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«We must be aware that workplace culture cannot be changed overnight»

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Interview with Nicola Valentin Hungerbühler, Consultant


What do you do at Great Place to Work?

I am a consultant at Great Place to Work, advising organisations on where and how they can develop their workplace culture.

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

I was already familiar with Great Place to Work's employee surveys from my previous job. This gave me the opportunity to experience first-hand what it means to work for an employer that has been awarded the Great Place to Work® label. Among other things, this inspired me to become more involved with workplace culture - and ultimately to successfully complete a CAS in Corporate Development & Strategy. Shortly afterwards I started working at Great Place to Work® Switzerland - and I am proud to be part of the team.

And does the name of the company keep its promises?

All dimensions and design areas of workplace culture, according to which we also conduct our surveys, are fully covered here. Trust is the most important thing and so everyone has the scope they need and can exploit their potential to the full. When I started working for this company, I soon realised that Great Place to Work focuses on agility, innovation and authenticity, and this is exactly what the customer feels and on which the success of this company is based. So I can say that the name keeps what it promises.

What makes an employer a Great Place to Work for you?

The basis for a Great Place to Work is created as soon as all those involved in an organisation have the courage and the will to (re)change or optimise and pursue a common goal. The decisive factor is the workplace culture and, consequently, trust. However, one must be aware that a workplace culture cannot be changed overnight. Often, this change requires a new mindset from all those involved and its development takes time.

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

I would like to start by saying what workplace culture is NOT for me, namely Command & Control - that was long ago. Today, for me, workplace culture is primarily about respectful interaction and trust. I am firmly convinced that we humans have the urge to develop from an early age. We are curious by nature and therefore constantly learn new things. This curiosity needs to be supported - primarily by managers - after all, everyone should be able to think for themselves and get involved. And that is what makes a workplace culture: It is a biotope full of motivated and responsible employees who are able to implement their ideas and projects and are supported by their managers.

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"Workplace culture is a biotope full of motivated and responsible employees who can implement their ideas and projects and are supported by their managers in doing so".

Why should companies deal with their workplace culture?

For several reasons: Firstly - and this is particularly interesting from an employer branding perspective - to position themselves as an attractive employer. A second reason is the process itself: organisations that deal with their culture help to establish it. Because only corporate values that are lived out are part of the workplace culture. And a third reason is the value of workplace culture itself: organisations that do not take their workplace culture for granted or take it for granted and still cultivate it create identity, a sense of belonging, and increase employee motivation. All this has an extremely strong impact on the external image of organisations, which also influences customer satisfaction or investor relations or talent management.

What is your contribution to a better workplace culture?

Since "trust" is the central word and the cornerstone of a better workplace culture, I consider positive interactions in the team to be important. First and foremost, as in team sports, everyone is committed and everyone pulls together and communicates clearly. So I don't want to rest as part of the team on the work of others, but to be active on the front line and make a substantial contribution.

What makes you an expert in workplace culture?

With my first management experience, I came into contact with workplace culture. Since I was suddenly strongly responsible for shaping workplace culture myself, I had to deal with it intensively. This also taught me how positive and negative examples of workplace culture can appear and have an effect. But my further training in the field of corporate development and corporate strategy also gives me a solid basis. I also have experience in company health management - but above all I am an absolute advocate of agile companies and New Work!

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