Swiss Prime Site and its group companies, Swiss Prime Site Immobilien, Wincasa, Tertianum, Immoveris and Swiss Prime Site Solutions, are specialised players in the real estate industry. Petra Weigert, Head Group of Human Resources at Swiss Prime Site, explained: «We are very keen to recruit suitable employees, help them become experts in their fields, and retain them in our company.» The Swiss labour market for real estate experts is quite compact. Filling vacancies with well-qualified specialists is an increasingly challenging task.
In 2017, the management of Swiss Prime Site made a strategic decision to prioritise employer branding. It reviewed its staff development measures, regulations and structures and launched a specially designed traineeship programme.
We need experts!
The traineeship programme was initiated to facilitate the active recruitment of talented young people and counteract the impact of the weak labour market. At the same time, its originators hope to boost the reputation of Swiss Prime Site and its group companies as an attractive employer within and beyond the real estate industry. Candidates for a traineeship must have a bachelor's or master’s degree and an interest in gaining their first professional experience and establishing a professional network. Over the course of the traineeship, which lasts between 18 and 24 months, Swiss Prime Site organises an interesting and versatile programme of activities for the budding property professionals, who get to gain exclusive insights into one or multiple renowned companies in the real estate industry.
The programme has a modular structure that honours current trends and the diversity of the group as well as the versatile tasks the trainees will learn. In three to four blocks with a duration of six months each, they experience multiple business segments first-hand. They can choose from the following: Development & Construction, Acquisition & Sales, Portfolio Management, Letting Advisory, Strategic Facility Management and Centre Management.
Four out of fifty
Petra Weigert described the recruitment process as follows: «We used a range of recruitment methods and channels to reach out to suitable candidates, taking advantage of traditional advertisements, digital and social media platforms.» It attracted considerable interest. «Around 50 people applied to the course starting in the summer of 2019.» An internal committee composed of members of the involved group companies reviewed the applications and invited twelve suitable candidates to the assessment day in Zurich that was held at the end of March 2019. «We wanted to meet the participants and observe how they conduct themselves on their own and as members of a group. It was important to us to experience their assertiveness and their capacity for teamwork. The event allowed us to get to know the candidates in some depth,» the Head Group of Human Resources explained.
In the morning, all participants introduced themselves to the committee individually. They were then divided into teams. Each team was given the task of analysing concrete challenges facing a specific group company and developing potential solutions. After a shared lunch break, they presented their ideas to the group. Petra Weigert was impressed by the level-headed approach of the candidates. Having been put in the position of strategic consultants, the participants explained their solutions to the committee in a highly professional manner. Petra Weigert commented: «The quality of the presentations was high.»
Three of our four new trainees
Mirror, mirror on the wall
In the meantime, the selection committee reconvened to discuss the impressions they gathered during the one-on-one interviews with the candidates and the group presentations. Out of around 50 applicants, four motivated and ambitious young people (two women and two men) received an offer for a traineeship with the Swiss Prime Site Group. All of them accepted the offer. Their expertise in customer service, financial analysis, marketing and facility management will make them valuable assets for Swiss Prime Site and its group companies.
Ready, steady, go
The four new trainees will start their courses in September 2019, taking on a new role every six months. A mentor will support them in their everyday work and beyond. «We want to make sure that all our trainees complete the programme just as motivated as they started it. Our goal is to recruit them as permanent employees afterwards,» Petra Weigert commented. She is fully satisfied with this year's selection process.