The Bank has undergone an extensive process of change over the last few years. This change has affected numerous strategy issues and has also led to the questioning of just about everything having to do with corporate culture – i.e. how we act towards one another and speak to each other, the things that are important to us, how we make decisions, how open we are, and the type of environment in which we feel comfortable. In addition, sustainability and digitalisation are suddenly no longer buzzwords but have instead become key components of our strategy. As a result, Berlin Hyp is an entirely different company today than it was when this transformation process began in 2016.
A partnership built on trust:
Defining values – and living up to them
Next dimension: Who are we and who do we want to be?
Nevertheless, one thing is clear: We want to become the most modern real estate financier in Germany even as we maintain our unique identity. In order to ensure that we can do this, we began extensively reviewing our corporate values in 2020.
Why values are so important to us
Corporate values form the foundation of a corporate culture that is internalised by the workforce and management. Such values largely shape the identity of a company and serve as a guide for employees in their daily interaction with one another, and with customers and business partners as well.
We live in a challenging time marked by extensive volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (often referred to these days as “VUCA”). During the pandemic year of 2020, we experienced in a way never before seen just how fundamentally the conditions and requirements faced by society and companies can change. In such phases of transformation, clear corporate values serve as a source of guidance for both internal and external activities.
That’s because despite everything that has happened, or perhaps because of it, the expectations that customers, business partners, shareholders and even job applicants place on companies remain high. More specifically, these stakeholders expect companies to act responsibly in order to ensure long-term success. Here, the values that companies define and uphold serve as pillars of their corporate culture and a guide for the conduct of their employees.
Kristina Schröteler, CCM: “Our corporate values offer us guidance and stability in a turbulent time of transformation. The important thing is that we act in accordance with these values – and set an example – across all hierarchical levels. This also includes taking the time to talk to each other about our values in order to establish a common understanding of them or provide constructive feedback.”
Our approach to defining our values
To begin the process of defining our values, we asked ourselves the following: “Who are we, what are our ‘anchors’ (i.e. aspects that set us apart, make us unique and represent our strengths) and what are our ‘drivers’ (of which we need more in order to be the ‘most modern real estate financier in Germany’, whose goal is to finance sustainable residential and office space for people who need it)?
A group of employees from the Communications and Marketing, Human Resources and Cultural Change Management divisions then began addressing these questions. We identified the relevant internal perspectives and also analysed requirements relating to the market, employees and job applicants. In the end, we determined that there are actually few major differences between the views all of these stakeholders have of Berlin Hyp.
Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we wanted to ensure a high degree of participation in the discussion of this important issue. We therefore conducted a range of digital workshops in which all interim results were discussed with the Culture Board, which is a unit that monitors our cultural transformation and whose members come from various departments and hierarchical levels. The results were also discussed with our Board of Management. The goal here was to obtain the broadest possible cross-section of views from throughout the company. The collaboration that followed offered a wonderful example of cooperation across hierarchies and departments – and thus also of the corporate culture we are seeking to achieve.
Nicole Herbst, Communications and Marketing: “Our corporate brand has a very good reputation both inside and outside the company. This fact was clearly revealed when we compared the three perspectives – i.e. those of employees, business partners and job applicants. It was nice to see how all three perspectives were very similar, and how we were able to perfectly combine all the values.”
Defining values – and living up to them
The results of our discussions
The extensive discussions led to the formulation of five consolidated values that everyone was convinced were “typical of Berlin Hyp” and whose application will ensure that the Bank can consistently continue on its path to becoming the most modern real estate financier:
A partnership built on trust.
We work together in a fair and open manner – and across all hierarchies – to achieve our common goals. Every view and opinion needs to be heard if we are to obtain the best results. We are committed to this principle. Interaction on an equal footing at all times – and always there for our customers. That is what makes us a reliable and trusted partner.
Expertise is our strength.
Our work is very demanding and requires a high degree of expertise. We are convinced that experience is a treasure that grows when it is shared. That’s why we believe in life-long learning, which means learning both from one another and on our own initiative. We like to look beyond ourselves and think outside the box in order to experience new things – and identify and support talented individuals.
Inspiration drives innovation.
We love to experience and learn about new things: We enjoy being inspired – and we like to inspire others. We seek freedom, and we offer it as well. This leads to new and sometimes unconventional ideas that keep us moving in a positive direction – and make us and our customers happy. It is also what drives the innovative strength that we are so proud of at our company.
Networking is the key.
We want and need to interact with each other and with our partners. We are open with one another and are interested in obtaining feedback on our actions and behaviour. We achieve better results by developing solutions together.
Sustainability is our future.
We set long-term goals as we move ambitiously and carefully into the future. Because our world is constantly changing, we regularly question both our goals and our actions. We are helped here by the diversity at our company, and we want to become even more diverse in future. We assume responsibility for the people who work with and for us – today and tomorrow.
What do you have planned?
Defining values – and living up to them
Now we all face the challenge together of ensuring that we live up to these values and work to uphold them. That’s because nothing is worse than making claims that do not correspond to reality.
Along with the extensive measures we are taking to communicate our values internally, it is important that we now incorporate these values step by step into the Bank’s overall strategy and the strategies at the divisions. We also need to utilise the values in our management and human resources instruments and in activities that promote our corporate culture. In other words, there’s still plenty of work for us to do.
We are convinced that the only way to maintain success over the long term is to ensure that our values serve as a guide for the conduct of each and every employee and manager – as a firm component of their everyday activities.
This will take time and require a certain amount of effort. We know that we are not perfect yet, but we believe we’re on our way to getting there and we want to judge ourselves in future on the basis of the principles that underlie our corporate values.
Steffi Ludwig, Human Resources Development: “As we move ahead, we are also questioning traditional management and leadership roles and examining new ways to design our management and leadership approaches in order to ensure we can focus more strongly on our customers and adapt quickly and flexibly to changed requirements and conditions. In this manner, we will also ensure that our employees are able to realise their full potential. This means that everyone now needs to think about our values and live up to them, whereby this applies especially to colleagues who occupy positions of leadership, whether officially or unofficially, as team and project leaders, or as staff members responsible for important issues at the Bank. “
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