Pia Klemetti, HR Business Partner, Tosibox
Towards the end of the year, it’s common to spend a moment in looking back and celebrate what has been accomplished during the past 12 months or so. The Tosibox people agenda for 2019 was defined and has also actualized to be about assessing the existing, building further and formalize the company’s people related structures, alignments and processes to create a smooth environment for ordinary everyday – and also, to on-board the 20+ people we have welcomed to join the company this year. It is thanks to our whole work community that we have accomplished this – the people agenda is a common effort, especially by the people leaders in the company. Theory is futile without implementation.
2019 has been an interesting journey also from the people perspective, as we have continued to grow rapidly and are transforming from a technology towards a more service and customer-oriented company and culture. Working in a growth company is exciting and exhausting at the same time, and it seems that individuals possessing certain strengths and traits shine in this type of environment – when things evolve at a high pace, when self-reliance is expected, and when one has the opportunity to get involved in a large variety of issues.
Then again, it does mean that one is highly resilient in constantly changing conditions and thrives in an environment where many issues remain to be formalized. In practical terms this might mean new people to work with in distant corners of the world, with a different cultural background and communication styles, emerging roles narrowing one’s own playground, new and more formal ways of working to follow, additional effort put into investigating new ways to deliver, creating cohesion to areas that seem to make very little sense, and many more. Interestingly, Tosibox functions in a business that demonstrates many of those same characteristics – undefined conditions, constantly changing environments and counterparts, and fast evolving and emerging opportunities.
The way that we have approached the people focus areas in 2019 has been about involvement and togetherness with people leaders, individual contributors and HR. You might ask, why does HR not simply dictate the way the people agenda is run – it would be quicker, easier, more efficient? The seed for this way of working was planted by a colleague, I’m guessing without him realizing it: “In the worst case, when it’s HR’s turn to talk, people leave for coffee”. That struck me. Realizing it wouldn’t be due to a lack of manners or respect for others’ work, but due to a feeling of HR producing policies and processes that only cause more work for everyone with no obvious reason. (Note to self: this also depends on what you define as HR – admin, recruitment, employer branding, work ability, compensation & benefits, resourcing, budgeting, teaching, coaching, talent management and development, and many others that might be included or excluded from the concept of HR. To me, it’s all HR.)
As I didn’t want anyone to leave for coffee while HR was talking, I invited them to pitch in – but that was not the only reason. Mainly I invited these people to contribute as they are incredibly smart, have experience from many more companies that I do, and finally – I wanted to create the best and most suitable solutions for our people and make sure these intelligent individuals committed to them. Did I already mention they are pretty fun to work with?
To dedicate specific time for the people focus, we established a monthly 2-hour brainstorming for our people leaders, including the members of the executive management team and line managers. These hours are about discussing, developing ways of working and getting educated on the subjects of choice, on things needing highlighting, developing or getting colleagues’ views on. As well as creating a discussion forum and support network for the people leaders, it’s also a step towards creating a stronger company culture for Tosibox, where people-related issues are appreciated and put energy in.
The Tosibox DNA is about simplicity and clarity – which is also a cornerstone in our values – and thus, we have aimed at simple and effective ways of working. Thanks to the company’s compact size, Tosibox has the luxury to create light, efficient ways of working with a fail-fast attitude and not hang ourselves in corporate bureaucracy. The professional skills – to which also the people leaders are expected to comply with – are changing though, and according to World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Survey 2018, the skills sets look like this:
So the environment of a growth company and also, from a larger perspective, the changing skills put our people leading practices into a new light – instead of control, measuring and management, we’re heading towards things like learning, creativity and emotional intelligence.
Looking at this ensemble of skills and competences for the near future, we’re still to re-define how to run our 2020 development discussions. The practical implementation may be one or another, and I’m convinced we will see some exceptional proposals on the table, but some things I’m sure will be present – the coaching approach, shared responsibility, and the idea of “Feed Forward” methodology by Avraham N. Kluger and Dina Nir, focusing on elements that fit our core values: Focus on the positive and the future, do more of what is working well, and also collect, give and get positive, forward-feeding input.
As for why to create defined ways of working in business to start with, there are many reasons. But always, bottom-line, they come down to one main reason. The €. It may be a direct cause-outcome, but sometimes it’s more indirect – for example a company not establishing appropriate people policies and as result people leave and generating high turn-over, which equals to more costs. In addition to financial impact, there is also an element of social responsibility and decency, which many of us relate to. Let’s say we feel we’re working for a company that holds high standards for social responsibility and respects decency accepted in that local culture, we’re much better advocates from employer branding. In that picture, both boxes would be ticked, right?
As Tosibox people leaders, coaches and HR, we believe in inclusion and live by it. It’s in the way we work everyday, who we invite to meetings, and how we share information. Practically, it’s for example about invitations to give your 2 cents on issues that might not be one’s expertise, openness to ask the simple questions and question in an environment of psychological safety and being offered support even at moments you didn’t realize you needed it. It’s decent, human – and very importantly, more fun!
Wishing you and your family a peaceful, relaxing holiday season,
“As Tosibox people leaders, coaches and HR, we believe in inclusion and live by it.”
Pia Klemetti, HR Business Partner, Tosibox