Interview with Johanna Pystynen, HR Manager at Vincit and CEO at LaasS Company, Executive Board Member at Vincit
Salli Kunnari, Service designer, Vincit
Vincit is one of Finland’s fastest growing technology companies, employing over 130 people. The company is mainly in the tailored software development business. Vincit was chosen as the best place to work in Europe in June 2016 on the Great Place to Work -study and in February 2016 was chosen for the third time as the best place to work in Finland. Vincit’s director of people operations Johanna Pystynen was awarded the Workforce 2015 Game Changer award in July 2015.
This example deals with LaaS technology which has been introduced by Johanna Pystynen, CEO of Vincit’s subsidiary LaaS (Leadership as a Service). LaaS is a 2021 Tech Award winner. Read more in this article.
CEO Johanna Pystynen was selected one of the top 25 women leaders in the software companies of Europe 2021. Read more.
Tertiary: Software Development and Design, New Technology and Data
Main motives for the decision to implement the age management measures
Age management dimension (measures taken)
- a focus on the entire working life and all age groups, not just older workers;
- a holistic approach that encompasses all dimensions of age management.
Our way towards the age management
The organization’s strategy for personnel leadership has gone through a big change. Behind the new model of operation is a focus on employees, based and tailored on their personal life situations. According to this idea, employees of similar ages might have very different needs for support because their personal situations, career plans, strengths and needs for professional development differ greatly. The employees are given freedom to choose the services they need from a wide variety of services from what’s called a service platter. The aim is to offer the employee support in challenges arising from work, leisure or family life. This is because employee well-being outside of work affects well-being at work, and vice versa.
Vincit’s personnel politics greatly values the employee’s diverse array of skills and knowledge. They are encouraged to get involved and are seen as active creators and service providers. Everyone is given the opportunity to offer their personal skills to benefit others. The program is especially notable for the employee’s power to offer their own services as part of the company’s service repertoire. These services can have something to do with tasks at work or can benefit the employee’s leisure time activities, hobbies or improving the quality of their family life.
Vincit has developed the LaaS – a digital coach for the workplace and a tailor-made platform for employee-oriented leadership, offering concrete tools and transparent data – company-wide and in real-time.
The central idea of this platform is: Stop trying to lead change with outdated tools and models. Start treating your employees as your internal customers using one multi-purpose tool.
What Vincit says about the LaaS: After growing fast as a company, we grew tired of trying to guess how to best support our employees. So we decided to ask them. At the same time, our team leaders grew exhausted trying to filter all the available support for their team members. So we decided to help them out.
Instead of producing anonymous statistics for the HR and management, we flipped the system on its head by creating a genuinely employee-oriented model. Vincit LaaS started out as an internal webshop for leadership services for our own staff. Everyone gets the support they need when they need it, and from whom they want. Employees have the possibility to track and take back control of their work and wellbeing. Instant feedback helps us to continuously improve the service selection, and focus on things that create true value for our employees.
Salli’s experience with the age management measures in the company
Salli has been with Vincit for four years. She entered the house in the design team and is currently a service designer. Her job is to facilitate clients and help them recognize and analyze their needs, to concept products and also do a bit of UI design for the technical side. Salli describes herself as a curious person, which is why she was immediately drawn to take a look at the new service platter -concept as it was unveiled. She is a keen user of the service and was very excited that you could choose yourself what services you need and wish to be offered.
It’s a privilege that you can choose the services that best meet your own needs for professional development and promote workplace well being. It is this freedom to choose that Salli stresses as the most important difference from old kind of personnel management. She was also thrilled when she noticed that the services offered were very diverse and there were both work and leisure oriented choices. The services are divided into various categories at Vincit and Salli thinks that she has ordered something from all of them over the years.
The first service that Salli took use of was the Taapero’s Sleep School. She chose it from the platter as a mother of a 1 year old upon returning to work from maternity leave. Taapero’s Sleep School is a service from a private service provider that is offered to all Vincit employees. Salli found that she simply could sleep better and more peacefully after using the service.
When it comes to services straight up related to work, she mentions Disk-test training, where the aim is to develop one’s skills and styles in interaction with others. The Disk-method helps to understand and observe your own as well as other people’s interaction styles. This has a noticeable benefit for team’s internal communication in addition to improving communication with clients and understanding their needs.
Jukka’s Pea Soup Lunch was a fun service that Salli had also chosen from the platter. Her colleague Jukka had offered it as an internal service. The Pea Soup Lunch sits about ten people, and for the service Jukka cooks pea soup and french fries in the workplace kitchen around the large communal table. This makes for a wonderful, rather informal way of meeting and getting to know other employees at Vincit and for example new employees that you haven’t had the opportunity to meet before. Internal networking combines fun with practical use and it benefits everyone when you get to know people, learn about their backgrounds and previous work experiences. It also has a possibility for great culinary pleasures. Salli too found that she quite enjoys the combination of these ingredients she would never have dreamed of trying out herself.
Salli is also a service provider herself, just like many of her colleagues. Anyone using the service can suggest a new service for the service platter using the “Suggest a new service” -tool. This way the services keep refreshing and make it easy to answer changes in demand. It also makes it possible for employees to offer their own services for their colleagues and this way they are able to use their special skills for others’ benefit. Salli is an avid athlete and does the triathlon, so she has offered her colleagues sparring sessions in running. Salli also mentions a service more in the work context – Designsparrer’s Coffee Moment – where she offers help with service design for her colleagues.
Service feedback is gathered through multiple channels and the offerings change all the time.
Strengths and weaknesses of the chosen approaches
Employee-centered model for offering services
Strengths: Strengthening employee autonomy and self reflection skills, meeting real needs with correctly timed action, cost efficiency (from the employer’s point of view).
Weaknesses: Needs that you are not aware of yourself might stay hidden.
Culture of sharing: Anyone can offer their own services to their colleagues
- Increase in creativity, self capability and confidence.
- Opportunities to get to know your colleagues on a more personal level also increase.
- Mutuality increases, thus communal spirit and commitment to the workplace deepens.
- Cost efficiency (from the employer’s point of view).
The “aha!” moment experienced during the process
Completed as part of services offered by the employer, the Disk-test has helped to understand needs for improving one’s own interaction skills and also interaction styles with colleagues and clients. This has seen great improvements in ease of communication and in completing work tasks better.
Activities to sustain this initiative
The service sees regular and continuous use and it is constantly renewing as employees are suggesting new services they need and what they could offer themselves. HR processes the requests and makes necessary adjustments to offer all services deemed possible. Ultimately the realization of a given service hinges on whether or not there would be enough users, judged by the number of orders placed.
Monitoring system of the effects
In 2013 Vincit decided to perform an internal service satisfaction survey to help with improving the function. The survey was to concentrate on employee’s subjective experiences with workplace well being, which required highlighting the special features of work tasks and the organization. Traditional standard questionnaires did not seem to have enough tools for this to work and it was decided to create the whole survey together with the employees.
Using the Surveypal -tool all parts of the project were easily created. Using the tool employees suggested and voted on themes important to them under the topic of workplace well being and commented on theme questions. When this processing part was completed, Vincit implemented the official survey with the same tool that was by now very familiar for all. The answer percentage was a full one hundred – the questions were clearly seen as meaningful and there was a clear desire to get involved.
Vincit has redone the Feeling Good @ Vincit – questionnaire regularly and is so following the development of workplace satisfaction. The Surveypal -tool has received praise from the personnel from its ease of use and functionality, which helped in part on making of the new experiment. Its reporting functionality is also more versatile than in other tools, making analyzing and presenting results very easy.
Beneficial effects of the initiative
- Laas is a one-stop tool for employees, employee-oriented managers, and HR professionals. LaaS brings together all the relevant data & metrics on an individual and organizational level.
- LaaS provides a real-time data, that help to base all decisions on data and continuous feedback, so the managers can stop wasting resources on guessing games.
- LaaS makes all the available support, perks, resources, and expertise visible and accessible.
- LaaS helps managers to use data, surveys, and feedback for continuous improvement, and provides a channel for developing their competence and sharing their expertise, company-wide.
- One size doesn’t fit all. LaaS helps the employers to let their employees tell them what type of services they need and when they need them, and offer tailored support for everyone.
- LaaS helps to enhance the company brand and treat the internal customers as well as the external ones – if not better.
The employer should treat employees as individuals and remember that their life situation affects their needs and forms of support. The employee is the same individual both at work and outside, so it pays to see the full picture. The employer must invest in employee well-being and things that make life liveable outside of work context, even including those close to the employee.
In particular, we suggest everybody – an employer or employee – to consider the following:
- You should develop your own skills based on what interests and excites you.
- It’s worth it to share your skills.
- Think of your own strengths diversely: what is something that you know where you could mentor others with. Sharing your skills doesn’t always have to have something to do with your work and work skills.
- Encourage your colleagues to try hobbies that have given you joy and substance. It increases well being and strengthens the feeling of community.
- It pays to network also within your own organization.
- Doing and experiencing things together enriches your daily life.
- Informal meetings with colleagues strengthens the interaction skills needed in customer service situations.