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.”