Thales Digital Culture is Crossing the Borders Fast, Like BBQs
July 6, 2021 09:00

The culture is a value-transmission vector collectively kept alive. This is through a strong culture that Thales has decided to digitally transform the group. The digital transformation is operating at Thales and you will see... it’s going global! At Thales Digital Factory, we aim to uncover the mysterious world and the odds of digital concepts. Let’s see how one of our Agile Coaches, Arie van der Voort, decided to be a culture ambassador in his office in The Netherlands: 

“Soft” Skills Became “Human” Skills 

After working as a Scrum Master at Thales 3 years ago, Arie organically became an Agile Coach after a trip to Thales Digital Factory in Paris just before the 2020 pandemic’s happened and the onsite offices shut down. Arie got deeply inspired by the Factory’s Culture Manifesto that he decided to bring to his own office in The Netherlands. 

To Arie, “soft” skills were no longer relevant in his work environment, “human” skills were the new employees’ drivers. He decided to share and adopt some of the Factory’s best practices like human-oriented recruiting methods, continuous improvement assemblies, discipline learning sessions and self-assessments. 

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic brought new ways of working yet the new cultural activities remained remotely. Arie’s team even continued to gather around virtual BBQs. Anything is possible when the culture ties a team together! 

Arie started to implement the culture as part of the very first step: recruiting. He made sure to include a personality and culture fit test around the Factory’s mantra “Hungry, Humble, Aware” while interviewing future to-be collaborators. The questions were articulated around the Culture Manifesto (empowerment over control, data over opinions, test & learn over plans, collaboration over protection, users over customers, failure over not trying) to give another and unexpected dimension to the interview. And the benefit goes both ways as it attracts candidates for the digital yet human approach to the company. “Soft” skills became “human” skills.  

Thales Digital Culture is Like BBQ, it Brings People Together 

Here’s the 3-step advice from Arie:  

Step 1 

I took the Factory’s continuous improvement assembly model with me to The Netherlands and it now takes place every month through a 1-hour discussion about Thales legacy, activities and specific topics in breakout rooms. The whole team gathers for a brief from peers and an open question session. 

Step 2 

Our discipline learning sessions are very popular with 100 attendees on average (2/3 of the total team) every month. Those meetings aim to share technical and business knowledge with our peers and learn from them. A great way to test other projects and grow our skills. 

Step 3 

I started to implement self-assessments within my team through the Net Promoter Score (“NPS”) system among others. Our project users and stakeholders review our performance based on their need and expectations, twice a year. The self-assessment helps me answer the question “What skills do I want to work on as an individual and how can I improve my role as part of the team?” The limit in self-assessing sometimes lies in gathering the assessors’ interest to take on the NPS test and some of them are tougher than other in their rating, but it always ends up being a constructive process. I am then in control of my own work development recipe and results. 

More about Thales Digital Culture Manifesto. 

Thales Digital Culture is Crossing the Borders Fast, Like BBQs