Everyone knows it but few act: There's a lack of specialists and managers

We at LILA LOGISTIK think enough is a enough! According to studies, about 60 percent of all decision-makers in German companies see the shortage of skilled workers as a high risk factor. However, the same study indicates that only 18 percent of German companies deal with the topic in a structured, strategic, and long-term way. The remainder believe that a bit of human resources marketing and a positive performance on rating portals like Kununu are rebuilding the world or have come to terms with the fact that there is little to do against bigger firms in the labor market. Waiting is a dangerous strategy. We are looking for generalists who are capable of leading multidisciplinary teams that can easily collaborate across disciplines - people who create value using the whole picture and employees with visions who successfully develop new business models and drive the company forward.

Trends such as Industry 4.0, Internet of Things, robotics, and data-driven automation of processes shift the discussion on skills shortages and change the quality of these talks. Which employees will secure future corporate success? Are there reliable role models? How does the use of innovative technologies affect employer attractiveness? And to what extent will personnel be replaced by them?

Politicians can significantly contribute to curbing the skills shortage by:


But that's not enough. In order to get a grip on the shortage of skilled workers, companies should also make a contribution. We at Müller - Die lila Logistik want to pass on our ideas and experiences to you.

Five starting points to doing things differently:

There is no universal, magical formula that eliminates the skills shortage in German industries. To carry on as before is no solution. Here, we present five points to start doing things differently.

Establishing yourself as an attractive company on the job market is not a short-term goal. This endeavor includes structure, a strong goal, a bundle of measures and marathon qualities. For example, a professional HR marketing concept will take effect, earliest, after 18 months - despite all the euphoria about social media and online communication. 


1. Turn flexibility into more than just a buzzword!

Expand your territory and seek out skilled workers outside of company headquarters. You increase applicant potential by, for example, advertising vacancies nationwide via digital platforms. A colleague that's happy to assist newly recruited employees as a mentor makw their arrival and adjustment to a new environment easier. With relocation assistance, such as  the provision of an apartment or ready-to-occupy home, makes it easier for potential employees to decide to join a certain firm. It's also smart to send new employees daily press and information from the region after signing the employment contract. Then the 100-day rule begins before the job starts.

Flexible job models increase your chances of gaining additional employees. Collaborative and cloud-based techniques support those who wish to work from home. Job sharing enables workers to do more and more part-time work, and as an employer, you can benefit from the dual occupation of dual motivation and experience - without paying more salary. Depending on the model, those affected can, for example, share tasks by alternating mornings and afternoons or weekly. However, the prerequisite for success is confidence in the self-responsible and goal-oriented work of the employees. In organizations filled with mistrust, these models are doomed to fail.

2. Increase the importance of apprentices and students in the company

Try to prevent a shortage of skilled workers by increasing the number of trainees and students and quickly getting the next generation involved. In order to avoid mismatches in the day-to-day business, meaning that the experienced employees have nothing to do and the apprentices have nothing to do, it is best to define the tasks in which newcomers can add value. Increasing your attractiveness as a firm also means entrusting apprentices and students with the responsibility, structuring and the results of their project.

Recognizing talent early and providing them with early perspectives beyond hierarchical career steps and physical rewards can motivate and retain new employees. Talent management starts with the trainees. It is a typical mistake to wait and see young employees leave the company after graduation. It's better to recognize them early, so that they're oriented to deliver success, values, and development opportunities.

3. Make lifelong learning a habit

Complexity is increasing, product life cycles are shortening, and innovations have to be placed on the market at high speed. The willingness to change and lifelong learning have become the basis for successful organizations while knowledge, driven by digitization, has grown into a significant competitive factor and is developing faster and faster. In the eighteenth century, mankind's knowledge doubled around every 100 years; today, knowledge doubles in just five years. 

Learning is a principle of life. For companies, that means the reassessment and new development of the their employees, the acquisition of different skills, and the assumption of various tasks. Lifelong learning is based on high-quality continuing education programs, adapted to changing learning needs, and exploiting new technical possibilities. In terms of a needs-based orientation, employers should become more involved with educational institutions.

4. Strengthening your attractiveness as an employer and a brand

It is becoming increasingly expensive to find new employees in a tight labor market and to hold down good employees within the company. Even though it's cliché, this won't work without good employer branding. But what makes an employer really attractive? Remuneration only plays a role as a weed-out factor: If your company pays 20 percent less than the market, you have almost no chance. In addition, however, intangible factors pay off for an employer's brand. These include: praise, recognition and appreciation by executives, value systems, flexible and life-phase-oriented working time models, large scope for action and decision-making, and performance-based remuneration models. 

The loss of an employee and the replacement of their empty position usually cost the equivalent of one and a half years' salaries. Thinking about your own employer brand and the implementation of necessary measures (e.g. the targeted use of job boards and social media, the use of employees as ambassadors, the further development of value systems, leadership cultures) are quickly worthwhile. However, interest, identification, loyalty and bond aren't formed as you run after every new HR trend. The decisive factor is that you act professionally, continuously, and with a long-term mindset for your branding. Then, you can reap the benefits. 

5. Reduce staffing needs via intelligent automation

Used intelligently, digitization and automation enable you to handle current tasks with less or an equal number of employees, despite growing tasks. Thanks to technology, many processes are more efficient. What seems inhumane at first glance might be the only way to secure competitiveness and jobs of a different value in some markets and sectors. Whether in the HR department, where modern, easy-to-use HR systems reduce the need for human resources, or in production and logistics, where intelligent robots replace difficult-to-find personnel.


Intelligent automation and digital HR management isn't a future topic. If you want to know what intralogistics involves, we have expert knowledge and practical experience. In our white paper, "Control of Intralogistics", you'll learn how we are developing concrete solutions for customers who lack staff.