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Human Values and Respect Must Always Be at the Forefront - Pétur Ó Einarsson

Human Values and Respect Must Always Be at the Forefront

Pétur Ó Einarsson is the Head of Human Resources at the Financial Management Authority (FJS). He is 57-year-old from Reykjavík, a husband, father, and grandfather. Pétur became interested in human resources management early in his career when he worked for Landsbankinn as a training manager. Alongside working for Landsbankinn, Pétur completed a BSc degree in Business Administration, subsequently completing a master's degree in Human Resources Management. Since 2008, he has worked as the Head of Human Resources at FJS.

The activities and functions of FJS are diverse and extensive. Pétur describes FJS as a service and knowledge driven workplace.

“FJS is a workplace full of challenges and opportunities because the changes and demands of both the internal and external environment have never been greater. FJS has much wealth in the knowledge of the staff, their skills, communication skills and general good spirit. In my opinion it is a good workplace, with excellent people who make an effort to do a good job.”

Workplaces Compete for Qualified and Good Staff

The main priorities of FJS in human resources are teamwork, job satisfaction, mutual respect and maintaining a good working environment.

“It may sound a bit cliché, but it is simply true that qualified staff, their ambition, knowledge, and drive are the keys to successful management and good service. Workplaces are in competition with each other for qualified and good staff and to keep them to achieve their goals.”

“The workplace is almost like our second home. All employees have the right to feel good at the workplace, and no one should be anxious about coming to work or having to tiptoe around other colleagues.”

Pétur says there must also be understanding and flexibility during times when it is really needed. FJS therefore has a specific policy on the integration of private life and work.

“Flexibility is something that our staff have always been happy with at FJS and receives good ratings in HR Monitor and the Organization of the Year survey. Trust and fairness need to be prioritised in the workplace and must be reciprocal. Of course, there must be a certain framework or discipline in the workplace, but human values and respect must always be at the forefront.”

Irregular Internal Surveys Were Not Enough

FJS has made use of HR Monitor since the beginning of 2017.

“Starting to use HR Monitor was a great improvement. Prior to it we had only carried out internal surveys irregularly and found out attitudes and wishes of employees through annual staff interviews, staff meetings and the Organization of the Year survey. This was simply not enough, and we found that we had to do better.”

“We needed a powerful and flexible tool to be able to make assessments on a regular basis and analyse specific things when there was a need to. We found HR Monitor, which fulfilled this need. It is a management tool that has served us very well.”

In which ways have the HR Monitor results proven useful to you?

“All of the results are interesting, but especially interesting are results from certain key questions that we ask regularly and to delve into developments, why the answers are changing and to act if there is a need, for example with further analysis or policy change. Heads of departments always review the results of each survey with their colleagues, and often, various issues are addressed.”

A Revolution of Attitudes in the Labour Market

Pétur shares that the last few months and years have been eventful at FJS, as well as in the labour market as a whole.

“More accurate would be to talk about a revolution, rather than changes. A revolution in attitudes. Increased flexibility and allowances for working remotely, better working hours, open workspaces, jobs without locations, and a shift in focusing on results rather than presence. Also of course, an increase in electronic service channels and all kinds of automation possibilities.”

“Employers, trade unions and the legislator all have a great responsibility to adapt this new reality to collective agreements and labour law, and it must happen as soon as possible. The FJS, like other workplaces needs to adapt to new ways of organizing and managing the workplace. That is the challenge we are facing and measuring factors relating to human resources and employee attitudes is an important part of that process.”

What is your vision for human resources and personnel matters at FJS?

“I want to see FJS as a modern and task-oriented, not presence-oriented, workplace. That the freedom of employees to do their tasks is as flexible as possible without ever losing sight of our service role. I want to see a working environment where our employees see opportunities and take the initiative to seek continuing education and professional development. I want the working environment to be people-oriented and for staff to experience safety and wellbeing at work. That they see purpose in and are proud of their tasks and projects. Finally, that they are proud to work at the Financial Management Authority.”

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Never Has It Been as Important to Care For Our Most Important Resource, Human Resources - Auður Þórhallsdóttir

Never Has It Been as Important to Care For Our Most Important Resource, Human Resources

“If people feel good at work and they experience security and trust, they feel so much better and deliver better work, which has influence both within their homes and the whole community.” says Auður Þórhallsdóttir, the Head of HR at VIRK.

Auður has broad work experience, but creativity, education and human resource management have been a common theme. She nevertheless has also been engaged in various crafts and designed garments and accessories under the brand “ath” for some time. Auður started working for VIRK in 2014 and is, according to her, still very happy there.

What gives you the most joy in your work?

“What gives me the most joy and satisfaction in my job is the diversity and being able to come up with ideas, create new things and to feel that I am given trust to do good. Witnessing employees grow, prosper and develop at work also gives me a very good feeling, as well as sensing people's job satisfaction.”

Auður's main guiding light in career as well as her personal life is to be a good person and to show others care, compassion, kindness and respect.

“To make sure that any communication is of such a way that look on the positive sides and try our best to make the people around us, and that every job is respected. It is also necessary to have the courage to take on issues if for example there arises negativity or other obstacles that need to be addressed.”

Prioritize HR Because They Want to be Outstanding

VIRK is an ambitious workplace that puts a lot of effort into maintaining fair and constructive relations and communications, with integrity and respect as the guiding light.

“We attach great importance to fostering a positive work ethic and a strong team of employees. We are doing the utmost to create a positive workplace culture and our employees are encouraged to keep our guiding principles in mind in their work, which are professionalism, respect and ambition.

We want our team spirit to be nourishing and that our employees look forward to tackling any task in a good group of friends, because we want to be outstanding.”

They Chose Happy Colors for a New Work Environment

A year ago, VIRK moved to Borgartún 18 and according to Auður it has been a rewarding and informative experience to participate in creating a new work environment for their employees.

“Our emphasis is that the work environment should above all be healthy and beautiful and that our employees feel as comfortable as possible. We conducted a detailed needs assessment with our people and tailored to our activities. We put a major emphasis on creating a healthy environment, safety concerns, noise and lighting.

We chose to be very colorful to try to bring people joy both outside and inside the office and we also have a lot of living flowers. We also operate a canteen for our staff for the first time which is a big contributor to job satisfaction. We are very lucky to have a one of a kind chef that people are very happy with.”

The Employees Created a Communication Agreement

In recent years, VIRK has received several certifications and awards.

“This spring we received our fourth Equal Pay Certification, whereas in the spring of 2018 we received our first and were thus pioneers in obtaining certification for a company of our size in Iceland. As previously, we received a very positive result and the certification body considered us to have an excellent overview and to be a role model in goal setting and implementing actions to achieve our goals. We have also received the ISO: 9001 certification and we strive to operate a harmonized service throughout Iceland.

We have also recently drafted our own Code of Conduct and have a Communication Agreement that our employees created which we are very content with. The other day we were recognized as “VR's Exemplary Company” for the fifth time, and we are very proud of that result.”

VIRK Uses HR Metrics to Create an Excellent Work Environment

VIRK has been conducting HR measurements with HR Monitor since 2016, with the aim of measuring how they can achieve the best performance from their employees.

“We wanted figures on human resources, in addition to other key figures in our operations, to help managers create an excellent working environment. By conducting such measurements, we are also encouraging all employees to consider the most important aspects of their environment, to have an opinion on them and therefore build a better awareness of quality.”

Auður says that in the long run, the behavior of managers often has more influence than policies on their own, although they are also very important.

“Our ambition is also for each and every manager to be aware and active in their human resources manager role, to ensure professional and good management. It has never been more important to consider our most important resource, human resources.”

React Immediately by Listening to the Voices of Employees

VIRK sends out a survey using the HR software HR Monitor every other month.

“The questions are in eight key aspects in addition to one open question. With the open question, we encourage ideas and suggestions from staff and thus want to harness their creativity. Once the results are in, the company's management has a meeting to review and assess what works well and what does not, and consider opportunities for growth and improvement.

Auður says that the function of HR Monitor's measurements is to make good even better and that the voices and suggestions of all their employees are listened to.

“Sometimes there are great ideas or wishes for reform in the measurement results which we are grateful for. Sometimes we need to explain things better and justify why things are the way they are so that employees gain a common understanding of procedures or arrangements.

A good example was the December survey of 2021, when employees were coming back to the office after working from home. We were shocked to see the lowest result ever received in terms of overall results.

We noticed right away a pattern of messages from employees in the open-ended question that we immediately considered and addressed. By listening to what was said we got excellent results both now in February and April 2022.”

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Human Resources Are The Heart Of The Workplace - Vala Magnúsdóttir

Human Resources Are The Heart Of The Workplace

Vala Magnúsdóttir has worked as the Head of Operation & Customer Service at the Reykjavík City Museum for almost eight years. “The Reykjavík City Museum is one of the largest museums in Iceland and is leading in its field. My work covers diverse tasks, which also makes it interesting, challenging and very exciting. That which gives me most joy during my work is the opportunity and the privilege to be able to work with great, ambitious and fun colleagues on all the incredibly diverse projects overseen by the museum and the City of Reykjavík’s Sector of Culture and Tourism.”

Vala has a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on management and strategy, but later returned to school to study Applied Cultural Communication and graduated as a Cultural Mediator. “In so doing, I am able to connect my education and work today in the culture and tourism sector, where my biggest daily tasks are the financial management of the Reykjavík City History Museum, the daily operation and service of business units and the institution's exhibition space, as well as human resources.”

Vala considers it important to set goals to attain success in life as well as in work.

“Setting both demanding and manageable goals, and being willing to put in effort, to strengthen oneself and others, and have good communication and success is certainly what one seeks. When I was nine years old I learned a mantra from my violin teacher, that taught me not to give up even though learning some notes was difficult. The mantra is: ‘I can, I will, I want to and I will.’ It has been with me through my life, studies and work, and gotten me through many things throughout my life.”

Work-Life Balance Is Important

What makes a good human resources policy?

“In my opinion, the biggest emphasis is on a good working environment, a good team and work ethic and communication between employees in the workplace. It is also important that there is a good balance between work and private life and that the workplace is somewhat flexible, but the implementation of the shortened work week has been very successful and very good results have been achieved in this respect at the institution.”

Vala considers human resources to be one of the main aspects of the museum's activities.

“It is important to take good care of employees, because human resources are really the heart of the workplace. It is our policy to have qualified, enthusiastic, professional and ambitious employees working, that show initiative and provide good service, as well as to promote equality, respect and positive morale in the workplace. The Reykjavík City History Museum also operates in accordance with the City of Reykjavík's human resources policy.”

The Reykjavík City Museum human resources policy has yielded good results in recent years.

“Employee turnover is very low and job satisfaction has been good. An effective human resources policy makes it easier for employees to follow along, and all human resources-related processes become more transparent. The staff knows what is expected of them and what their role is within the organization. This increases job satisfaction, communication channels become more open and it is more convenient for employees to express themselves.”

Give Employees a Stronger Voice with HR Monitor

Vala says that the emphasis on human resources changed following the pandemic and there was an increased need among the staff to have a stronger voice.

“In recent years, Covid has had a great impact and brought many challenges. I sensed a heightened need for employees to report issues to management and therefore I wanted to give employees a stronger voice by doing regular measurements with HR Monitor. By doing so, we are better aware and on our toes, enabling us to react faster if there is something which can and should be improved within our operation.”

The Reykjavík City Museum began using HR Monitor in 2020 and the measurements have been very useful to them.

“I saw many opportunities for us by using the measurements. For the managers of the institution, to better understand the state of affairs within the operation and workplace, and to have data we can use to inform and guide our decision-making and human resources policies. A lot of interesting and informative things have come out of the measurements that we have used in our work or reacted to in some way. That is the advantage of having regular measurements, that you are able to listen to staff, work with good ideas and take them forward.”

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Diversity For Success - Heiðdís Björnsdóttir

Diversity For Success

Since 2017, Heiðdís Björnsdóttir has been an employee of Ölgerðin. Currently she is the human resources manager. She has a BSc degree in Business Administration and a Diploma in Leadership and Project Management.

Previously Heiðdís worked as a sales manager for another company. “During that time I worked very closely with the human resources department. That's when I realized that human resources was what I wanted to work on in the future. Those were the projects I was most passionate about.”

What do you find the most entertaining about human resource management?

“Human resources people have so many different roles to play, it is such a diverse job! The projects are as diverse as the people you work with. You get the opportunity to help people and you get to know such different aspects of the human being.”

Heiðdís considers what characterizes Ölgerðin the most is how fun and lively the company is, especially because of how diverse and energetic the group of people that work there are.

“Even though Ölgerðin is 109 years old, the employees are so creative and the company is characterized by constant product development, transformation and growth. The company is not scared to face challenges that can arise with innovations. The people create the culture and the culture at Ölgerðin is characterized by a very high energy level. Being an employee of Ölgerðin is just incredibly fun and rewarding. Even though we are around 380 employees, it feels like you belong to a small family. A strong team.”

There are exciting times ahead for Ölgerðin as the company is planning on going public this spring. “We are on a very specific journey and the company has decided on four priorities, in addition to our values, that we have as our guiding light in everything we do. They will be our roadmap until the year 2024 and concern growth, sustainability, digital development and diversity.”

Why do you prioritize diversity?

“Diversity and equality are our main priorities in human resources today. It is essential to support all of our employees, they are our greatest resource. We believe that with a diverse group of employees we will achieve better results and thus we are creating a more appealing workplace. We want Ölgerðin to be a workplace for everyone.”

Heiðdís explains that while having a diverse group of employees creates wonderful opportunities, it can also pose some challenges that must be addressed.

“We have a diverse group of employees, which is great and makes the workplace more fun. But challenges can also arise. There are always challenges relating to information-flow in large and diverse companies. At Ölgerðin, we need to pay special attention to language, to ensure that our non-native employees understand everything and are fully included.”

Heiðdís says that it is necessary for companies to be improvement oriented and adopt a positive mindset about change, and look for the hidden opportunities in challenges. “The modern world changes very fast. We need to constantly seek improvement, be unafraid of any challenges that may arise and set ourselves demanding goals. That is what Ölgerðin has always done, set goals that are not necessarily easy to achieve.”

One of the demanding goals Ölgerðin has set relates to job satisfaction. To measure and evaluate the results, Ölgerðin uses the measurement tool HR Monitor. “HR Monitor has benefited us extremely well seeing that one of the company's four main goals is for employee satisfaction to be 85% or higher throughout the year. This is not an easy goal, not at all. We use this check-in a lot and HR Monitor allows us to always see the state of affairs at each particular point in time. It is one thing to have a perception of the atmosphere, but it is quite a different thing to get it confirmed on paper.”

Ölgerðin began using HR Monitor in 2011 and since then has conducted four measurements every year. “If you only make one big measurement a year, you only have a feeling to work with in between. The four measurements we make each year, allow us the chance to respond immediately. We take the surveys very seriously and they are important to us. I mean, they are a part of the company's key goals, that job satisfaction is 85% or higher!”

Do you think that all companies should use HR Monitor?

“Yes. I also think that all companies should set themselves high goals. It is so common for people to know more about setting goals related to finances and such. But if you do not have happy employees, then the company is much less likely to achieve the desired results.”

Do you have any examples of opportunities that have arisen from the measurements?

“Yes, we have found opportunities for change and to improve the work culture. If the measurements reveal not so good results, we can see clearly, on paper, what is wrong. We can address the root cause right away instead of needing to figure out what it is. We work as a group and we are always discussing the measurement results with both management and our employees. As a strong team, we succeed. We are an interlinked chain and we all need to work together, that's how we make change happen.”

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Giving Equal Weight to Human Resources and Finances - Vilmar Pétursson

Giving Equal Weight to Human Resources and Finances

Vilmar Pétursson is educated in sociology and social work and worked in that field for several years. Thereafter, he completed a master's degree in strategy and management which included human resources management. He worked as a consultant on policy, training, and human resources at Capacent for about thirteen years. For the last eight years, Vilmar has been the human resources manager at the Directorate of Labour.

Human Resources Is the Foundation of Success

What about human resources management do you find interesting?

“The connection between human resources and policy-making is the most interesting to me, which then trickles down and impacts other aspect. The macro side of things. Making the connection between the human resources and what the workplace should do and stand for.”

Vilmar considers human resources to be the determinant of whether policies are successful, and should therefore be considered together. At the Directorate of Labour, the human resources manager holds a position in the senior management. “That's not too common at all. I consider it very important that human resources are put in the same spaces as finances and things like that. That this policy and development is given the same status because human resources just are that important. For all activities of the institution, it is critical that human resources management has a seat at the table where the main decisions are made. That it has a voice there.”

The Institution's Activities Influence the Human Resources

Human resource matters at the Directorate of Labour are unique in the sense that the Directorate expands and contracts correspondent to the unemployment rate. “We may differ from other institutions because when unemployment increases, our institution expands. When unemployment decreases, we grow smaller as well. To demonstrate, during Covid times our numbers have increased by almost half, over two years. We have been more reactive, that is, we have been actively hiring more people to take on all the increased tasks we were faced with during the Covid pandemic.”

The Directorate's activities are extremely wide-ranging and varied, which also shapes the institution's human resources. “The institution handles the payment of benefits, from helping people with their applications, processing the benefits, paying them, monitoring benefit fraud and such. This means we are composed of lawyers, business professionals, and administrative departments. We also have a certain investigative duty, to predict and foresee developments in the labour market, and to monitor the developments of unemployment. We are composed of a full spectrum of people. We are also based all over the country, with eight offices.”

People Should Feel That Their Work Matters

What does an institution like Directorate of Labour need to flourish?

“Maybe it is a little bit of a cliché, but people need to feel that what they are doing is important. For example, amid the greatest uncertainty and action in Covid, we saw the highest job satisfaction results we have ever measured! During that time, about fifty thousand people were relying on us for their livelihood, so our employees tangibly experienced how important their work was. Care must be taken to ensure that all work has purpose and significance. You must be able to find yourself and enjoy yourself in your work, it must provide opportunities to challenge yourself, and so on. Therefore, management is extremely important. I could go on and on.”

Basing Action on Data

The Directorate of Labour strives to create a good working environment through various measures. “We have been looking at organizational change over the years and are currently emphasizing work across units, teamwork, project-oriented work, and such, to foster diversity in our employee's work.”

Additionally, the Directorate sets certain measurable goals by using the tool HR Monitor. “We made this decision simply because it is necessary to take such check-ins regularly, and evaluate action based on those results. Just like there are ways to evaluate how we are performing based on the financial plan and budget, the same should be possible for human resources. As opposed to basing assessment on a sense or feeling, we work from and build on actual data. We conduct a benchmark survey once a year comprised of the same questions, which allows us to monitor developments. Then we have defined procedures and action plans, based on those results.”

The Directorate of Labour uses HR Monitor for various purposes and with different goals in mind. “Sometimes we use the measurements very practically, to evaluate the success of something we are doing at a particular point in time, and the experience and well-being of people in that regard. Sometimes our measurements will be more training-oriented, and other times more management-oriented. For example, in the context of shortening the workweek, we included questions related to that. It is very useful to have such a platform.”

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Human Resource Measurements Are Key Components for the Future of Companies - Þórhildur Ólöf Helgadóttir

Human Resource Measurements Are Key Components for the Future of Companies

Þórhildur Ólöf Helgadóttir was young when she started early and spent time in the countryside growing up. Today she is the CEO of Iceland Post. “I have always enjoyed working and it has never really mattered what I am doing. Whether it was mopping a car repair shop or being CEO, I find work to be fun.” Þórhildur loves living in Iceland and makes use of exercise and sports to reset herself. “We live in paradise, that is simply the case. That's where I get my energy from, nature and the mountains.”

Major Changes at Iceland Post in Recent Years

Þórhildur first started working for Iceland Post in the summer of 2019 as CFO and worked with the previous CEO and other key executives on policy changes for Iceland Post. Since the end of 2020, she has held the position of CEO of Iceland Post. “The journey we began in the autumn of 2019 has been a very successful one. We have overcome quite a few obstacles along the way and continue to do so in a new playing field.”

Þórhildur is the first woman to hold the position of CEO at Iceland Post, which she considers more newsworthy abroad than it necessarily is in Iceland. “In Iceland we have taken incredibly important steps towards equality. I believe that the next steps will not necessarily be based on gender equality, but equality based on all social factors. We are a multicultural society and everyone must be regarded as equal, irrespective of their gender, colour, religion, race, and so on.”

There have been major changes at Iceland Post in recent years. According to Þórhildur, the most exciting thing about the company today is the transformation from being a letter-company to a parcel-company. “Sending letters between companies and individuals has declined over the past 10 years, and we anticipate that it will continue to decrease over the next 5 years. Iceland Post is therefore changing from being a letter company with several parcels to being a parcel company with several letters. Iceland Post's customers therefore determine what sort of a company we are, and we do our best to meet them where they are at.”

The Staff Is Like a Family

Of the various things that have shaped Þórhildur as a leader, she considers her family to be among the greatest influences. “I am a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law and friend. Family is very important to me and has shaped me in many ways.”

How would you describe Iceland Post as a workplace?

“Iceland Post is like a family business. The people who work here are like a big family and stick together as such. There is a high average working age at Iceland Post and a very good atmosphere. That has been my experience since I started and I hope I can help maintain such a working culture.”

Þórhildur considers human resources to be of major importance. “It is the company's human resources that connect people, communities and companies, not the company itself. Human resources need care and nurturance like a plant that grows and thrives so it can carry out its tasks properly. When our people feel well, they are more likely to be able to provide our customers with good service.”

Þórhildur notes that numerous variables have an impact on human resources, and it must be guaranteed that everyone has the necessary means to do their job well. “It is not sufficient to just consider the human resource as employees. We are all human beings and we must take different personal circumstances and characteristics into account. Make use of different strengths and explore avenues for everyone to flourish. Therefore we need great management tools for our managers so that they are able to support our staff and monitor the human resource heart rate at any given moment.”

Iceland Post uses measurements for decision making every day, and Þórhildur considers measurements to be very important. “Corporate governance by nature requires you to be efficient in assessing the future by doing as well as possible in the present. Nevertheless, everything that is done today should be based on experience. Measurements are critical in that regard. Preferably, all employees should have the tools to assess the present situation based on historical data, and work towards a clear goal for the future.”

HR Monitor, a Source of Opportunities

In January of 2020, Iceland Post began using HR Monitor as an additional tool for managers.

“At the time it was important for Iceland Post to know the concerns of the employees, as there had been considerable changes within the company. Monthly surveys open an avenue for managers to do even better today than yesterday. For decades I have used HR Monitor everywhere I have worked as CFO. It is a great tool for monitoring my human resources every month. I consider it to be equally important to check in with the staff as it is to settle the company's monthly figures. This management tool opens a direct line of communication to all employees and the possibility of receiving new ideas.”

Could you name some opportunities that have arisen because of HR Monitor?

“There are so many opportunities! In fact, HR Monitor is a source of opportunities. The tool opens the discussion and starts conversations. Employees get to weigh in on decisions and consequently have increased ownership over ideas and projects. Therefore, beneficial ideas and projects are considerably more likely to be successfully implemented. People feel that their contribution is valued. People feel good when they feel they are doing something useful.”

What is your vision for the future of human resource management at Iceland Post?

“The company stands or falls with its human resources. There is a direct link between employee well-being and customer satisfaction, no doubt about it. It is not enough to just listen; it is also necessary to hear and react to what has been said. I believe that everyone wants to show up each day to perform well. If people do not perform well, there is always a reason behind it. The manager needs to have the means to recognize what can be improved and therefore human resource measurements are a key component for the future of companies.”

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The Employees Create the Success - Þórsteinn Ágústsson

The Employees Create the Success

Þórsteinn Ágústsson, the CEO of Sólar, has worked with the company since 2002. Initially, he assisted Einar Ólafsson the founder of Sólar with various tasks related to the beginning of the operation. Since then, Þórsteinn has occupied nearly all roles within the company. For the last fourteen years, he has held the position of CEO. His history with the company has helped shape his approach as CEO.

“I would say there is a certain kind of respect for all functions and tasks within the company, that all functions are important.”

Over these years, Þórsteinn completed an MBA degree which he believes to have been a major benefit to his operation. Þórsteinn has extensive experience in various business-related tasks, but also leads a life full of music and exercise.

“For the past ten years, I have been learning to play the piano and practised singing in various choirs. Also at the top of my list are running, cycling, hiking and swimming. I have participated in all kinds of related competitions, competed in marathon races, the Laugavegur race and completed an Ironman triathlon in Barcelona.”

Environmental Issues a Priority

For a long time, Sólar has been a pioneer in matters relating to the environment, which has been a priority for the company since the beginning.

“We have always been in the lead regarding environmental issues. For example, we were the first cleaning company to get the Nordic Swan Ecolabel certification. Additionally, we have repeatedly been the first to adopt various environmentally friendly methods, that others have then followed.”

Þórsteinn considers corporate social responsibility to be of very much importance.

“Everyone must be responsible for their actions in this world, and companies are of course no exception.”

How would you describe Sólar as a company?

“I would describe it as a positive and dynamic company, full of hard-working and diligent people doing useful and good work.”

A Positive and Fair Work Environment

Þórsteinn believes that many factors contribute to a company thriving. The key component, however, is the employees.

“First and foremost there must be some demand in the market, someone that wants to buy the company's products or services. But in other respects, of course, it is the people who work there that create the success.”

Fostering a positive and fair work environment is of high priority at Sólar.

“Human resource management is absolutely important, especially for us as a service company. Human resources, naturally, is the foundation of all services.”

What is your main focus in human resource management?

“That our employees have confidence in the company and that Sólar is an optimal workplace. We seek to foster a positive atmosphere and ensure that our employees respect each other regardless of what their job at Sólar is.”

Staying Up-to-Date with HR Monitor

Þórsteinn explains that Sólar's employees work all over Iceland and therefore rarely visit the headquarters which are located in Hafnarfjörður.

“Therefore, we previously had a limited overview of our employees' well-being at work and their attitudes towards the company, other than what we heard informally. That was one of the main reasons for us beginning to use HR Monitor. With regular measurements, we are now up-to-date with our employees and have more data to assess well-being and attitudes.”

Before beginning to use HR Monitor in 2020, Sólar had conducted annual surveys.

“We wanted better and more regular insights into how our employees feel.”

Þórsteinn says there were many interesting things they discovered through the measurements.

“For example, job satisfaction among our cleaning staff is higher than we predicted. It came as a very pleasant surprise.”

The results from HR Monitor's measurements have given Sólar valuable information they have been able to use as an opportunity for improvement.

“Now we have used HR Monitor for over a year. We have started to see certain patterns emerge from the results, which give us indications about where changes are needed. To demonstrate, the results revealed that one group in particular within the company seemed more dissatisfied than others regarding certain factors. To address this we hired an additional manager specifically for that group.”

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Occupational Psychology Has Fascinated Me From the Start - Julius Steinn Kristjansson

Occupational Psychology Has Fascinated Me From the Start

Júlíus Steinn Kristjánsson has a basic education in psychology and a secondary education in human resources management. He was the Human Resources Manager for Ölgerðin for a long time, before moving to Matís this year. You could say that he's been leading companies in human resources matters for over two decades.

“I have always been fascinated by human resources matters. There is so much you can find in matters regarding people in companies, as there is no one thing that works for everyone. People are constantly changing, and that is why what worked yesterday is not necessarily going to work today.

What's important to me is to get matters into a professional channel, which to me means that issues are given a voice and that there is value to what we are doing. Empty frills and something that looks good on the surface is not for me. The cliché that human resources are the company's most valuable resources is true, and that's what matters. Giving managers and employees professional support is also something I strive for at work.”

Welcomed in a New Place

Júlíus has recently taken over as the Human Resources Manager at Matís. He says he's been welcomed to the company and that Matís has great people on its staff.

“The people here have initiative, professionalism and a lot of ambition, so I feel at home in this new place. What's on the horizon for me is to get to know Matís' operations. I am also working on drafting a remote work policy, which is something all companies are implementing or have already finshed doing. Furthermore, I'm training managers in how to manage people, especially when it comes to working from home, and the best way to manage that.

I believe it is very important to support our people right now, in particular in light of the changing times. Right now, we are faced with different challenges, and therefore, it is important to work on factors such as: Belonging to a group and creating solidarity. Making sure that employees feel good and that they feel that the company respects them and that all staff is treated fairly. Our staff needs to feel like they belong to a group and feel connected to each other in a situation like the one we're currently going through. Being isolated for long periods while working remotely is, in my opinion, one of the dangers of these new times, and that's why it's important to tend carefully to these factors.

It is also important in my opinion that people feel like their contribution matters and that they have a purpose and clear goals.

New Generation Captivating

Júlíus says that the new generation that works in companies today is interesting because they have different values. Work and personal life have become so interwoven during the day for people. That's different from what previous generations were used to.

“I'm also always curious to know what makes people tick, what drives them and makes them better employees every day.” He says that HR Monitor is one of the tools he uses to check in with his staff and that it is then important to respond well to the results of the measurements.

“It is important to have discussions based on the measurements and to provide managers with support. Likewise, there is often a need to adapt work to the personal life, or vice versa, because the divide between work and personal life is diminishing.”

Increased Job Satisfaction

How is your staff feeling?

“Our job satisfaction is increasing, as is independence and freedom to act. People are proud of their workplace and have an interest in their work. Initiative is good and the same can be said for loyalty. What we need to work on is supporting people who are feeling more isolated than before, as it is more challenging to establish close and good communication today. I want to work more on people belonging in the workplace, and then it would be interesting to put education and career development in the foreground, because that is something that has fallen by the wayside at many companies in this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

How do you use HR Monitor?

“I use HR Monitor's results to monitor the status of factors I think are important to examine. I also use the results to respond to what needs to be addressed and to take action if needed. I don't put the results away in a drawer. Rather I examine the situation, identify the root of the problem and respond, as continuous improvement is important. It is also important to remember to pay attention to what is done well.”

Can you tell me about a few projects that have been created following results from HR Monitor?

“What I mentioned before is what I have started at Matís. In my former workplace, I increased participation by more than 100%, as managers were encouraged to publish the results and discuss them, both what was good and what needed to be improved, in order to set goals to maintain all the good and improve what could be done better. Job satisfaction was high as a result, and we received good feedback from our staff.

I have the same goals here at Matís, that employees respond and receive feedback. I don't want the results to end up in a drawer and responses or actions slept on, as we need to continually improve ourselves.”

Diversity in the Job Fascinating

What Júlíus Steinn loves about his job is that there are new challenges every day.

“I get to immerse myself in Excel analyses and give a talk for a 100 people tomorrow and everything in between.  My success and satisfaction lies in seeing progress in the professionalism of managers and employees. In supporting managers and trying to see progress in the professionalism of management – which after all, is the foundation of any operation.”

Have people always fascinated you?

"Yes, I was going to become a psychologist but was introduced to occupational psychology as an optional module, and after that, there was no turning back.”

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Enjoying one's work makes a difference to our clients - Einar Hermannsson

Enjoying one's work makes a difference to our clients

Einar Hermannsson, Chairman of SÁÁ (AA), states that it is important to pay particular attention to supporting the clinic's staff given the fact that those who seek the assistance of SÁÁ are a fragile group of people who need understanding and care during these coronavirus times.

There are numerous tasks awaiting Einar, and he addresses them firmly, including negotiations with Sjúkratryggingar Íslands ('Icelandic Health Insurance'). Some tasks, however, must be met with humility and the álfasalan ('elf-figurine sale') fundraising is one such project. At present and due to circumstances, sales of the elf-figurine fundraising effort have had to be postponed several times. This has been difficult for operations, as there has been considerable need for services during these difficult times.

“The efforts of all SÁÁ staff have been admirable during the past year. We have experienced all kinds of situations due to isolation measures, both within the Vogur treatment centre and our outpatient facilities. My role in all this is to support our staff and help in any way I can.

To give you an insight into the work we do, the rooms in Vogur are double rooms and we have 60 beds. We have needed to reduce down to 40 admissions to the facility. This has been a challenge, as our waiting list is quite long. And then there is our out-patient department, which has faced the same challenges. We cannot have too many in a small space. We have had to divide into smaller groups and use other rooms, and for a time, we have needed to provide almost all services by telephone or online.

We try as best we can to keep everything going and make every effort to call our clients on a daily basis. Our twelve-step programme has been important for our clients. All kinds of groups have visited us at the treatment centre to provide information on their operations. Such work has not been active during the coronavirus pandemic due to infection prevention, and in addition, we have loaned our premises that have been used for 12-step programmes that have, for the most part, been postponed.

Those who are battling alcoholism need to avoid being alone, and we always recommend that after treatment, clients should re-enter the community and connect with a variety of activities to maintain their recovery. We are, therefore, considerably worried about our people who return home immediately and are thereby more alone than we would wish. We make every effort to provide support, and in order to do so, our staff must be in good mental and physical health.”

Einar has used HR Monitor human resources measurements for some time and says that the tool is important in maintaining the policies that he finds important in the operation.

“We measure on a monthly basis, and this gives us a good view and ability to respond to what needs to be done immediately. Luckily, our measurements have shown positive results as regards staff satisfaction, something that I have placed great importance on in our operation.”

Why does job satisfaction mean so much to you?

“Because when I took over this job, there were a number of thorny issues and the employees had divided themselves into several interest groups. I wanted to set a clear course and get everyone on the same team. I want our staff to know what we do and where we are heading. Most of the work we have been doing as regards human resources has been spent on fixing staff issues, preparing agreements and restructuring our organisational chart.

Human resources are, as the name states, resources. One needs to protect these and nurture them. You will never succeed with disaffected employees. I have been considerably involved in football training, where team spirit is highly important. Each team member is important, but we need to work as a team and help each other.”

What is the best advice that you have received as a leader?

“To be approachable and be trusting. I was once told that being human is special and that no one is perfect. And the fact is, that when something bad happens, you should say so yourself, tell the truth and do so right away.

Honesty is the foundation for trustworthiness, and I feel that employees respond positively in so many ways if they feel that they can rely on their supervisors. There is also the fact that if my staff are happy, services to our customers are inevitably better. This is also incredibly valuable.”

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Without human resources, the company is nothing - Harpa Víðisdóttir

Without human resources, the company is nothing

Harpa Vídisdottir HR mangager at Vordur, says that human resources, well-being, progress, and people's success have always been on her mind. She says it is important to be focused on the people in the company, especially today when the challenges due to the coronary virus are great.

"It is a great encouragement to see people flourish and succeed, so it has suited me well to work with human resources. I have worked in human resources at Vordur for about 10 years and I have enjoyed every moment.

HR professionals are always with a lot to do at this time of the year. We have recently completed our seventh equal pay survey, which we passed with distinction, as equality issues have become ingrained in our hearts and cultures. Scheduled work, human resource measurements, staff support, and special support for the workplace due to the coronavirus, goal setting, and hiring is on our desk these days."

What can you tell me about your main strategy in HR work today?

"We are and intend to be a desirable workplace and we work diligently on that day by day. We always place great emphasis on a vibrant and positive work environment, equality, flexibility, adaptability, and job satisfaction. We take good care of the health and well-being of our people and receive the support of professionals who have never been more important than now in the age of the coronavirus. We have especially focused on aspects such as trust, gratitude, compassion, humility, and respect. We feel that is especially important today where staff have supported each other and made amazing things happen. A new year is ahead with new challenges for workplaces and employees and it is necessary to be well on track in the coming weeks and months. A positive and constructive culture in the workplace must go hand in hand with demanding and progressive projects. This creates a strong team of people who achieve amazing results."

With continuous workplace measurement for three years

When did you start using HR Monitor?

"We started making regular measurements in the year 2016. Since then, we have gone from making measurements, 2-3 times a year to making monthly measurements, but we introduced them in March 2018. We thus have continuous workplace measurements for three years, that is valuable data that tell us a great story."

How do the measurements support you in your daily life?

"The measurements are an opportunity for staff to express their views regularly. Their results give an objective assessment of the status of the factors measured at any given time. By getting such results in hand, we avoid mentioning the gaps or giving ourselves something we do not have confirmation of. It is our goal to work on at least one improvement component after each measurement, so we achieve 12 or more targeted improvements in one year. We also use the measurements to evaluate progress, highlight it, and praise ourselves for it. There is such incredible motivation in the compliment. The HR Monitor measurements are part of our KPIs, so it is important to have monthly measurements."

The results give good indications

Was there anything that surprised you about being measured for the first time?

"Yes, possibly how many opportunities there were for improvement and how different the results were for individual areas. The results gave us good clues as to what tasks we should undertake and how we should prioritize them. Subsequently, it was very encouraging to see the projects become a reality and the results of the measurements change for the better. There were messages from staff about aspects that we had simply not looked at but had the opportunity to change and work on systematically. It is so important to offer such measurements and even more important for us staff to take this opportunity to express our views."

How is the coronavirus affecting daily activities and is it good to measure now due to the circumstances that the virus creates?

"The situation that the virus has created has had a very far-reaching effect, but in our case, all operations have gone better than anyone dared to hope for and we are probably looking at the company's best year to date. The company's staff has been tireless in finding ways and solutions and does not let this situation stop it. We are experiencing more calm over people this autumn than this spring, but we are probably in a little better training in this new work environment. It is very important to measure now in these times as well as others. Having older measurements for comparison is also very interesting. At the company, all measurements have increased in the year 2020 compared to previous years, and job satisfaction, overall performance, and the company's "Vardar Index" have never been as high as now, but the Vardar Index measures employee dedication."

The people who bring business success

What is the importance of human resources in your company?

"Without human resources, companies are nothing. It is the ingenuity of the staff, their courage, knowledge, ability, and diligence that brings us success from day to day. Powerful human resources are important to us and that is why we strive every day to do well and work for fairness and ambition in matters concerning human resources."

What do you hope the new year will bring?

"It has probably seldom been as interesting and exciting to enter the new year as it is now, although it will be difficult to say exactly what awaits us. The challenges will be many and unforeseen, but they clearly offer opportunities. It is my main hope that we as a society will rise again and achieve full health, physical, social, and financial." 

How has your last year been?

"The year has been unusual for us, but at the same time successful and instructive. Different working conditions and new procedures are something that everyone had to learn, but new experiences, knowledge, and lots of new opportunities were created at the same time. It is important to take the positive out of this experience and situation as we learn what could have been done better. Our people have done exceptionally well in these unusual times and for that, we are very grateful."

Do you think HR Monitor should be used in all companies?

"Monthly measurements with HR monitor have proved to be a valuable tool for us to identify opportunities, respond, and work steadily to make our workplace better today than yesterday. I believe that everyone wants to improve and do better from day to day, but in such work, it is important to have clear goals and measurements to support yourself and know which way you are going. Vörður is the Company of the Year at VR 2019 and 2020, but this recognition comes with a clear focus and vision of the goal and the path to the goal. Measurements are the basis for knowing whether one is doing right or wrong on the way to the goal."

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The CFO isn't the one creating the income, the employees are - Haukur Hlíðkvist Ómarsson

The CFO isn't the one creating the income, the employees are

Haukur Ómarsson CFO of VSO Consulting is one of the managers who take great pride in making the working environment in the company attractive and comfortable. He says that in times of the coronavirus, it is more important than before to have all the company's employees on the same page, as it is difficult to sail the company ship in the right direction if everyone is rowing in a different direction.

“In the time of the coronavirus, we also see the importance of our human resources being happy. Because it makes little sense to try to compress the group now if it was not in agreement before.”

VSÓ Consulting is a company with a 60-year history. The company has gone through all sorts of periods like others in their field. The company's human resources consist mainly of professionals who are highly educated people with good knowledge in their field.

Put a lot of effort into training the staff

“We are a comprehensive engineering firm that provides advice in most aspects of construction in the country. The company's customers are of all kinds, individuals, companies, municipalities, and the state. We provide great service and at the same time aim at having a working environment that is first-class for our staff.”

What is interesting about Haukur's position is that he manages the company's finances and operations and also has human resources on his desk. He believes that the money spent on human resources pays off many times over.

“I am very interested in our human resources. We have eight managers in the company and use HR Monitor as their tool to respond to personnel matters. HR Monitor measures the satisfaction and attitudes of all employees and reminds us that everyone matters.”

What do you mean by that?

“Many of the questions remind us that good management is important, and managers need to be reminded to be present for the people in the company. I find that unique. Of course, all individuals within the company are just as important and we must work as a whole, not as small different groups.”

Haukur, who is educated in business, went straight from the university in the year 1997 to work for the company.

“We have a lot of experience in making realistic demands to our people. When we get people straight out of school, we train them and start them off slowly in the projects ahead.

“The demand for our people increases over the years and we don´t want to lose good people at all when they are fully trained. My opinion is that it does not take much effort to praise people and make them feel good. But to be able to do that, we need a powerful measuring device to measure job satisfaction. We measure job satisfaction many times a year and on regular basis. Once a year is not enough in my opinion.

“The thing is, we do not solve everything with good salaries. People do well if they feel good at work and the work culture should be embracing for everyone. A positive attitude and permission to be yourself, allow people to do the best they can at work in my opinion.”

Increased emphasis on employee satisfaction

Haukur says that this human resource-based attitude is increasing over the years.

“If we look at our human resources as a machine, then the machine will not run properly without taking good care of it. I do not believe in pushing people forward without knowing the well-being of the staff at work. After all, we want our machine to last and in good condition always.

“We use HR Monitor to monitor the status of the machine. People do not always find it comfortable to be measured this way. The measurements at HR Monitor are color-coded, as the managers of the company can be green, yellow, and red. Of course, it´s great to get the color green, but there are many interesting opportunities in the other colors as well. All managers have received good results, but when the challenges appear (yellow or red answers), they usually call for action that benefits the company as a whole, so there is no shame in getting a red or yellow color, but an opportunity to do better so that both management and staff can grow and the company as well.”

Everyone in the company matters

Haukur says that in the days of the coronavirus, it is more important than ever to have a cohesive group of staff. Especially since the whole group has at some point been at home and now the company can only have a small part of the staff at the establishment at a time. We are grateful for the successful staff and work ethic for this, and it can be said that previous RU measurements have supported this well.

“We have had to find the right rhythm with our measurements. At first, we measured monthly, but then we found out that we wanted to measure every other month and then go carefully into the results and change accordingly.

“HR Monitor is a kind of thermometer and I think it is of little use to know the heat in the company a few months ago or to take the heat in the company after a few months. I want to know how the company is doing now and have reliable measurements of it regularly.

“I highly doubt we would be where we are today if the group had not been as dense and the people in the group so positive and glad as we saw before the virus. Despite the coronavirus, we are doing as well or even better than before, because of our unique staff and decades of experience of sailing through all kinds of weather, both good and bad.”

Do you think every CFO in the country feels the same way?

“I hope so considering that we CFOs aren't the ones creating the income, the employees are.”

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We can maximize results as a team - Gunnur Líf Gunnarsdottir

We can maximize results as a team

Gunnur Líf Gunnarsdottir is the managing director of Samkaup's HR division. She started working for Samkaup in 2018 in the then newly established HR division and was given the opportunity and freedom to form that division and its role within the company. She describes it a a unique journey. Gunnur Líf is a primary school teacher by education and completed an MBA degree in 2015.

“Recently I have been focusing on nurturing the well-being of our staff and the team as a whole because in these unprecedented times there is a lot of pressure on the first-line. On September 1st, Samkaup started with welfare services for its employees and the service has been well received and is truly unique.

“There are always very exciting projects in progress, including leadership training for store managers in collaboration with Bifröst University, as we have placed great emphasis on the education and training of staff. The labor market is constantly evolving, and the emphasis is changing.

“It is therefore important that companies offer the right opportunities and conditions for employees to increase their knowledge and skills.

“We consider this one of the best ways to create opportunities for growth at the work. Employees need to see these opportunities and do what they can to develop and maintain interest in their line of work because working on what interests us and which we're skilled at has a significant effect on job satisfaction.

“This December we launched Samkaup – a store at hand - an app where employees play a key role in getting and using the app first before everyone else. We offer our employees increased benefits and loyalty benefits that greatly improve the lives of our poeple. We hope our customers take the digital journey we are embarking on as our staff has already done.”

1400 employees around the country

Samkaup is a company with multitude of stores under various brands.

“Samkaup operates Nettó, Kjörbúðin, Krambúðin, and Iceland all over the country. Samkaup employs about 1400 people. A very diverse group of people, ranging in age from fourteen to eighty; people who are from 20 different nations.

“The main emphasis in Samkaup's future strategy is to have an advantage in competition based on HR and corporate culture, which is reflected in the knowledge, skills, and unique services of employees that reflect the image that is in all of Samkaup´s brands. It is not often enough said and written that human resources are the most powerful resource that companies can have. All managers should be guided by this when building and promoting increased opportunities for employees, nurturing the culture and work ethic in each place.”

When did you start using HR Monitor?

“We have used HR Monitor for one year now and the measurements have proved to be very good for us. We have put measurements in the air every other month and now that it´s a year, it´s nice to see how things develop in a positive way.”

What has been interesting about the measurements?

“Of course, it´s fun when everything is going well, but what´s interesting is that when things are not going so well we can intervene immediately with support and sometimes stronger action. Examine what is behind it and continue to assist the relevant manager. It is also interesting to see changes, when job satisfaction and overall performance go up and know what actions are behind it.

“HR Monitor asks about the well-being of employees in the workplace and satisfaction with management, work ethic, career development and asks employees open-ended questions. In this way, all employees have the opportunity to give their boss feedback, the workplace, and the work environment as a whole. We have set our sights on making our people feel good, so it is extremely important to have clear measurements behind it, more than once a year, to see the real situation each time.”

What do you do with the result of the measurements?

“The results of the measurements are reviewed with all managers after each measurement. Then the development is examined and, where appropriate, goals are set to continue working to increase people´s results and job satisfaction”.

It's good to have a foundation in data and not just one's feelings

Gunnur Líf says that many things have changed in the company since they started measuring.

“It is very important to be able to build on data and not just a sense of how things are going. Samkaup has over 60 offices, so it is crucial to get the position at each office and individually for the company as a whole. Being able to have conversations with our people based on real-time measurements has proven to be very good for us, and then to see when we intervene, how the measurement supports the development.”

Would you like to share a story about HR Monitor?

“The most fun part of the measurements is when the compliments shine through and we see how close the Samkaup team really is. At the end of each survey, there is an open-end question and through them we often get good ideas from our people. We have already taken some of the ideas that come from the staff and put them into practice.”

Gunnur Líf says that there are not many surprises associated with the measurements, but it is good when they see positive support with what they are already doing.

“It was interesting to see the development through the coronavirus over time. In March and April, job satisfaction has never been greater, everyone were joining forces and working as a team. Then we saw that people were getting very tired at the end of the first wave so we were able to intervene with the second action package to handle the situation and we encouraged for example our people to take summer vacation.”

Gunnur Líf is of the opinion that everyone knows their strengths and weaknesses best themselves.

“Although we are not good at acknowledging them to others. We can often be quick to judge other people, but it is not always the right assessment we give to others. I believe that those leaders who excel, work with their strengths, and add to their team the strengths that conflict with their weaknesses. It is so interesting no one does anything alone, but as a team you can maximize success.”

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A new situation calls for new solutions - Harpa Sjöfn Lárusdóttir

A new situation calls for new solutions

Harpa Sjöfn Lárusdóttir, office- and HR representative at 66°North, started working in 2005 at one of their stores in the capital's largest mall. She soon became the store manager, later moved on to finance and eventually obtained the position she currently holds within the company.

“66°North is a progressive company and I am proud to belong to a talented team within it. I am very grateful to the management for having faith in me and providing me with opportunities to grow in my job.”

Obviously, there's a lot of hustle and bustle going on right now at 66°North since the holidays are always the busiest time of the year.

“There's plenty for us to do at our stores and we have, like before, hired staff specifically for the holiday season to deal with increased workload at our stores. We have likewise expanded our customer support team in order to service the increased number of customers who contact us.

The 66°North Academy is a project we are very proud of. There we promote exercise, well-being, and training of our staff. We have held an incredible number of inspiring challenges this year via the Academy to promote staff health.”

Health as a priority

Harpa Sjöfn says that it is important to consider people's energy during peak hours.

“In December, we have a kilometer challenge where we encourage our staff to exercise every day until Christmas day. Employees wrote down their goals and then the kilometers they ran. That was very fun and inspiring. We have an Advent calendar where one door opens each week and the staff get little presents. These days we are also preparing Christmas presents for our staff.”

What is the main reason why people should focus on HR today?

“This year has been very challenging and difficult for everyone. The pandemic has led us to face new challenges. The past has shown that it is important for us to pay attention to our human resources. Like so many others, we've had to react quickly to changing circumstances and adapt to the government's recommendations at any given time. We have tried to find new ways to strengthen the team. One example is our wellness challenges, through which we have found opportunities to engage everyone regardless of location and capability since anyone can do as much as they feel like. Throughout last spring and summer, we got good participation and that gave us the feeling we were encouraging people.

“It is so important to continue monitoring the well-being of employees alongside the changing working conditions in the coming months. In all of this, it is important to do everything we can to ensure our people's well-being. Likewise, if someone isn't feeling allright, it's important to have the resources to deal with it. 66°North has for example been in a very successful collaboration with Healthcare advisees.

“We have done several new things this year to accommodate our staff. Examples include increased flexibility where we have found solutions for those who cannot work from home along with helping those who can with their workstation setup.”

HR Monitor gives a good overview of the situation

Harpa Sjöfn says that monthly HR Monitor measurements give a good overview of the state of affairs at the 66°North.

“The measurements give us a good overview of the company's heartbeat, of how people feel and what they are asking for. In this way, we can respond more quickly. Managers are required to focus on this tool and use it systematically to do better. Numerous improvement projects have been launched based on suggestions from HR Monitor. During last management meeting we considered what could be improved based on the results. The solutions we came up with resulted in higher scores in the measurements that followed.”

Celebrate good performance together

Can you tell us a pleasant story about HR Monitor and how it has been useful to you?

“We have seen remarkable progress since we incorporated HR Monitor into our workflow for example the changes in the managers' priorities which people appreciate. Each month, managers review the results with their team and then again at a management meeting, where they go over the things that can be improved.

“When the coronavirus struck, increased transparency became essential. We responded and we started using video meetings via Workplace which we were very pleased with it.”

Harpa Sjöfn says it is important that companies are as sustainable as possible in the environment in which they operate.

“We need to find ways to do better for our people, the environment, equality, the economy, and giving back to society.”

If you had one wish for the coming year and your employees, what would it be?

“My wish is that the nation gets vaccinated in the coming year and that my colleagues can celebrate their scores together. After all, the people have done so incredibly well in this demanding and difficult year.”

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