Portrait von Dr. Wilma Kauke, CPO LA EMEA & Global HR Director
Dr. Wilma Kauke, CPO LA EMEA & Global HR Director at LAPP

LAPP has ambitious goals: The company wants to employ the “best people in business” and be the “best organisation in business”. But how does that work? It is certainly an advantage that LAPP is not a large DAX company driven by quarterly figures, but a value-orientated family business with short lines of communication, sustainable action and open structures. In short, people are more at the centre than elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a shortage of skilled labour almost everywhere in the world and the competition for the best is becoming increasingly challenging. You can’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to talent scouting. But you can perhaps be a little more creative than others. For LAPP, this means growing together more and more worldwide, strengthening co-operation with all companies and leveraging synergies as a global player. It is certainly not the individual employee retention measures, but rather a whole cornucopia of attractive and target group-orientated offers with which LAPP wants to distinguish itself from other companies.

The annual football and volleyball tournament, which takes place at a different LAPP location around the world every year, is certainly one of the most outstanding. This not only gives employees the opportunity to get to know foreign countries, but also colleagues with whom they would otherwise only exchange information via email or teams. This also facilitates cooperation and creates bonds. And not just in sports, but also in many other activities: Intensive work is being done on the corporate culture at LAPP with this in mind under the motto “One LAPP” – CEO Matthias Lapp is personally in favour of this.

If you keep employees, you don’t have to find or train them from scratch. This starts with training. LAPP intends to double the number of apprenticeships and dual study programmes in the coming years. Experience shows that trainees are very happy to stay with the company afterwards. To make training as attractive as possible, there are even international exchange programmes and the content and formats are constantly being adapted. LAPP is involved with Joblinge e.V. to help young people with a refugee background find an apprenticeship more quickly, where they receive targeted support and preparation.

For the employees themselves, LAPP offers various working time and attendance models; even working from home is possible, depending on the task. In addition, there is the so-called cafeteria model, where LAPP offers a budget for individual, life-phase-oriented additional benefits, from kindergarten places to buying holidays, pension schemes, job bikes and public transport benefits – with regular adjustments. There is also a car park app that allows LAPP employees to book a fixed parking space in advance at LAPP’s own car parks in Stuttgart-Vaihingen. Such offers are often more important than a salary increase or special payments, which are also available. At the same time, LAPP is investing heavily in training, for example in technical expertise for sales employees. Health and sports programmes are also very popular. At the same time, there are no “silos” in the career paths. This gives employees a lot of freedom in terms of career opportunities and allows them to move to completely different areas.

This is a flexibility that employees clearly value very highly, as churn is relatively low and there are more and more “boomerangs” who are happy to come back after a period with another employer. To encourage this, contact with former employees is also maintained on an ongoing basis.

Nevertheless, LAPP is also affected by the shortage of skilled labour. There are currently around 30 unfilled vacancies in Germany across all areas – logistics, cable production, IT and sales. The effort required to fill the vacancies has become ever greater in recent years. While traditional channels such as job adverts used to be used in the past, nowadays particularly creative ways have to be found to attract new talent. Active sourcing is the magic word. HR teams scour social media to scout potentially interesting contacts. At the same time, university marketing is being further expanded in order to familiarise students with the LAPP brand and attract their interest. A doctoral scholarship for women in STEM professions is also planned. There are also partnerships with schools and contacts with institutions to look for customised job solutions for people with disabilities. Going where the talent is also means creativity: LAPP Switzerland has specialised in competitive athletes and is regarded as a competitive sports-friendly training company. The Swiss company enables young people to train and organises their schedules so that they still have enough time to train. Young people “train for the Olympics”, literally, and for a working life at LAPP.

About the author

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Dr. Wilma Kauke
CPO LA EMEA & Global HR Director

With Dr Wilma Kauke, LAPP has reorganised its Human Resources department since February 2023. She took on the newly created role of Global HR Director. As Chief People Officer (CPO) LA EMEA, she is also responsible for the HR strategy for the Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

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LAPP has learnt that in today’s world, talent scouting has to start much earlier than before. You have to go to the talents where they are – even abroad. There are several LAPP Centres of Excellence around the world, where students are familiarised with the world of cables or training courses are offered for customers. There are such centres in India and the USA, for example. Today, it is more important than ever to get young people interested in STEM professions by talking about the purpose. Young people don’t automatically think it’s cool to research cables or start a technical degree programme. Cables have a special role to play in sustainability. After all, cables are not only needed for the socket in the living room, but also in all areas of renewable energies, in mechanical and plant engineering, in mobility or in intralogistics. In short, wherever electricity is needed and data has to flow. And how to make a cable sheath not from PVC but from sustainable materials and how technology can improve life – for example cables in medical technology – is unquestionably relevant to society. Technology is fun and useful, and this should actually be taught in kindergartens and schools. LAPP therefore offers young people internships at a very early stage and facilitates Master’s and Bachelor’s theses.

To summarise, there are no longer any easy paths in talent scouting today. In these times, creativity and flexibility as well as a great passion for people are the most important success factors for inspiring employees and potential talent for family businesses like LAPP. And you also have to think “around the corner”…