across cultures and geographies through data stored in digital HRMS. Although we’re still a work in progress, we’re currently working on updating our digital systems and integrating all data into a singular platform so that it can be easily accessible to our managers to design talent strategies. In the APAC region, we are looking into recognition and appreciation programs where interactions can come about across functions and people and are no longer limited to managers.
The success of any talent strategy lies in focusing and following up on all the talent at your organization. Opportunities must be given to all with a solid development plan that allows your people to grow and seize their potential.