What if you could take an established business and transform it into exactly the kind of company that you would like to work in?
As CEO of the Swiss company Trisport AG, Melanie Lauer was able to do just that when her company acquired the sporting goods brand Kettler.
Many of us will remember Kettler as the name on most of the sports gear of our childhoods - but although it’s an old and well-known company, the business behind it was rebuilt from scratch when Trisport acquired it: “it was like a start-up,” Melanie told me in this podcast.
A mother and CEO herself, she knew what she had to do to build a solid workforce and retain those talents in times of labour scarcity: “Flexibility, in every way!"
A lot of businesses offer some flexibility, but then their approach to that flexibility is somewhat… inflexible. So if you’re on an 80% model and take Fridays off (as an example), there’s often zero room to manoeuvre within that model. At every conference and business event I go to, I also keep hearing CEOs and heads of HR departments talk about wanting to get people back into the office - so the old ideal of having people sit at their desks at work remains alive and well.
And yet having flexibility in where and how you work is incredibly attractive for anyone - not just parents. So I was all the more inspired by Melanie’s approach. At Kettler, flexible work isn’t just a daily or weekly adjustment of working hours - it’s geographic, it’s seasonal - it’s personal.
“I've got one colleague who moved to Spain because he thought Spain might be a nice country to live in,” she says. "We offer sabbaticals. And we have a seasonal business, so a lot of colleagues work overtime in the winter and then work less in the summertime. It helps everybody. And it helps us to keep the loyalty of the people. They really want to stay with the company because there are benefits that they do not have somewhere else.”
To listen to my full conversation with Melanie, find our podcast here:
… and let me know what you think of her approach! Has she inspired you to think more flexibly? She certainly inspired us 💕
Speaker: Melanie Lauer, CEO @Kettler by Trisport AG
Interviewer: Dr. Ricarda Engelmeier - Founder @MyCollective
Music: sponsored by Michael Kadelbach
Picture: Melanie Lauer / Trisport
Graphic & Production: MyCollective
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