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How to achieve – and maintain – a high level of staff engagement and commitment when operating in a highly competitive market

Currently the Bratislava region can be considered as a paradise for a highly qualified & skilled workforce in certain areas as there is more demand than available resources. Running a competence center operating in such an emerging job market requires certain measures to achieve and maintain a high level of staff engagement and commitment.

First of all, it is about satisfaction with the job content, personal and career development opportunities and an inspirational work environment. Fair remuneration and packages are a prerequisite and a hygiene factor but not a real differentiator. As far as job content is concerned, it is essential to clearly communicate what the role is about and what is expected from the job holder, as highly skilled staff do not appreciate being bored by routine tasks or by not being challenged at all. Hence it is not sustainable to hire staff who are already overqualified for the role at the very beginning. Equally important in this respect are development opportunities – not just from a pure and traditional career path or salary perspective – but from the learning, knowledge base extension and personal development side. Not only the so-called millennials but also mature staff, mainly with a natural science background, have a different understanding about development – it is more but not exclusively about developing themselves on the skills and personal side – not so much about stepping up to a supervisor or managerial role.

Given what has already been said, the secret of achieving and maintaining a high level of staff engagement and commitment is to firstly hire the right candidates, provide them with challenging tasks, help them to leave their comfort zones and help them to grow as an expert. In addition an alternative “specialist career path” is required to demonstrate real opportunities to use their talents for those who do not see themselves in a managerial role. Provision of an inspirational work environment which fosters collaboration and communication and allows a certain element of relaxation is essential as well.

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Beside the job itself, participation is another import topic for keeping staff engaged and committed. It is more than just being part of a joint task force or an interdisciplinary project team. It is about being informed about the activities outside of their own team as well as the location and company strategy. It is about actively participating in sounding boards when it comes to the design of the workspace or work conditions in order to articulate their view and expertise. It is about open and honest two-way discussions instead of top down or one-way information sharing. And finally, it is about the possibility of engaging with the community we are living in.

The Zurich Bratislava Branch Office, a Competence Center for highly specialized services in the areas of actuarial services, business intelligence, IT application development and service management as well as insurance network services is considering the principles mentioned above. As a result, the Zurich Bratislava Branch scores highly in group-wide surveys regarding staff satisfaction.

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