Hyundai Way: Hyundai Speed Part 4, A Unique Corporate Culture, Old and New
Part 4 links the Hyundai company’s heritage, culture, and values—old and new.
Stepping back in Hyundai history, values were shared through the company motto or in Korean, sa hoon. While exact translations of the Hyundai’s sa hoon may vary, the message is consistent. Originating with the Founder Chung Ju Yung, these are time-honored, enduring company standards and qualities of diligence, prudence and harmony.
In fact, incorporate offices of the Group in Korea or around the world, framed Korean calligraphy of the Hyundai values may be still prominently displayed. These values are a legacy well worth understanding and are strongly tied to the Hyundai Way.
The first value is Diligence (geun myeon) 근면
In the workplace this translates to HARD WORK. Hyundai team members recognize that achieving worthwhile goals requires commitment, determination—and, often, long hours, especially for a company once rooted in demanding construction and engineering projects.
Next is Prudence (geom so) 검소
Wise and careful use of resources is a hallmark of Hyundai. Seeking maximum return with minimum investment of resources is a component of the Hyundai success model.
And finally, Harmony (chin ae) 친애
Teamwork, especially in times of growth and stress, requires strong collaboration and cooperation with family-like solidarity leading to success.
Complementing the sahoon legacy, Hyundai’s core principles have great value today by driving and aligning organizational behavior. They include:
1. Innovative thinking
Within Hyundai, this means to create “something out of nothing.” Hyundai has a rich heritage of entrepreneurial innovation. In action this is future-leaning innovative thinking, especially when faced with challenges.
For Hyundai teams this means to take bold action. They seek opportunity and then take action while assuming ownership and responsibility.
3. Can Do Attitude
The company has a heritage for doing what others have said is impossible. This “Can Do” attitude means attacking challenges with 110% commitment through strong will to overcome obstacles. In Korean this is referred to as Ha myeon dwaen da, which translated means, “Even if it’s impossible, it’s still possible.”
Together For A Better Future
Building upon legacy values and principles, in 2011 the Hyundai Motor Group updated the organization’s management philosophy, core values and vision to meet the challenges of an ever-growing international business. To briefly summarize, they include:
1. Management Philosophy
“ Realize the dreams of mankind by creating a new future through ingenious thinking and continuously challenging new frontiers.”
2. Core Values
“ The five core values we have defined as part of our new corporate philosophy are tenets that have existed throughout our history, and are principles that all employees promise to foster in our organization.”
To better communicate the core values, iconic were also crafted as easily understood representations
Core Value Icons
Challenge: up arrows pointing toward higher goals
Collaboration: Two people shoulder to shoulder, moving forward together
Customer: A thumbs-up representing our priority on the customer
Globality: A globe that represents our will to embrace the world
People: Individuals continually growing to reach their full potential
Group wide and division level vision slogans and statements were also introduced, including:
The Hyundai Group Vision Slogan: “Together for a better future”
A Group Vision Statement: “The Hyundai Motor Group aims to create ultimate value and promote harmonious growth for all stakeholders through eco-friendly management and respect for mankind.”
And a specific Automotive Division Vision statement: “Lifetime partners in automobiles and beyond.”
Linking the Past, Present and Future
When considering the company’s founding legacies of core values and principles and the Group’s new management philosophy, values and vision, we gain a deeper insight into the ever-evolving Hyundai Way. In many cases the new values and vision reaffirm the time-proven legacy values, such as “create something out of nothing,” “embrace every opportunity,” “achieve our goals with passion and ingenious thinking,” “Move with ‘Hyundai Speed’,” and “Make the impossible possible with ‘Can-do’ thinking.”
In contrast, some of the new core values, “Collaboration”, for example, show how the values have been re-defined to meet the needs of a global organization.
Unlike the Korean top down management style of the past, the new value Collaboration looks to build synergy, encourage a sense of togetherness, and foster mutual communication and cooperation within the company and with business partners.
To conclude, core values and principles past and present provide a framework for better understanding HMC corporate culture. The Hyundai Way is a mindset as well as a way to view and execute a project or tackle a problem. Incorporating this outlook into the workday aligns teams and management to move Hyundai forward in the quest for innovation, quality, market share, and consumer satisfaction.
In Part 5 we will look at the Hyundai Way’s influence on the company’s management styles. (In case you missed Part 1, there are a number of Hyundai management styles.) Those working with Korean teams from Hyundai, Kia, MOBIS, and the affiliates will quickly recognize these methods and practices—once they are pointed out!