Employee Satisfaction Leads to Customer and Shareholder Satisfaction

Employee Satisfaction Leads to Customer and Shareholder Satisfaction

Aðalheiður Ósk Guðmundsdóttir has been the CEO of Vök Baths since the beginning of 2021. Vök Baths opened in July 2019. Aðalheiður is a graduate of business administration and holds a master’s degree in innovation and business development from the University of Iceland.

“When I started working for Vök Baths, the COVID-19 pandemic was still in full swing, and the opening hours were restricted from 17:00 to 22:00. I spent a lot of time alone during the day and stayed at the reception until the evening. In retrospect, it was a very valuable time as I had the opportunity to get to know the people in the area as well as the work of employees.

I have long held interest in the service industry and the ideas of frontline staff, which is an underutilized resource of knowledge and opportunities for advancement. During this time, I also wrote down numerous useful ideas, some of which are a part of our project management tool. I also conducted a detailed survey among the residents of the area, and we are still making use of those results.”

Interested in Creating a Memorable Experience for Guests

Aðalheiður is greatly passionate about the tourism industry and has extensive experience in various jobs in the field, both abroad and in Iceland.

“I have been working in the tourism industry since 2008. Back then I was living in London and working in product development with a train company and a hotel. After that, I moved to Iceland and worked for Air Atlanta in the aviation sector for almost seven years. Thereafter, I worked for three years on sightseeing tours at Reykjavík Excursions as a product manager, and was responsible for 200 products with a turnover of 7 billion.” Aðalheiður was also chairman of Stjórnvísi, an NGO that aims at increasing professional management in Iceland.

“What characterizes good leaders and managers is being a good role model. I sought after being the chairperson of the board of Stjórnvísi because of my keen interest in customer experience, that we may reinvent the wheel together and excel internationally. I have for example studied experience design at Akademias, which effectively concerns creating a memorable experience for guests. Experience design is close to my heart and I am convinced that my purpose is to increase the pleasure and experience that people get when travelling to Iceland, especially in the East and for the guests of Vök Baths.”

Vök baths

Considers the East of Iceland to Have Great Potential

Aðalheiður moved to Egilsstaðir from Reykjavík when she started working at Vök Baths.

“I believe that the East of Iceland holds a lot of promise, both for locals and tourists. Vök Baths has increased the attractiveness of the East of Iceland and could even be said to have been the missing piece of the puzzle.

There is a lot of growth in the tourism industry in the East of Iceland, and it is now possible to set up nice packages for people to visit popular travel destinations, such as Stuðlagil, Stórurð and Hengifoss.”

Aðalheiður enjoys living in the East, especially since she loves spending time in nature. “After I moved to Egilsstaðir, I tried my hand at a new hobby, cross-country skiing. There are so many beautiful places nearby and it is a real privilege to live close to beautiful untouched nature. We sometimes go before work, even if it is only for 30 minutes because there are so many beautiful places close by.”

There are many exciting developments for Vök Baths these days.

“Of course, the proximity to Urriðavatn is a big attraction for us, but also the breadth of the beverages we have to offer, from tea to beer. We are extremely proud to have received the Innovation Award (Nýsköpunarverðlaunin) and the Concrete Award (Steinsteypuverðlaunin) which reflect the great creativity and innovation taking place here. It is also exciting to report that we are working on sustainability projects, product development and the task of increasing our selection for our customers. For example, we would like to experiment with offering massages while in the baths, which is an extremely exciting project.”

Vök Group Photo

Happy Employees Lead to Happy Customers

According to Aðalheiður, it is key for companies to prioritize human resources, as it is simply good business.

“What characterizes Vök Baths as a company, in my opinion, is joy, relaxation and a result- oriented team that aims high and sets big goals. Our employees truly matter not least because they drive innovation, improvement, growth, and revenue for the company.”

“We strive to have satisfaction as our guiding principle, i.e., employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and therefore shareholder satisfaction. It is also extremely important to increase the participation of employees and their sense of responsibility, to listen to your staff and their ideas and thus maximize results and job satisfaction.

Increased staff participation has for example been shown to increase operating profit, productivity, competitiveness, quality, staff commitment, income, and most importantly, job satisfaction,” says Aðalheiður.

“We prioritize staff training and are also very willing to invest in our staff, for example with training, to build knowledge inhouse and support the professional development of our people.

For example, one employee has progressed from frontline work to office work in sales and accounting, and now we have invested in a course for this employee to become a Chartered Accountant, in line with his interests and strengths.”

Vök Sunset

Measuring Success in Numbers

Aðalheiður says she is competitive and data-driven, and that she prefers to see measurable results in numbers.

“I would like to mention in particular the success measured in numbers about employee satisfaction based on the results of HR Monitor, the customer satisfaction index (NPS) and reviews from various mediums on the other hand. And of course, increased profits as well,” says Aðalheiður.

Aðalheiður knew about HR Monitor before she started working at Vök Baths.

“So, when I started working at Vök Baths, I decided to immediately implement the HR Monitor surveys. The staff took the first survey in January 2021 for December 2020.”

Solutions to Challenges Found With HR Monitor Measurements

They have received valuable information based on the results of the HR Monitor measurements.

“HR Monitor’s measurements have been extremely useful to us as a confirmation of what is happening inhouse. We were unlucky once and hired a person who, unfortunately, did not quite fit into the group, and it was immediately visible, for example, in the results regarding job satisfaction.”

“With the measurements, we always keep our finger on the pulse of our people and use the HR Monitor results each month. This is a valuable tool and allows the staff to be more involved in decisions and present ideas, which is exactly what we want.”

“One great idea that arose based on the results is the Vök Baths online school that was created for staff. Each year we hire about 12 new employees for the summer period, which presents challenges when it comes to training. The online school has had a very positive effect and has increased the accessibility of training and knowledge for our staff and generated more interest. We have continued to use the results from the HR Monitor to increase content for the school.”