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How a modern corporate culture leads to success

Four panellists discuss on stage.

Corporate culture of the future: communication and development opportunities for employees as key factors

At the ITB Berlin Convention, Iceland’s First Lady Madame Eliza Reid, Bonita Grupp, CEO of Trigema, and Gitta Brückmann, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, EMEA and Government Affairs Europe of Marriott International talked about how modern and sustainable leadership can succeed. The panellists saw communicating and career opportunities for employees as key to winning over and retaining a company’s workforce.

Together with her brother, Bonita Grupp is a fourth-generation member of the family running Trigema. As an entrepreneur, she saw many similarities between her company and the textile and tourism industries. Thus, processes could only be automated and digitalised to a certain extent. A high degree of flexibility was expected of employees in order to respond to crises such as the Covid pandemic. At Trigema for example, production was spontaneously switched from clothing to face masks during the first lockdown. Another thing both industries had in common was a large share of female employees. At Trigema, 82 per cent of employees were female, while in tourism the figure was 54 per cent.

The family-owned company puts an emphasis on vocational training in order to maintain an attractive image as an employer. Loyalty to the company is rewarded. Non-German employees receive support in matters concerning bureaucracy as well as language courses. Inspired by the tourism industry, Trigema organises its own accommodation for employees. The company favours horizontal hierarchies and a modern leadership style, based on communicating with each other.

Gitta Brückmann, Vice President Corporate Social Responsibility, EMEA and Government Affairs Europe of Marriott International, saw similarities between Trigema and the hotel chain, also established as a family business and with a similarly long history. In addition to providing career opportunities for the company’s employees she noted that Marriott took on responsibility for the communities in the areas where its hotels were based.

Iceland’s First Lady Madame Eliza Reid talked about the positive impact of gender equality on society, with Iceland frequently topping the international rankings in this respect. Ultimately, sustainability and social justice also paid off economically. She was convinced of that.