Melanie Vinci
Photo | persona service
10 min.

Sabine Walter in conversation with ...

Melanie Vinci, Member of the Executive Board of the personnel service provider persona service

Ms Vinci, what do you love about your job?

From the heart: The people. And above all: To get people into work. This mission inspired me 20 years ago when I started at persona service, and it still inspires me today. As a company, we play a big part in helping people find work - people with all professional qualifications, from all social backgrounds and nationalities, with all levels of experience and not always straight CVs. That's what drives me to this day. 

I myself gained my first work experience as a temporary worker after completing my school education and thus had contact with this industry at a very early stage. When the company I was working for went bankrupt, I contacted persona service. And at the same time, a permanent position in the company as a personnel planner was advertised and I knew: "That's what I want to do." I've been with them ever since.

What I would not have thought before this job was that I would enjoy sales. For me, sales had the stamp: "I have to persuade some people to buy something they may not need at all. And I could never imagine that. But what I understood in my first weeks at persona service was this: I will not put people to work if I am not prepared to pick up the phone quite often and talk to customers and convince them of us and our performance. And I could and can convince clients because I stand fully behind our service, behind our values and also behind the people we convey. We do good work and help our clients solve problems. In order for that to succeed and for us to always manage to fill the right positions, I have to listen, ask questions, link thoughts, develop ideas ... And that is a task that no longer has anything to do with my original image of sales. 

When new employees start with us in Lüdenscheid, I always make a promise as part of the onboarding process: "As a staffing company, we have one of the few jobs that has the power to become more exciting, not more boring, over the years." And of course that also has to do with the fact that a positive routine sets in. The job of a personnel dispatcher is - especially in the first one or two years - also emotionally demanding. You have to make personnel decisions and you are always dependent. Dependent on the customer and on the employees. Because we can only provide our service if two others also agree with it: Client and employee. That causes pressure. But: When you have learned to deal with the field of tension, then you can concentrate even more on the actual core of our work: Conducting client meetings, developing a strategic partnership out of a collaboration and getting more and more people into work through the ever-growing market knowledge.

I am sure that temporary work will become the most modern form of employment we have to offer in our society. People's attitudes to work have changed a lot and will continue to change. The next generations are no longer aiming for the classic "30 years - golden watch" anniversary. Especially the well-educated know that they will find a job. And they want to be on the road in a meaningful way and work in a life-phase oriented way: "When do I need money? When would I like more time? When do I take another year off and look around the world?" And this is where we offer opportunities with the form of temporary employment that many companies cannot offer at all due to their structure, products and services.

 S.W.: What makes a good personnel service provider for you, and what does it need to be able to deal with the tension between client and employee?

What is very important is a basic honesty. If a client has a need and describes to us what needs to be done at that workplace, I have an idea about it or I don't have one. If I don't have an idea, I should say so. It also takes self-confidence and courageI have to show the customer what is not possible and what the solution is. I have the following picture in mind: Employees are repeatedly taken over by the client. And then the latter requests an application portfolio for the personnel file. And not infrequently, at that moment, they say: "I would never have invited this employee for an interview based on the documents. I would not have believed that this person with these qualifications or based on their previous CV would fit the job and us." 

And that is exactly our job: to place people not only on the basis of their qualifications, but on the basis of what makes them tick and what they can do. To reconcile this with the tasks that need to be done at the customer's and to take into account that they also fit well into the company - if we succeed in this, everyone is satisfied and our service is worthwhile.

What parallels are there to what we do, personality and organisational development?

That is a good question. One obvious parallel is, that we are both very concerned with what really moves the person in front of us. We listen. We do not react to the first catchword, but want to understand what is meant. And for that we like to ask the "second" question.

What we still have in common is that we solve both problems. Those of people and those of organisations.

Continuing education is also a paralleleven though we at persona service do not always cover everything ourselves, but also work together with the customer or external training providers. 

And the fourth parallel is of course my own further development. As a young branch manager, I was very emotionally affected. When a regular employee resigned for the first time, I took it incredibly personally. Afterwards I thought: This is not working. If you want to continue working as a leader, you need a clear and not so emotional view of factual issues. And that's what I've been working on - alone and with mentors. Today, I'm doing well. This does not mean that I am no longer empathic. But I can separate the matter and the emotion very well, I can take a step back and look at the situation or the problem calmly and develop options for action.

Furthermore, I have been able to observe that a lack of conflict management skills is, in my view, the main stumbling block, especially for many young leaders. This is not about how to conduct a conversation. That can be learned. It is about the willingness to address and resolve conflicts. The willingness to argue for the cause. I too had to develop this healthy attitude towards arguing and a constructive culture of arguing. But this effort was worth it because constructive arguing improves results, develops you and leads you out of the trap or misconception that I am only a good leader if I am loved by everyone. No. I am a good leader when I lead people to results and help them to develop.

And for that I also have to say "no" sometimes, argue and endure conflicts. I had to learn that, and of course I try to convey that to my staff.

When do you get the best ideas?

Very different. Often while driving. When running and very often in conversation with my partner. He is my most valuable sparring partner.

What will your profession look like in 2050?

I believe that a lot of things will happen automatically. Both internally and in interaction with the customer. This will reduce the personal points of contact with clients and staff in our day-to-day work. This means that we will have to do much better than everyone else at the moments when genuine caring is necessary. 

Furthermore, I think that the Exchange internally and networking externally with the aim of sharing ideas, learning from each other and experimenting with each other, will continue to grow. 

S.W.: How do you think the status of work in society will develop in the future?

Work will be less status-oriented. The classic small talk question at parties is: "What do you do?" In the future, this will no longer mean "What kind of job do you have?" but "What are you doing right now in your phase of life?" So people will describe their everyday life and this will include their work - the job and not just the company name.

The demand to make a real value contribution with one's own work will increase. But for many people, work will continue to mean first of all that it is needed to feed one's family.

When I look at my next twenty years, I can say that I don't have an end date in mind for myself. I love what I do, and don't divide my life into work and leisure, but see everything as my life. But I know that over time I would like to shift the shares a bit. 

For the shorter term, around the next five years, the focus will be on continuing to shape the association to which persona service belongs with GVO and Immobilien Service Deutschland and positioning it successfully in the market. In this network, we are able to offer employees lifelong career prospects: from student help to retirement.

We can also We are able to open up very good access to the graduate market for our medium-sized clients. Through the GVO with its brand Studyheads and our academic network Thesius we already have contact with prospective academics during their studies and can win them over for us and thus for our clients at a very early stage.

This underlines what I said at the beginning: "As a personnel service provider, we have one of the few jobs that have the power to become more exciting, not more boring, over the years." I am convinced that I can still stand behind this statement for the next 20 years.

Melanie Vinci is a trained human resources specialist and began her career at persona service started as a personnel planner in her hometown of Kassel at the age of 27. At the end of 2003, she moved to her first management position in Frankfurt. As branch manager and later as area and regional manager, she remained loyal to the Rhine-Main region until she joined the management of persona service in 2013. In her position, together with her two colleagues, she is responsible for the operational business of the 217 persona service branches in Germany and is also responsible for the development of recruitment services, especially in the commercial specialist and managerial areas.

Since 1 August 2020, she has also been Managing Director of GVO Young Professionals GmbH. As part of the management team, she is responsible for the Studyheads brand, whose services cover the temporary student needs of companies as well as their open student positions. 

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