“There’s no pressure when you come to work”

More and more applicants want and need to balance family and career, according to Nicole Schrötter, Senior Recruiting Manager. As a single mother, that was one reason why she joined DMK

You recruit all staff, from dairy technologists to industrial clerks to marketing managers. What needs and ideas do they all have in common?

More and more applicants want and need to balance family and career, according to Nicole Schrötter, Senior Recruiting Manager. As a single mother, that was one reason why she joined DMKThey want the chance to work flexibly. They want a safe and secure workplace, but they also want to be able to manage balance their families and their career – that’s why often, they ask about flexible working times and sometimes about teleworking. People ask very concrete questions, such as whether people can take company laptops home, or which collaboration tools and systems DMK uses.

You’re a single mother with a 9-year-old daughter, working full time. Is that hard to manage on a day-to-day basis?

The company gives me the freedom to work flexibly, otherwise it would be impossible. I do telework once a week, which means I can focus on preparing presentations or reports while being with my daughter. Sometimes I go home and call applicants for telephone interviews in the evening. They’re a lot more relaxed than if I had reached them all stressed out at midday. I go home if my daughter gets sick – no one gives me any funny looks. There’s no pressure when you come to work. DMK is trying out several models, and not every way of working suits every field of work. But this flexibility in thinking is exactly what’s needed for modern work in times of globalization when markets are volatile. More responsibility, more flexibility, more teamwork and more knowledge about employees’ everyday situations.

Has the pandemic sped up the process of trying out new models of work?

Definitely! We agreed on particular collaboration tools and are much more practiced at running video meetings and coordinating teams who are working remotely.

Families are struggling with a double burden amid the pandemic. How can DMK support them?

There are several ways: our family service is a sort of hotline that employees who have children can call any time. If the nursery’s closed, they can ask what to do with their child, and be referred to child care possibilities. Or they can ask how to keep their kids busy while they are working? Professional advisers provide child care tips. That support goes further, for example if people are caring for family members, they can receive advice on how to deal with illness or find outpatient services.

What’s your experience of employees who are forced to try and balance their families and careers?

It’s interesting – many women worry that they won’t be attractive to employers if they mention what they do as mothers. But DMK does not choose people according to their gender or family or anything else like that. It’s the opposite, actually. Employees with families often have a much more structured approach to work. I can confirm that from my own experience. We’re able to get organized and have high expectations of ourselves. If businesses allow such staff to work flexibly, then it’s almost never a case of “no I can’t sorry.” I’ve been working for DMK for two years. I didn’t have the option of such a dynamic way of working at my previous employer. Even if I’d been an organizational genius, the working times there were so fixed that as a mother, I would have had to compromise and do a less demanding job at some point. I didn’t want that, that’s why I left.

Nicole Schrötter is DMK’s Senior Recruiting Manager, specializing on the Brand, International, Baby and Ice Cream business units. She focuses on university marketing and is deputy department head. Here, she’s joined by her 9-year-old daughter Mia.

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