Software AG (credit image/Pixabay/Gerd Altmann)Enterprise Times had a wide-ranging conversation with Dr Elke Frank a member of the Management Board at Software AG. The discussion ranged from the future of work, remote working and digital skills shortage. Elke is responsible for Global Human Resources, Talent Management, Global Legal, Global Information Services and Transformation at the company. Software AG itself is in the fourth year of a major change programme which has seen the company re-organise its solutions. From 2015 to 2019, she held the position SVP, HR at Deutsche Telekom AG where she led a strategic and organisational setup to create an agile global HR development competence centre. Covid-19 accelerated the move to flexible or hybrid working, as organisations pivoted their business models to survive.

Changing company culture

Elke outlined her four top tips for a brand or retailer looking to reinvigorate their company culture.

  1. Before any organisation starts the process of managing change, managers must take time to listen to their employees, suppliers, partners and other key stakeholders in their eco-system. They need to truly understand what is going wrong within the organisations and examine the areas of possible improvement. This means they must travel and meet face-to-face with colleagues, work groups, and different hierarchies in different countries. They must understand the cultural differences to appreciate and understand where the areas of improvement can be identified.

    (credit image/LinkedIn/Dr Elke Frank)
    Dr Elke Frank is a member of the Management Board at Software AG
  2. Enterprises must also drive change from both top-down, but also from bottom-up. A business will need to set up strong working groups to facilitate this communication that supports cultural change. These groups must include people who understand the real workings of the organisation. Individuals who will tell you the uncomfortable truths taking place in the office, sales floor, factory or workroom. Once the top-down and bottom-up process has been developed, the business will need to establish a strong communication engine. Elke says, “One of my personal mantras is you cannot over communicate. You may begin sounding like a broken record and need to repeat things several times.”
  3. Board members and board colleagues running the company must walk the talk and practice what they preach. The CEO, president, and VPs must embrace those changes to make it work in the organisation. The desire to make cultural changes within the organisation must be in their DNA. It can’t be faked with glossy and attractive PowerPoint presentations or lots of nice pictures. Elke says, “We have a CEO in Sanjay Brahmawar who is delivering these cultural changes every minute in every day.”
  4. The nature of leadership has also changed. There is an increasing emphasis on a more coaching, style rather than a control taskmaster role. There’s always resilience and creativity among work colleagues and teams. For today’s modern enterprise, it is about creating an environment that leverages those talents and skills.


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