Mareike Rodewyk

National Human Resource Manager SOS Children's Villages Germany e.V.

One step ahead

This story tells us about the pleasure of finally being able to help our programs with their new task: increased recruiting efforts to be prepared for the future.

Although it had been difficult to find SOS mothers in Germany for many years, for a long time we had no problem finding the right educational employees for our programs that were well trained and equally skilled. In this time, the usual ways to find them like advertisements in newspapers or internet worked well.

Over the last few years the prerequisites for recruitment changed. On one hand there is a new law that defines the right for every child under the age of 3 years to get a place in a day care program. Therefore, the shortage of skilled personnel is getting worse especially in certain regions of Germany. Since it is much easier to work in day care than in residential care with shift-work, some of our programs really struggled to find new educational employees.
In this situation I got in charge for a pilot project that was scheduled for 1 year. We would accompany some programs that should try out certain new ways in finding qualified employees.

Project management was a new task for me at that time. Two to three programmes per region were asked to go to education schools and to the universities to establish a partnership in training young people with education work skills. They should provide events at those schools and universities and also in their facilities. The goal was to increase the awareness level about being well known as a good place to work. We wanted to be known for our good structures to get into the job and for the many options to develop oneself as employee. Thus all programmes of one regional level were meant to present themselves as one strong employer. For us it was important that interested students perceived SOS Children’s Villages as attractive employer where they could apply for a job. 

Programs were meant to efficiently recruit and train more young people already during their studies at educational school or university in order to qualify them for the jobs we have to offer in residential child care and youth care. All that happened with the final aim to attract them as co-workers afterwards. We wanted to employ co-workers who already know what it means to work in our facilities, especially in the residential child care, even without having been in the job for a long time. A second aim of the project was to implement structures in each program ensuring there would be a person in charge of this task in the future as well.
There was a challenge for the project members: They did not have too much time to work for the project besides their tasks in education or leading a team of educators. The project got stuck a little bit and I wasn’t sure if it would become successful at all.

Knowing this challenge we tried our best to attend and support them best possible throughout the whole process. We organised meetings, helped with project management and we assisted from the head office like by providing standard forms, setting up new homepages, helping with flyers and so on. We were even making suggestions for lessons to be offered to the educational schools or the universities about some themes related to the work in the villages. But it was not possible for us to interfere in the actions that should address the regional schools and universities.

Finally some programs started to make their first steps.
Some of them really got the drive to work together in their region. With joint efforts they reached a lot and built up a presence as one strong social employer in the region. It was a real pleasure to see how good it worked out for them und how much joy they had doing it. It was just great to build up the structures together and share the information what worked out well together with the project members afterwards.

That seemed to be very infectious so the others also started to find many good ways to work with the schools and the universities on one hand and to train the young people on the job still during their study programmes on the other hand. These parallel efforts were important. It really felt great to inspire some of our programs to take on the ownership for their own project and to handle it very successfully. We helped them to try out and establish new ways ensuring there will be enough skilled personnel and especially enough qualified educators or studied social workers in times of a big shortage of skilled personnel.

With providing the project management, fostering the exchange of ideas about what worked out well and with building up a good documentation of the ideas and the challenges in a “best-practice-folder” I was able to help the programmes participating in the project and SOS Children’s Villages Germany to be one step ahead in recruiting. It was very energizing and encouraging to do even more projects to be prepared for the future.

Mareike Rodewyk

joined SOS Children's Villages Germany in 2001. She is National Human Resource Manager.

In 15 years of work for SOS Children’s Villages she has discovered the professional passion to inspire people to contribute to the great idea of SOS Children’s Villages as her great treasure. Accepting and respecting difference based on the foundations of love and trust, a loving atmosphere for living together is created. These form the treasures of family. Sailing in the sun is her treasure in leisure. Moreover, when she sails along with her kitchen and friends, then she feels at home. All the way from her childhood home in the southern part of Germany (“Bodensee” – Lake Constance) to Munich where she lives and works, the experience of successful management of difference and diversity makes her happy.