Robindro Ullah was, among other things, a recruiting manager at Deutsche Bahn, today he also publishes a lifestyle magazine for the HR industry, among other activities. A conversation about employer branding and dress code, the right charisma, fashionable gender differences - and 5 tips for the perfect business look.
As a trained business mathematician, Robindro Ullah discovered human resources management only in the middle of 2007. After working internationally for Deutsche Bahn and Voith GmbH, the blogger and author was recently listed among the TOP 25 most influential HR managers in Germany. Recently he has published together with Anja Schölhorn and Manuela Marcus the first HR lifestyle magazine hr-life.de.
The Chancellor recently presented the digital advice - the group picture in the Bundestag also shows the entrepreneur Ijad Madisch in shorts, Tunschuhen and Superman cap. Will such an outfit become business-ready now?
Basically: yes! You have to say that relatively clearly now. Here are several favorable topics that work together to make sure that we look more at the content than at the packaging. On the one hand, this changed business style is being driven by digitization, on the other, of course, especially because of the changing labor market.
Because of clothes to sort out a top specialist, no one has been able to afford for years. Slowly, these favorable circumstances spill over to other functions that until recently were not on the list of endangered species.
The question that legitimately comes from the conservative camp goes in the direction of mutual respect that should be paid. However, I believe that this is only due to clothing. Wherever we suddenly find ourselves in the business at eye level, where there used to be an incline, one should think again about the subject of respect. Respect is mutual and therefore can not be fixed on clothes.
You were a long-term HRaler - with a corporation and a Swabian medium-sized company. What would have happened if someone had come to the job interview?
You would probably have looked funny and would be curious about the story, which led to exactly the outfit. As with so many things, this depends on the sale - ie how does the candidate pack the story or does he even use a story. But let's be honest, we are too busy with academic recruitment, but the needs are in the area of skilled workers, where the term business dress code is quite different. In this area, I have often had candidates in shorts.
Remembering my past activities, I remember conversations in which, for example, the shoes of the applicant (white espadrilles - I wear randomly today) were commented on in the aftermath. Also, I once had the case of being told that my intern could not walk around the boardroom with short pants. So to the job interview appear, is the one story, the style in the Company to maintain, the other. How strongly do I adapt to the company? How exactly did I clarify this in advance?
We also have the opposite case where companies suddenly “ban” the tie and order the “DU” as part of digitization. Clothing conflicts exist in both directions and are ultimately signals for a deeper cultural conflict.
IT professionals and related job profiles are being vigorously courted, but are fashionable as idiosyncratic. Example: Sitting barefoot in the office to think better. When will it be disrespectful?
As already indicated, respect is based on reciprocity. However, I actually think that the respect discussion does not belong here. At first, most companies focus on productivity. If an employee can increase this by sitting barefoot at the desk, I would accept that first. However, if this fails, for example, against occupational safety, because the desk is in the factory, the health of the employee occurs. If other employees feel uncomfortable or bothered by this, then we have a conflict that needs to be resolved.
Let's take another example from the work context. In recent years, I have very often Jubilare in my areas. Depending on the Group, funds will be made available to celebrate this or to honor employees. In this context I let the respect discussion apply. This is about paying respect to the employees and here I see the theme of possibly festive even more important clothing.
Especially the IT industry has changed the dress code very much, jeans and sneakers are businesstauglich even for corporate bosses. Are there any rules at all or can anyone do what he wants?
We definitely do not want to set rules with our magazine HR Life. That's not what we are all about. Ultimately, of course, anyone can do what he / she wants. But that's exactly the problem right now. There is too little guidance in the area - recommendations, tips, inspirations, etc. What looks good or not good, is in the eye of the beholder, but of course certain outfits have a certain effect.
In addition, it is easy to think of a few combinable basics that we want to share with our readers on very different examples. The dress code of a company is unfortunately often just as individual as their culture. Ultimately, the dress code can also be an expression of the individual company or departmental culture.
We try to refrain from putting things in the wrong and correct way. Ultimately, fashion is about what I want to achieve as a person and where I move. How do I want to be perceived? Or maybe I'm just interested in practicability. Take, for example, the topic of sweat stains. The best tips against damp shoulders - we like to talk plain and try to actually help.
Personnel / interior want to dress appropriately for an important business event. Your 5 tips for the perfect outfit?
That's not so easy to judge without knowing which event it is. That can simply be extremely different for each event. But if we go out there from a general perspective, then I recommend the following procedure:
- Get the information about the dress code. Unfortunately, the organizers are getting more and more creative and sometimes you can no longer assign the issued dress codes to a specific line. Ultimately, however, this recommendation of the organizer is your starting point.
- Choose your outfit in accordance with the dress code you have issued and decide for yourself if you are interested in attracting attention. If this is the case, you should move your outfit along the edges of the Dresscode corridor.
- From a personal branding perspective, it would be advisable to focus more on overdressing in the case of uncertainty. Experience has shown that people feel more overdressed than underdressed. A disregard of the dress code leads in the first step to increased attention. Here you should just ask yourself if this is wanted. If you're a contractor like me, it can be brand-building. However, I should then consider a concept with recognition value.
- Extend your styling and also look at accessories like your smartphone case and the power bank you carry with you. Use these items to accentuate or let your equipment in your style.
- Prioritize wellbeing a little higher than style. The old saying "If you want to be beautiful, you have to suffer." should no longer be taken seriously. If you can't wear your style in a relaxed manner and without pain-distorted pain, then that's not your style. Broadcasting is king / queen.
A study by the elite university Harvard wants to find out that you are even better treated in jogging pants in a professional environment. Will not this emphasized understatement become a compulsion again? Or do you recommend jogging pants?
Whether you use this data now to make your jogging pants salonfähig or if you remain true to yourself and in the work context now you like wearing tailored blazers and pants with pleats, but is up to you. My only recommendation is to try it out!
With your magazine you connect two opposites: HR is considered serious, down to earth and conservative, fashion as playful, superficial and actually superfluous Fierlefanz. How does it fit together?
The magazine does not exclusively cover fashion, but picks up on everyday issues. Things that could be relevant to me in my HR life. Part of this goes towards fashion. But food and therefore the whole area of nutrition is at least as big. Finally, we also record styles.
This affects technical gadgets more and more. Of course there are two very different worlds that we do not bring together. That happens all by itself today. Driven by the factors I mentioned earlier. The penetration of the “fashion” world into the HR world is already so massive today that the down-to-earth, conservative HR managers, who are considered serious, are very unsettled and are looking for guidance. So what we offer is a kind of translation from one world to another that makes this current overlay, which we feel every day, understandable and applicable.
Some time ago, the Coca-Cola Labor Director Brigitte Faust a sensation that called in an interview clothing as the first and most important career advice for women. How do you see that?
With clothes you send messages as well as posture and appearance. It could also be described as an additional channel of communication in the context of career. In their overall performance, the channel of non-verbal according to the 7 38 55 rule of Mehrabien yes with 55% from the majority of their effect. In addition to facial expressions and gestures, of course, this includes your outfit and the associated Wolfühlfaktor.
Now, the only question for you is whether you want to use this percentage to underline your appearance and your messages, or you want to give up this support. As a keynote speaker at various events, you can observe this phenomenon on a small scale.
Of course, the content (7%) and the way you transport it (voice 38%) also count, and yet your personal brand is made up of a good proportion of “appearance”. You can also compare it to a conference. If the speakers were exceptionally good, but the food and the food were inadequate and scarce, everyone will talk about this point, which is completely unimportant in terms of content. Satisfied and with a cozy feeling, content can be better absorbed.
Diversity is often propagated, and at the same time there is a trend towards self-acceptance with the deliberate departure from common standards. How much diversity does a company tolerate in this regard?
That's very hard to say. My personal opinion is that there should be no upper limit in this regard. However, the fact is that, depending on the existing corporate culture, more or less diversity is allowed in this area. Here I have to come up with the classic lawyer answer: it depends.
Nevertheless, when it comes to trade fairs, for example, many women find that they often walk the miles in high heels - the classic business style. Not exactly healthy. Does something have to change here?
In my perception, a lot is already changing here. Just recently at the Zukunft Personal noticeably many stand attendants wore flat shoes. Here is a clear trend towards healthy styling. But that should not be a requirement. We often tend to move from one extreme to another, whoever wants to wear high heels should not be deterred by social constraints.
Conversely, of course, the same applies. If we look at this with fashionable glasses, there are already very elegant alternatives to the classic high heels, which can easily be worn for a chic evening wear. The manufacturers are already reacting to the trend here.
Speaking of trade fairs and business travel: Especially women often carry too much luggage here. Do you have tips on reducing baggage?
I would like to counter this rumor directly with my personal experience. For example, my wife usually has less luggage than me. All in all, what I observe is that men are now increasingly taking on several outfits at trade fairs and business trips.
If you were able to wear a suit earlier in the day and simply keep it on in the evening, then we have increasingly new requirements here due to the loosening of the dress code. He even plays women in parts. High heels can also be replaced in parts with sneakers, which can basically be chosen so comfortably that the pair of replacement shoes does not even have to be packed first.
If you still suffer from lack of space, I can recommend as a longtime business traveler clothes zipper.
Speaking of men: They speak to your magazine so also explicitly. Why is fashion a men's topic?
I do not want to say that men need it first of all. But of course, here in the men's room, we've basically made the biggest change from the digital fashion change. From little scope for action, we have jumped to a level playing field equal to women. From 0 to 100 you could also say.
If we pick up on the topic of targeted styles, then men have to catch up a lot. So far we have been tied to the simple policy suit with tie, with which one could make more or less nothing wrong, today we have such complex requirements on styles that someone who has hardly ever dealt with it could well have his difficulties.
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