Finland is the world’s happiest country. People are happiest in the country compared to anywhere in the world. What makes it so – is the balance between security and freedom. People in the country feel supported and empowered, while still being able to make their own choices. Work-life balance plays a significant part in achieving this happiness culture.
Overall, the country offers its citizens social security net and the freedom to live their personal lives as they want. Companies like Vincit, a Finnish, software company, took cues from this governance model and applied it to its work culture. The company has received several globally-recognized accolades for its work culture including Best Workplaces in Finland and Europe, consistently. Recently, the company forayed in the U.S. and was ranked among Best Workplaces by Inc. magazine.
There are two ideas from the company’s governance that can be replicated to make the work culture happier.
1. Limit management: Management has often been a barrier towards achieving full potential and productivity for employees. It enforces rules which force employees to consume their time on trivial tasks rather than more important tasks. Giving employees the freedom in terms of access to communication and supplies will allow them to move freely and do their best. They feel more accountable for their responsibilities.
For organizations too, it serves a good purpose as the need for internal compliance is eliminated. Employees feel motivated as they understand that decisions are being taken in their best interest.
With limited management, companies too have the ability to state what needs to be done and let employees shine through the work instead of hiring and demanding them to perform certain tasks under strict supervision. Employee motivation plays a significant role here.
2. Leadership as a service: Completely flat structure without procedures can lead to chaos. Thus, it is important to have leadership in place. What matters more – is the ability of leaders to cater to the individual needs of employees. Leadership has never been a one size fits all solution. The needs of a fresh graduate differ entirely from a seasoned professional who is looking to retire in the coming years. Both have different needs and seek assistance in different ways.
Vincit created a portal for its employees to seek services as and when they require. This is an imitation of the Finnish societal structure.
Employees can order performance analysis, salary discussion, and much more as and when they feel like. This keeps employees motivated and can seek assistance at their own will. This way they have direct control over their need for growth and feel empowered to know that they have the support required to be better at their work and whatever they feel is best for them. Vincit has replicated the same model in its U.S workplace and received a good response.
A Forbes report states, employees feel motivated when they see leaders are interested in their growth and are ready to invest in them. Hyper personalization is growing in demand. Employees are increasingly expecting this level of personalization at their workplace.
Overall, the happiness of Finnish people stems from the stability and freedom offered to them. This same scenario has slipped into the business culture. Vincit has replicated the same by offering on-demand services for employees for their professional development. The company has taken a turn from growth and profit-driven company to employee and customer satisfaction company and seen visibly good results and serving as an example for building employee-first workplace culture.
Allowing the flexibility to move and have access to things for betterment when employees want it has always been a primary factor to improve employee engagement. Companies like Vincit are innovators. U.S companies and HR leaders need to take cues and innovate to build a happier work culture.