The five winners of the Corporate Culture Award

· News

Frankfurt am Main – November 15, 2018 saw the premiere of the Corporate Culture Award (CCA). The first award for outstanding company culture was presented against the celebratory backdrop of the 10th German Economic Forum at Frankfurt’s Paulskirche. The prize-winners include Heraeus in the “Digital Culture” category and PSD Bank in the “Change” category, while the Otto Group won the prize for the “Shared Value” category and Kärcher claimed the honors for “Best Story”. On top of this, Covestro was also presented with a special prize for innovation culture.

The very first Corporate Culture Award was presented by HR and transformation consultancy Promerit, together with culture analysts Deep White, the Serviceplan Group, and the newspaper Die ZEIT. Five companies were honored for their outstanding corporate culture.

The award, which from now on will be presented annually, is based on a dual-level process whereby a jury comprising representatives from academia, media and business evaluate the cultures of companies and their managers. In the second stage, an academically-oriented culture analysis is undertaken. In this first edition of the award, 13 finalists were chosen from 153 nominations.

Heraeus – winner of the “Digital Culture” category

Heraeus is the world’s biggest manufacturer of synthetic quartz glass. With more than 100 locations in 40 countries, it is among the biggest family-run companies in Germany. Heraeus has recognized that competent and motivated employees are a crucial factor for success, since they show their own initiative and willingness to develop further – partly because the company itself provides the appropriate options for this. This can only work on the basis of a mature corporate culture, which explains the outstanding performance in the area of the “Corporate Citizenship” category.

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    With “TRAIN THE TEAM”, Heraeus has launched a digital learning platform that is used by around 650 employees in the company. It forms the basis for entrepreneurial knowledge transformation. The induction process is being continually improved and competences further developed, while experience and knowledge are gathered and innovations driven forward. Heraeus’s “Learning Management System” takes employees into a digital world – and it has long since proven itself to be a resounding success.

PSD Bank – winner in the “Change” category

PSD Bank Nürnberg is an online bank with personal service. The services and advantages of a private customer bank are combined with the conditions and processes of an online bank – and the bank trades based on cooperative principles.

In 2015 PSD Bank revised its overall position. This was then translated into specific USPs for customers and into actions for employees, while the mission statement “Clarity in every relationship” was also developed. With three-way harmony between new forms of working, togetherness and responsibility, a measurable corporate culture is taking shape.

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    The results of the comprehensive process can be found in the “Culture Book”, for which the company received an award.

    Among all the submissions, PSD Bank had the highest Value Performance Index overall in the cultural analysis. This value relates to cultural dimensions such as “humanity”, “competence”, and “corporate citizenship”, and confirms the notable value orientation in the areas of “creativity”, “risk-readiness”, “error culture” and “open to new ideas”.

Otto Group – winner in the “Shared Value” category

The Otto Group scored points for its extraordinary “impACT” management process. This analyzes the effects of all social activities along the value-creation chain, from the origin of the products to their sale. With a pullover, for example, the chain is traced all the way back to the cotton-picker in the country of origin in order to put a specific figure on the ecological burden on the environment.

Using these sorts of fact-based study results as a basis, business processes can be oriented to be equally efficient and sustainable. This way, deficits that occur for humans and nature as a result of a company’s business activity can be compensated for and thus, at the same time, an added social value is created.

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    The fact that the category winner genuinely creates added value that doesn’t just hang on posters on office walls, but rather is measurable and put into practice, is also confirmed by employees in the culture analysis. The results show impressively how entrepreneurial thinking, social sustainability and social responsibility can be anchored in the culture of a company.

Kärcher – winner in the “Best Story” category

The success story began back in 1935 when the family-run company was founded. From Europe to Asia, America, Africa and Australia: Today, more than 12,000 employees from almost 70 countries work in the company.

The “Culture Excellence” initiative at Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG creates a protected framework for the development of the corporate culture. Employees are urged to be involved in shaping the culture themselves, and in addition to this, lots of formats, workshops and events are held to address cultural issues. One particularly suitable example is the “Employee World Meeting”, whereby teams that span different countries and functions work together on the matter of culture. This broad spectrum of methods was evaluated particularly positively by the jury.

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    Alongside all these ideas and projects, there is also one particular person who can be considered the driver of the culture: The CEO of the company, who is careful not to engage only at board level, quite the contrary in fact. In formats such as “Over a coffee with…” he holds numerous meetings with employees, and addresses what is really needed internally.

    Kärcher is exemplary in showing that communication is a path and not a result. The link between strategy and culture is crucial.


· Events, News

Promerit and Realright @ UNLEASH

Since its start-up in 2011, UNLEASH has become one of the most important events around the future of work and HR technology. Meet our team on October 23rd and 24th in Amsterdam to talk about innovative solutions for tomorrow’s world of work.

Meet us @ our stand

Do you want to find out more about Promerit, Realright and Mercer, and how we can help you on your way to the workforce of the future? Click below to contact us and set an appointment in Amsterdam with one of the team, or just pop by at our stand that we share with Mercer whenever suits you at the conference!

Join us for drinks!

Make sure you stop by our stand #204 at the end of Day 1 to join us for a glass of champagne… or two!

Transformation is not for wimps

· Events, News

 “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.” (Niccolo Machiavelli.)

Is it still possible to quote Machiavelli today? In times, in which we are all so cooperative, in which we no longer have bosses, only colleagues, in which ties waste away glumly in wardrobes?

We can, when his words are so aptly formulated. There are fundamental aspects of human behavior that we will not easily overcome. Among these, if we are being honest, is our way of dealing with renewal. We are not talking about change that comes along in small steps, that we can pretty much just accept. Steps which are not that inconvenient, now that we wear sneakers for work. When we have time in mixed teams to think about how we can be closer to customers (as if we had previously ignored them.)

Let’s talk about real RENEWAL. The type described by Schumpeter as ‘creative destruction.’ Admittedly, he used the term in a macroeconomic context, but if we follow up on his idea and take it into our business reality, we quickly come to where it hurts, where old traditions are abolished and space made for the new.

This is happening on a large scale when business models are changed, something that today is being called disruption. The dismissal of the traditional cigarette is for Philip Morris an act of creative destruction, the outcome of which should excite us. The origins of Bayer lie in the plastics business. The sale of Covestro as an IPO made space for the new – which, in the form of Monsanto brought with it great potential and likewise great risk.

But it can happen on a smaller scale; actually innovation doesn’t necessarily have to be disruptive. When the company Zumtobel now no longer just sells lamps, but lights up whole areas, supplies them with WiFi and charges a fee for this, change comes about more gently.

Disruption, revolution or innovation? Today, we call taking large steps toward the future TRANSFORMATION. Choosing this path and following it consistently is not for the faint-hearted, as the decision makers at Philip Morris, Bayer, or Zumtobel will confirm.

Transformation requires the will to innovate and the courage to destroy, always with a concept of the new, since this alternative to the current status quo needs to be actually implemented. Only with an image of this (better) future will these innovators succeed in winning enough fellow proponents over to the transformation.

An illuminated world was the vision of Thomas A. Edison and the journey toward it was a long one for his team. “There is a better way to do it, find it!” makes it clear how much effort was involved in realizing Edison’s vision. Alongside the courage to innovate and a concept of the goal, there has to be lots of ambition, in order not to be satisfied with too little.

All this must be shared. Convincing people of the need for innovation and finding the way together while encouraging and challenging them can allow a transformation to be successful. There are hardly any other options. At least not if we no longer want to rely on the one genial leader at the top – who are becoming increasingly rare anyway. But let’s be clear about this: executives are a central part of the transformation. There is no revolution bottom-up. Transformation will only work when the management is courageous and consequent about it. Employees are very critical when fine speeches and posters once again proclaim the bright new future. They scrutinize their leadership closely – and if it is not really sincerely forging ahead, they sit back and let it pass them by. Bending is the unofficial technical term for this phenomenon and it kills every transformation.

Working against it requires the most courageous step of all: the step towards changing yourself. Those who take the issue seriously must scrutinize themselves and their own behavior. When the subject of transformation is on the table, ideas quickly emerge about what could be done better in other areas. How others need to change. Everything that needs to happen somewhere else. This is not how it works. More or less well-intentioned suggestions are followed by the reflex “That’s just what we do already…” or tit-for-tat responses without constructive potential.

If, regardless of our function and position, we want genuine transformation, we must begin with ourselves, on a very personal level. “What am I doing today that is incompatible with the future? How should I behave? What is holding me back from this? What is my contribution to change? How consistently am I implementing this?” To answer these questions and to change yourself takes a certain amount of courage. “Walking the talk” is the most difficult part of the transformation, and it really isn’t for wimps.

The author

Kai Anderson

is one of the most sought-after change experts in Germany. He coaches and guides executives in transforming their organization. Kai is author and publisher of the books “The Agile Enterprise” and “Digital Human – The human being at the center of digitization”.

The digital humanists: Bettina Volkens and Kai Anderson

· News, Public Relations

Digital Human:
Dr. Bettina Volkens und Kai Anderson in interview

Issue 2018.2019, karriereführer digital / Picture Laslo Dani (Jane Uhlig PR)

Bettina Volkens is Chief Human Resources Officer at Lufthansa, and Kai Anderson is an expert in change management who is much in demand. Together they have written a book which shows routes to human digitisation. In an interview, they explain why emotional intelligence will be more important than ever and that it is essential for the younger generation to maintain their digital lifestyle. André Boße asked the questions.

Ms Volkens, Mr Anderson, what route will we be taking? Will our lives become increasingly digital or will the digital world become more human?

Volkens: Digitisation influences all areas of life. In our private lives and the world of business. The upcoming generations in particular have grown up much more naturally with this trend and have been shaped by it. If we continue to engage with it and we manage to get involved in shaping this trend ourselves, then we will find ourselves on the path of human digitisation, one that is controlled and influenced by us.

Anderson: We cannot halt the digital route we are taking – it is impossible not to be shaped by one’s environment. The question is actually whether and how we choose to influence this path. This starts early on at school and continues throughout our professional life. Education is the key – this is the only way that we can create what we call human digitisation.

Why is digitisation still causing such great uncertainty in companies? What is it that makes this change so special and why do we come across so much concern about it?

Anderson: The term digitisation very quickly sets people’s imaginations running wild: digitisation means automation means rationalisation means a cut in jobs. We experience this equation being reached in many companies, no matter what sector. This reaction is human – for the individual personally but also collectively. It is the expression of a company culture which is not open enough about change. It is also an expression of ignorance: many employees in companies understand too little about the subject, which continues to be the domain of IT. 

Is there a silver bullet for defining and establishing this agile culture in companies?

Anderson: Firstly, there’s no silver bullet; every company has to find its own approach. However, a few years ago, many organisations tried to delegate the digital transformation to digital labs or CDO organisations.
Their expectations were not fulfilled. The awareness that the digital transformation needs to come from within and that each employee should be taken on the journey is becoming increasingly apparent. We are therefore once again on the subject of digital skills for all – that is, a digital culture and leadership as well as the design of the new world of work.

Click here to read the full Article (German Version).

Kai Anderson is one of the most sought-after change experts in Germany. His specialty is the reorientation of HR management in international corporations and organizations.

Bettina Volkens is a doctor of law and a Labor Director of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. As a member of the Executive Board, she is responsible for Human Resources and Legal Affairs.

Transform Your Business Festival

· Events, News

Promerit @ Transform your Business from 13 – 15 September, 2018 in Berlin

Transform Your Business is a three-day international business festival hosted by Quadriga University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. It is a platform for European professionals to discuss megatrends like AI, New Work, Data Analytics and how they can be applied to HR, Sales, Communication and Marketing. It takes place from 13 – 15 September, 2018 in Berlin, one of the creative and entrepreneurial hubs of Europe.

Promerit is proud to be part of Transform Your Business with a unique Workshop setting called „Synthesis“ to combine expert conference, peer exchange and talent hackathon for agile organizational development.

Join us for an experience to transform your business

Let’s face reality – right now is the slowest pace of change that we’ll ever experience in our lives, yet it feels pretty fast to us. To help work through this, we created a truly unique experience designed to push boundaries and challenge participants to think differently about the issues of today and tomorrow. A real-time learning environment that brought our best thinking not in a conference room, but into the real world. Like most future-thinking products, this is an experiment.


  • Join a truly unique experience designed to push boundaries and think differently about the company issues of today and tomorrow
  • Get an overview how to accelerate your agile and digital transformation
  • Learn from experts and participants about their experiences and approaches
  • Get practical impulses for your agile and digital roadmap
  • Meet and network with inspiring thought leaders outside of your bubble
  • Meet stakeholders from your community


  • More than 50 international participants
  • A real-time learning environment that brought our best thinking not in a conference room, but into the real world.
  • 4 hours of interactive sessions, dialog and networking
  • Immersive Gallery with 4 central themes to drive agile and digital transformation
  • Framestorming and synthesis hackathon sessions to shape the future together in a unique way
  • Action planning and practical approaches for your company roadmap to accelerate agile and digital transformation


  1. Key-Impulse: Immersive Future Gallery
    Explore 4 key levers within the future organization: strategy, culture, talent & leadership and processes & structures
  2. Re-Framing: Framestorming
    Crowdsource, reframe, and prioritize the most pressing questions for each lever
  3. Re-Thinking: Synthesis Hackathon
    Assess your own organizations’ maturity and develop a business canvas out of it
  4. Re-Shaping: Action Planning
    Create a customized roadmap for a future orientated agile & digital organization


Join us in Berlin – we are glad to see you in September to TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS