07.01.2022 Human Resources

Reversing the HR brain drain in rural Germany

Dr. Julia Plüntsch

Dr. Julia Plüntsch is a 2021 Executive DBA German alumni and winner of the « 2021 Managerial Impact Prize » awarded by Business Science Institute.

What persuaded you to enrol on the Executive DBA programme at Business Science Institute?

The Business Science Institute programme offers participants access to leading professors with international expertise.  The programme structure is rigorous and transparent, including a number of academic seminars during which managers from different backgrounds come together to share their research topics and business insights.  The programme is run jointly with a reputable French University and overseen by Professor Michel Kalika who is a pioneer in Executive Education in Europe.

What was your thesis topic and why did you choose it?

Based on my personal experiences as a member of the board of Rügenwalder Spezialitäten, a specialist sausage manufacturer with two production sites located in rural German regions, I decided to explore the following research question: Which factors motivate managers to choose an employer in rural areas?  This is a highly relevant topic because the “war for talents” is having an even greater impact in rural areas, caused by the flight of human capital to urban areas as more and more employees opt to live in or close to cities.  As a consequence, those companies located in rural areas need to adopt special strategies to keep their order books full, ensure their survival and drive their development.

Can you talk to us about your main findings?

Through my research I was able to come up with a checklist for managers, which is designed to be helpful for the recruitment process. The checklist is based on the evaluated motivation factors of managers applying specifically for employment in companies located in rural areas. In a nutshell, it is important to target the right person with the problem solution for their current life situation in order to recruit successfully. Recruiting is no longer just about technical qualifications and cross-disciplinary skills. You have to look at the person as a whole and develop an empathetic view.

As a female manager, what has been the added value of the DBA?

Personally, I operate in an environment in which gender does not play a separate role, and as a senior business leader I am committed to equal treatment of male and female employees.  I see the added value of the DBA generally as contributing to a deeper, more scientific, and profounder way of working.  I have further developed my ability to analyse figures, data and facts, and more generally I feel I have developed as a person.

What has been the impact of the DBA?

The research I carried out during the thesis process has offered many advantages to my company. Specifically, we have greatly improved our recruitment process, offering us new opportunities in the “war for talents”.

Furthermore, the interviews conducted as part of the study have enabled me to develop a network of new contacts with whom I’m still in touch today and enabling us to have constructive exchanges with other companies.  In particular, my work has opened up new conversations with business leaders in rural areas who are confronted with similar problems related to the challenges of recruitment.

About Julia PLÜNTSCH

Julia Plüntsch is a member of the management board of the Rügenwalder Spezialitäten Group. After graduating from high school, she studied Food Technology (Dipl.-Ing. (FH)) at the Technische Hochschule Ostwestfalen in Lemgo, and subsequently General Management (MBA) at the FHDW in Paderborn. Today, she has 13 years of management experience in the food industry and, together with her mother-in-law and husband, manages the family company, which produces protein-based food products at two locations in Germany. In September 2021, Julia Plüntsch defended her Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (Executive DBA) on the topic of ‘Aspects of employer choice of executives in rural areas’, under the supervision of Professor Dr. Hansjosten, Hochschule Heilbronn. Julia Plüntsch was awarded the “2021 Managerial Impact Prize” by Business Science Institute.

Source: Communicated by Business Science Institute