"When you see the results of your own ideas, it’s very motivating"

The Göttingen IT company Arineo is structured as an employee-owned company. That means the company belongs to the employees. Instead of a stiff hierarchy, the service provider relies on a cooperative organisation and a high degree of employee participation when shaping their company. We asked Wibke Jellinghaus, project manager at Arineo, and Dr Astrid Selke, HR and organisational developer at Arineo, who until recently both chaired the supervisory board, about their work.

 

Hello Wibke, hello Astrid! You both chaired Arineo’s supervisory board. What did your work involve?

Wibke Jellinghaus: Certain business activities require the approval of the supervisory board. The supervisory board consists of 6 people and is re-elected regularly. In this way, the composition changes every year and other colleagues can bring in fresh impetus. This brings new perspectives and ideas to the discussion.

Dr Astrid Selke: We participated in monthly committee meetings with the management and, thus, had the opportunity to influence many things and bring in new ideas. We worked together in an open, cooperative way, as equals.

 

You were able to help shape the company through the supervisory board. Do you have any examples?

Jellinghaus: We are lucky, especially in the Corona period, to be able to work from home. But it can be difficult to balance childcare, job demands and your own needs. We don't want anyone to lose touch or feel let down. We also want to inspire more women to work at Arineo. The proportion of female professionals in the IT sector is low, in our company it is about 25 %. That's why we draw attention to IT jobs with online presentations at schools, for example. This is one of the things I have worked for as a member of the supervisory board. But of course, my commitment to the issues does not end when I leave my position on the supervisory board.

Selke: We have also repeatedly tabled topics on corporate culture. How can we support our colleagues when they have an excessive workload, not only due to Corona, but also with a heavy burden in their projects? Another example would be: we encourage everyone to take responsibility at Arineo. Our company is employee-owned, so each of us contributes to Arineos success.

 

Are there also opportunities for Arineo employees to get involved in the company and the shaping of its culture and processes?

Selke: You bet! We have a project that deals with cooperative organisation. We have also developed our values with the entire workforce. There are also various groups, such as mentors and project leaders, who are in constant dialogue. In principle, everyone can contribute their ideas.

Jellinghaus: For example, anyone can approach the supervisory board or management to discuss an issue. It is particularly important for Arineo that many colleagues participate in shaping the company. We want to use the diversity among our employees to develop new business ideas and continuously improve.

 

This means a high degree of personal responsibility on the part of the employees. Does it work?

Selke: In my opinion, a prerequisite for personal responsibility is mutual trust. We have great colleagues who identify strongly with Arineo and are keen to contribute with their respective skills. Freedom in the organisation of work, e.g. our working time account and free choice of work location, contribute to this.

Jellinghaus: Perhaps not everyone wants to take on a lot of personal responsibility. But when you see the results of your own ideas, it's very motivating.

 

Astrid, do you feel that Arineo is a good place to balance work and family life?

Selke: Yes, from the very start it was no problem at all to work part-time and to schedule convenient appointments, depending on the project situation. At Arineo, children are always welcome guests in the office if there are problems with childcare. Working time is part of life and the better you can reconcile that with other interests and demands, the more relaxed it is and, at the end of the day, the better the results.

 

Wibke, as a project manager, your work involves a lot of travelling. Can you balance work and leisure time well?

Jellinghaus: Sure, sometimes it's difficult, but most of the time it works very well. At Arineo, travel time is working time, which means that I sometimes accumulate a lot of overtime in a week due to customer appointments and the time spent travelling. With the working time account, I can then reduce the overtime by finishing work earlier or taking whole days off.

 

Last but not least, is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Jellinghaus: Of course, we are always happy to welcome new colleagues and have a lot of current vacancies. The Top Job survey also confirmed that Arineo is an attractive employer.

Selke: It's nice to have the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our work at Arineo.

Thank you for your time and your answers!

Would you like to join us? Then have a look here if there is a job for you!

2 Persons chatting.
Wibke Jellinghaus (left) and Dr. Astrid Selke (right) talking.