3 questions to smart minds

Successfully outsource HR department

For this 3 questions to Tereza Sommerfeld

Photo: Tereza Sommerfeld
13. July 2016

The area of person­nel invol­ves many comple­xi­ties. Not only person­nel issues, but also legal issues and, of course, the topic of recrui­ting employees. Small and medium-sized compa­nies as well as start-ups often have only incom­plete access to this competence.

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Foun­der and Mana­ging Direc­tor of allaboutHRLaw

1. alla­bou­tHR­Law offers small and medium-sized compa­nies and start-ups to “take over” the HR depart­ment in whole or in part. Why is there such a great need for this?

We cover the complete range of HR compe­ten­cies for our clients, regard­less of their size: reten­tion manage­ment, recruit­ment of special staff, perfor­mance manage­ment, labor law issues, employer bran­ding etc.. Very small compa­nies and those with fewer than 500 employees would other­wise not be able to afford this, and yet they need to demons­trate these compe­ten­cies in the ever toug­her battle for talent. Our local recrui­ter draws on the know­ledge of his colle­agues at alla­bou­tHR­Law and addi­tio­nally has our expe­ri­en­ced HR mana­ger as a direct spar­ring part­ner. This way, our clients can be sure of high-quality HR work and remain compe­ti­tive. In addi­tion, we are paid per super­vi­sed employee and ther­e­fore scale oursel­ves. Capa­city bott­len­ecks, such as those caused by increased recrui­ting needs, are compen­sa­ted for — unno­ti­ced by the client. Further­more, our fees are simi­lar to the costs of an inter­nal HR depart­ment. This is flan­ked with profound expe­ri­ence in buil­ding HR depart­ments at start-ups. Ther­e­fore, for the compa­nies that know us, it is not a big conside­ra­tion whether to hire us again.

2. Who are your custo­mers? Can they give us examp­les? What trends are emer­ging in the market?

Our custo­mers are compa­nies with between 5 and 500 employees and come from a wide range of indus­tries: from e‑commerce to crafts to clas­sic produc­tion compa­nies, almost all facets are included.
For exam­ple, from 2012 to the begin­ning of 2016 (and the five hundredth employee), we set up and mana­ged the entire HR depart­ment for Ther­mondo GmbH — another exci­ting client of ours for whom we do all the HR work — is revo­lu­tio­ni­zing the German energy market with a combi­na­tion of e‑commerce company and craft busi­ness. We also support smal­ler compa­nies, such as voycer AG, which offers new social enga­ge­ment formats, or Gene­ral Inter­faces GmbH, which is revo­lu­tio­ni­zing inter­face management.
No matter what indus­try the company is from or what size the company is, they all have one thing in common: quality and profes­sio­na­lism is important to them and they have unders­tood that this only works with suita­ble, satis­fied employees. We support them in this and this is also the trend of the times. — Human resour­ces work is beco­ming incre­asingly important, as this is the means to increase the company’s perfor­mance through capa­ble and mature employees. This sounds rather trite, but it is a chall­enge to create a company that is attrac­tive to highly quali­fied employees and at the same time offers them a place where they can deli­ver high perfor­mance. And that is exactly the goal of our work.

3. Recruit­ment seems to be a diffi­cult issue for nume­rous. What is the problem here?

Certainly, the big issue is the shortage of skil­led workers and also the clas­sic mine­fields, e.g. how precis­ely and clearly the profile is defi­ned that you are looking for and to what extent ever­yone agrees on it, but also how profoundly you proceed in the selec­tion. The crux of the matter from our perspec­tive — this is where my old McKin­sey school comes through — is crea­ti­vity, analy­sis and problem-solving ability in the search.
We spend a lot of time thin­king carefully about where the candi­da­tes we’re looking for are hanging out, what appeals to them, and how we can attract them to our clients. We recruit on behalf of our clients. Through this approach, Ther­mondo, for exam­ple, has grown by over 100 employees with us in about a year with a diverse work­force of trade­speo­ple and e‑commerce employees. Of course, we also have the advan­tage that we can draw on the expe­ri­ence of our colle­agues in other compa­nies and exch­ange ideas here. If we find that a profile does not exist on the market, crea­ti­vity and problem-solving skills are again requi­red to adapt profiles or even rede­fine posi­ti­ons within the company.
When it comes to selec­tion, big issue is that many compa­nies stay on the surface with their conver­sa­ti­ons and ques­ti­ons. Here, probing and under­stan­ding why the appli­cant did what is one of the main success factors in asses­sing whether he/she is a good fit for the company and the job.

About Tereza Sommerfeld 

Tereza Sommer­feld foun­ded and mana­ges alla­bou­tHR­Law. The idea of offe­ring compa­nies an HR depart­ment that is more powerful and flexi­ble than what small and medium-sized compa­nies and start-ups can map them­sel­ves was trig­ge­red by an initial custo­mer and became more and more soli­di­fied. This involves:
i) Profes­sio­nal and analy­ti­cally flaw­less person­nel work
ii) Feasi­ble, simple and clearly under­stan­da­ble solutions
iii) Company-speci­fic best solutions 

Tereza Sommer­feld holds a degree in busi­ness admi­nis­tra­tion and is a lawyer admit­ted to the courts of Munich and Prague. Ms. Sommer­feld has been serving compa­nies in the human resour­ces field for over 15 years. She began her career at McKinsey&Co. and later moved to HayGroup in the US and UK, where she expan­ded her exper­tise to include soft skills. Since retur­ning from abroad, she has focu­sed on high-quality and cost-effec­tive HR work for small and medium-sized enter­pri­ses and start-ups. Mrs. Sommer­feld lives in Munich with her husband and three children 

About alla­bou­tHR­Law

allaboutHRLaw’s goal is to offer small and medium-sized compa­nies, as well as start-ups, the human resour­ces service that will make them compe­ti­tive, today and in the future, with incre­asingly scarce resour­ces in the labor market. alla­bou­tHR­Law offers one-stop HR and legal services: prag­ma­tic, profes­sio­nal and passionate. 

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