Second Human Resources Conference in Frankfurt on Successful Personnel Management
On 23 January 2014, the second human resources conference for the life sciences industry took place in Frankfurt am Main. The title of this year’s event was “Recruiting, developing and retaining the best people!” The event was set up last year by BIO Deutschland and its Working Group on Human Resources. Following a successful launch, the event was handed over to the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, which coordinated the organisation of the conference this year. Around 90 people attended the conference in the Frankfurt School’s auditorium. BIO Deutschland and the German Pharmaceutical Industry Association (BPI) co-organised the event.
After a short speech to welcome the guests given by Ingolf Jungmann, Vice President and Managing Director of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, BIO Deutschland’s Managing Director Viola Bronsema explained the importance of healthcare companies that conduct research for the overall healthcare industry. As 84 percent of BIO Deutschland’s members undertake research in the healthcare sector, sector-specific problems and solutions merit special treatment by the association, she said.
The key message of the event was that “money alone doesn’t make you happy”. This motto formed the starting point for exploring various approaches to successful personnel management. The large percentage of women working in biology and the pharmaceutical sector – currently over 66 percent – has a significant impact on healthcare companies that conduct research. For example, women account for almost 70 percent of the workforce at medicinal product manufacturer APOGEPHA. As a result, the topic of work and family is of great importance in the firm. Kathrin Kretschmer, Head of PR at APOGEPHA, gave details of the comprehensive measures her firm is undertaking in order to guarantee a family-friendly and productive working atmosphere, including childcare, flexible working hours and opportunities to do shifts at weekends.
The speakers agreed that companies must offer career opportunities in addition to flexible working hours and family-friendly policies. However, Frank Lucaßen, Managing Director of Fresenius Kabi, argued that staff had received further training purely for its own sake in the past. He said that such training was often approved too casually and without sufficient analysis of its benefits. Lucaßen pointed out that modern personnel planning involved identifying high-potential candidates at an early stage and on a regular basis and developing a clear profile for them.
Despite the importance of personnel management for companies, the managing directors at the conference recognised that HR departments are often understaffed. Michael Mehler, Managing Director of RIEMSER Pharma GmbH in Greifswald, explained that his company had set up small offices in other locations in order to offset the possible disadvantages of the firm being based in northeast Germany and to create alternatives.
Apart from lectures by representatives of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the conference participants also had a chance to take a wider view, thanks to a talk on benchmarking by Ivana Hilgers and Bettina Hörmann of ProSiebenSat.1Media AG. In order to motivate staff, ProsiebenSat.1Media AG runs mini think-tanks at which selected employees spend several days working together to solve a problem in the company.
The Frankfurt School of Finance & Management will continue the successful format of the human resources conferences in 2015, and plans to increase the size of the event in the coming years.