A Culture based on four values

By James Crosby, Cory Brothers

Augmented and fed down from the top, Cory Brothers already had an exceptional culture throughout the group. Yet since the start of the pandemic it has improved further, and in many different directions.

Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Spring 2021

Sharing Experience: Cory Brothers

Originally established in 1842 as a shipbroker and coal exporter, Cory has grown to become an international logistics and maritime services provider with 14 offices around the UK employing 240 people. Led by our MD, Peter Wilson, our cultural values of honesty, openness, inclusivity and trust are at the forefront of everything we do.

Honesty and openness

Honesty and openness are pivotal, and communication is crucial to ensure everyone is quickly informed and knows what’s going on. A good example of this occurred when we went into lockdown one, when Peter addressed employees concerns, making it clear that they would be looked after and paid, and no-one would be furloughed. This held fast throughout the pandemic; in fact, we have taken on 26 new staff since March 2020.

From the top down, everyone is asked to own up to any mistakes or problems they have as soon as possible. We have a no-blame approach with our mantra being “share it and we can solve it together”.

Mental health is also important. Managers regularly check-in with their teams, encouraging them to talk about how they’re feeling and coping. Prior to lockdown one, we were already supporting employees by giving them free access to counselling sessions. We had also introduced a dedicated mental health first aider at each of our offices, who was there to give initial support and signpost individuals to further help. Undoubtedly, as COVID continues to impact our lives, we know having this resource in place is now more important than ever.


Throughout his life, Peter has always had the philosophy that you treat others as you would want to be treated, no matter who they are. That approach has flowed through the business, governing our culture and promoting inclusivity.

Examples of this internally include, establishing individual executive groups for each of our divisions who provide insight and input to the direction of the company. We have also introduced a staff newsletter and a monthly ‘Most Valuable Player’ award which has had a massive impact on staff morale. Open to all UK staff, employees are nominated by their colleagues and the nominees get to read the anonymous compliments, so feel truly valued and appreciated.

Externally, our inclusivity encompasses supporting local retailers and businesses where we can. This ranges from procuring local services, to having accounts at the coffee shop round the corner.


With everyone moving to working from home, trust became an important prerequisite to our cultural approach. We have never been a company that micromanages, but what became quickly evident was that we could trust our people to be left alone and be assured that they would get everything done. We don’t expect people to be perfect and we know there will be occasions when they fail, but they know that we are confident in their abilities, and that in turn develops their self-confidence.

James Crosby is Director, Logistics at Cory Brothers.
E: james.crosby@corybrothers.com or visit corybrothers.com

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