New Work Employers’ Seal: Methodology
In May 2020, New Work SE (formerly Xing SE) announced the launch of the new NEW WORK ARBEITGEBERSIEGEL. The seal was created in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Tobias Dauth, Professor of International Management at HHL.
The NEW WORK ARBEITGEBERSIEGEL, picks up on the developments in the new working world and offers employees the chance to help companies make the right decisions in their search for the right employer. In an interview with Eva Echterhoff, Director of Media Relations, Prof. Dauth talks about the relevance of New Work in today’s working life, about the criteria used to create the seal and why a seal creates more transparency.
An essential core of Prof. Dauth’s scientific work lies in top management team research. In this context, his research focuses on the question of the extent to which managers can influence the strategy and (economic) success of companies.
Publications by him and his co-authors examine, for example, the role of executives in the digital transformation of companies, the connection between international experience of executives and their remuneration, or the connection between international experience and the career advancement of managers.
In addition to his work at HHL, Prof. Dauth is also engaged at the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy (IMW). From 2015 to 2019 he worked there on research projects with a focus on New Work:
For example, a project with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) examined gender diversity and equality in the international university landscape, a project with kununu GmbH and XING E-Recruiting was devoted to the topic of “Employer Branding”, and a project with kununu engage GmbH aimed to make corporate culture measurable in an international context.
Why is the concept of new work important for companies (from a scientist’s perspective)?
New work is important because this phenomenon will be one factor in determining the future of work. We know that the working world is currently undergoing fundamental, sociological and technology-driven changes. On the one hand, we can see in many employees, for instance, the desire for more flexible working hours. At the same time, digital change serves as an enabler, by generating digitalized work processes among other things, as well as a driving force, e.g., by extending opportunities for agile work processes.
The concept of new work influences not just when and where we will be able to work in the future. New work is also concerned with the way in which we all work together, thereby reflecting people’s new expectations regarding participation and the sense of achievement bestowed through work.
“We assisted in the analysis of the New Work phenomenon and created a conceptual framework which is now the basis for the NEW WORK AWARD.”
You immersed yourself wholeheartedly into the topic of new work. Where does this enthusiasm come from?
My research has dealt with several aspects of new work for a long time. My co-authors and I have published works examining the role of executives within companies in times of digital transformation, the relation between an executive’s international experience and their compensation as well as the connection between international experience and a manager’s career progress.
In addition to my position at HHL, I also work at the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy (IMW). There, I was involved in several research projects between 2015 and 2019 which focused on the context of new work. One joint project with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), for instance, highlighted gender diversity and equality in the international academic landscape; one project with kununu GmbH and XING E-Recruiting was dedicated to the topic of employer branding and yet another project with kununu engage GmbH aimed to make corporate culture measurable in an international context.
The current collaboration with New Work SE is one in a long line of scientific projects and also links the individual fields of examination from my previous work. Ultimately, it’s all about an extensive analysis and operationalization of the new work phenomenon. My previous projects touched upon subfields of this concept, such as diversity and equality, compensation, career prospects and employer attractiveness.
What are the criteria for awarding the NEW WORK EMPLOYERS’ SEAL?
The NEW WORK EMPLOYERS’ SEAL and the related measurement of new work use two perspectives. In addition to feedback from employees, details provided by the employers are also incorporated into the assessment.
Information from the employees and the employers cover three new work dimensions: “individual development”, “transparency and appreciation” as well as “leadership and organization”. So employees and employers assess their company’s status quo by considering these three dimensions.
“New work is also concerned with the way in which we all work together, thereby reflecting people’s new expectations regarding participation and the sense of achievement bestowed through work.”
How did you proceed with your research and the methodical development?
The individual dimensions were identified following a literature analysis. As a part of this process, existing texts on new work were reviewed to consolidate the respective dimensions of new work and then transferred into a conceptual framework aiming to describe the phenomenon of new work as extensively as possible.
Afterwards, we developed specific criteria by which new work can be registered and described. We based our work on scientific papers and analyzed, for instance, how existing studies operationalize “leadership”. As a result of this analysis, three criteria were defined for each dimension of new work which eventually served as the basis for identifying items (i.e., specific indications of new work). Each of those criteria was then transferred into so-called new work items which can be assessed both by employees and employers. The sum of all responses and assessments is the basis of the new work scores awarded for the individual criteria and dimensions.
How do you make new work measurable?
Numerous data points are included in the assessment. Employee opinions are analyzed based on data from company reviews and the Kulturkompass, both provided through kununu’s platform. The employer data comes from information provided by the companies themselves using our questionnaire. Both employees and employers assess new work following the three dimensions listed above; “individual development”, “transparency and appreciation” as well as “leadership and organization”.
How rigid/flexible are these questions with regard to the future?
Scientists and practitioners are by no means in agreement on how to define new work. This just goes to show how multifaceted this phenomenon is and suggests that our understanding of new work is bound to change or continue to develop in the future. Our project aims to support companies in implementing new work. This requires us to observe the phenomenon of new work, to continue to do so and if necessary, to adjust the dimensions and criteria which are relevant for the implementation of new work in companies. To put it clearly though — our questions are based on the latest publications on the topic of new work so we are up to date.
“Our project aims to support companies in implementing new work.”
In your opinion, how suitable is the data from the kununu ratings platform for analyzing the employees’ perspective?
kununu allows all employees of a company to give feedback on a regular basis and rate their employer. There are several benefits we draw from it; on one hand, access to the platform is easy and identical for all users. On the other hand, kununu provides data on companies over a relatively long period. In the end, it is important for people using kununu to be able to give feedback on their own and in an unfiltered way. And if the comments there draw a positive picture of a company, that is already an indication of new work.
How do you evaluate the responses of the companies?
We send companies a questionnaire in electronic form. The important thing is that the answers on that questionnaire must be verified by sources from within the company. This allows us to better understand how far the candidates have actually come in their implementation of new work and whether the data from employers and employees are consistent. By the way — companies have to score points in all criteria to be awarded the seal. An excellent result in the field of “leadership and organization”, for example, cannot compensate for a bad performance in the “transparency and appreciation” category.
In the project with New Work SE, Prof. Dauth had the task of categorizing the existing scientific work on New Work and identifying essential elements of New Work. Among these essential elements, aspects such as “flexibility of work”, “dealing with diversity in companies” or “leadership culture” were listed.
Subsequently, the essential elements of New Work were translated into concrete questions that form the basis for an employer self-assessment. This self-disclosure or questionnaire will be handed out to companies wishing to qualify for the New Work Employer seal.
Thus, the questionnaire developed by Prof. Dauth is one of three data sources that are used for the analysis within the framework of the New Work Employer seal:
Data source 1 are the kununu profiles of the respective companies on which employees evaluate their companies with regard to New Work.
Data source 2 is the kununu culture compass, which was developed in cooperation with HHL professor Timo Meynhardt.
Data source 3 is the questionnaire developed by Prof. Dauth.
Further publications by or in cooperation with Prof. Dauth in the field of New Work:
Wrede, M; Velamuri, V.; Dauth, T. (2020): Top managers in the digital age: Exploring the role and practices of top managers in firms’ digital transformation. Managerial and Decision Economics (zur Publikation akzeptiert).
Schmid, S.; Altfeld, F.; Dauth, T. (2018): Americanization as a driver of CEO pay in Europe: The moderating role of CEO power. Journal of World Business, 53. Jg., Nr. 4, S. 433-451.
Georgakakis, D.; Dauth, T.; Ruigrok, W. (2016): Too much of a good thing: Does international experience variety accelerate or delay executives’ career advancement? Journal of World Business, 51. Jg. Nr. 3, S.425-437.
Beermann, H.; Dauth, T; Lewandowska, A, (2017): Gleichstellung in der Hochschullandschaft – Wissenschaftlerinnen in Entwicklungsländern, Fraunhofer-Zentrum für Internationales Management und Wissensökonomie IMW, Jahresbericht 2016/17.
o.A. (2019): kununu Kulturkompass: Erläuterung der methodischen Grundlagen, Presseinformation kununu.
o.A. (2019): Unternehmenskultur wird messbar, Fraunhofer Zentrum für Internationales Management und Wissensökonomie IMW.
Melde, A., Dauth, T., Knezevic, K., Prüller, J., Zoller, S. (2018). Auf der Suche nach den richtigen Kandidaten? Schritt für Schritt zum erfolgreichen Employer Branding. Fraunhofer Zentrum für Internationales Management und Wissensökonomie IMW.
Why do we need the NEW WORK EMPLOYERS’ SEAL in the first place?
New work describes multiple facets of a new working world. After all, there is not just one new work approach which companies have to implement to successfully transform work.
So, for companies, it is just as important to register the dimensions of new work and to make them measurable. This is the only way to allow for internal and external positioning. And only by measuring new work can changes be highlighted and successes recorded. A recurring measurement of new work also represents the foundation for identifying parameters within companies that are important for implementing the concept of new work.
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