An intact corporate culture is regarded as the DNA of a company and as the most important prerequisite for a profitable growth. Today, as employees want to identify more and more with their employing company, corporate culture takes on an ever-increasing significance – for recruiting, employee loyalty and performance. However, a corporate culture has to be actively built and firmly established. It will not develop overnight but constitutes an ongoing process which must be actively lived and cultivated.
How does a young company which is nationally based but internationally grows quickly and wants to increase its innovative strength handle this issue?
We have talked about corporate culture to Pascal Behr, CEO of Cytosurge AG.
1. How do you interpret the term “corporate culture” – what culture is lived at Cytosurge?
Personally, I don’t understand «corporate culture» as an empty phrase but as a very precious value, which is developed from the beginning with and by the employees; a value which should be adjusted over time and is actively lived. A culture cannot be prescribed, least of all by a single person.
Cytosurge is a rapidly growing start up with an intercultural team consisting of people of different age groups. Within the last 12 months we have nearly doubled our staff. We’re now facing the challenge of bringing together all these different cultures and mindsets so that every employee and therefore also the company as a whole can profit from this diversity. Our Cytosurge culture is meant to enhance work satisfaction and therefore also promote creativity.
We’re not reinventing the wheel but are inspired by good benchmarks of renowned companies. Based on those we develop a model that optimally fulfills our needs.
Under “corporate culture” I also understand an actively involvement in the creation of our individual working processes. In this context, we distinguish between so-called “good” and “bad” processes. In my opinion, “bad processes” which entail high administrative effort don’t leave much room for developmental creativity. We therefore try to avoid them whenever possible. Instead we focus on “good processes”, coined by common sense and self-responsibility, which will increase our speed and our innovative strength.
2. As CEO, what do you expect from your team and how do you personally contribute to building this culture?
Our employees are our key success factor. They can only perform at their very best if they identify with our company values and if we develop a shared understanding. After all we want to be the best in our market-segment, we want to secure competitive edge and with it our above-average growth.
From my team, I expect a high degree of open-mindedness, (self-) confidence and a high sense of responsibility – for themselves as well as their duty. There is room for mistakes because we will all learn from them and – with these new insights - will further develop our innovations as well as our company.
As CEO, I live these values consistently and I am fully aware of my function as a role model. I stand for a culture of feedback which supports constructive criticism in both directions: from the executive to the staff member and the other way around. Our employees enjoy a high degree of freedom – there’s plenty of room for creativity and the development of a culture of innovation.
3. What measures do you take to anchor corporate culture at Cytosurge?
In 2017 we will focus on the development of a corporate culture at Cytosurge. We have therefore founded the project «Culture @Cytosure». It is important that every employee is actively involved in the process of this development. In this context, we have defined the following focus points, which we will actively incorporate in our daily routine throughout the next months: (1) Trust each other; (2) execute fast, (3) innovate & evolve, (4) keep things simple, (5) aim for customer experience, (6) think longterm, (7) recruit and keep great people.
Every other month we will look at a new «focus point». In a first step meetings and workshops will be held, during which we will work out what this particular focus point means for everyone individually but also for Cytosurge as a company. We will define which actions and guidelines will help us to live this focus point during our daily routine. After defining and evaluating these actions and guidelines we will offer room and time to develop an awareness, when and how our employees use these every day. Over 3-6 weeks we will display the according actions and guidelines over our reception desk. Furthermore, our employees are encouraged to weekly meet with a partner and discuss in which situation they have enacted the actions and guidelines, what they have learnt from these and what they might do differently if they encounter a similar situation in the future.