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«Workplace culture cannot be made from above, but is lived from below»

Tom 3

Interview with Dr. Thomas Schneider, Co-Owner & Consultant

Hi Tom, what are you doing at Great Place to Work?

I am a co-owner and consultant for workplace culture. I help organizations analyse their workplace culture and develop into a great place to work. I do this across industries together with national and international organizations. In our agile setting at Great Place to Work Switzerland I am currently responsible for the coordination of project management and human resources.

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

I came to Great Place to Work four years ago after researching the strategic positioning of organizations based on their workplace culture. As a business psychologist, I am interested in how people perceive organizations and behave as groups within them. Great Place to Work offers an incredible number of exciting opportunities to address this issue based on workplace culture.

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

Yes, it does for me. I work in an excellent team and have the opportunity to work on a topic that is important and meaningful to me personally. We are organized in an agile way and can therefore quickly implement our own ideas and the needs of our customers.

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

For me, a Great Place to Work puts people at the centre. A Great Place to Work is based on a culture of trust, which enables all employees to contribute their competencies in a self-determined way to achieve the organizational goals. In this way, employees see their contribution to the added value of an organization and thus the meaningfulness of their work. For me, a Great Place to Work begins with the courage of an organization to set out on the path to realise the full potential of its employees through mutual trust.

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

I'll make it a bit simple for me here - and say that for me, workplace culture is what we measure by our evidence-based Great Place to Work model. But I can do this with a clear conscience, because the core issues of leadership credibility, respect for employees and fairness in processes and programs are constantly confirmed in my daily work with our customers. These themes are complemented by the way in which teamwork is structured, as well as pride in one's own work and in the organization for which someone is working. It is important to understand that workplace culture cannot be made from above, but is lived from below. 

Tom 1

"Organisations that are concerned with their workplace culture send a corresponding signal to their current and future employees that it is important for them to shape the way they work together. 

Why should companies concern themselves with their workplace culture?

Because it is both a means and an end. This means that in our analysis and research we find strong links between the different aspects of workplace culture and organizational value creation. For example, we see lower turnover rates, higher revenue growth and higher employee engagement in organizations that we believe have an excellent workplace culture. To achieve this, workplace culture is often used as a means to an end. But workplace culture is also an end in itself. This can be seen from the fact that in its design the way is often the goal. Organizations that are concerned with their workplace culture send a corresponding signal to their current and future employees that they care about shaping the way they work together.

What is your contribution to a better workplace culture?

I have some experience in analyzing and shaping the workplace culture of organizations. It is important to me to create an awareness that an excellent workplace culture is created together with the employees - it is therefore individual for each organization. I can help to keep an eye on the important design areas and to provide input through various formats based on evidence. My experience, my background in business psychology, and also my teaching activities in the field of Behavioral Economics help me in this.

What makes you an expert in workplace culture?

At Great Place to Work I was able to gain experience during four years in various industries and with different organizations. Before that, I worked for SwissRe, the Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich, Manres and the Zurich School of Economics, among others, and gained insight into different workplace cultures. My studies of economics and my later dissertation in the context of strategic management form my scientific and theoretical basis. Based on this, I also enjoy teaching Behavioral Economics. Especially because it is about how people perceive things and make decisions in an economic context. Workplace culture is a very important design factor in this respect.

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