© Claudia Lahr

A Startup Takes to the Stage: Innovative Staff Retention and Company Cultures that Touch the Emotions

Steinbeis consultant supports startup project with creative approach to strengthen corporate culture

Steinbeis consultant Doris Deichselberger from the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Change Management and Business Coaching has been supporting a creative startup project. Arts company Norbert Eilts – Wortkino Theater stages made-to-measure theater performances at corporate events with the aim of strengthening employee loyalty.

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These days, well-qualified and experienced employees are a company’s most valuable assets. Having motivated and loyal people is crucial to the success of business, especially in times of skills shortages – now a growing problem in almost all sectors of industry. But what can employers do to nurture emotional loyalty among staff and enable them to see the meaning behind their work? This is where the business concept of Claudia Lahr and Norbert Eilts comes into play. The two business founders write elaborately moderated, tailor-made theater pieces that are performed at events organized by companies, foundations, public authorities, and ministries. In addition to conveying corporate values, their aim is to raise the intrinsic motivation of employees and foster a greater sense of belonging. “There’s a tremendous need to catch up on those experiences where we connect with others, especially after a time in which interpersonal relationships were often neglected due to the pandemic. This is also important for company culture,” emphasizes Doris Deichselberger, Steinbeis Entrepreneur at the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Change Management and Business Coaching, who accompanied the project.

Making a success of startups with Steinbeis

Lahr and Eilts are former employees of Dein Theater, a private theater company from Stuttgart that belonged to the actor, director, and artistic director, Friedrich Beyer. Between them, Lahr and Eilts have more than 35 years of experience in the theater and events. Eilts, who is a performer, scriptwriter, and author, has performed on stage over 3,000 times throughout Germany, to a wide variety of audiences. After the death of Friedrich Beyer, he decided to venture into self-employment with sound, lighting, and visual designer Claudia Lahr and founded the Norbert Eilts – Wortkino Theater, which produces plays tailored to special occasions for companies and other institutions.

To prepare for the startup, they approached Steinbeis expert Doris Deichselberger, who helped the duo with the development of marketing and customer acquisition strategies, also ensuring planned measures were successfully implemented. They already worked on their first project during the preparation phase for their startup, staging an entertaining 50-minute presentation for the Josef Wund Foundation on the subject of water. The event was organized to mark the premiere of an image film on the environmental benefits of natural ponds. Eilts researched and wrote the manuscript, Lahr created picture collages for the stage design and, working alongside three actresses and a pianist, the piece was successfully performed in front of an audience of foundation members, politicians, and experts on the subject of water.

“Employee retention has never been more important. The concept behind the Norbert Eilts – Wortkino Theater underscores how artistic expertise can help bolster corporate culture in the long term,” explains Deichselberger, who is also an expert in HR topics. Lahr and Eilts are grateful for the professional support provided by the management consultant: “The helpful and invaluable support from Steinbeis played an essential role in the successful startup of our arts company.”

Financing of the startup project was partly organized through Business Start-up, the Steinbeis Consulting Center, under the Exi startup voucher program offered by the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg (Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labor, and Tourism). It was also financed through the European Social Fund.


Doris Deichselberger (author)
Steinbeis Entrepreneur
Steinbeis Consulting Center Change Management and Business Coaching (Stuttgart)