In the current economic situation, which is challenging for most companies, we will be devoting ourselves intensively to the question of what makes medium-sized companies resilient at our Event & Dialogue on 19 April 2023. In cooperation with the employee consultancy stg, THE MAK`ED TEAM invites managing directors, executives and HR managers to a joint evening above the rooftops of Nuremberg, which will be dedicated to professional exchange and dialogue. The focus will be on many practical topics related to resilience management. THE MAK`ED TEAM will give an overview of organisational resilience: How can a company develop the right balance between stability and flexibility? We will show management approaches and discuss resilience strategies suitable for SMEs. stg will again look at individual resilience: What can the company do to strengthen the resilience of its employees? The Event & Dialogue “Robust, adaptable, strong: Resilience Management in Practice” offers an intensive professional exchange. The agenda includes:

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High-performing junior staff and high potentials are vital for the survival of any company. They fill key positions and shape transformation processes. Thanks to their outstanding performance, the company can react faster, more creatively and more nimbly to the challenges of the time. Their productivity is particularly high, and their skills are critical to the success of the company. But these special team players are rare on the labour market. The term “war for talents” is well known. It was coined in 1997 by the management consultancy McKinsey and is more topical today than ever. The competition for talent is fierce. Especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, which must compete with large corporations on the labour market. To find and retain talent and high potentials, to empower and promote them, strategic talent management is a core task. And some even see it as the top issue of the future for companies.

Talent – what is that anyway?

“Talent” is a word that smacks of the elitist. After all, who has talent? Isn’t there hidden potential in every human being? Even if the definition of talent varies among scholars, there is a consensus on one point: a talent excels through special achievements. The Latin “talentum” translates as a special gift or ability. But having the potential is one thing. Using it in such a way that it generates the desired and potentially significant added value for the company is another. This requires a holistic and strategic talent management that is closely interlinked with competence management.

Implementing Talent Management Systematically

Talent management is about filling the most important key positions and thus about the future viability of the company. It is developed from the corporate strategy and is not only the task of HR managers, but also the responsibility of the company’s management. The development of a suitable talent management concept is based on qualitative and quantitative personnel requirements: Which talents does the company need for which key positions? Which retirements in critical positions are due and when? Are expansion plans to be considered? A systematic approach is used to analyse which specific positions and roles need to be filled by high potentials in the short, medium, and long term. The required competences and requirement profiles are defined for the needs. Once a company knows the current and future demand for talent, the search for talent begins: How does the company find the right talent? And which talents does the company already have on board?

Finding, Promoting and Retaining the Right Talent

The search for qualified and suitable talents is about finding the employees and potential future employees who fit the company’s requirements with their special performance and high potential. The goal of talent management is to systematically and in a focused way find the special employees that the company needs to achieve the set company goals. Talent and position in the company must be a good match. To achieve this, the focus is on the achievements, the current performance, and the individual goals for the future. With a clear profile of the requirements and the key position to be filled, the necessary transparency is created to find the right talent for the company. Systematically identifying and integrating high potentials is an important basis for succession planning. Especially for critical roles and positions in the company, it is important to act with the appropriate lead time. If it is foreseeable that a key position will have to be filled in the future, the suitable successor should be identified at an early stage. Sufficient lead time can prevent valuable knowledge from being lost in the succession process.

Challenges in medium-sized Companies

Recruiting new talent is also about the external impact of the company: Does the employer brand have the desired external impact? Is the company attractive for talents? This is where medium-sized companies face challenging competition for talented employees from large corporations, as their brand, product or service is less well known. With a well-thought-out employer branding strategy, they open up the best possible opportunities to attract talent. In addition to the right personnel marketing, suitable personnel planning and development also pave the way.

SMEs have a wide range of instruments at their disposal for developing and retaining the talent they have acquired, such as transparent career paths, regular feedback interviews, specific on-the-job training, targeted management development or suitable further training measures. Development plans tailored to individual requirements and needs, non-material rewards and meaningful tasks are important criteria for long-term talent retention. THE MAK`ED TEAM develops a holistic talent management concept for its medium-sized clients that has proven itself in corporate practice. Our HR experts know how to efficiently design the interfaces of needs-based personnel development processes within personnel management. We implement structures that enable medium-sized companies to identify, optimally promote and retain talent in the long term. Because one thing is clear: talent management is not just a topic for the big players. It is also a decisive competitive factor for medium-sized companies.

Many people first think of environmental protection, climate protection and decarbonisation when they hear the word “sustainability”. But sustainability is much more than that. The wide range is reflected in the ESG criteria. ESG stands for “Environment”, “Social” and “Governance”. It is not only about the “E”, but also about the “S” and “G”. It is only through the interaction of the three areas of environment, social affairs and corporate governance that a sustainable corporate orientation unfolds, which improves growth opportunities and financing advantages and makes the company more resilient. The individual weighting of the three areas differs depending on the sector and size of the company. For example, the area of “environment” can have a much higher relevance for an industrial company than for a service provider.

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Finding staff, retaining staff: What used to be an everyday routine is now a supreme discipline in management and HR departments. More than ever, staff retention is an important key to corporate success. And in the highly competitive labour market, it is a real challenge, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Attractive and transparent development paths play a key role in employee retention.

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Acting ethically and responsibly is a matter of course for most entrepreneurs. The concept of the “honourable merchant” goes back to the Middle Ages and still has an important meaning for German companies. However, Germany is very much involved in global divisions of labour and along the supply chains there are always grievances in the economic, ecological, and humanitarian spheres. This should change. With the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, or Supply Chain Act for short, a law was passed that obliges companies based in Germany to implement defined due diligence obligations. It came into force on 1 January 2023 and aims to protect human rights along supply chains, improve working conditions and protect nature from harmful impacts. In concrete terms, companies should ensure that human rights and minimum standards such as the prohibition of child and forced labour are observed through responsible management of supply chains.

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On 16 December 2022, the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) was passed in the Federal Parliament. Based on the Whistleblower Directive, it guarantees whistleblowers better protection in their professional environment against reprisals such as dismissal or defamation. The next plenary session of the Bundesrat is on 10 February 2023. If it approves the HinSchG, the law can be promulgated in February. Since a law comes into force three months after promulgation, in this case it would probably be the end of May. In the first stage, the law will apply to all companies with 250 or more employees and, from 17 December 2023 to all companies with at least 50 employees.

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The press releases are piling up: small and medium-sized companies are increasingly experiencing economic difficulties – many have concrete closure plans and are implementing them. The offers for sale are increasing. Energy shock, brittle supply chains, shortage of skilled workers and inflation are the reasons. Price increases are not only hitting their own profit and loss statements, they are also causing customers to hold back and lower sales. An analysis by the information service provider CRIF sees an increased risk of insolvency for around 300,000 companies in Germany. That is around 10% of the companies in Germany. The industries that are particularly energy-intensive have already shown significant increases in insolvency cases. This situation calls for attention and caution.

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The planning of a company succession, the sale of the company or the departure of a shareholder: The company valuation can become relevant for very different reasons. Basically, the company value is an important criterion when a company is up for succession. The company value provides important guidance at all stages of the succession process: If an entrepreneur knows the company value at an early stage and if it turns out to be lower than desired, he may have sufficient time until the time of the planned sale to take suitable measures to increase the value. If the entrepreneur is weighing up various succession options, the company valuation is an important factor in the decision-making process. For example, in order to clarify whether the sum would be sufficient as retirement provision. Or to ensure fair distribution within the family succession. Or to discuss what tax effects an internal family succession would have. When it comes to a concrete sale, the company valuation is a critical decision-making basis for the negotiation talks.

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The whistleblower directive is coming. But very few companies have taken care of it yet. This is shown by a recent PWC study. And it also confirms our impression in practice. But time is pressing: if the law is finally passed by parliament, all companies with 50 or more employees will be obliged to install a corresponding system. And the number of employees here is based on the European concept of employees – and this differs from the usual way of counting. Employees include everyone employed by the company without exception, including interns, mini-jobbers, and the management itself. This is important for determining whether thresholds are reached or not.

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In many medium-sized family businesses, a succession is due in the foreseeable future. In most cases, the company is to remain in family ownership. But not all daughters and sons are talented entrepreneurs. Or simply no one wants to do it. Then an external manager can be appointed.

When an external manager takes over the management of a family business, there are many challenges – for both sides. At the same time, the cooperation also holds many opportunities: External managers can professionalize the company with their experience and bring fresh momentum into the business. For the collaboration to succeed, a systematic approach is advisable – starting with the onboarding phase. Read more