Ringier Axel Springer Polska + Impact

Ringier Axel Springer Polska (RASP) formed in 2012 after one of the biggest mergers in the Central Eastern Europe publishing market involving four separate organisations, but specifically Ringier Axel Springer (RAS) Polska and Onet.pl. These two companies had many differences including distribution channels – RAS predominantly print-based media and Onet a digital publisher, the largest Polish web portal.

The most difficult challenge was cultural, RAS having a global corporate culture and Onet a startup feel. The absence of an agreed approach to culture resulted in a high level of mistrust. RASP partnered with leadership and culture change company, Impact. They worked closely with the Group Executive Board, HR Director and Transformation Team over three years on two behavioural change focuses – leadership and culture – and were always aligned to current business strategy. Stronger leaders were needed at all levels to create and sustain a common culture of trust and engagement across the organisation. The cultural transformation was also needed to enable an agile business approach.

"Content appealed to different learning styles and diverse groups"

The approach took in experiential learning, simulations, community action learning, real business discussions, self-reflection, coaching and virtual meetings, designed to create opportunities for people to experience and learn from their emotions, challenges and situations. It also meant content appealed to different learning styles and diverse groups.

Three years and 20 initiatives later there are clear indicators of success. Engagement survey participation rose from 59% to 82%. There is a more collaborative and co-operative culture, including a project to establish a set of RASP values involving more than 500 people. Key leaders have developed their leadership capacity and increased trust, with 72% of managers saying they have developed new leadership skills and knowledge. And the common cultural language has, as one board member says, enabled the business to have strategic discussions in a wide range of languages.