Grit Schöbel, Porsche Leipzig GmbH

“We recruit specialists within 40 days”

Launched in the summer of 2002 with a workforce of 300, Porsche’s Leipzig site is where the company now makes a large part of its fleet. For the human resources department, the plant’s rapid growth to 4,000 employees by the year 2017 has been a herculean task. In the two years before production of the Macan started up in late 2013, the team hired around 470 engineers and 1,100 production workers. This would not have been possible without precision recruitment plans. “Based on our ‘finish line,’ which was the start of production, we developed a master plan with a timeline and milestones as well as our own recruitment and qualification methods,” says HR management director Grit Schöbel. The Leipzig site also sought support from Porsche Consulting and formed a ten-member project team. Work started with a strategic analysis to determine who was needed when and where. Among other things, Group-wide qualification programs that skilled workers go through can last up to two years. The consultants determined the need for engineers and skilled workers in the body shop, paint shop, and assembly. And they analyzed the labor market on the basis of statistical and demographic data. This yielded 52 qualification profiles. The HR staff used this information to create a qualification program for each new employee, and a modular training approach was developed to meet individual requirements.

The HR department also underwent restructuring, and appointed a seven-member team to focus exclusively on recruitment. The Leipzig site received more than 100,000 applications from 2011 to 2015. “This order of magnitude can only be handled by a team,” says Schöbel. A key element of the selection process consisted of 220 “application days,” each of which focused on six to ten candidates who performed technical exercises, gave presentations, worked on tasks in teams, and were interviewed. An entire day of getting to know the candidates made it easy for the team to decide whom to hire.

Four training centers—one each for car body construction, the paint shop, logistics, and assembly—help accelerate entry into the new positions. At simulated work stations in these areas, all new Porsche employees start by learning both basic and production-specific skills, covering everything from the correct use of cordless screwdrivers to the most ergonomic postures. This approach has proved to be fruitful, and the Macan enjoyed one of the most successful production launches in the history of the Volkswagen Group. The newly developed tools for recruitment and training have also been helpful to the plant in subsequent stages of growth, such as in hiring around 400 engineers and 540 workers for the next generation of the Panamera. Today the HR team only needs an average of 40 days to complete the entire recruitment process.