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.”