Rethinking HR

Interview with Mark Pollok, CEO of Trenkwalder Group AG

Trenkwalder Holistic
Trenkwalder meets the personnel needs of its customers' entire value chain – from HR service to outsourcing to optimizing its process costs

The shortage of skilled workers poses serious problems for many companies. Temporary staffing agencies also need to think beyond just temporary employment, as this does not address the root of the problem. The fact that Trenkwalder Group AG has recognized the real needs of its customers and adapted to them has made it exceptionally successful: The Austrian company now has locations in 16 European countries. We talked with CEO Mark Pollok about the evolution from recruiter to equal partner, further expansion, and the significance of temporary employment in relation to the topic of migration.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Pollok, Trenkwalder was founded in 1985 in Austria and is today present in 16 countries. How has the company's development progressed?

Mark Pollok: The backbone of Trenkwalder lies in temporary employment. The company was built by the founder Richard Trenkwalder in the core market of Austria and expanded through a buy-and-build strategy. The focus was for a long time on temporary employment and the provision of personnel for direct placement. In 2018, when I joined the company, we sat down and thought about what the actual needs of customers are, especially against the backdrop of the skilled labor shortage. This is because in temporary employment there is the issue that a potential employee understandably only wants to move within their private radius of 20 to 30 km and jobs located further away cannot be filled. Therefore, we set ourselves the task of finding concepts to counter this. We quickly realized that we need to expand our product range.

Mark Pollok, CEO of Trenkwalder Group AG
Mark Pollok, CEO of Trenkwalder Group AG

Based on the discussions we've had with our clients, our concept was born to take over certain process steps for our clients, for example through outsourcing and in the form of contract work, so that clients can focus on their core business.

Wirtschaftsforum: So it's not just about the client's need for personnel anymore, but rather about how you can support them in their challenges?

Mark Pollok: Exactly, and this has also changed our business model: We have moved from being a mere recruiter to being a link in our clients' process chain. That's why we want to be seen by the client not as a service provider, but as a partner on equal footing: We cover the personnel needs across the entire value chain of the client and also support them in technological terms by optimizing their process costs. So, it's a triad of classical HR service, outsourcing and technology.

Wirtschaftsforum: Did Trenkwalder's significant expansion come with this new business model?

Mark Pollok: Yes, we have been active in this form on the market for five or six years now. In numbers, this means: We have 20,000 employees, of whom just under 2,000 are employed in the outsourcing area. We are active in 16 countries, opened another location for the German market in Kosovo the year before last and are now in the process of entering one more country this year to be able to offer our services in the DACH region as well as the English and French market to England.

Wirtschaftsforum: Where do you want to take Trenkwalder, where do you see the company in the future?

Mark Pollok: Further growth in all business sectors is planned for the next five years. Above all, we see a need to catch up in the area of outsourcing because current trends indicate this: cost pressure on companies, employee availability, flexibilization, scalability – all things that suggest companies should consider outsourcing. We also want to participate in the topic of migration: If it is to be properly managed, especially in the DACH region, temporary employment must help there. Currently, the politics exclude temporary employment and employees from third countries. Politics must change this, and that will also come.