Successful transformation into new working environments at RLE INTERNATIONAL

Successful transformation into new working environments at RLE INTERNATIONAL

The success story of ReCoTech and RLE International is an inspiring example of successful collaboration in the development and expansion of hybrid work organizations. ReCoTech is a company that combines innovative solutions for space management with years of know-how in change management. RLE International was looking for partners who could further professionalize the organization of mobile work and at the same time optimize the use of office space.

Who is RLE International

RLE INTERNATIONAL was founded in 1985 and is now managed by the second generation of the founding family. The company operates worldwide and is one of the leading top 20 engineering service providers. Originally specializing in the automotive industry, RLE INTERNATIONAL has expanded its customer portfolio over the years and now serves the entire mobility sector. Due to its flexible project-driven business model and global project teams, RLE INTERNATIONAL has always faced the challenge of proactively addressing change & dynamics and decided to embark on the transformation to a hybrid work organization with us from ReCoTech.

The pandemic – the starting signal for hybrid working

As of January 27, 2021, employers were obliged to offer employees the option of working from home due to the pandemic, and RLE was already aware that this development required acute but not short-term solutions.

RLE had two questions at the time:

  1. How do we ensure sufficient health protection at our locations?
  2. How do we organize the presence time in our offices with increasing employee flexibility through mobile working?

ReCoTech’s versatile booking app provided suitable answers to both questions.

Booking everything from workstations and conference rooms to e-charging stations for the e-vehicle fleet offered employees full flexibility, planning security and, above all, health protection.

The set-up in the app gave RLE the opportunity to prevent a wave infection preventively via social distancing & reactively counteract a potential spread several times via smart contact tracing.

This enabled work to continue at the site with a stabilizing presence for two days.

The rise in fuel prices – relief for employees

In spring 2022, oil prices rose and led to price increases at filling stations to well over €2 per liter of petrol. RLE has always had a high proportion of employees who commute by car and saw a good opportunity to counteract the immense price increase by reducing compulsory attendance.

As home office policies can be stored and updated in the app at any time, it was possible to react even more quickly to the rapid rise in prices. The reduced commute not only resulted in cost and time savings for employees, but also strengthened RLE’s development towards becoming a CO2-neutral company.

The rise in gas & electricity prices – relief for management

Electricity and gas price trends were also an issue for management, which RLE wanted to prevent with ReCoTech. If usage remained the same, energy prices at the locations were expected to rise by up to 400 %.

By temporarily blocking workspaces and entire floors from the booking app, it was possible to significantly counteract the price increase. Thanks to the intelligent space utilization analysis in the app, it was possible to plan lockdown measures with the confidence that the defined measures would not lead to bottlenecks in the use of workspaces at the locations.

The turning point – from crisis management to cultural design

At the beginning of 2023, after successfully managing the crisis, RLE and our consultants asked themselves how they could counter the “cultivated home office rut” that had developed. Both management and employees complained that the continuity of permanent home office was harming their team culture in its current intensity rather than strengthening it through healthy flexibility.

Nevertheless, managers and the works council agreed that home office and mobile working should continue and that the right mix of presence and mobile working should be culturally anchored in the company.

Together, we developed a concept for how hybrid working could be expanded from a crisis association to a design tool for individual employees, groups and teams and the entire organization within RLE. The focus was on employee satisfaction and productivity.

Those responsible at RLE (representatives from project business, HR, recruiting and works council), accompanied by our consultants, decided to evaluate the organization of hybrid work, including anonymized surveys by professional and competence groups, taking data protection into account.

This was an appropriate approach, as it meant that no direct productivity or satisfaction conclusions could be drawn about individual people, but provided enough information to improve satisfaction and productivity in a competence and personality-oriented manner.

The HR department was able to promote the further development of employee skills in a more targeted manner. The recruiting department has individualized the approach to competence groups and was thus able to address and retain talent much more successfully in the shortage of skilled workers.

Combining work organization with satisfaction and productivity through ReCoTech’s digital & service portfolio has led to significant satisfaction and productivity growth in the projects. With the app, but above all by actively working with the transparency gained, RLE has succeeded in cultivating a more performant and flexible organization that now combines and expands work behavior much more consciously with competencies. Furthermore, thanks to ReCoTech’s years of space management expertise, the offices have developed in a more demand-oriented way in line with the cultural thrust. RLE needs less space, but the space it has reflects a clear picture of the direction in which RLE INTERNATIONAL is moving in terms of expertise and culture.

Quote from Florian Schumacher, Manager Strategy and Business Development at RLE International Group

“The collaboration with ReCoTech was a great success for RLE INTERNATIONAL. The application, as well as the appropriate consulting services, guided us confidently through the crises. What particularly impressed me was how ReCoTech used the full potential of a hybrid work organization within RLE and achieved measurable positive development impulses. The introduction of hybrid working went beyond simply increasing efficiency and offered our employees the opportunity to develop and gain new experiences. It was one of the most rewarding experiences for me personally. I wouldn’t want to be without this flexible, employee-centric organizational management in my area.”

 The bottom line – RLE is more crisis-resistant, productive & culturally aware

The RLE organization & culture has made enormous progress during our collaboration. Initially still somewhat overwhelmed by the pandemic-related changes, we can now look back on an independent and self-confident work organization within RLE INTERNATIONAL that…

  • …can control health protection in the event of another pandemic,
  • …scales site utilization up or down according to necessity,
  • …sustainably saves costs and CO2,
  • …better understands the work needs of professional and skills groups and develops them further with measurable increases in satisfaction and productivity
  • …combines a focus on individual employee needs with a shared understanding of culture.

Together with RLE INTERNATIONAL, we are delighted to look back on our many successes and look forward to constantly working together to achieve our further goals.

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