As the Managing Director Switzerland, Robert Bertschinger is responsible for the brands of NEW WORK SE, the parent company of XING and kununu, among others. We had the pleasure of asking Mr. Bertschinger 6 questions about New Work in Switzerland. Find out how Switzerland compares internationally, where managers are elected democratically, and what opportunities and challenges new working models entail in our interview.
1. How do you define New Work and what does New Work mean to you?
The term New Work is not clearly defined and many people associate it primarily with remote work and flexible working hours. Of course, digitization and more flexible collaboration play an important role, but for me, New Work is about more than that. It's about a paradigm shift.
In essence, it's about redefining and classifying work and life, and no longer chasing the classic career. For me, the focus is on meaningfulness, independence, personal responsibility and, of course, trust. In a nutshell, New Work describes for me a change in values and a change in corporate culture.
2. Where does the New Work Barometer stand in Switzerland?
In Switzerland, we are still at the very beginning of this paradigm shift. What we are seeing is that companies want to move away from fixed working schedules, fixed workplaces and traditional working models and enable flexible work. Compared to neighboring countries such as Germany and Austria, we are doing quite well in this regard.
However, when it comes to mind change and the transformation of work culture, our neighboring countries are one step ahead of us. But even in Switzerland there are some pioneering companies, such as Haufe-Umantis or Freitag, where employees elected the chief executive, which requires a major cultural change. We hope that many other companies will find the courage to try out new working models.
3. In other words, you are committed to a better working world. How do you envision our everyday working life in the future?
To ensure that meaningfulness, trust, self-reliance and independence do not remain just empty buzzwords and that a change in values can take place, companies must rethink and redesign their working models and management methods from the bottom up. These are changes that take a lot of time. Not only the managers, but also the employees must change their mindset in the process.
4. Where do you see the biggest challenges for companies to prepare for New Work and especially the growing demands of candidates and employees for New Work?
One of the biggest challenges for implementing New Work is authenticity. This means that companies not only commit to a credo, but also begin to actually live the new culture. Only then can employees be engaged and taken along on the journey.
At the same time, this is the critical point: New Work is often viewed only from the employer's perspective, but employees must also participate in the mind shift. If we think about the younger generations Y and Z, the new values are much closer to them. Nevertheless, there are always employees who prefer strict working hours and task schedules. These needs must also be taken seriously.
One of the biggest challenges is breaking down old patterns, dusty values and views. Every day, employees and managers should ask themselves whether their actions and decisions are aligned with the company's purpose and values. You have succeeded when this questioning of your own actions becomes an automatism. The key is to anchor the change in people's hearts and minds.
5. And what do you see as the greatest opportunities?
If the change succeeds, I am absolutely convinced that employees will not only be more motivated, but will also release new energy, which will increase productivity and independent action, among other things. Decision-making processes become shorter, which makes the company more agile and ultimately more successful economically.
6. How is New Work put into practice at NEW WORK SE?
New Work is also the path for us, not the destination. We are always evolving and have not yet arrived. Even before we changed our name to NEW WORK SE, we started to live New Work. Today, we have the "Mobile 50" work model. This means that all employees can work 50 percent of the time independent of location.
But personal exchange within the company also remains important. We have found, for example, that workshops are most effective in personal contact on site.
We recently moved into new offices in Hamburg, Vienna and Zurich. When designing them, we made sure that employees feel comfortable there and that the spaces are functionally designed to meet different needs. For instance, work can be done quietly in certain areas, while teams can collaborate in other places. Quiet zones are also provided for those who want to take a break.
However, these are just the basics. What is done to create a good corporate culture is much more important. For us, dialog between employees and management is crucial. We have various platforms for this. We have a weekly company meeting to provide news. At the same time, employees can address their current top 5 concerns to both our management and our employer committee.
One of our core values is transparency and it is important that this is not only reflected in the mentioned platforms, but is also shared on a daily level and involves the entire workforce. When the purpose is clear and employees can identify with it, new energy is released!
In this sense, we would like to thank you, Mr. Bertschinger, for the open and meaningful interview and the great impulses for thought!