Contentstream article No 4

29.04.2020 | DEBA

Source: Süwag Energie AG and DEBA

Insights from Zoom-Trüffeln: Interview with Süwag Energie

The corona crisis brings opportunities. So Süwag Energie AG & DEBA quickly came to an agreement: Truffles - we can also get that digitally converted!

DEBA has been following a proven analysis approach for years to sense the corporate culture of our customers: the Truffle!

What exactly does that look like? Our organizational psychologists go to the companies on site and sense and analyse the culture. To do this, we interview employees in focus groups about their experiences and insights, and capture emotions.

This is how we find the "truffle" - the special features that make an employer beyond the clichés and expected promises. This also works in a digital context, as the insights of Süwag's employer branding project managers, Anne Oesterdiekhoff & Katrin Fuchs, on digital Truffling in an interview with Vera Koltermann, Lead Consulting & Campaigning DEBA, show.

Vera: What was your first thought when I told you that we want to move the truffle groups from live format to virtual?

Anne: Above all I had many questions in my head. How do you expect to get into an open discussion and stimulating exchange of ideas with twelve people on the screen? How do you involve everyone? How should exercises for changing perspectives take place? I also thought we would lose a large part of the participants with the changeover. But at the same time there was a glimmer of hope. With the virtual approach the project does not have to be put on hold. The second thought was directly that we should try it. After all we could only win.

Vera: How did you motivate the participants to take part anyway? What challenges did you face?

Katrin: We communicated openly and quickly, as in the whole project so far. This also included a "We don't know yet" when the workshops were still in abeyance. It was clear that it was a new situation for everyone - for the participants, the facilitators and the project organizers.

But we quickly agreed on the most important thing: we were curious and felt like getting involved with a new idea.

We promptly involved the participants in the decision and asked who would continue to be involved in a virtual truffle search.

The technology Zoom itself was then the biggest challenge. The tool had been largely unknown to us and the participants until then. It needed clear instructions and direct support. We sent each group appropriate information 30 minutes before the workshop.

Vera: What was your biggest aha-moment around (virtual) Truffle? What would you say?

Anne: There was so much positive energy in all participants - true to the motto: "We can do it". With this motivation you can move a lot. We have seen how well we can be in virtual contact.

Even if the first workshop was still bumpy. Because the project team in the background was constantly exchanging information, we learned from round to round and were able to give each new truffle group the new (technical) experience they had gained directly.

Vera: To what extent was the approach of virtual Truffle for you as an organization a community building experience?

Katrin: In conclusion, we cannot say yet. However, we in the project team and based on the first feedback we received, we can assume that everyone was pleased that we have quickly taken up such a possibility, especially in the current Corona pandemic. This can certainly be developed. We turned the initial "Oh dear" into an "Oh yes" and gave the participants a positive workshop experience.

The project work has confirmed the advantages of a heterogeneous, cross-divisional project group and how well we work together even across project boundaries. We are proud of this.

Vera: Did the change in format to the virtual result in learning that is also relevant for you in the long term afterwards?

Anne: It is always worthwhile to look for alternatives and to have the goal clearly in view.

Digitalization offers various possibilities for innovation. The experience gained will definitely have a positive influence on our future way of working. I am enthusiastic about the colleagues who said "I haven't taken part in an online conference yet, but I'd like to try it" and in the end they successfully helped us to find truffles. We are grateful for this openness.

Vera: We believe that organizational identity is the core of employer brands. To what extent do you see (virtual) truffles as an approach to strengthen organizational identification on the part of employees?

Katrin: To discover - to "truffle", so to speak - commonalities that you were not aware of before. I think this will strengthen organizational identification.

Vera: What messages would you like to pass on to the HR community?

Anne: Unusual times often bring with them opportunities. You have to see and take advantage of these opportunities.

Katrin: Implement new ideas confidently and be courageous. We have experienced that workshop participants, for example, can be more experimental than we thought.

Vera: Many thanks, Anne & Katrin, for giving us insights into Zoom Truffle & sharing your experiences with us. We wish you a lot of fun & success with your project!

Participant feedback Zoom Truffles

"It was exactly the right thing to do. Under extreme conditions, the true face shows."

"It's given me a lot of strength in a time of cancellation.

About Süwag Energie AG

Süwag Energie AG is a stock corporation with municipal participation. We produce, distribute and network. More than 1,700 employees give their energy for this - day after day. We have a regional structure and are at home in four federal states: Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. We have numerous locations in our almost 5,200 square kilometers of supply territory.

Working for Süwag means being "My strength on site". No matter whether you are an installation technician in the grid, sales manager in sales, IT expert, trainee or specialist for distributed generation plants. Everyone plays their part in making the challenge of energy system transformation a success and thus delivers quality of life in our regions.