EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AT LOBSTER.
Lobster is going from strength to strength in its journey from DACH-centric software company to European IT heavyweight. Has this focus on international markets changed the type of candidate Lobster is recruiting?
Dr. Martin Fischer (Managing Director, Lobster): There are currently around 250 employees working in the Lobster Group at home and abroad, and we are hiring in five regions: DACH, France, Benelux, Scandinavia and Great Britain. We’re also in the process of setting up an office in Seattle, to open in the Autumn. As is the case for most players in our industry, we’re always on the look-out for IT specialists. That being said, we’ve also had great results bringing on IT-savvy career changers with backgrounds in mathematics and the natural sciences. When it comes down to it, however, Lobster is essentially keen to meet people with a passion for digitalisation who are looking to further their professional development.
What expectations do job seekers have when they approach Lobster? There must be differences between the individual locations.
Salary is always an important consideration. But corporate benefits are also becoming increasingly relevant. What does an employer offer in terms of non-monetary compensation? All countries value these benefits – be they material or immaterial – to a similar degree. For example, we find that French and Scandinavian applicants are less concerned about reconciling work and family life than those in Germany. Simply because childcare is better organised there. German and Dutch candidates, on the other hand, want to know whether their place of work will be easily accessible by public transport. This can either be due to environmental concerns or to avoid spending time off duty stuck in traffic jams. Good public transport connections, such as those serving Lobster’s offices, go a long way towards achieving the work-life balance our prospective employees are looking for.
What should European companies be focussing on when it comes to employee development?
In the EU, as a relatively small region competing with North America and Asia, professional qualifications are incredibly important. In Europe, we need to pool our intellectual and operational potential beyond national borders. And I deliberately reference operations, as it’s not just a question of strategic concepts, it’s also about their practical implementation. However, although Lobster – as an MSE – is focussed on professional qualifications and skills, we also put great emphasis on our teams being open-minded. Creating international connections. And having the courage to think ahead. To not just say: “This isn’t ideal, but it’s not my problem. It’s not in my job description”, but instead respond with: “This isn’t ideal, but I have a great idea that will help solve it” – even if it’s an unrelated part of the business. To me, this is also a skill. Taking an interest. Keeping your eyes open.That’s precisely why Lobster set up its Innovation Award – to honour our employees for interdisciplinary problem-solving.
What is Lobster doing to bring employees outside the DACH region into the fold?
Our foreign colleagues want a degree of autonomy over their national operations but are also looking to be involved in the business here in Germany. To partake in the success of the Group as a whole. This is something we like to see, because close collaboration is essential to maintaining our growing customer base outside the DACH market: IT support, corporate identity, product development and Group strategy are all managed at our headquarters here in Greater Munich. We leave the customer-oriented, operational arms of the business, however, to our Regional Managers who have an eye on the specific market requirements, business conventions and cultural norms in their respective country. Our motto is always ‘autonomy and agreement’. To encourage this collaborative balance, we schedule regular meetings between the departments in our HQ and abroad, encourage business trips to the various locations and prioritise giving our international teams the opportunity to introduce themselves and showcase their successes to their co-workers at our HQ. A good example for this is the big Lobster Meeting, where the entire company gets together every year to listen to detailed reports from all departments and countries. Due to the pandemic we’ve had to move this event online twice in a row now, but even so: almost all Lobsteranians were there. From start to finish – for three hours. Brilliant! It was great to see, because it proved just how strong the sense of togetherness is amongst our employees and shows how much colleagues care about each other’s work.
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