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.”