Corporate culture helps to maintain cohesion, it gathers around the mission, the « sense of purpose » and ways of working. It can therefore become a performance factor by bringing employees together. Meeting with Nathie Nakarat, Director of Culture & Vision Programs at L’Oréal.
Today, in this rapidly changing environment, what does « corporate culture » mean ?
Beyond everything we can find on the subject, I see corporate culture as a way of reconnecting with each employee so that they create in a lively way, with their words, the common glue « fixing » the feeling of belonging. In my opinion, it is not something that is written, worn and/or would be inked in marble. On the contrary, a company’s culture is lived and shared. This set of stories, symbols, working methods… is a bit the common myth that makes the life of a society. At L’Oréal, we are writing the ideal « to be state », that is, « where we want to be ». We try to make a real distinction between what forms our DNA and what is part of the culture. This culture is not limited to the values of the company, it is a whole life around symbols : the way of working and living together.
What is its added value ? What role does she play in a team ?
In a team, corporate culture creates the sense of belonging that, it seems to me, is fundamental to creating commitment: « Do I recognize myself in this way of being together ? Does that fit me ? » For example, in our firm, there is this phrase as a symbol: « At L’Oréal, we are poets and peasants« . Everyone in the group knows this sentence : it’s a way of saying that we are both left brain and right brain, creative but also pragmatic. This phrase generates a sense of commitment in those who recognize themselves in it. It is really an example of what a symbol can create in terms of a sense of belonging.
How does corporate culture impact talent development within teams ?
For us, developing talent means considering each individual with his or her own diversity. In all cases, we seek to work not only on the leadership, managerial aspect, but also another very important aspect: « How I navigate within this culture, how I make it evolve me, with my diversity to make it gain in modernity, and agility on the challenges of tomorrow ? » Helping talents to understand what this culture is, with a common way, represents a particular development perspective.
How to change a company’s culture and what are the consequences ?
I don’t think we can fundamentally change a company’s culture. On the other hand, it is possible to make it evolve. As people : once we understand who we are, how we adapt by leveraging our strengths to borrow things needed in today’s world. Becoming aware of who we are then allows us to sort out which skills we want to continue to develop and which ones we will stop working on. It also means discovering other desires, such as learning new skills. All this requires training : « starting to do » as well as « stopping to do » are quite drastic and require years of adaptation. For men as well as for companies.
What tools, what methods/training do you use, but also what do you recommend as a manager at l’Oréal ?
On this aspect, one of our answers is a program I co-created, called L’Oréal Momentum. It offers moments for reflection on the definition of a new L’Oréal, more collaborative and collective. The goal of this program is to help our talents to understand the implicit rules of our culture, to make them actors of its evolution. All this on the basis of a common strategic axis.