Gruppenbild Mitarbeitende auf Terrasse des EWE Energiecampus

Culture makes a difference to us

#MakingTomorrow – through good collaboration

Let's be honest. Oldenburg is not Hollywood. EWE is not a start-up. We are down-to-earth. We don't make a big fuss. Security, reliability and regionality are just part of our DNA.

We are technicians and engineers who find clever solutions. We are IT specialists and business people who, in the morning, focus on the day. We are people who are constantly developing ourselves and the company.

We learn something new every day. We're on a first-name basis. With us, you can take initiative. We're on our way.

We make our own culture. Every day.

Culture is evolution

To us, culture is not academic. Culture is the way we do things here that are important to us, and how we work together – it's like our autopilot. Our culture has existed since EWE was founded. It doesn't look the same today as it did at first, or even five years ago. Since 2012, we've been learning to shape our culture more consciously and to reset our autopilot.

To us, culture means learning

Cultural development is complex, exciting, exhausting, inspiring, challenging, surprising, colourful, and simply an exciting journey that can't be forced.

Culture concerns us all. That's why we don't do cultural transformation "from above". We don't say that everyone has to become this or that. What we want is for our culture to fit us and our tasks, so it feels like a tailwind in everyday life. That's why we shape it ourselves.

By doing things differently and trying out new approaches to work. By understanding what's important to us individually and as a team, and by thinking about what will help us move forward. By spreading good ideas and good behaviour. We simply call it culture change in everyday life.

There are three things you'll definitely find with us:

  • Responsibility – We reliably supply hundreds of thousands of people with energy and data.
  • Teamwork – Everything in the energy supply system is interconnected. This means we also have to work together internally. Ego trips don't cut it with us.
  • Initiative – because ideas without action are just ideas. We don't just want to imagine the energy transition; we want to actively shape it.

And you'll find great opportunities, allies, and other enthusiasts who will work with you to shape this cultural change.

We are cultural change

There are many ways people consciously shape culture in our company. And new initiatives, offers and communities are constantly emerging.

Three examples will give you an idea of how cultural change works in practice with us.

  • For four years, Agile Day has been bringing together people from all EWE companies who have taken up the cause of agility. Learning. Growing. Connecting.
  • The Mindful Start to the Day initiative brings mindfulness and focus into the everyday working lives of more than 500 people every morning. All this is a grass roots movement. By us. For us.
  • A Culture Coach training programme has even existed since 2020. We provide people who are passionate about cultural development with the best knowledge and tools from our many years of practical experience.

Five perspectives on culture

What is culture?

There are many ways to describe and define culture. The great thing: all perspectives are right! They are glasses that we can put on to better see this complex, ever-changing thing called culture. Five perspectives in particular have helped us develop.

1. Culture is our autopilot

Culture is what we do automatically. Because we have always done it that way. Why? No idea. It's just how we do it here. These habits have formed over the course of many years, even decades. And we all know how challenging it can be to change habits. But it can be done! And once we have developed new, effective, useful habits, time works in our favour.

2. Culture is evolution

Evolution explains more than just biological development on our planet. It also helps us understand how cultures develop. What's important is that this happens all by itself. Small aspects of the way we do business are constantly changing. We can shape these variations intentionally, though this unfortunately doesn't guarantee that they will be successful.

For that to happen, we need two additional things. We need an idea about how our culture should look. What core do we want to develop our culture around, in the team, in the department, in our company? Once we're clear on that, we can choose the elements that fit this core from the many possibilities. Selection is the evolutionary concept underlying this process. And thirdly, we must then replicate these chosen elements. Over and over. And over. Evolution calls this "reproduction". In everyday life, it's called "imitation". Until a new variation fits our core better and the fun starts all over again.

3. Culture drives success

Culture isn't soft. It's not a luxury. Successful businesses require efficiency, change, security in uncertain times, and strong implementation skills. The key to this? It's in the culture. Implementation? It only succeeds if people are proactive. Without initiative and courage? Not a chance. Efficiency? Only if we work seamlessly together. Which only happens with trust and cooperation. Changes? They only occur if people develop too, which means they won't happen without inspiration and learning. And we can only feel secure if we look out for each other and if we have a sense of purpose that connects us. Culture is what makes the difference. People make the organisation. We shape our culture.

4. Culture lives through stories

Culture reflects our convictions. Change the stories that we all believe in and you change the culture. How can you quickly and easily determine what the true vision, the true core of the culture is? It's simple: listen to the conversations that take place in hallways, offices, and break rooms. Language creates reality. Of course, it's not enough to just talk about things. What's also needed is action. Together, they're powerful – when thinking, speaking, and acting mesh; when we embody what we say. This isn't so easy in daily life. But it pays to understand, internalise, and embody cultural development.

5. Culture is a network

Culture spreads through networks. Strong, direct relationships are especially needed. We change when our friends, partners and office colleagues join in or support us. It's very hard for us to do something different, or to stand up for something new, if our environment doesn't follow or expresses disapproval. We continually create spaces where people can learn together, develop initiatives, recharge, and network. Within and outside of our companies. We learn from processes of cultural change at companies such as Dräger, OTTO, Siemens Health, Allianz, Saint Gobain, rms, Lanxess, Bosch, Telekom, the Hamburg Department of Home Affairs, and many more!

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