Hände, Uhren, Ringe

Motivation, recognition, and work-family balance

The Max Delbrück Center has been awarded its fifth “Work and Family” audit certificate. It includes a three-year action program focusing on collaborative culture, leadership, personnel strategy, and idea management. Here, Dana Lafuente and Gabriele Kollinger explain all the details.


If a research institution wants to recruit top-level international scientists and attract and develop highly motivated staff, it has to offer something in return. That is why, since 2009, the Max Delbrück Center has been supporting and promoting the reconciliation of work and family life for its employees in a multistage audit process.

People today are faced with an increasing number of options in many areas of life, and this individualization also impacts the world of work.
 Dana Lafuente
Dana Lafuente People & Culture

“Demographic developments and changing generations result in different demands being placed on research organizations,” explains Gabriele Kollinger from the People & Culture Department, who manages the “Work and Family” audit project together with Dana Lafuente. “To continue to reinforce and improve our position as an attractive employer and scientific training institution, we want to further strengthen our existing family-friendly structures and create a family-conscious culture.” For Kollinger and Lafuente, the goal is to improve staff motivation, recognition and orientation through excellent leadership, and thus promote outstanding performance and satisfaction in both science and administration. 

“Now it’s time for action”

The current quality assurance procedure follows the three-step implementation process of “communicate, apply, follow-up.” Four focal areas have been set for the years 2022 to 2025: collaborative culture, leadership, personnel strategy, and idea management. A steering committee comprising team leaders in the personnel division, the Women’s Representative, the Staff Council, the Sustainability Coordinator, and project managers has developed concrete measures for the next steps. “We believe we have very successfully interwoven key results from the project ‘Developing and Establishing an MDC Leadership Culture’ with the new action program,” says Kollinger. “This way, we will be implementing change in a way that is meaningful and sustainable, and will therefore make a significant contribution to the development of the organization.”

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