The Benefits of an Open and Inclusive Business, with Katharina Stock
As part of this year’s CX Circle Magazine, we sat down with Katharina Stock, a User Experience (UX) Researcher at Cosnova Beauty, a German cosmetics company. We asked Stock to share what it’s like working at Cosnova Beauty, a predominantly female company known for its transparency and culture. Here’s what she had to say about the benefits of working for a company with an open and inclusive culture:
1. Tell us about your background and your current role at Cosnova.
A bit about me – while I was studying psychology at university I became interested in machine interfaces, which eventually led me to my first real job at Audi as a UX consultant.
After a while, I wanted to focus more on research. When I joined Cosnova I started by focusing on qualitative research – like UX studies and surveys – but as time went on I started to work as an analytics experience partner for other team members.
As a psychologist, you work with lots of data (something I feel very comfortable with) and since bringing on Contentsquare they started to realize I like numbers and data, so this has become a big part of my job.
Cosnova’s culture is very unique. We’re about 80% female employees, which is unusual for Germany (and the world, I think!). And we’re very communicative and open-minded in a way that I haven’t seen before. My team happens to be mostly male, but the culture is still the same.
2. What does ‘open’ management mean, and what are the benefits?
Open management means every opinion counts; not only for your work but also as a person.
When the management is very open, you’re more comfortable speaking your mind. It doesn’t even have to be problems you’re addressing. When you speak to management you should feel like you’re speaking to just another colleague, without that strong sense of hierarchy.
It makes you feel motivated. If someone is hearing you, taking you seriously, it makes you want to go further and further for the business.
It’s also good for the company. There’s a lot of room for fruitful discussion and when you’re not afraid to address problems head-on, the company has the opportunity to resolve them quickly.
3. Why is it important that companies hear lots of opinions, and how can they remain efficient while doing it?
Efficiency is always a big topic.
This is the downside to communicative culture: you’re talking to everyone all the time. You’re used to quick exchanges where you can ask your colleagues this or that. I think now we are making much more use of tools which can limit the number of meetings we have.
Surveys and polls are a great way for companies to be open to more opinions without taking up time. For example, we have these regular department meetings where they’re asking, “what are you interested in hearing? Can we change the structure of this meeting to speak to about the issues you care about?”. I think this is very effective.
4. Are there any interesting strategies for sharing knowledge at Cosnova?
There are a few. Not everyone understands our department at Cosnova, so as a team, we’ve developed a few strategies to increase the awareness of what we do and why it’s important.
One initiative we have is the Digital Knowledge Club, where every second month, someone will introduce themselves and their job to the company to explain what they’re working on. And there’s the Digital Touchpoint meeting, with the owners and the management where we do the same to senior stakeholders. It never feels like you have to justify what you’ve been doing, it’s more to showcase your work. Plus, at Cosnova you also have the option to go and work in any department for up to a week.
I think the main benefit is transparency. On the one hand, you feel very informed, and on the other you get a better understanding of other departments.
At other companies, I’ve experienced the negative effects of not doing this. When you don’t understand what your other colleagues do, you don’t understand why they act the way they do, it’s easy to become frustrated with them over their requests or their behavior.
And finally, I haven’t mentioned The Contentsquare Dojo. It actually started because we noticed that not everyone was used to working with data and analytics, so we wanted to give everyone a feeling of what we can answer with Contentsquare. People bring their hypotheses and questions you’re interested in answering and we will look at Contentsquare together to answer those questions.