Developing Corporate Culture

One Company – One Culture

Corporate culture is collective behaviour. How can behaviour be influenced so that it corresponds to the desired values? A short case study.

A medium-sized company from the energy sector is outsourced and restructured. As a result, the working environment becomes increasingly international. Employees who have been working in their former company for decades and identify strongly with it suddenly find themselves carrying out the same activities but in a new company. They meet colleagues and executives who are new to the company and who often come from different countries. They have to adapt to a new style of leadership. Work processes are being redesigned. They feel the change in the culture and experience new challenges:

  • Language barriers have to be overcome
  • A shared identity needs to be established
  • Different approaches to working procedures have to be coordinated with each other
  • A common understanding of leadership needs to develop
  • Contact and trust between individual groups of employees must be intensified
  • Interdepartmental cooperation needs to be encouraged.

Culture isn't just one aspect of the game – it is the game. – Lou Gerstner

The responsible human resources manager and two managing directors who are sensitive to cultural questions personally took care of the matter. In the course of their work, they also showed a high degree of willingness to choose an open setting that involved both managers and employees.

The fundamental issues were diagnosed with the help of interviews with a representative group of employees. As it turned out, simply the fact that interviews were carried out alone led to the first positive changes. 

In Leadership Days involving all the executives, the interview results were discussed intensively, and an action plan was developed based on the findings. In individual discussions between the managing directors and the department heads, these were then honed and defined in more detail.

Wolfgang Grilz - developing corporate culture

The One Company Culture Conference was a highlight. In this large group event involving almost all the company’s employees, a new spirit of optimism was really noticeable. In addition to all the concrete action steps that the teams developed, they gained an impression of how important the emotional aspect of such a change also is. Participants will certainly remember the experience of building a 20-metre-long paper bridge or the world café that produced many surprising results. In addition to experience-oriented elements, the employees also developed a package of concrete implementation measures. Since then, the majority of the 80 points on this task list has already been implemented.