Successful and proactive personnel marketing can help attract the best skilled workers and keep them in the company in the long term. On July 25, 2023, ProduktionNRW organized a virtual exchange of experiences for the mechanical and plant engineering sector in North Rhine-Westphalia to address some factors of personnel marketing and to present an exemplary, in-depth approach to attracting skilled workers as well as lateral entrants via databases.
Factors for successful personnel marketing
Andrea Veerkamp-Walz, Human Resources and Innovation Management Officer at VDMA, began by explaining the importance of personnel marketing from the association’s point of view. According to recent surveys, the shortage of skilled workers in mechanical and plant engineering poses a considerable risk. This is where successful personnel marketing can provide a remedy.
Ideally, the basis for personnel marketing is a carefully developed employer brand. Without a clear employer identity, individual personnel marketing measures are lost in public communication. With a strong, attractive and authentic employer brand, on the other hand, the various personnel recruitment measures can reinforce each other and better reach the desired target group (trainees, skilled workers, etc.). The method of “personas” can help to address the target group in a targeted and motivating way.
The subsequent discussion focused on the question of which tools or measures have been used to date to fill vacancies. Recommendation marketing by employees in their personal networks proved to be particularly successful. In addition, social media such as Xing, LinkedIn or specialist platforms are becoming increasingly important in personnel marketing. But companies are also already achieving success with new apps such as Truffls.
Using databases to find skilled workers and career changers
Ulrich Kosanke, partner of DIABA Consulting GmbH and Get It! GmbH, and Lars Zimmermann, owner of Kommunikationsoptimierer.de, cited surveys showing that around 40 percent of employees are dissatisfied with their current job and are considering a career change. With a change of occupation many take themselves first a time-out, before they go actively on the search for a new place. If you contact them proactively at this stage, you have a decisive head start and can sometimes attract professionals who would otherwise never have applied.
With its database-driven approach, the consultancy focuses on recruiting skilled workers and career changers for small and medium-sized companies. Using the database of the German Federal Employment Agency, large quantities (about 3 million data records) of potential applicants can be generated. However, the data records are mostly anonymized, but can be filtered according to specific skills and competencies. Interesting profiles are contacted (3 percent response rate) and then in-depth preliminary interviews are conducted for the pre-selection.
Case study: Recruiting for a service and sales location
A practical report by Martin Hansen, regional manager for northern Germany at PLARAD – Maschinenfabrik Wagner GmbH & Co. KG, illustrates the effectiveness of the database-based approach. During the planned opening of a new service and sales location in Hamburg. For this location, four positions had to be filled within three months in order to carry out the reopening on schedule.
Initially, PLARAD resorted to traditional recruitment approaches such as Stepstone, but without significant success. Using the database-based approach, not only were the four advertised positions filled within the specified timeframe, but an additional position was even created.
Particularly in the context of a shortage of skilled workers, it is important to be able to provide suitable applicants with feedback and commitments quickly. In addition, it turned out that flexibility is necessary in the area of personnel recruitment: Perfect candidates for an advertised position are hard to find – but with targeted further training measures, professional skills can be acquired if the required basic skills are available. Therefore, PLARAD has come to the conclusion that with an open attitude in recruiting, the shortage of skilled workers can be overcome.
The event was offered by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the cluster of mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is run by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform to connect, inform and market companies, institutions and networks among each other and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.