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«How can a company be successful if its employees are not behind it?»


Michael hermann header2

Interview with Michael Hermann, Co-Owner & Consultant

Hello Michael, what are you doing at Great Place to Work®?

All kinds of exciting things. In the last few years, as managing director I had the sometimes great and sometimes exhausting task of coordinating us. With further growth and a really strong team, we have now come to an agile setup and have several owners active in the company alongside me, so that the tasks are distributed more widely. This means that I can once again devote more attention to topics and projects with our customers and which ideas we can use to help them develop their workplace culture. 

How and when did you come to Great Place to Work?

2012 and by having lunch with the intern at the time. At another consultancy, I was active in turbulent times for the topic of commitment and employee surveys as head of Central Europe and wanted to get to know my competitors. "Great Place to Work" had great ideas and I found it exciting at the time to take over and develop the still very small company in Switzerland with just one employee.

And does the name of the company keep its promises? ;-)

We look behind the scenes with the same methodology as we do with our customers. And we share many of the challenges that we also see with our customers. From good communication to the coordination of tasks. But: if something doesn't fit and we really want to change it, we can do it quickly. And: we see all the great ideas from other companies. 

In your opinion: What makes an employer a Great Place to Work?

That's probably an unexpected answer, but I don't see the employer as having any obligations. The company should offer a good, trustworthy framework. But for me to be enthusiastic myself, I have to be able and want to make something of this framework for myself. 

A Great Place to Work has a lot to do with workplace culture. What does workplace culture mean to you?

Depending on the current challenges, the focus always changes somewhat. But the Great Place to Work model covers the issues very well. Trust in the company, work content and, of course, relationships with colleagues are and remain important.

Why should companies concern themselves with their workplace culture?

Counter question: How does a company want to be successful if the employees are not behind it? Only very few companies have a product that sells itself. All others need motivated employees who make the difference. And it is very, very expensive if you lose good people or if they are frustrated. 

What is your contribution to a better workplace culture?

We alone cannot move the culture in a company. But it's nice to see that we help companies better understand and then tackle their challenges. Sometimes we provide the impetus, sometimes it's the right questions that are raised and we're also happy to provide ideas about what we see in the market.

What makes you an expert in workplace culture?

Originally, I studied business administration out of "reasonable" considerations and then I studied industrial psychology out of curiosity. At that time, it was still an unusual mixture, but today I'm glad that both sides understand. This enables me to better understand the challenges for management and also economic challenges. And in my own role in steering the company, I have already done enough wrong. Learning from mistakes is probably the most important quality when it comes to further development.


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