25 Jul 2022

Management with a focus on employee satisfaction pays off

Supervised by SAFE Fellow Simone Wies, high school students from Stuttgart qualify for the finals of the YES! competition with their idea for evaluating companies

A team of high school students from the Evangelisches Heidehof-Gymnasium in Stuttgart, supported by the Leibniz Institute for Financial Market SAFE, beat six other school teams at the regional preliminary round of the YES! competition in Mannheim on 14 July 2022 to reach the finals. Supervised by SAFE Fellow Simone Wies, Professor of Marketing Strategy & Performance at Goethe University Frankfurt, the high school students dealt with the topic “Myopic management: Why is corporate management obsessed with quarterly earnings and what should be done about it?” and convinced the jury with an idea for sustainable corporate management.

Called “Ecostainable”, the students designed a management concept that does not focus on quarterly figures and short-term profit interests but instead uses employee satisfaction as another criterion for company evaluation. Instead of reducing company costs by laying off employees shortly before the end of the quarter, the students are convinced that long-term and securely employed employees have a positive influence on the company’s value.

“I’m thrilled with the verve and creativity with which the team approached what is, by all means, a complex topic,” says Simone Wies, “and I’m delighted that their idea made it to the final. Myopic management and the potentially devastating consequences for corporate behavior represent phenomena for which counter models are needed.”

International competition in the final

Following their success in the regional preliminary round, the Stuttgart high school students are now set to compete in the final in Hamburg, which will take place from 19 to 21 September 2022. The participating school classes will not only present their own solutions to pressing questions but will also elect the winning team from among themselves at the end of the competition. This year, the students from all over Germany will meet school teams from the U.S. and England, who have also qualified for the finals. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action in Berlin will hold the award ceremony at the end of the year.

The school competition YES! (“Young Economic Summit”) has been held nationwide in five regions since 2019 and has since been expanded internationally. Initiated by the ZBW - Leibniz Information Center for Economics and the Joachim Herz Foundation, the competition encourages students to develop innovative solutions to economic, ecological, and social problems, guided by researchers from Leibniz institutions throughout Germany.

SAFE has been dedicated to the competition since 2020 by providing scientific support to school teams. In addition to the Evangelisches Heidehof-Gymnasium this year, students from the European School RheinMain and the Raiffeisen Campus from Dernbach had previously reached the final round with the support of SAFE.

Scientific Contact

Simone Wies

Prof. Dr. Simone Wies, Ph.D.

SAFE Ombudsperson