The importance of corporate culture and how to rebuild

January 25, 2016 Sascha Grosskopf


A corporate culture’s impact on brand perceptions can make or break companies. Take for instance the 2015 VW emissions scandal, where the falsifying of emissions tests lost the consumers‘ trust in the car maker and made the company appear deceptive from the exterior of its figuratively-opaque walls.

So how do they bounce back? What can companies do to economically pull the carts out of the mud and recover the trust of customers?

A powerful tool

The potential impact of corporate culture is, unfortunately, still greatly underestimated. It is the corporate culture of companies, what was the "Hand of God" at the 1986 World Cup for Diego Maradona - invisible, but decisive. You can frustrate employees as well as motivate. A positive corporate culture for example, can already affect the recruiting process positively. Because ideally potential candidates want to be a part of this positive culture, and actively contribute to its improvement. Especially when it comes to recruiting, a poor corporate culture nowadays can barely hide. Consider that in times of total networking, everyone is online at any time: the truth is always just a Tweet or mouse click away. Employer evaluation portals such as Glassdoor and Kununu make a significant contribution. Companies that fail to build a sustainable corporate culture hurt at the end of the day not only their own image, but also their chances of success in the "war for talent". Yet there is hope, because after reconstruction comes the economic miracle.

Establish positive corporate culture

But how is the reconstruction created? How do companies establish a new positive corporate culture and attract customers and employees, and also potential candidates again, for the company succeed?

1. Create transparency or there’ll be trust issues. Each company has its secrets. The fact that the Coca-Cola formula is not available to everyone makes perfect sense. The situation is different, however, from abuses and violations at work. Transparency, particularly when it comes to compliance, is essential to prevent such derailments. The same applies to personnel processes. If I am ranked as an employee, I want to know to what criteria and why.

2. Promote openness: it is important to create awareness of whether an action is ethical or not. This requires an open corporate culture where employees with grievances or problems can point it out with no negative consequences for their own careers.

3. Establish an effective compliance system. But first, a compliance kind of culture must be created, so the critical voices are heard. Have rules attached so that the compliance can be measured too. The decisive factor is also that non-compliance must have disciplinary consequences. The change must be initiated until it is eventually anchored in the culture. Software tools can thereby be useful by helping to identify compliance risks at an early stage and to resolve and ensure that employees are trained in this regard.

4. Staff training: an opportunity to actively bring about cultural change is training. After all, it comes to clarify the values ​​and policies of a company, and make it accessible to all employees. There must be a basic understanding of the strategy of an enterprise is formed, but also about how work and collaboration come together. Learning systems can provide decisive support work here, because they create the necessary transparency and reach everyone - from manager to assembly line workers.

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