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In his own voice
At the present time, the term corporate culture as a differential factor is on everyone’s lips. As a result, there are dozens of examples of companies which have prescribed for themselves an extremely euphonious culture definition. For the most part, however, this does not go beyond pleasant-sounding words, because the employees see this culture, prescribed from above, as something foreign, forcibly applied, and remote from real life. Result: hardly anyone knows these values, very few understand them, and no-one truly lives up to them.
At Berker, a medium-sized company based in Sauerland and manufacturer of switches of aesthetic design and high quality, the situation has simply been reversed: instead of values being prescribed for the employees, the employees themselves convey their company values. In this process, the characteristics of the Berker corporate culture were first of all defined in a workshop, and summarised as five central values. Stage two: for the internal campaign, a presenter for each value was selected from among the employees, who in a brochure, on the basis of purely personal examples, explained to his colleagues precisely what, in his opinion, this value means. Then, in the following pages, the “official” corporate definition in each case was presented.
In this way, during the internal campaign, which lasted five months, each month was dedicated to a particular corporate value; every employee received a copy of the relevant brochure together with a give-away appropriate to the corporate value concerned. At the same time, the campaign motif, which changed each month, appeared as a large-size (2 x 18/1) poster affixed near the factory site, as a poster in company rooms and offices, and as a screen-saver on employees’ PCs.
Values such as “Precision”, “Aesthetics” or “Leading position” thus suddenly acquired a human visage and a human voice. The unusual form of the presentation automatically gave rise to debates and discussions: Is that really correct, what our colleague is saying here? How do I myself see it? And what exactly does it mean for me and for my work?
Berker GmbH & Co. KG
Thomas Biswanger Design
Harald Willenbrock (Text)
Mark Seelen (Fotografie)