DNA invests in people
Fluent work, freedom of choice, grand parents’ leave, clear interaction models, a strong emphasis on the employees’ wellbeing-at-work. Creativity is not possible without trust, and motivated people provide the best customer services.
– Our goal is to be an excellent workplace, says Marko Rissanen, personnel manager of DNA. And these are not just and empty words. This is one of the four strategic goals of the whole enterprise. DNA has worked hard to develop its business culture systematically and persistently already for many years.
The result of these efforts is demonstrated by the standing in the ‘Great Place to Work’ survey: DNA came second in the series for large enterprises.
– The key point is how the employees can balance their work and free time. Our employees can make individual choices regarding their work. Our leadership strategy takes into consideration the needs of individual workers. These are the soft values of DNA. Hard values, on the other hand, mean that set goals have to be achieved, emphasizes Rissanen.
Teamwork helps reach common goals
Independent working demands that the goals are clear for everybody. Then soft and hard values don’t contradict each other. In order for all the elements to function properly as a whole, the entire personnel, supervisors, and management have to cooperate seamlessly.
– Cooperation must be transparent, continuous and interactive. When all matters are discussed openly, the necessary changes can be carried out sufficiently early, and they don’t come as a surprise to the personnel, says Rissanen.
The entire personnel of DNA are involved in the changes and renovations. This was the case also when the new head office was being designed. The location was chosen based on the employees’ commuting. The site of the new building is Käpylä, Helsinki. It can be reached by train, bus, bicycle, as well as by car, and sufficient parking space is ensured.
– The DNA building has 600 work sites for 850 persons. No one, including the top management, has their own personal work desk. We built various types of areas and spaces designed for different kinds of work phases and tasks, and different kinds of people. The same operation model has been applied in all 17 branch offices throughout Finland.
Fluent work and clear goals
About one half of DNA’s employees are engaged in so-called fluent work tasks. They can decide freely where they work, not even the supervisor needs to be consulted. The fluent model is based on freedom and individual responsibility. It requires self-supervision from the employees, as well as the ability to maintain moderation.
The main task of supervisors is to ensure moderation: how the work is done, what kind of results are obtained, and how the employees cope at work. The role of colleagues is important in maintaining a good team spirit, but also as regards the quality and quantity of the work. If someone notices alarming signals, the situation is looked into.
Personnel manager Marko Rissanen believes in four guiding principles: freedom – in other words, employees can make decisions freely regarding their work, a good work environment, interesting work tasks, and improving leadership.
– When the basics are in order, it is easy to adopt new things. DNA has offered flexible solutions also for those not within the scope of fluent work. Also people who work in customer services have an opportunity for teleworking.
– Teleworking is actually very suitable for customer service jobs. Along the way we have come to realize that many conventional ways of thinking could be discarded. We want to maintain a culture of exploring new ways, in which we question old ways and boldly test different ideas.
Freedom, responsibility, trust
Marko Rissanen emphasizes that teleworking is not a value in itself. The essential thing is that a person can freely choose it.
– Many organizations fear that along with telework, people “disappear”. But if the basics are in order, most people prefer to have other people around at work. After a transition period, teleworking stabilized to about two days a week. Of course work tasks are varied, and there are also a few less successful examples, but it is important to keep the goal clear. I believe that this is a question of leadership.
Marko Rissanen describes an incident that reflects the positive attitude of people.
– My own team is possibly even too self-directive. A good example of how people feel about their mutual work came up at a meeting where one person said that she just can’t cope with her work. Before I had a chance to say anything, two colleagues asked if there was anything they could do to help.
Rissanen lists the prerequisites of success: freedom, responsibility, trust and flexible ways of working.
– It must also be borne in mind that work is just one part of life. Leisure time and work life must be in balance. If you work 15 hours a day, you will become a robotic performer. You will no longer be innovative, creative and efficient, but simply a human robot.
A family-friendly workplace
DNA has participated in the ‘Family-friendly’ workplace programme of the Family Federation of Finland since 2015, and the Federation granted it the ‘Family-friendly workplace’ award. DNA is the first exchange-listed company in Finland to get this award.
– In connection with the programme, one of our employees proposed that we might take into consideration older employees by granting grandparents’ leave. This idea was so good that we accepted it right away, says Marko Rissanen.
– Everyone who becomes a grandparent at DNA now gets a one-week leave with pay. We were pioneers in this respect, but I was surprised how much media coverage this got. Most importantly, our own employees really appreciate this practice.
When the grandparents’ leave was established at DNA, sales assistant Tarja Nyländen jokingly sent a message to her daughter. She knew that her daughter’s two-year old child would at some stage be getting a brother or sister. She got an answer right away: in the autumn! This baby is Nyländer’s fifth grandchild.
– During my grandparents’ leave, I was a big help to my daughter’s family. My colleagues were really encouraging concerning the leave. A few arrangements were made and all the work got done, says Nyländen.
As regards teleworking, the sales assistant admits that she has done a complete about-turn.
– I work a lot from home. My sales team is spread all around Finland, and we are in contact with Skype. Earlier I used to want to work at the office and not mix work and leisure time. When my son left home to study in another city, I furnished the empty room into a work space for myself, and am now happy to work from home.
A melting pot of different experts
– A great number of different kinds of versatile tasks are done at DNA. There are at least 150 different task descriptions. It is therefore vital to constantly think of ways to reach different professionals for the purpose of recruitment. The same search methods can’t be used for everyone, says Marko Rissanen.
There are about 500 people working solely in DNA’s customer services, so persons with suitable know-how have to be found throughout Finland. From the viewpoint of recruiting, it is essential to build an attractive employer brand. Employees increasingly select the employer, and not the other way round. This trend is clearly evident.
– In Finland there simply aren’t enough professionals available for some expert tasks related to digitalization. Competition for these people crosses business boundaries. The same applies to IT management, marketing and many other tasks. The competition for capable professionals is tough, and the right channels have to be found for recruiting them, says Rissanen.
Depending on the need in question, DNA selects the best channels to be used. The company uses its own online networks, the social media, as well as recruitment service firms, among others. In addition, DNA campaigns and collaborates with institutes of learning. Still another channel includes interest groups and personal contacts of DNA employees. There are also many opportunities for job rotation and internal transfers inside DNA.
– In my department we have a recruitment team of two persons, and we also use our partners, says Marko Rissanen. Collaboration partners are always chosen for direct search head-hunting, and partners are also used when we recruit people for sales and customer service jobs. Every year we conduct about 200 recruitment searches for a variety of tasks. DNA’s recruitment process is defined in detail, and if needed, we can proceed really quickly.
– During my career I’ve noticed that especially certain kinds of professionals may easily slip elsewhere, if you don’t act quickly.
– At DNA we are also developing various trainee models and opportunities to learn and develop at work. Many of the tasks in the tele-operator sector are such that they can only be learned through practical work.
– One of our practices is that the employer doesn’t look for an employee, it’s rather the team that looks for a teammate. But this doesn’t necessarily apply to all tasks.
Rissanen believes it’s important that every applicant gets an answer.
– These people have showed interest in us, and even though this particular task passed by, the situation may change in future.
Equality is common sense
DNA attempts to maintain equality at all levels, and is a member of FIBS, which is Finland’s leading network to promote sustainable business.
– Equality is so deeply rooted in our management culture and our overall business culture that it is present in all our activities. In the ‘Great Place to Work’ survey, our strengths included equality, gender neutrality, as well as zero tolerance to any kind of inappropriate behaviour. Such behaviour is unacceptable and will be dealt with immediately, Rissanen stresses.
He says that the trend to avoid employing older persons is strange.
– Their busy family-raising years are over, they have a lot of know-how and experience, and they are often very motivated. We must pay more attention to this.
The personnel manager feels that the changing world is the biggest challenge in his own work.
– However, it is also rewarding. It feels good to work in a company that strives to be an excellent workplace. The well-being of the employees is important to me.
Rissanen admits that also he needs to improve himself.
– Right now I have an external consultant who coaches me in three different areas, one of which is learning to look after my own coping at work.
A guardian of identity
All DNA customers, employees and consultants have a web identity which must be kept safe and secure to allow safe access to the web. Micke Rantanen is responsible for identity and access management. He works in a nuclear team of four persons, and his own task is partnership management and working closely with different partners.
Rantanen says that he is very ambitious.
– I get to do tasks in which I can develop myself, and I have a supervisor who supports me. Changes and challenges are always present; passive work wouldn’t even interest me. I am a candid person and I believe in speaking about matters even if they might be difficult.
Rantanen participates in the DNA Café programme which is led by a collaboration partner. A support person is designated from among the change-makers of the company for a team that needs sparring. Rantanen is one such support person.
– If a team gets poor results, it can participate in the DNA Café programme. It may be difficult for a team to improve its own activity without outside help, because the cause of the problem may easily remain hidden.
– The starting point of the programme is asking the right questions. My job is not to say how the team should function nor what is being done wrong. My job is to support them. I ask questions that may help them to see where the problem lies.
Union of creativity and technology
Designer Anni Lemettinen came to DNA just over a year ago. She works in the on-line development team and does design tasks for net services. Previously she was involved with technical developments, but now she has been able to be more creative.
– The person who recruited me contacted me through LinkedIn. I got interested, and have been super happy with my job here. Our team of nine people develops services on the basis of customer feedback. We plan, investigate and interview. It is intriguing to look at things from the customer’s perspective.
Lemettinen’s team tries to find the best solution for the customer as early as possible.
– When we start, we don’t know how it will turn out. It’s essential to find the most convenient solution for the customer. There is a lot of demand for our work, because the customers’ opinions and wishes are increasingly needed.
Lemettinen has been surprised and pleased to see that there is a good trusting relationship between the employer and employees at DNA.
Customer service professional
Kalle Jokinen has been a customer service counsellor in DNA’s consumer affairs department for nearly seven years.
– I was looking for a summer job, started working, liked my work, and then stayed on. Here in telephone services, you get calls about device malfunctions, you give advice and help with almost anything at all. The idea is that whatever comes your way, you take care of it. Any suggestions for improvements are forwarded to the right persons.
– The work has been meaningful and interesting, because anything can come along. One has to clear up situations, make arrangements for payment times, help to decide what kind of a phone would be good for a customer, and so on. The best in customer service work is being able to help, seeing that a customer is genuinely satisfied. But problems that can’t be solved are more challenging. Sometimes you may even have to recommend another operator, for example if the connections don’t work in a particular area.
– I have always been interested in geotechnological problems, so it’s no wonder that I ended up here, says Jokinen.
– It’s easy to work at DNA. I can work from home, the work climate is good, and work shift arrangements and so on can always be agreed on. My wishes have generally been granted.
Kalle Jokinen has also participated in development projects.
– Here you can take part in many kinds of projects, if you want. For instance, I was a member of the group planning the reward system. We came up with ideas for the reward model, we then sent them out on our intranet for comments, and in time the management made a decision based on them. It’s possible to make your voice heard.