Career insight

Mirja Becker – Senior Vice President, Group HR


SVP of Group HR Mirja Becker knows a thing or two about dormakaba company culture. No surprise there – she joined Dorma, which later merged with Kaba to become dormakaba, more than a decade ago. In this interview, she delivers a wide range of insights into the company culture, how dormakaba handles employee development, and the best methods for building a trusting environment.

What do you think is the most important task of the Human Resources function?

We work with human beings, with our employees, our colleagues – and our main task is to create an environment in which they can deploy their strengths and develop their competencies. Having the right people in the right role is key in order to best address our customers´ needs.

What does a corporate culture look like that promotes personal growth and success?

dormakaba is a young company. Starting with the merger of Dorma and Kaba in 2015, we were aware that the corporate culture of the new company was crucial to our success. Central to our joint culture and our daily life at dormakaba are our corporate values, especially our core value Trust. Trust is the basis for an open and honest work environment, and it is essential for fostering curiosity, courage, and eventually superior performance with our customers.

How do you build this trusting working environment? What measures do you rely on?

Trust is not built by implementing certain measures, it is built by our daily interactions and by how much we let trust inform our behavior. Every employee has their role in acting according to our principles: Can we rely on each other? Do we listen to each other? Do we treat each other fairly? Do we value the good work of our colleagues? Do we give each other honest and constructive feedback? These are key aspects of how we live trust, and I personally think we succeed at this at dormakaba. This is backed up by the results of our recent global employee survey which showed that 81% of our employees agree that their managers act according to the dormakaba values.

What role do managers play in this?

85% of our employees agree that their managers trust them to make the right decisions in their day-to-day work – another finding of our 2020 employee engagement survey. At dormakaba, we strive for an open performance and feedback culture. We value managers who see open and honest feedback as an opportunity to grow and who trust their employees’ expertise. Our managers are committed to personal exchange, giving room to good ideas and promoting the development of their employees.

How do you promote the development of your employees specifically?

Overall, we are following a strength-based approach. As much as possible, our employees are assigned tasks based on their personal strengths. We promote people individually and from day one. In the UK, for example, new service technicians are greeted with a comprehensive onboarding program containing specific training modules and development plans. This program is later on continued by annual appraisals among other ongoing processes and support.

To ensure that our employees have the relevant long-term skills, we continue to invest in their vocational development and in enhancing their talents. We are continuously broadening the scope of our offerings for on the job and off the job learning.

dormakaba is a global company. What role does that play in individual development opportunities?

Working at an international company can be challenging and at the same time offers many opportunities. Depending on their role, our employees get in contact with colleagues from all over the world. We are constantly learning from another, and our cultural diversity is one of our strengths, as it mirrors our global customer base.

For the right candidate, it could also become possible to temporarily or permanently relocate and take up a position at one of our international locations. For example, there is cross-segmental collaboration between our Segments Access Solutions DACH and Access Solutions APAC, where we develop talents through cross-location on-the-job experience between the two Segments. As we put emphasis on our corporate culture and making sure candidates have the right “cultural fit”, you can expect the same value-based attitude across dormakaba. This makes working in international teams seamless and constructive.

What benefits does dormakaba offer?

Benefits are both recognition and motivation. That is why we offer a wide range of attractive benefits, which vary across the globe to reflect our embedding in the locations we operate in as well as our ambition to position our company as an attractive employer. Our offering ranges from the above-mentioned learning and development opportunities over health care and pension benefits to work-life balance programs such as subsidies for the gym, while elsewhere, for example, free drinks and fruit baskets are available.

As new trends like digitization, individualization and demographic change emerge, we rethink the way we work to continuously adapt to the requirements of the modern working environment and embed our values by e.g. making the work time and place more flexible.

Do you have special programs for early-career staff?

In the DACH region, we provide many opportunities on entry level. We train in various professions and offer apprenticeships. During their training, junior staff may pass through different departments at our company in order to gain as much practical insight as possible. Student internships, working student activities or writing a bachelor’s or master’s thesis are also offered. (See what Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have to offer). Access Solutions Americas provides excellent opportunities for early career associates and interns. We offer unique and exciting learning experiences to participate in cross-functional and global project teams working on complex business challenges. (See here what they have to offer).

What do you expect from (potential) employees?

We welcome new colleagues who share our values, are willing to give their best, appreciate challenges, and want to grow with us. In addition, people who are curious, open-minded, and have a sense of humor will easily find a place in our global team.

Do you have any advice for people who would like to apply at dormakaba?

We are happy to receive authentic applications that show the applicant´s personality. We appreciate if you “come as you are” because we really want to get to know the applicants and how they can contribute to our joint success.

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