Steinbeis experts use analysis tool to gauge the attractiveness of workplaces
Difficulties finding new people, skills shortages, a lack of loyalty to the company among specialists: just some of the problems currently facing employers. The future of innovative companies and their ability to deal with such challenges hinges on the extent to which they can offer an attractive place to work. Many companies are already doing something about this situation by offering staff appealing employment terms and family-friendly working hours. However, few companies have systematically analyzed how appealing their company is in the opinion of the workforce. This is where an analysis tool developed by BAT-Solutions, the Steinbeis Transfer Center at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, helps.
BAT-Quest is a tool developed by the Steinbeis experts to assess workplace attractiveness in order to understand the views of employees with respect to work satisfaction, the working atmosphere, and future prospects. Gauging how attractive the workplace is entails understanding the importance to employees of individual factors such as work satisfaction, the working atmosphere, and future prospects. One also needs to know where they feel their company needs to make the biggest improvements. The new instrument is particularly useful for consulting firms because it highlights issues that are important from the standpoint of employees, especially when it comes to the future development of the company.
“Workplace attractiveness isn’t the sort of thing you can assess directly – you can only get to it indirectly. We pinpoint whether staff find the workplace attractive by looking at latent attributes such as a feeling of affinity to a company, or a sense of personal commitment,” explains Dr. Maja Jeretin-Kopf, director of the Karlsruhe Steinbeis Transfer Center. The new analysis tool measures both of these factors. Personal considerations also play an important role when understanding workplace attractiveness. Some of these attributes are measured at the beginning of the BAT-Quest test: age, gender, management responsibilities, length of time at the company, and vocational qualifications. Even these factors show that workplace attractiveness is a complex concept that is influenced by lots of factors, albeit to a different extent.
What kind of insights can firms gain by using the analytical tool? Sweeping statements that could apply to any company in the industry or the sector in general are of little use to a business, because such general statements do not provide a good basis for measures that would be likely to appeal to its own workers. As a result, the kind of results that are likely to be more interesting to a firm are the ones that explain individual factors, the ones that are linked to the specific situation facing a company. By using statistical techniques, the Steinbeis experts can highlight the extent to which personal factors have an impact on workplace attractiveness. Another interesting thing for companies to find out is the areas in which people perceive the biggest need to make improvements and how this influences the feeling of “belongingness” or personal commitment.
Maja Jeretin-Kopf is continuing to develop the evaluation tool. In July, she embarked on a study to validate the tool, working with Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Iodata GmbH, and the Institute for Transfer Technologies and Integrated Systems (SITIS). The aim of the study is to conduct a scientific assessment of the item scales and their suitability, also for smaller companies.