We’ve heard loads of tips on how to prevent burnout and create a healthy, happy workplace since we started on the Velbi journey to eliminate burnout.
However, the best tool (and perhaps the most underutilised) for any HR manager, team lead, or general human being, is to listen.
That’s according to Henrietta Hörhammer, Head of People and Culture at software company Taito United.
Henrietta has worked in people operations in the IT sector for the past six years, covering everything from recruitment and employer branding to HR. She has called Örebro, London, and Hong Kong home over the years (Hong Kong being her favourite), before settling in Helsinki.
She shares her story of how listening to Taito employees has helped to build a better workplace.
When Henrietta started as Taito’s first ever HR person, she had her work cut out for her.
Taito builds customer-first digital services by listening to their customers, and Henrietta wanted to make sure its 40 employees get the same service.
“I’m proud of the way we listen, and are there for our employees. We want them to feel safe and happy,” she said.
With a view to actively gather feedback, Henrietta started by implementing monthly employee satisfaction surveys.
The monthly surveys, coupled with one-to-ones where active listening is encouraged, helps Henrietta and Tuomas Kaipainen (Taito’s Founder and CEO) gather information and take action based on employee feedback.
The results of each survey are shared with the organisation in their monthly meetings.
“We are trying to be as open and transparent as possible,” says Henrietta, “I believe that when good things happen, then good things will follow.”
A great example of a good thing that followed is Taito’s newly launched learning and development programme.”
“We got feedback that people would be more willing to study during work time, rather than in their free time,” Henrietta explained, “so we figured out a way that works for our company and our employees.”
The programme gives employees four hours of dedicated learning time each month, or even eight hours or more if you are completing a certificate or attending seminars or events.
Employees can take this time out of working hours, giving everyone the opportunity to learn without sacrificing their personal time. They have the autonomy to decide what they want to do, and how much time they want to spend doing it, while still maintaining their work/life balance.
And the new program has been a hit!
Learning and development hours are being logged, feedback shows that Taito employees are happy to have clear guidance - plus the freedom to take on learning in the office!
Henrietta also learnt that there is a wealth of knowledge sitting within their own business that can be shared.
Taito has monthly tech meets where everyone, regardless of their experience or seniority, can share their knowledge.
“We’ve found that our people want to share their knowledge with their peers. Also, since launching the learning and development programme, we encourage our people to share their new learnings with others. This way everyone can learn,” Henrietta said.
It’s these workshops that have planted a seed about Taito’s next employee-centred initiative.
“I’d really love to create a more formalised mentoring programme that works for everyone. Our employees are willing and want to mentor.”
As for her next big challenge?
“How do we get everyone to feel like they’re part of the same community, even if they're not in the same place physically?”
Something tells me the answer lies within the Taito team.