SWOPS – Strategy for Change.
International employer branding project of the Business and Professional Women (BPW) Germany Club Berlin e.V. successfully launched into its second half
Structural change and changing values in business is the key response to demographic change and the increasing demand for qualified specialists and executives. With SWOPS, the BPW Club Berlin e.V. leads the dynamics towards better equal opportunities in employment and career development. The innovative tool brings together best practices from four countries, thus ensuring satisfied and committed employees.
SWOPS stands for structural change-oriented personnel strategy (German: Strukturwandelorientierte Personalstrategie). Launched by the European Commission and the Berlin Senate for Labour, Integration and Women (SenAIF) as well as the Östergotland Senate (Sweden) the employer-branding tool is currently being developed on the initiative of BPW Club Berlin e.V. and funded with a total of more than half a million Euros. SWOPS is being created with the participation of France, Sweden, Austria and Germany and will contribute to greater fairness and equal opportunity in European companies. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with their short decision-making processes have a good chance to develop hidden potential, still during the project period.
Background: Structural reasons and the roles of leaders play a crucial role in the external recruitment and internal career planning processes. Equal opportunities can only be implemented when executives and personnel managers are not (unconsciously) guided by traditional role models – for example, in career upgrades, salary increases, bonuses, further training or during appraisal interviews. Women hardly have the opportunity to execute their qualities as long as their services and ideas will be judged on the labour market by 4.0 male-dominated value scales. Also in working women and female bosses (unconsciously) different forms of traditional thinking and acting exist.
The goal with SWOPS is to give companies selected solutions at hand, which have already proven themselves in the participating countries and with which executives can sustainably tap into the company’s own little or unused resources. Mixed teams have been proven in more innovative results and creativity in the company, which returned a positive effect on employee satisfaction. As employer branding tool SWOPS is an important tool for staff development.
The results of the consultancies carried out in the countries followed the evaluation of executives’ interviews, are compacted to a comparative country analysis. This is available for interested SMEs after project completion across the EU as a Best Practice Study and as a guide to action each in print and online format.
Practice partner of SWOPS are four small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from four countries who are willing to have their structures in the human resources strategy and personnel management analysed. A total of 16 companies, mostly from the technology sector, complain in unison the serious lack of well qualified specialists and managers and therefore rely on SWOPS as a strategy for change. Cornelia F. Krämer, 1. Representative at BPW Club Berlin in Germany says: “Within the project duration, executives of these companies have the courage to implement the first recommendations and thus possible changes in their own company. With SWOPS we support companies throughout Europe going to live longer equal opportunities. We not only promote diversity in companies, but also proven economic growth.”
In addition to the BPW Club Berlin as a project coordinator and the Berlin RKW GmbH, which is responsible for the content control, also other partner organizations from France, Sweden and Austria participate are involved in the development of SWOPS: The European Employer Association Centre Européen de Ressources des Groupements des Employeurs (CERGE), Poitiers, and at the regional level the Centre de Ressources des Groupements d’Employeurs (CRGE), Poitou-Charentes, France. In Austria, the comprehensive cluster for sustainable waste management in Styria ARGE, comprised of 130 enterprises and in Sweden the SME network of innovative location developer Tillväxt Motala.
Moreover, SWOPS brings diverse networking and synergy: In Sweden, because of SWOPS a collaboration with the University of Linköping was established. In the course of the advisory workshops in late October in Sweden, the French partner will present their model of employer associations. Towards the end of September, the project managers from Germany started SWOPS as a company project at the SRH University Berlin in cooperation with the International Institute for Sustainability Management (IISM). The Berlin-based LIGAS-Tischlereiarbeiten GmbH as well as EDENRED Germany GmbH support SWOPS as sponsors.
SWOPS is an example for the successful promotion of integration efforts of the European idea and also represents itself as an example of best practice, when it comes to develop and carry out innovative projects across Europe.
BPW Club Berlin e.V.
Clarissa-Diana Wilke, Communications & Public Affairs
Funded by the PROGRESS Programme of the European Union.