1986: A company built on social responsibility

The value creation of the company was not focusing on profit, growth or international recognition, Børge Rambøll and Johan Hannemann agreed from the very beginning. Their intention was rather to turn this business model upside-down and begin with the people: to evaluate the company’s success in terms of the happiness of the employees and the positive impacts their work had on society. They strongly believed that if the employees were happy the company would naturally thrive as a consequence.

Børge Rambøll thought that a company’s culture – the glue that binds the employees together – is something that is created when employees and management alike are having casual discussions and influencing each other across the lunch table. Culture is not something that exits on a piece of paper that lists a predefined set of values – it is a lived experience.

But in 1986, the number of employees had exceeded 500 and this called for a change in management strategy as there was no table fit for this number of people.

Despite his belief that the company culture was best sustained through casual dialogue, Børge Rambøll saw no better solution than to put the philosophy and visions into writing – after all a written introduction was better than no introduction at all.

See an interview with Børge Rambøll about the ‘Ramboll Philosophy’ and his thoughts behind it on Our Legacy page.

Børge Rambøll described the key point of the philosophy in the following: “The essence is that you have to behave properly and decently as a person and treat all others as you wish them to treat yourself. This relates to individual customers, colleagues and society as a whole. Being decent and proper does not only concern whether your tie is in place when doing business. It is about treating other people and society right in a long-time perspective”.

The following are quotes from the original document from 1986:
”The daily work-life is a crucial part of one’s presence, and it should not be necessary to underline that happiness is a desideratum for any human being. And based on this perspective, all of Ramboll’s objectives should be regarded as means, necessary or practical, to reach the goal.”

”The company seeks fair solutions to questions of conflict, even if these solutions may exceed the company’s or the customers’ economic interests.”

”Employees should work as independently as possible and have the opportunity to develop, so that the ideas can blossom.”

”We have throughout time attempted to gather employees who have an ethically, responsible- and a societal attitude. And we have as a company seen to that their work does not conflict with their conscience.”

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