Working environments are changing fast, with new technologies opening up opportunities for collaboration and offering fresh perspectives to employers and employees. An open opportunity is a call to action, it needs to be seized – and seizing it requires the courage to embrace change, a mind open to new ways of working, and the willingness to keep learning.
Aareal Bank Group has taken its first steps into the workplace 4.0. Over the past years, we have adjusted our structures and processes, and aligned our working conditions with new working environments. At the same time, we have expanded our relevant training programmes and launched a process of continuous transformation.
We want to make even greater use of the potential that tomorrow’s working environments hold. That is why we currently have a particular focus on the following themes:
What opportunities do fresh, innovative forms of work offer us, and how do we want to make use of them?
What are the environmental and social benefits to digital work?
How can we meet the rising demand in continuing professional development, and which measures do we want to adopt for this?
What defines us as an employer? We have summarised the important facts on our website.
“I am convinced that hybrid working models will shape the workplace in the long term. We support our financial sector clients in the technological and cultural change that this requires to their organisation. In this effort, collaborative cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft Teams are key. They allow institutions such as Aareal Bank to react to changing requirements swiftly and flexibly.”
The way we work has developed rapidly over the past years and gained further momentum with the COVID-19 pandemic. This change has been driven to a significant extent by digitalisation: automated business processes, additional networking opportunities and new requirements for our staff – as well as their new expectations – are key results of the shifting work culture, adding to new working models such as agile working or work-life blending, the integration of work and life.
We are looking deep into the forms of work of tomorrow to be able to adapt and use them as quickly as possible, both in collaboration with our clients and within our own organisation. Against this background, our working environments keep evolving. This includes using new communication channels, expanding the digital workplace and advancing our leadership culture. Modern spaces that foster new work and create room for new ideas provide further support in this respect. We are in a process of continuous transformation, raising awareness amongst our employees for the potential and opportunities of new work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown that this strategy is successful. In a matter of days, the majority of our employees had to make the switch from their office to a home office and thanks to the structures for mobile work already in place, the move was successful within a very short period of time. In this, we benefitted from a highly flexible IT infrastructure; this flexibility will be expanded even further in the coming years.
However, the horseshoe-shaped table setting is not yet entirely obsolete: increasingly, modern working spaces emerge which offer new opportunities for managers and employees alike to let their creative juices flow.
Director Human Resources Development, Group Human Resources & Infrastructure, Aareal Bank
“Digital processes, new channels, workplace design, remote working – the working environment can only be successfully transformed if technology and corporate culture work hand in hand. Making use of our state-of-the-art HR instruments, we support and take part in shaping this transformation, consistently adjusting these instruments to the Bank’s needs and our environment.”
Director IT Services, Aareal Bank
“The short-term roll-out of Microsoft Teams was due to the situation at the time. Microsoft Teams has since established itself as a key component to providing our employees with an expanding range of cloud-based digital workplace services across different devices, in particular MS Azure, and doing so in a future-proof way. At the same time, we are reducing our administrative IT workload.”
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Seizing the opportunities of digital working while helping the environment – our Aareon segment has wedded these two objectives in its “Green Consulting” offering. The principle behind it: by providing our IT consulting services online, we not only save on time and money as there is no need to travel, but we also save on carbon emissions.
Our clients have welcomed this offering with open arms, with more than 31,000 “Green Consulting” days being mandated by the end of 2020 – more than double the number of 2019.
31,000 Green Consulting days – conducted digitally instead of on-site.
Digital consulting reduces traffic and carbon emissions. This adds up, contributing to a sustainable society.
Director Consulting, Aareon
“The strong demand for our ‘Green Consulting’ online services underscores that our strategy is right.”
“We pay close attention to sustainability in all of our corporate activities. It’s nice to be supported in this by a partner such as Aareon.”
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In a professional environment undergoing an ever-stronger transformation, lifelong learning is indispensable. In this context, it is not only about continuously acquiring new skills and qualifications. Good continuing professional development also means giving every employee the opportunity to develop at a personal, individual level.
This means that our new job training and CPD initiative Learning@Aareal does not follow a prescriptive approach; rather, it is based on personal initiative and lets our employees decide for themselves which areas they would like to focus on in their development. The starting point for this question is always their current role and function within the Company. Therefore, we have designed a skills matrix determining which expertise our employees should have in which position. The matrix forms the basis for Learning@Aareal, ensuring that every employee finds him-/herself in the programme, regardless of their individual needs.
New ways of learning in a multimedia setting allow Learning@Aareal to provide comprehensive and well-structured CPD offering. The programme includes a few dozen different learning methods. Increased usage of digital channels and so-called blended learning, which combines the benefits of in-person trainings and e-learning, allows for a high degree of flexibility: the online lessons available on the curated learning platform can be accessed from any location and at any time; users can take a break whenever they need and resume at the exact same spot. These are ideal conditions for our employees to be able to continue their education flexibly according to their needs.
Managing Director Group Human Resources & Infrastructure, Aareal Bank
“Learning@Aareal supports employees in performing their current role through targeted learning offerings – 50% of which are available in the digital realm – that are based on our corporate and HR strategy, as well as Aareal Bank’s USP.”
How do we learn?
Christian Friedrich (Haufe Akademie) and Birgid Schlasius (Aareal Bank) on new paths in education and continuing professional development.