Transforming the business is also a matter of culture

On the occasion of the conference “Objective better living in business” organized by the Institute MVE November 21 at the House of Polytechnic in Paris, Edenred organized a workshop on the theme “Corporate culture and change management: the heart of “Reactor transformation” “. Return on the intervention of Gilles Verrier, President of HR Identity and author of “Should we release the company?”.

” There is no choice: if the business does not change, it dies “. Gilles Verrier cannot be more clear: the transformation of the company is inevitable because it responds to a triple revolution in its environment:

  • business revolution, with the transition from an economic model based on mass production to a tense competitive universe that calls for more agility and responsiveness;
  • a revolution in the aspirations of employees, with the end of the era of absolute respect for authority and work as a duty, and the emergence of fulfillment at work and the quest for meaning;
  • the information revolution, accessible to all, which gives power to the one who is able to select and disseminate the right information.

A triple revolution that, according to Gilles Verrier, translates into HR language terms such as agility, ability to adapt to the customer, accountability, trust.

First, transform the content of the work

What is the first transformation to be carried out? Gilles Verrier responds without hesitation: ” The content of the work! Formerly, the important thing was the quality of the execution of a task, today it is necessary to be able to leave the frame, not to apply the rule when the situation requires it “.

The author then tells a role play of 300 managers of a bank. ” In your absence, and unable to reach you, a collaborator decides to give a loan to the best client of the agency who threatens to leave the establishment. What’s your reaction ? “. Results: 100 managers congratulate him for having taken this initiative: “they are in the new world”, comments Gilles Verrier; 100 punish him for leaving the frame, “they are in the old world”. 100 try to reconcile the two, “they are in hypocrisy”.

Harmonize structure and culture

Often, the company chooses the facility: the change of organization. Transformation involves walking on both legs: structure (organization) and behavior (culture).
An example: the Yellow Pages, which went from a business model in which the regional press constituted the bulk of its competitors, to the world of the Internet where the company is facing Google. From a time when advertising contracts were negotiated over six months to today, where everything is played in two hours. The question of the speed of the answer became central, which meant that Pages Jaunes rethought both its organization and its culture.

How to characterize one’s culture with regard to its stakes? What are the new temporalities? What are the impacts on trades? What is the history of the company? How to define one’s relationship with another? So many questions to ask. ” Changing culture is an in-depth job “, insists Gilles Verrier.

As for the conditions for success, Gilles Verrier reveals three essential ones:

  1. to associate the collaborators with the cultural transformation and not to impose on them;
  2. explain why by letting them find how ;
  3. and apply to oneself the changes in behavior expected of others.

Three examples of cultural change

During his presentation, Gilles Verrier mentioned three examples of cultural change he has led.

  • An agro-food site near Nantes is anchored in a culture of conflict. The challenge is to transform the mental representation of employees based on a vision of two actors (management, employees) with conflicting interests. How? By introducing a third actor: the client. Customers visit the company to explain the issues to employees. After six months, half of the employees sign a petition to review the agreement on working time and put the customer at the center of concerns. Since then, the site has not experienced any local conflict.
  • The results of the Italian subsidiary of a large retail group are down. The level of employee engagement is very low, they focus only on the prescribed tasks and have no sense of customer relationship. For three months, the company will ask each employee to find an idea to improve the relationship with the customer and share it on a collaborative platform. After a few weeks, 5,000 ideas are already registered.
  • A large bank raises the question of the culture of performance. It works on the behaviors of managers by a system of simulation to maintain the same level of benevolence and strengthen the requirement of managers. In the key, an improvement of the economic results.