Yesterday we had the chance to attend the Best Workplaces in Finland event, and to celebrate Sievo being on the list of best places to work in Finland. Getting on this list is closely related to company culture (the ranking is based on research about employee satisfaction and company culture), so I’ll share some insights about the very thing that put us among the best places to work: Our company culture.
Why is Sievo a great place to work? To me it boils down to the combination of brilliant people and a management committed to those people.
Caring about people is a value in itself at Sievo, and it’s understood by Sievo’s management that there is no way that our business could survive without having awesome people and making sure that those people are happy, and able to do their jobs well. People develop our software and services, people find customers who benefit from our solutions, people help them take the Sievo software into use and people keep our customers happy year after year.
None of these things are easy. Let alone if your customers are huge companies and leaders in their industries, and you want to perform exceptionally well. So we need our culture to attract and keep the best people, and to enable them to do their best.
I guess there are many answers to the question “What is a great company culture like?”, but to Sievo specifically, great culture means that we are a dynamic growth company with a relaxed atmosphere, and an ambitious, international team of people.
When I ask people to describe our culture, their first response often is that it’s relaxed. Being relaxed does not mean lazing around: We are serious about getting things done and doing our best (Exceed is one of our values). What we don’t consider important are formalities, clothes or other external factors. We just want to have as much fun as possible while taking our jobs seriously!
Even though our organization is well structured, we also promote a sense of equality and ownership on all levels of the organization. We don’t believe in special privileges for managers or corner offices (our CEO sits shoulder to shoulder with others in the middle of our biggest open office space). We are all in the same team, no matter where people are on the organizational chart.
Internationality is another defining factor for Sievo. Although we are based in Finland, we operate on a global basis, and our customers and employees come from around the world. The way we see it, we would be excluding a lot of great and smart people if we only hired people who speak fluent Finnish. So unlike for many other Finnish companies, speaking Finnish is not a requirement for getting hired to Sievo. This means that there is a diversity of cultural and national backgrounds (which is actually a great asset to Sievo and our company culture). And although we come with different backgrounds, we pull together as a team.
And since we are a fast growing technology company, Sievo is under constant change. We try out new ways of working, business opportunities and other ideas all the time. We make and implement decisions fast in order to adapt to changing business requirements and growth. This makes the company dynamic, but also requires a lot from our employees (and this is where the pulling together as a team combined with people being smart really helps). On the other hand, working in a growth company does come with exciting challenges and career opportunities.
I could go on and on about our culture, but for now I’ll just say that all the aspects of our culture have formed over time as a result of all the people in Sievo providing ideas, putting practices into place, offering help, going outside of their predefined roles and digging their hands in the dirt to make this a great place to work.
So being listed as a great place to work is really an achievement of the whole team. HR does not create culture. Even the founders or current management of a company don’t create culture. Sievo’s culture, the stuff that makes Sievo a great place to work, is an achievement of all the people who have worked in Sievo during our existence. Our people are amazing. To me, they are the best perk that our company has to offer.
Being on the list of Finland’s best workplaces is a great, but we won’t stop here. We are committed to constantly developing Sievo into an even better place to work for all of us and our future team members. And with the people I have the privilege to work with every day, I have no doubt we’ll succeed in doing that.
But right now, it’s the time for the whole Sievo team to just be proud of this achievement. We are great!