Anke Stein-Remmert
Anke Stein-Remmert ist freiberufliche Rechtsanwältin, Mediatorin und Business-Coach sowie Gesellsch...

Corporate culture – myth or necessity?

February 2, 2016
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Corporate culture. What does that mean? Many companies and organisations want to introduce a model culture, an error management culture, team culture or the like. At first glance, this sounds like major inter-organisational project work that ties up a lot of resources such as time and money, and at the same time means buying a “pig in a poke”, because at the beginning of the process, the result is still an open question, although the objective seems defined. It is the actual situation in the company concerned and the desired objective which can be accurately described and outlined. But the way to achieve this is generally vague. However, corporate culture can provide valuable services and defy the resources arguments of time and money.

Focus on employees

The success factor of each objective-oriented change in the company is the employee. It is a matter of picking him up and motivating him to become involve in the implementation process in order not only to achieve the objectives defined, but also to sustain and maintain them.

Contrary to commonly practised top-down solutions, the employee should be integrated bottom-up in structuring implementation right from at the beginning of the process, and thus intrinsically motivated, should not only contribute to the design of the process content, but also live it sustainably. Only the concrete objective is given as an accompaniment along the way by the sponsoring organisation; employees fill the frame with life. Here they are far more than traditional employees, above all due to their business perspective and their view of work sequences and requirements. They offer detailed knowledge that would in any case not be accessible to many executives and entrepreneurs. As opposed to a top-down solution, employees are appreciatively involved, included and their knowledge recognised.

In practical terms, corporate culture means nothing other than confrontation with a personal attitude, both by employees concerned as well as by way of acceptance of the guiding principles provided by the company’s management.

Practical implementation and new challenges

Service providers in particular have to make a major service contribution to the customer. The idea of service presupposes a special attitude in dealing with customers among employees and colleagues, above all if complaints arise. These not only generate an increased workload and disturb the work flow for many employees, but can also have injurious effects – perceived as an attack. On the customer’s side, more acceptance of personal needs, managed communication and a professional approach to errors complained of are often expected here. If these expectations are not met, the customer threatens to change company and the employee potentially suffers an increased workload and associated increased feelings of stress. Ultimately, the consequences can also be measured in the company’s figures: a smaller customer base on the one hand and on the employees’ side, a falling level of performance as well as rising sickness figures increase the market pressure for change.

In these cases it is advisable to deal with the “Who are we? What is our mission”, and thus both the vision and identity, together with the employees of the departments concerned. Concrete behaviour maxims are designed on the basis of the elicited self-image – considering the aspects defined in answering. Ultimately, these said steps lead to the development and manifestation of an attitude that defies both the personal effects of complaints and the consequent perceived feelings of stress. At the same time, employees and colleagues grow together in solidarity as a community and so prepare the shift towards communication and service orientation. The result is a service alliance between the relevant department and its customers, which also cushions the irregularities caused by complaints.

Sustainable success through new service attitude

The sustainability and success of corporate culture is based on the involvement of employees and on the one hand, the intrinsic motivation thus generated, and on the other hand, the simultaneous creation of a strong team feeling. Various methods within the workshops conducted also intensify this effect.
Whilst conventional processes of change often take months or years, measures such as the described introduction of a complaints management culture can be done in a few weeks and then lived permanently, which invalidates the potentially negative argument of extreme time constraints and high costs.

Frankfurt School offers customised business solutions and seminars for complaints management.

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