2b - Company Culture

Your company may have established values that are written down and that everyone is familiar with. They are in brochures, on your website, and, most likely, in the staff handbook as well.

But even if your company's values aren't written down, everyone who works there knows them.

Often we automatically expect that everyone will live up to our values. This can make it harder for the new apprentice to understand them from the beginning!

Try to think about which values are important in your company and inform the apprentice about them.
Example from a large international clothing company 
The company's values are published on the Internet, and are well known by all employees.

The company writes as an introduction:
“Our values are fundamental to our success. They are the foundation of our company, define who we are and set us apart from the competition.

They underlie our vision of the future, our business strategies and our decisions, actions and behaviours.

We live by them. They endure. Four core values are at the heart of the company: Empathy, Originality, Integrity and Courage. These four values are linked. As we look at our history, we see a story of how our core values work together and are the source of our success.” These values are explained and examples have been added.

Example from a medium-sized packaging company
See picture on the right. This company's values are also published on the Internet. The company is proud of their values and uses them to attract new customers. Click on the picture to enlarge it.
 The company's image
A good image or "brand" can be worth a lot. This is not something a company can build up in a few weeks, but is the result of many years of work. Therefore, you should be careful with your reputation.

Explain to the apprentice that employees represent the company outwardly. Tell them about the company's image and especially which aspects customers appreciate.

This will affect the apprentice's appearance and awareness of the quality of his/her work.
 Dress code

The dress code tells what clothes the apprentice should wear, or if the company provides clothes, what they are and when is it compulsory to wear them.

Work clothes can have many functions, for example: 

  • safety
  • practicality
  • comfort
  • representation

Clothes are also a signal to customers. Your employees should look professional and trustworthy. Tell the apprentice what you think is important, and how you want him/her to treat the clothes.

Many apprentices are actually very proud when they get their work clothes. They even show them off in school or to friends.

Clothing is often an important part of the professional identity. All of a sudden you belong to the group of skilled workers!

 Personal appearance and behaviour
An apprentice might not always be aware of how his/her appearance or behaviour affects other people (customers, colleagues, suppliers or others), whether face to face or on the telephone.

Maybe the clothes, hairstyle, language seem a little "different"? Could you give some good advice?!

Do you have any rules for this? On the other hand, it could actually be refreshing that the young person has a different appearance from what you are used to in the trade.

Respect is still a key word - from all sides!
 Thinking economically
Thinking economically is more than thinking about your own pocket. All employees should share responsibility for the company's financial situation.

How can your apprentice learn about additional sales or the profitability of cutting costs?

Additional sales
It doesn't have to take much to bring in a new order: When a mechanic apprentice delivers the newly repaired car to a customer, he can, for example, ask if the customer wants to reserve a date for a service check.

Cost reduction
Cost reduction isn't only a part of purchasing. Many small savings can become a lot of money in the long run. Tell the apprentice how you try to be economical in your daily work.

2 - The workplace