Business culture, employer attractiveness and "digitalised" work structures in the strategic planning dialogue of Volksbank Ruhr Mitte eG

// Corporate Culture, Digital Transformation

The annually updated strategic planning process is a well exercised practice of the management team of Volksbank Ruhr Mitte eG. In recent years, the company also had to take into consideration massive challenges in this, just like any other bank – from the lasting low-interest rate situation via the always further increasing regulatory requirements all the way to significantly changing customer requirements and completely new agile competitors. These challenges can be mastered only with significant efficiency increases, cost reductions, and reorganisations, whereupon solutions were found in the strategic planning dialogue of Volksbank Ruhr-Mitte that will be consistently implemented in the months and years ahead. In this, the term planning dialogue emphasises that these are not "lone" decisions but rather a strategy developed in dialogue.

Of particular importance to the Board members of Volksbank Ruhr Mitte, Dr. Peter Bottermann and Ingo Abrahams, was that in the strategic planning dialogue there is not just talking about "hard facts" such as costs, contribution margins, assets, real estate, etc., but that topics such as business culture, employer attractiveness, and digitalised work structures are also being considered. They are convinced that the great challenges cannot be conquered without employees' deep connection, commitment, and power to change as well as without ultra-modern work structures. For this, the strategic planning dialogue was carried out in two steps in November 2016. While during the first day, the focus was on the figures, data, and facts, the board and the seven unit managers took the time to systematically and thoroughly shed light on the topics of business culture, employer attractiveness, and digitalised work culture, and to also bring measures that are suitable for that on the way.

Volksbank Ruhr Mitte eG 

Ingo Abrahams

Board member


"We are currently working very intensively on timing and capacity with the challenges of the low interest rate, digitalization and regulation. For this, we need more than ever a functioning corporate culture. It is therefore important to know at the present time which fields of action are necessary to achieve this goal. " 


For the topics of business culture, employer attractiveness, and digitalised work structures, Volksbank Ruhr Mitte eG was supported by business culture consultant Uwe Rotermund, who – as executive majority shareholder of the 100 staff strong consulting company noventum consulting GmbH – can look back on more than 20 years of successful experience in these topics, and who - with his company - received the award as "Germany's Best Employer" award from the Great Place to Work Institute three times in a row. Uwe Rotermund is passing on his experience to his customers in the form of impulse presentations, workshop moderations, and project support. He is convinced that an equally pronounced culture of trust and performance is a decisive building block for an economically successful and sustainable company. As methodology, Uwe Rotermund utilises in essence the tried and tested systems of the Great Place to Work Institute, however without having to strive for an application for an employer award.

In the workshop regarding business culture, employer attractiveness, and digitalised work structures at Volksbank Ruhr Mitte eG, the first step focused on the socio-cultural megatrends, future-oriented agile forms of organisation, expectations of the employees, expectations of customers, industry-specific challenges, as well as illustrating the opportunities of a culture of trust and performance. In the second step of the workshop, a spontaneous determination of the position of Volksbank Ruhr Mitte eG was then performed with respect to the essential areas of activity defining the business culture. These areas of activity are "gaining and integrating new employees", "inspiring and communicating values", "information behaviour of executives", "listening in case of problems and ideas", "showing appreciation", "developing of employees for utilisation of their potential", "welfare with respect to family friendliness, health, retirement planning, and crisis prevention and avoidance", "celebrating of successes", and "sharing the fruits of success with employees and society". These nine areas of activity correspond to the analysis objects of the culture audit of the Great Place to Work Institute. In the third step then, inspired by examples of excellent companies, the specific ideas for Volksbank Ruhr Mitte eG were collected, structured, and weighted in an interactive and group-oriented form. Finally, in the fourth step, the potentials of digitalised processes and forms of work were discussed and prioritised as well. In the end, it was possible to draft a first structured action plan how Volksbank Ruhr Mitte eG will be able to, very specifically, tackle the strategic tasks in the topics of business culture, employer attractiveness, and digitalised work structures.       

From the perspective of Volksbank Ruhr Mitte eG, supplementing a strategic planning meeting with the aspects of business culture, employer attractiveness, and digitalised work structures has opened up additional important perspectives. It is, of course, mandatory that a sound business plan is created and pursued. But it is also critical to success that as many employees with high identification and willingness to perform as possible make this plan their own plan, and then consequently implement and/or still improve it. In this, it helps to a significant extent to continue to systematically develop further a suitable trust-based business culture. For this, a promising start took place at the last planning dialogue.               


noventum consulting

Uwe Rotermund

Managing Partner of noventum consulting GmbH


"With a systematically developed culture of trust and performance, the huge challenges that a lot of companies are faced with, can be solved. In case of an excellent business culture, a lot of employees like to help in achieving the business objectives and do so out of their own volition. That is the best concept for success and securing the future. A culture of trust pays off! For everybody."  


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