Interview with Ulrike Preissner, Consultant
Hi Ulli, what do you do at Great Place to Work?
I work as a project manager, assisting organisations in analysing and developing their workplace culture towards becoming a Best WorkplaceTM. In other words, I realise projects together with a broad variety of organisations regarding their workplace culture. These usually start with an employee survey, continue with data analysis and end with workshops or trainings. Then, in some cases, organisations might even get certified as a Great Place to Work®. I also support the evaluation of the Culture Audit™, where as part of our team of evaluators I assess the workplace culture described by the organisation.
How and when did you join Great Place to Work?
I have been part of the team since December 2020. I had been looking for a vacancy on the Great Place to Work website, as I had always been inspired by their field of activity. There was no job opening posted, but there was a note saying they’re always happy about spontaneous applications. After submitting my application, things went very quickly and here I am now :)
And does the name of the organisation keep its promise? ;-)
So far? Definitely! The foundation for a Great Place to Work is trust, and I can only say that I was unbelievably surprised at how much trust was placed in me right from the start. Be it in regard to working hours, work location or the immediate accompaniment of clients, right from the first two weeks of work.
"The pillars of a good workplace culture are credibility, respectful interaction
and the joy of working together with motivated people"
What does make an employer a Great Place to Work for you?
I personally think a good employer can be recognised by the fact that the people who work there enjoy what they do. I find nothing worse than employees who are doing a job with no passion whatsoever. I think great employers manage to create optimal conditions for their employees to thrive. Furthermore, I think great employers have credibility. This means that, starting with the management, they act upon what they say. Studies show that employees rarely leave a company per se but rather leave their managers. Without wanting to put the sole responsibility on managers alone, I think that they need to be aware of this fact.
A Great Place to Work has a lot to do with workplace culture. What does workplace culture mean to you?
I would speak of a workplace culture if it is individual and to some extent unique. But that also means that not everyone fits into every organisation. Rather, as with a partnership, a calibration has to take place first so that both employer and employees are happy in the long term. For me, the pillars of a good workplace culture are credibility, respectful interaction and a lived culture of error. But just as fundamental for me is the joy of working together with others, all of whom are giving their best for the sake of the organisation.
Why should organisations deal with their workplace culture?
On one hand, because each of us spends most of the day at work, and on the other hand, because the success of an organisation ultimately depends on its employees. If they are motivated, like to come to work and feel at ease, they are often more innovative and have a higher commitment to performance. Losing such good employees is costly, so it is worth investing in a culture that helps keep motivated employees in the organisation for as long as possible.
What is your contribution to a better workplace culture?
I come to work excited and motivated and try to have fun. I also try to think holistically. On the one hand, this means making sure that what I do is sustainable. On the other hand, I also try to think about what impact my actions might have on others in the team who don't have the same role as me
What makes you an expert on workplace culture?
My background with a degree in work and organisational psychology is clearly part of this. But equally, the fact that I have been able to gain experience myself in many different sectors makes me an expert on workplace culture. This ranges from micro organisations, a farm with two employees to international corporations. In addition, I have already worked abroad myself, which gives me a comparison of what workplace culture looks like in other countries and cultures. Last but not least, as a project manager, I have been working with a wide variety of clients from different sectors for several years now and therefore have some consulting experience in my backpack.