As Microdrones continues its rapid growth in the commercial drone industry, the global company must attract the best and brightest minds to help it provide customers with the high-end solutions and services they’ve come to expect. Here’s how.
As a rapidly growing drone manufacturer with a global presence, Microdrones is always on the lookout for talented individuals who can help the company continue to innovate and make its mark in the industry. But recruitment isn’t always easy, especially in such a young, evolving market.
Eva Spexard, HR Manager, is in charge of finding the right people for the Microdrones family, and loves that what she’s looking for is always changing. Based on the technology being developed, she might need someone with one set of skills today and a completely different set six months down the road. It’s a dynamic, exciting environment, which certainly helps attract the kind of people the company needs to stay on the leading edge.
“It’s a great opportunity to be at a company like Microdrones because I love the technology,” she said. “I’ve never experienced so much love for a product as I do here, and that’s great for recruitment. Everyone falls in love with our product.”
Candidates are always interested in talking about Microdrones solutions—even if they’re interviewing for say an accounting role, Spexard said. Taking a job with a company that manufactures drones and provides the sensors, software, support, workflow and training around it is much more interesting than working for a company that sells insurance. Any time Spexard tells people where she works, they want to know more about the technology and what she does. It’s certainly a conversation starter and something employees are proud to talk about.
No matter what area of the company Spexard is hiring for, she’s looking for best-in-class talent. The human resources department is driving a global hiring initiative to keep up with the company’s rapid growth—they’re now at 225 employees, with 60 of those employees in the new Siegen, Germany office where Spexard works—and Spexard is on a mission to fill openings with people who will thrive in the Microdrones culture, no matter what part of the world they end up in. In fact, matching new hires to the company’s culture can be as important as finding technical talent. Innovation, passion, self-motivation, pride in product and company, and 360-degree feedback within teams are benchmarks for Microdrones HR success.
Competing with Other Big Names
When engineers graduate from universities in Germany, many of them have their sights set on taking jobs at well-known automobile companies like BMW, Spexard said. That’s where engineers go if they want to have a stellar career. Spexard wants these young engineers to think of Microdrones in the same way.
“One step could be close interaction with the universities and showing students what interesting projects we do,” Spexard said. “It’s important for us to make sure young engineers know our products, know our brands and tell their friends and other students about us.”
Beyond working with students at the universities, Microdrones also uses social platforms like LinkedIn to recruit talent, loading videos that illustrate the company’s best-in-class technology. The marketing department creates these videos, which have proven to be important recruitment tools.
No matter how they find them, most applicants simply don’t have a drone background—and that’s OK, Spexard said. It’s important for engineers to understand this is a new, evolving industry and most people don’t know much about it yet. That’s part of the fun. New hires just have to be willing to learn and be enthusiastic about what the technology can do.
“That’s not an issue for us at all,” Spexard said. “What we need more than that is enthusiasm about the customers and products. We have great people here who will tell them how it works and how it’s done. We just need people who can fall in love with the product as much as we already are.”
And there is plenty of opportunity at Microdrones for the right people. Spexard is currently recruiting for software and hardware positions as well as accounting and finance. She’s looking for both experienced and junior professionals who are willing to learn and who are eager to become part of the drone industry.
Beautiful New Office In An Up-and-Coming Town
The main Microdrones campus is near Frankfort and Cologne, which is attractive to candidates who want easy access to large cities. Siegen itself is an up-and-coming area, with plenty of investment being made into its downtown. The city now caters more to the university’s younger crowd, with cafes and restaurants and an attractive outside area that Microdrones employees can explore during their off hours. It’s also less expensive to live in Siegen than in bigger German cities, which is another benefit for young engineers just starting their careers, or for more experienced engineers who want to save on their living expenses yet still enjoy quality-of-life advantages.
While the city offers its charms, candidates tend to be blown away by the new Microdrones office building from the moment they arrive, Spexard said. Its modern look is an unexpected sight that demands attention. The first thing she does when candidates arrive is take them on a tour of the campus, which always impresses. It really is an office for a high-tech company, with its sleek look and color palette, and anyone who walks in feels that vibe right away.
And while the company is growing, the office is still small enough that employees don’t feel like their voice gets lost or that their opinion just doesn’t matter. They know who to contact if they have questions or ideas they’d like to share. They don’t have to send an email to someone’s assistant to get a response.
Creating Standards Worldwide
When onboarding new employees, Microdrones has a process that its offices all over the world follow—which is important for an expanding global company, Spexard said. Most people who join the team aren’t just continuing with what they were doing before, so a high-quality, consistent onboarding process must be in place to ensure new hires are successful.
Once new employees are introduced to technical equipment and are ready to get started, the first thing they do is talk with people in all the other departments, Spexard said. Meetings are scheduled, either in-person, via telephone or Skype (depending on office location), so they can learn about and understand what all the other departments do, and what role they play in the company’s success. HR also gives them an overview of what they can expect as a Microdrones employee and how the company is organized, as well as who they should reach out to for answers to any questions they might have.
“We want to make sure everyone who is included in the onboarding process is given the same information and the same instructions,” Spexard said. “Everyone should feel comfortable starting their role. That’s why we have standardization in place.”
Onboarding starts as soon as someone decides to join the company, and includes going through the contract, Spexard said. Once employees sign, they immediately become part of the Microdrones team and are given the attention they need, whether they have questions about the dress code or specifics about their new role.
Spexard and the rest of the HR team have online checklists to help them ensure everyone receives the tools and training they need and that they all go through the same onboarding process.
Creating the right culture is key to attracting the best employees possible to Microdrones, Spexard said. People don’t just want a job with a nice salary; they want to be proud of what they do and excited to come to work each day. That’s certainly how employees feel about Microdrones.
“I always say what connects all of us and what creates the culture at Microdrones is really that we are all thrilled about our product,” Spexard said. “That creates a culture of trust and flexibility because, for us, it’s important that people get the job done. That’s all we want from them. It’s really a culture of trust and motivation to make this company the world leader in professional drone solutions, and that’s something the people who join us immediately feel. We are not like other companies. It’s all about what we do, and we love what we do.”
With offices all over the world, there are people of many different cultures and
nationalities that make up the Microdrones team. You might work in the Germany office yet your boss is in the United States. This opens up the opportunity to travel and for employees to learn how people from various cultures approach the same problems or questions in different ways.
“The fact that we have so many different people with so many different views makes us better than other companies,” Spexard said. “Just here in Germany we have 60 people and about 20 different nationalities. We have people from India, Japan and South America. Everyone brings their own piece of cultural experience and their own view on things. We as a company are open and willing to hear every voice. That helps us in team building and development.”
Employees learn from each other, and that makes everyone stronger, Spexard said. They’re not doing the same thing every day, which keeps their jobs interesting and creates an environment that fosters innovation. Everyone who hires on must have that global perspective, and be open to working with people from different cultures and nationalities—and excited about how doing so will help them grow as professionals.
More Growth Expected
Microdrones experienced significant growth in 2018 and will continue to expand in 2019, with the focus on providing and developing solutions that move the UAV surveying and mapping market forward. But to do that, the company must find and hire innovators who can make it happen. Spexard and her team are working with the marketing department and doing their part to find the right people, whether they’re hiring accountants or experienced software developers.
The innovators who work at Microdrones love what they do, and are proud to be part of such a dynamic industry. They’re learning and growing as they develop products that are changing how things are done for the better across a variety of industries worldwide. It’s an exciting time to be part of the UAS industry, and to be part of Microdrones.
“It’s a great company to work for,” Spexard said. “I think that’s important in HR, for you to actually love to be part of the company you’re recruiting for. If you’re not, you’re not going to be good at your job. We all go the extra mile to make this company a big deal by what we do and who we are. I love to be part of that and I’m hoping every new recruit and everyone interested in the company will love to be part of it as well.”