The right radar for new employees

Company / Industry
Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG, Munich / Electrical Engineering

Service Portfolio
For almost 80 years, the leading solution provider for measurement engineering, secure radiocommunication, broadcasting, surveillance, and location tracking, Rohde & Schwarz, stands for quality, precision, and innovation in all fields of wireless communication technology. Today, the electronics group is established with development centers and a close-meshed service network in over 70 countries worldwide. Most recently, its approximately 8,700 employees generated sales of EUR 1.6 billion - a growth rate of more than 20 percent.


The right employees are hard to find – this applies especially to engineers, computer scientists and other highly qualified professionals. Rohde & Schwarz is constantly searching for matching talents and specifically relies on their own resources. An e-recruiting solution based on SAP® ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) supports the electronics group's strategic recruitment. Hence, no candidate will fall through the cracks.

Being out to succed

For almost 80 years, the leading solution provider for measurement engineering, secure radiocommunications, broadcasting, surveillance, and location tracking, Rohde & Schwarz, stands for quality, precision, and innovation in all fields of wireless communications technology. Today, the electronics group is present with development centers and a close-meshed service network in over 70 countries worldwide. Most recently, its approximately 8,700 employees generated sales of EUR 1.6 billion - a growth rate of more than 20 percent.

One of the secrets of success: As an independent and privately owned company, Rohde & Schwarz is not subject to the constraints of quarterly reporting, but is able to plan for the long term instead. The company uses this freedom to design all business processes in a sustainable manner.

“Our organization is characterized by respect for the individual, personal responsibility and a transparent, flat organization. This allows us to decide quickly and with a minimum of bureaucracy“, states Carolin Unger, Head of HR marketing and recruiting. These are qualities that are appreciated by employees and the market: According to surveys by Trendence Institute, Rohde & Schwarz has been one of the most popular employers in Germany among young engineers for years.

Focusing on the best specialists

Never before have they been in greater demand than today: engineers are a scarce resource in Germany. The Association of German Engineers (VDI) and the German Economic Institute (IW) reported more than 105,000 vacancies at the beginning of 2012. Surveys show, that two out of three companies are unable to fill every fourth vacancy with their preferred candidate. "The battle for the best brains is in full swing and will intensify further," Carolin Unger is convinced.

The Munich-based group is also facing immense challenges. Although the fluctuation rate is below one percent and thereby is extremely low, the company is constantly looking for new development engineers nevertheless. This is mainly caused by the continuing boom in smartphones and tablet PCs and the launch of the next generation of mobile communication, "Long Term Evolution" (LTE). "Nationwide, we constantly have around 200 vacancies," says department head Unger. Finding the right employees is a huge challenge, even for top employers like Rohde & Schwarz.

All the more important it is to pursue strategic HR management - which our own employees can best implement. In the future, we therefore want to discontinue our cooperation with personnel consultants as far as possible and focus on internal competencies in recruiting," explains Unger.

A consistent connection


Every month, around 15 vacancies need to be filled at Rohde & Schwarz. On average, 80 applications are received per job advertisement - increasingly via e-mail. While searching for a suitable candidate, every single application has to be carefully reviewed and further steps have to be initiated in accordance with the responsible manager. Previously, an external service provider was responsible for this at Rohde & Schwarz. "Although this saved time and resources, it had the disadvantage that we only actually got to see a few candidates," says Carolin Unger. Applicants who did not fit the advertised vacancy, but did fit well into the company, fell through the grid. Given the growing shortage of skilled workers, the HR responsibles thus preferred to take candidate screening into their own hands.

The existing system landscape proved to be a true constraint: Isolated databases and solutions delayed recruiting, made communication and comparisons more difficult and made evaluations virtually impossible. "We wanted an e-recruiting system that fits into the existing IT landscape, enables comprehensive controlling and makes group-wide recruitment more flexible," explains Helmut Birk, head of SAP ERP HCM System Support.

The solution: SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM). The software integrates perfectly into the group's existing SAP landscape, enables HR processes to be measured and controlled and at the same time increases the HR department´s efficiency.

Being tuned to the same wavelength

Once the decision had been made in favor of the new e-recruiting system, the Rohde & Schwarz project team immediately started its implementation. After all, there was a lot to do: "In addition to the technical basis, the organizational procedure also changed," says Carolin Unger.

Where an external service provider used to qualify all data and applicants, the HR department was now to take over completely. It was necessary to define cross-departmental processes, create authorization and security concepts and adapt the standard solution to the individual needs of the electronics company. For example, those responsible decided not to use Adobe Interactive Forms to create search requests for recruitment, as the SAP standard defines. Instead, the team - together with implementation partner projekt0708 - developed a customized Web-Dynpro- ABAP®-Implementation.
Using this tool, managers can enter their HR requirements directly into the system – this saves a great deal of time for the HR department and makes a consistent surface available for managers and recruiters.

“We also invested a lot of energy in the authorization concept“, remembers technical project lead, Frank Krause. For good reason, since application information is highly sensible data. This is also why the project team had the solution explicitly audited by the security consultants of Virtual Forge GmbH. "The detailed role concept as well as the entire system architecture impressed the auditors," says department head Birk happily. In his opinion, the smooth project progress is also owed to the committed colleagues from projekt0708 - who even took over the technical project management at times as part of a parental leave replacement.

Paving the way for strategic HR Work

Where a variety of different solutions used to block the view, SAP ERP HCM now enables transparent and consistent e-recruiting - right from the start. Now, managers enter their personnel requirements directly in the system and can access preconfigured text modules. "This simplifies the job advertisement for us enormously," explains Carolin Unger.

As soon as the request is approved, the recruiter in charge receives a corresponding message. Subsequently, he or she can directly phrase the job posting and send it to relevant job boards within just a few clicks. Incoming applications are evaluated in the back office and by the recruiter and are then forwarded to the responsible manager with appropriate recommendations for action. " Interview invitations as well as acceptances and rejections are also sent directly from SAP ERP HCM," Unger explains.

For potential employees, it is extremely easy to apply for a job at Rohde & Schwarz. Via a nationwide career portal, applicants can now submit their documents within a few minutes - and receive a prompt response. "This increases our chances of finding our ideal candidates and winning them for us," the head of department is convinced. Convenient reporting, analysis, planning and controlling functions also help to consistently align HR activities with the strategic corporate goals.

Transparency on every frequency

"With the integrated recruiting solution, we are accelerating our recruitment process enormously and at the same time we ensure that there is no more talent lost throughout the group," says Carolin Unger. Previously, managers could only view the documents of potential employees at set times. Today, SAP ERP HCM gives them unlimited access to the information they need. "If necessary, I can also check the documents at the weekend," says Unger happily.

If several qualified candidates apply for the same position, it's even better: The company-wide talent pool allows them to be placed throughout the group - an enormous advantage in times of a rapidly increasing shortage of engineers. For Unger, however, this is compulsory. "The goal is to recruit every suitable candidate," she says. This also applies to HR marketing. Thanks to comprehensive reporting tools, the HR department can now reliably identify potential gaps in the process, measure the success of marketing activities, plan contingents in job portals over the long term – and, hence, efficiently design the entire recruiting process.

Aiming at a solution expansion

Since February 2012, Rohde & Schwarz has been managing its demand for skilled employees throughout Germany using SAP ERP HCM. Soon, the group also plans to recruit trainees via the e-recruiting platform and process internal applications using the standard solution.

In the medium term, other international locations are also to benefit from the recruitment solution. The rollout is planned for 2013. "After all, we want to further establish our good reputation as a top employer outside of Germany in the future," emphasizes Carolin Unger.

We are looking for our industry´s diamonds. You can find them, when applicating is designed simple and intuitively. Our custom designed e-recruiting-process provides the basis for this.
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