“Managers must be role models“

Willi Poll, HR Director of the Krone Commercial Vehicle Group, explains how modern working practices are already being implemented and where there is still potential.

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What does modern work look like to you and how is it already being implemented at Krone?
For one thing, I think working in agile teams, which we have already introduced in projects at Krone, is important. The employees are given more responsibility, take more decisions themselves and are more engaged. That usually motivates them to a high degree. They are also supported by us in the process. Trained coaches assist them.

Where do you still see potential?
Only very few of our employees work from home, but we do allow it following consultation and we are gaining in experience as a result. In order to counteract the shortage of skilled workers even more effectively, we are also considering options for location-independent working. Because we find it difficult to get young engineers to come to us in Emsland, we are open to innovative concepts, such as connecting our offices to universities.

What, in your view, is the most important lever for retaining good staff nowadays?
It’s certainly flexibility – particularly in relation to the location and time of work: in my opinion, employees should be given the opportunity of a relatively free choice of when and where they work. Statutory framework conditions run counter to that, and of course, to some extent, that’s good and sensible. But digitisation is opening up new opportunities and if employees want to decide for themselves to prepare something in the evening in their home office, for example, it would be good to make that possible.


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Willi Poll, born in 1961, has been head of HR at Krone since 2012. Previously, the qualified industrial manager worked in the consulting sector and, for almost 30 years, at the BP refinery in Lingen, where for the last 13 years of that time he was head of HR.

How do you prevent employees from feeling too much pressure because they think that they have to be available all the time?
A good corporate culture is important here: trust has to be established so that the employee can feel confident and know that he or she does not have to do more work, but can simply organise things more themselves. And of course, no one is forced to work flexibly – it’s not right for everyone. As an employer, we have to keep all the options open.

How are managers integrated?
At Krone we have started a development programme for managers and a talent pool for young employees, which supports them for three years and prepares them for their managerial roles. In my experience, managers are currently going through the biggest changes in view of the changing world of work. They have to shape it actively, as in the end they must be a role model for their team.
Photos: Gregor Schweinester, Krone

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