People talk a lot about new ways of working these days and that means something slightly different to everyone. Some may imagine foosball, fancy drinks and plenty of informal chat. “Unfortunately, we still come up against these clichés,” says Ines Krummacker, Chief Human Resources Officer. “In reality, that’s not what it is about.” For several years, DMK has been working on new ways to collaborate and cooperate, in order to promote and value employees. After all, they are the company’s most valuable asset. That new approach involves promoting each person’s development, thinking and attitudes, as an individual and in shared work. “Employees should share their ideas, question processes and provide feedback,” says Krummacker. That also means responsibility is shared, with managers acting as coaches who motivate employees, rather than telling them what to do. That process is aided by software that enables employees to collaborate easily no matter where they are located.
Digitization is a particularly strong driver in the transformation process to new ways of working and collaboration concepts, a fact that is also evident in the dairy industry. Farmers are using smartphone apps to monitor their animals’ activity, feeding behavior and reproductive status. They can pay invoices faster online and use self-driving machines. Farms are more and more open to experimenting with digital tools, in order to make processes simpler and more efficient and improve their quality of life. That is also part of the new world of work.
We want employees to share their ideas, question processes and provide feedback.”
Ines Krummacker, Chief Human Resources Officer.
A slew of projects are providing new energy and direction to DMK’s corporate culture. Take BUZZER, the DMK employee survey, used nationwide to gain feedback from people working in production and administration. The results deliver a large overall picture of motivation and appreciation. Teams assess the results and derive measures for improvement. Then there is DMK’s GROW project, which has revised and recast standards in training, to ensure people develop in the best way possible. Rethinking training means dealing with the next generation as equals! And the PASSION program was created for those who hope to rise within the company and take on additional responsibility as specialists or managers. All these initiatives serve to promote collective intelligence, active involvement and dialog. “These projects feed people’s motivation and appreciation,” says Krummacker. That helps DMK employees identify more closely with the company’s goals.
Employees working in the new company building in Bremen are finding how individual development and productive work can take place at the same time. The building’s different areas and rooms allow for exchange and interaction, as well as for people to retreat and focus. Employees also value the opportunity for flexible working patterns including from different locations. “New ways of working are helping us stay focused in a turbulent and everchanging world,” says Ines Krummacker. On the one hand, DMK is becoming more attractive for young employees who value the chance to develop their potential. On the other, the cooperative will remain competitive if everyone in the organization is actively participating and together realizing the organization’s potential. DMK’s new way of working is all about personal development, taking on more responsibility and the feeling that everyone can make a difference to the company.