The ongoing digital transformation is one very important reason that family businesses need highly skilled workers. When recruiting new workers, they have an ace up their sleeves: their good reputations. Jobs with family businesses are considered to be safe and family-friendly, and the working environment and career prospects there are also judged to be positive, as corresponding surveys by the Foundation for Family Businesses show.
Family businesses enjoy a good reputation with young specialists and managers. Potential employees generally rate them more highly than non-family businesses, for instance as regards working environment, career prospects and work-life balance. These are the results of a series of studies entitled “Germany’s next generation of business owners”. Commissioned over the past ten years by the Foundation for Family Businesses, the studies are based on surveys conducted by the Technical University (TU) Munich at the biannual Family-Business Careers Day. The studies are among the most comprehensive scientific analyses carried out in the German-speaking countries. The Foundation for Family Businesses and the Entrepreneurs Club launched the Family-Business Careers Day in 2006. It is held on the premises of a different family business twice a year.
On the whole, family businesses are ranked better in nine out of 14 criteria:
Work-life balance is a topic raised more and more often in talks between HR staff and applicants. A survey carried out by the TU Munich reveals that it is a decisive criterion, regardless of the applicants’ gender or age. Over 95 percent of those surveyed at the Careers Day consider this aspect to be important or very important.
Family businesses can offer more personalized solutions to finding a balance between work and family life. For example, Trumpf, a mechanical engineering company, has abolished a set number of working hours per week, replacing it with hours per year. That offers employees greater flexibility as to when they work. In consultation with management – and depending on the needs of the company – employees can choose to work as few as 15 hours a week or as many as 40.
B. Braun, a pharmaceutical and medical technology company based in Melsungen, Germany, allows its staff to take sabbaticals lasting up to five years. This time off work can be used not just for parenting, but also to assist spouses, parents or parents-in-law in need of nursing care. Employees who reduce their working time by half for reasons like these are still paid between 65 and 75 percent of their salary.