How HOCHTIEF supports career starters
Straight from university to the first construction project? For many graduates, the step from theory to practice seems like jumping in at the deep end. Respect for your own responsibility and anxiousness about making your own mistakes usually accompany you along the way. However, the experience of people who start their career at our company shows: Although the water may sometimes be cold, it isn’t really so deep.
For Thomas Rieger, young site manager at HOCHTIEF Infrastructure, despite really looking forward to the new task, there was still great uncertainty when he took the first steps with the project “highway bridge” and in the team assumed the task of setting up the construction site. A task which was challenging for Thomas Rieger without professional routine. “At the beginning I asked myself a very simple question: What is the first thing you need on the construction site?”, he remembers. Rieger therefore organized a construction site trailer with complete interior fittings and made sure he got the right IT equipment. After that he took on other tasks until the construction site was completely functional. This also involved organizing construction machinery, such as excavators and cranes. “The key question for everyone starting a career is: What can I do to advance the project? Where can I put my skills and strengths to good use? In this way, I gradually receive the tasks which particularly challenge me, which enable me to learn and expand my wealth of experience.”
The key question for everyone starting a career is: What can I now do to advance the project?
Thomas Rieger, young engineer at HOCHTIEF
Use room for maneuver and learn through mistakes
Felix von Platen, Head of the Technical Competence Center of HOCHTIEF Infrastructure, appreciates this type of independence, because it promises to provide the fastest learning success: “As a manager I would like to see if she or he wants to know how far to go, according to the motto: I want to learn, I want to be able to do, now please also give me the responsibility and the necessary room for maneuver, so that I can successfully invest this in the project.” And in return, believes Platen, this also involves permission to make mistakes. But here it is important not to leave the young engineers on their own. He calls that, “providing guardrails”.
Olaf Schottke also regards these guardrails as important. The commercial specialist, who works on several HOCHTIEF construction sites in Hamburg, describes it this way: “It is important that there is someone on the construction site, who provides support through his experience.” But who also lets you try something out now and then. “And then we analyze together: What went well, what was new and what perhaps didn’t function so well—and how can we do this better in the future.”
It is important that there is someone on the construction site who provides support with his experience.
Olaf Schottke, commercial specialist HOCHTIEF
Support, don’t dictate
When junior staff are given space for their own development, their ideas are accepted, and their manager takes a low-key approach, these are signs of a management style in keeping with the times. Franziska Müller experienced precisely this type of management at HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions. The project developer gained her first experiences as an intern at HOCHTIEF, then returned as a working student and today manages her own projects. After completing her studies and the related direct start in professional life, she was afraid that experienced colleagues would not trust her of being capable of very much. She found out that her fears were unjustified: “Right from the outset I was positively accepted in the team and regarded as useful support”, she reports. Franziska Müller was given her first decision-making powers at an early stage, although these were clearly defined in advance. That gave her the necessary self-assurance. “Consequently, I know how far I can go in making decisions. And if I make mistakes in this area, then they are my decisions, then I have to take responsibility for them and also correct them again”, she explains. But that also means, in case of doubt approaching a superior and asking about the extent of your own discretionary competence, says Müller—in particular when dealing with things nobody can foresee.
I have never experienced not being accepted here.
Franziska Müller, project developer HOCHTIEF
Looking forward with pride
Knowing you have someone at your side who introduces you to the new working world, and then being also relatively quickly left alone to be able to “simply do something”—that has another positive effect. After all, a look at what you have managed to do also makes you self-confident. Being proud and receiving praise for things that you managed to do in this way is extremely motivating.