An interview for the daily newspaper Pravda

There are many important companies among your clients, such as Volkswagen, Škoda Auto and its suppliers, or numerous banks. What kind of advice do you give them?

We operate in two areas. One is the area of improvement of processes in a company; the other has to do with communication, leading people and developing human resources. We are their partners in creating their corporate culture.

How do they receive your advice?

The majority are used to this type of consulting from the countries, where their parent companies are situated. They are usually companies that want to invest in their development and in human capital. It is a paradox. The companies that want to improve most are already good.

What is the level of corporate culture in Slovakia like? What did the arrival of foreign investors?

In areas of high competition, the corporate culture has improved in recent years. Some foreign companies have shown that corporate culture concentrating on quality can be developed in Slovakia in the same way as anywhere else in the economically developed world. For example, the results of automotive industry companies have even convinced skeptics. Changes have also been made in areas like financial services. If you are a bank customer and you don’t feel that the corporate culture of the bank cares for customer satisfaction (“Our customer / our master”, slogan of Tomas Bata) it isn’t difficult to leave and find another place where it is so. Foreign investors will either build a factory on a green field or enter into a company that is already “in the groove.”

Which companies will enforce their own corporate culture more easily?

According to our experience, it is easier for the companies beginning on a green filed, at least in the first phase lasting 2-3 years. It is easier not to accept someone that doesn’t want to identify with the corporate culture into a company, rather than to say goodbye to such an employee in an already existing company.

How long does it take to rebuild a company’s corporate culture?

The first results become noticeable already after several months. The results of system changes usually show in the following year. With continuous effort and if the changes are adopted by the key employees, strong signs of new corporate culture can be expected after 3-5 years.

How fast are Slovak employees able to adapt to new requirements?

Upon arriving, many foreign companies bet on young people. In numerous cases, it enabled them to develop a pragmatic, result-oriented corporate culture relatively fast. In such a case, problems may appear after several years. We know them as symptoms of single-generation neighborhoods. In contemporary age structure, it is difficult to ensure a natural career growth and the opportunity to learn from people with a mature character is also missing. Good results can be achieved if a company bets on people willing to risk change and continuous growth. That is more important than the date of birth.

 answers by Ing. Daniel Laco (FBE)