Our Purpose makes a difference.
How does the CEO secure the success of the EOS Group? For Klaus Engberding, focus is on cultural transformation, the role of EOS in the society, and new technologies. Last year the company reached several milestones.
Mr Engberding, nearly three years ago you took over as Chairman of the Executive Board at the EOS Group. How has the company changed since then?
Klaus Engberding: Today we are reflecting on our role in society more than we did in the past. This is the result of our cultural transformation. It is also reflected in our purpose “For a debt-free world”. It portrays the meaning behind our daily work which is characterized by a strong sense of responsibility. Our purpose expresses the commitment to live up to this responsibility and act with good judgment. We are increasingly noticing that many people are no longer learning how to handle money properly. That’s why we are examining the option of establishing an initiative to promote financial education. That’s one way we will fulfill our responsibility toward society. I am especially proud of the fact that this proposal came from employees. Examples like these show the power of our purpose.
How is the public responding to the purpose “For a debt-free world”?
Engberding: Our purpose makes a difference. Up to now nobody in the industry has positioned itself in this way. Our customers appreciate our ambitious goal. They know that we are extremely capable and responsible partners who protect our customers from damage to their reputations. The purpose also has an effect on recruiting because as a debt collection company, we have a competitive disadvantage when it comes to finding skilled workers, especially in IT. However, we have noticed that we have become more attractive to applicants now that we have formulated our societal commitment. Thus, the response has been very positive.
What were the most important milestones last year in the process of building a new culture?
Engberding: We established the Cultural Transformation Team, which first conducted a thorough analysis of our culture. The team supports all employees in implementing cultural change at EOS. Every one of us can start with this immediately. In order to emphasize the significance of cultural transformation, the team reports directly to me.
What does cultural transformation look like in practical terms?
Engberding: All of us at EOS think about how we should behave. In management, we have taken unfamiliar paths to learn more about ourselves. For example, we had a new colleague observe us in all meetings for ten weeks. Her feedback prompted us to change some aspects of our behavior. I hold back more now in discussions. Today we discuss things much more openly. Not all of the results are 100 per cent the way I want them, but overall, better decisions emerge. In this change process, our heartbeat gives us orientation with seven principles such as “embrace change”, “trust”, or “be courageous”. We on the board have listed what these principles mean for us. We want to be measured against this.
Going live with of our new debt collection systems was an important milestone. Klaus Engberding, CEO of the EOS Group
Orientation is also provided by the vision “We are a globally connected financial investor driven by technology and entrepreneurial spirit.” It formulates the cornerstones of future success for the EOS Group. What progress has been made in the implementation?
Engberding: Let’s take, for example, the aspect ‘technology-driven’. At its core, it means data-driven portfolio assessment and processing. The self-learning platform in our Center of Analytics plows through large data volumes and uses advanced analytics to determine the best next step in debt collection. In order to be able to process these recommendations, we need state-of-the-art debt collection systems. We therefore developed the System FX in Germany and, for our foreign companies, Kollekto+. Both went live in 2018 – that was a real milestone. Now we are further developing both of them in an agile process to optimize our incoming payments. At the same time we will avoid superfluous reminder campaigns and fees for late payers, completely in line with our commitment: “For a debt-free world.”
How are you refining your digital strategy?
Engberding: We have a big competitive edge because of a huge amount of meaningful pseudonymized and international data. This data is of course being protected to highest standards. By connecting all of our companies to the data pool, we expand the pool and make more precise predictions. In the medium term, I could imagine EOS also providing data analysis as a service to third parties. For customers who process receivables themselves, we can optimize their collection results with our data pool. Consequently, our data base grows. The same principle applies here as with many platforms: the bigger the data pool, the more precise the analysis and the better the results.
Photo Credits: Jann Klee