Brice Le Blévennec: Covid-19 highlights the value of a strong corporate culture

Author: Alex Papanastassiou

Emakina Group CEO Brice Le Blévennec was one of 70  business leaders asked by Libre ECO what lessons companies can learn from the Covid-19 pandemic. And how they will continue after this strange period comes to a close…
Some managers talked about the importance of digital technology, e-commerce, or digital transformation. Brice focused on the value of a strong corporate culture.

Emakinians in Stockholm… today continue their collaboration from home

The corona crisis is an eye opener for many companies.
The main lesson: you need a strong corporate culture
to withstand sudden disruption of all procedures.

Emakina Group’s culture is like an iceberg

The visible part is a set of explicit values and formal publications, like our ‘little orange book’ that gives new colleagues an introduction to the company. And we have an extensive intranet with lots of information and tools, our Instagram, Facebook, blog, and more.

But the part below the surface is even much larger. Emakinians share countless references, often without even they are aware of them… hidden in conventions, puns and friendly nicknames for tools or people, and best practices.

These range from systematized organization of projects, digital asset nomenclature, and post-project de-briefings to procedures for onboarding, time reporting, morale measurement, continuous evaluation, weekly reporting. Besides that, we celebrate birthdays, arrivals, departures, births, summer, winter, etc. All these common references make us a united force, like the neurons of a brain forming a conscious mind… Emakina is a living organism!

The lockdown highlights our cultural strength

More than one thousand people from one day to the next switched to teleworking. Even when locked in, we all value that we depend on each other to feed our workflow. Our culture confirms that our colleagues’ productivity depends on our prompt execution, fast answers on chat requests and continued documenting of our tasks. The reflex to extensively document our work is coded in our DNA. As in any large agency, our projects’ success is built on shared knowledge instead of information held by a single person.

We have always extensively communicated in writing, it’s part of geek culture. We also know when we need to be reachable for each other. Our agile way of working, with teams spread over several countries, has taught us how to prepare and hold video conferences, stand-up meetings with remote teams in Turkey, Poland, Serbia and Croatia or with experts in our offices in Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, France, Netherlands and Dubai.

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An Emakina consultant in Amsterdam’s office meets a client online

Containment simply confirmes our best practices

Our teams work together using a range of collaborative tools, like  Microsoft Teams, Jira, Confluence, GitHub, Microsoft Streams. And more, with Microsoft 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud and the cloud, and we recently adopted some interesting new tools like Miro, Mural, Milanote and Klaxoon. So we were ready for these exceptional times, both in mindset and working environment.

We discovered however that some of our customers were less accustomed to this way of working. So we accompanied them on their transformation towards efficient remote yet highly connected collaboration and it’s going well. Everybody is happy to see their projects moving forward.

Corporate culture is far more important than processes

We will continue to invest in our corporate culture, as it is even much more important than our processes. For example, to unite our teams, we launched Emakina.FM. Our own web radio broadcasts programs by, for and about Emakinians. We bring interviews with our experts and managers, business and marketing talks and reports, playlists concocted by our aspiring DJ colleagues and fun activities for our children. The initiative is a success, and we plan to continue it once after confinement.

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Emakina.FM was quickly adopted by colleagues from all agencies in the group

Another valuable initiative we will pick up after the lockdown is our internal live session employee training program. Anyone who wishes to share an interesting topic is welcome to present it during a lunch break presentation, before an enthusiastic audience of co-workers. The sessions are filmed and streamed to the entire group.

Workplace, Facebook’s collaborative corporate platform, has also found its place in our ecosystem. Here, everyone can publish their ideas, experiences and discoveries in thematic groups. Information for technology experts instantly circulates and 20 agencies collaborate more fluently.

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Pre-corona lunchtime chats and exchanges have moved online…

Corporate culture unites us all

Emakina’s corporate culture is a vast and refreshing part of our identity, and we will continue to heavily invest in it. Because every person is a valuable actor in our vast and complex ecosystem. Our shared DNA makes us proud to belong, it builds our creativity, strengthens our shared knowledge, and makes us feel at home, as a respected member of a big family!

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