Culture And Connection

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Gartner describes culture as ‘the set of behavioral norms and unwritten rules that shape the organizational environment and how individuals interact and get work done in that environment. In short, it is about ‘how things get done around here which comprises three facets: Identity (who we are), Community (how we treat each other) and Purpose (why we do what we do).

Computacenter’s culture has always been fundamental to the way we operate and our success. Our culture was established by our founders 40 years ago and is evident in our leadership and our ways of working, it is based on a high degree of customer-centricity, ambition, and a focus on our people. We communicate our culture through our brand, our employment value proposition (EVP), our values and Our Purpose.

As we navigate the world of Hybrid, maintaining our values and culture becomes even more important. Across different offices and countries, company values are the only constant, and they play a crucial role in shaping company culture. Therefore, to create a sense of community in a multinational organization, where employees may be based on customer sites and remotely, organizations must continue to reinforce and create connectedness to their company values at every opportunity. Our values center around our customers and our people and describe the way we work together to achieve success.

With the experience of operating a hybrid work model, the way we engage and connect with our people has shifted. Our experience of the past two years has reshaped our priorities, identities, and worldview, the focus now is on health and wellbeing, family time, flexibility, and purpose. As a result, employees’ “is it worth it” equation in terms of what they want from work and what they are willing to give in return, has changed. Culture is the key that keeps us connected to our people on a logical and emotional level. The question is - how can we create more connectedness in a remote or hybrid world?

The things that make unite us and create a sense of pride in what we do, are caring for our customers and each other. To foster this connectedness there have been a high number of in-person events in the past three months from across our business, not just the typical sales events, but every department is looking for a reason to bring people together, to re-ignite passions and to re-engage. These events help our people to stay updated on our strategy, goals, intentions, and aspirations, and connect them to us for the months ahead, setting out the role they play in our collective achievements.

Pre-pandemic, the connectedness was lived and defused through the offices by being in the office with each other, making connections and interacting day to day, much was done physically together. The deeper connections were formed with teammates, working together on opportunities and challenges. Office spaces and face-to-face proximity have long been the way to foster connectedness among people, but the pandemic and Hybrid working has removed that, creating a gap that our leaders must fill. Now more than ever, connectedness, flexibility and wellbeing are non-negotiables for both current and future employees.

There is a myriad of advice, guidance, consultancy, and tools which are touted daily purporting to have the answer to retention, recruitment, employee engagement and culture in a post-pandemic world. Organizations today are trying to find their way and every day we read about the extreme stances being taken by Companies offering their employees total flexibility in work location to those demanding a full return to office environments. For Computacenter, the answer lies somewhere between; a hybrid working model that enables our people to spend some time working from an office (or client) location and some time from home. The amount of time in the office is dependent upon many factors such as customer needs, team, and local environment but also a personal choice, flexibility, and trust.

So, a question we should all be thinking about is; if culture is “how we do things around here”, what do we do when there is no one “how” and no one “here” anymore. With our purpose and values guiding us through, I am excited about how this evolves for Computacenter in the future because while our business is about technology, first of all, it’s about people.


Sarah Long

Group Chief People Officer

Sarah has over 25 years’ experience in the technology industry. She originally joined Computacenter in 1996 and spent 12 years in various Sales and Service Leadership roles. Between 2008 and 2018 she consulted to a number of technology organisations across Europe, advising on strategic growth and organisational change. Sarah rejoined Computacenter in March 2019 to lead the Group People Strategy and in-country Human Resources functions. Sarah graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Technology and Design.

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