10. September 2021

“HRbert” - For Innovative & Sustainable HR Management

Human resources management is a key factor in any company’s success. To underline its importance still further, the Upper Austrian business agency Business Upper Austria launched the “HRbert”, an award for innovative and sustainable HR management in Upper Austria. “With 30 submissions, the response was tremendous and the first-class projects show that Upper Austria can hold its own among the world’s best,” said economy minister Markus Achleitner who presented the winners with their awards yesterday evening during the “HR Connect(s)” conference at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz.

Human resources departments play a key role in companies. Without the creativity, know-how, tact and sensitivity of HR managers companies would find it increasingly difficult to attract the specialists they so urgently require. “The HRbert award highlights the importance of HR departments,” explained Achleitner. “The projects submitted, and those that won an award, are evidence of the potential that exists in the specialist departments of our local companies.”

The award-winners at a glance:

  • Category “Innovative” – small and medium-sized enterprises: Netural GmbH
  • Category “Innovative” – large enterprises: Fill Gesellschaft m.b.H.
  • Category “Sustainable Human Resources Management” – small and medium-sized enterprises: Linz Center of Mechatronics GmbH
  • Category “Sustainable Human Resources Management” – large enterprises: Kellner & Kunz AG
  • Jury’s Life’s Work Award: Werner Freilinger
  • Special award to Upper Austria’s payroll departments

Category “Sustainable Human Resources Management” – small and medium-sized enterprises: Linz Center of Mechatronics GmbH

Employee retention through flexibility:

Because its success rests on its employees’ expertise, Linz Center of Mechatronics GmbH constantly invests in securing their loyalty. At the heart of all the measures taken is work-life balance: the R&D company offers its employees a great deal of flexibility and this enables it to react spontaneously to changing circumstances in their lives, prevent chronic overwork and at the same time ensure that each employee’s particular skills are retained. The measures are based on a needs analysis conducted during performance reviews, regular communication between employees, line managers and HR managers, and in-house online surveys. Apart from flexitime and a sabbatical model there are also individual part-time models. 44 percent of employees work part-time, as does one third of all management staff. Additionally, all employees can work 50 percent of the time from home. Activities are also offered to promote employee health: running sessions, morning yoga, resilience training, spinal screening and training, group participation in (running) races and other competitions and staff discounts on the purchase of e-bikes. Since 2019 the company has also carried “berufundfamilie” (“career and family”) certification issued by Familie & Beruf GmbH, a management consultancy specializing in services that support a successful balance between work and family life.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic posed major challenges for HR departments at many companies. Practically overnight, emergency plans had to be drawn up, established routines adapted and, in many cases, an information vacuum filled. Working from home, short time, office closures and repeated lockdowns transformed familiar and well-trodden paths into rough and unpredictable terrain: the need to replace planning with improvisation caused turmoil in the HR departments’ daily routines. “In the current challenging situation, HR management has a major task: HR specialists can establish themselves as important partners for management and employees,” emphasized minister Achleitner.

HRbert becomes a stamp of quality

In future, the intention is to award the HRbert every year in the same categories as 2021:

  • Innovative
    • Small and medium-sized enterprises (no more than 249 employees)
    • Large enterprises (from 250 employees)
  • Sustainable
    • Small and medium-sized enterprises (no more than 249 employees)
    • Large enterprises (from 250 employees)
  • The winners receive a certificate and a statue. The award gives them an opportunity to make their achievements known to a wider audience.

(c) Cityfoto.at/David Katouly