Finnish startups motivating work communities
Good management and wellbeing at work are growing topics. They were also apparent at the recently ended Slush event for startups. We met with three Finnish companies that share the same basic philosophy: When a company’s employees are fulfilled and motivated, they work better.
“Decision-making is an expert’s most important task and a necessity for any organisation. People feel passionate about their work when they feel it is meaningful and when they get to influence and be part of the dialogue. Although good decisions are essential for an organisation, there are very few tools for making them,” says Jaakko Pellosniemi, the founder of Fingertip, a company that specialises in decision-making.
At Fingertip, decisions are seen as a journey, not just as a choice between different options. The company has developed a program that digitalises decision-making and the execution of decisions. In the application, decision-making follows a seven-step process. The participants have clear roles, so that everyone has a firm understanding of their area of responsibility.
“Fingertip can be used to make small or big decisions: decision-making always starts with a problem, challenge or idea – for instance, ‘We are launching our product in South Africa’. After going through each of the steps, from initial idea to final evaluation, the decision-making process is closed. The process can take 30 seconds or ten years,” Pellosniemi explains.
Fingertip has attended several events to share information about how to enhance decision-making. These encounters have produced results: Fingertip has eager customers around the world and in Finland.
The work continued at Slush, which the company attended for the second time, this time mostly focusing on networking.
“Even that involved a lot of decision-making: we decided to be part of this event and have learned that it is worthwhile,” states Pellosniemi.
Emotion metre measures the workplace vibe
Finnish Vibemetrics approaches the internal motivation of employees through their emotions. The company has developed a tool to help determine the real-time workplace atmosphere through employees’ intuitive responses.
From three possible options, the employee selects the emoticon that best depicts how he or she is feeling at that moment in time. The employee can also comment on how he or she is feeling. The emoticon and comment are anonymous and openly displayed in a real-time ‘vibe feed’.
The company believes that when employees see how their peers are feeling and can read their comments, it creates a better understanding of the overall picture. Openness also forces the organisation to change, if necessary.
“Many studies show that management only knows about 20 per cent of what happens within the organisation. The real-time vibe feed brings the familiar vibe at coffee-table conversations to the management’s knowledge,” says Vibemetrics’ CEO, Mikko Ruokojoki. “This helps the employee feel as though he or she is being listened to and that there are benefits to providing comments.”
The service in Finland has some 1 400 users a day. Expansion outside of Finland was one reason the company wanted to take part in Slush, where it had a stand to market its tool and meet investors.
“Slush is a really great event. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Finnish companies and Finns to simultaneously gain visibility and globalise,” says Ruokojoki.
Training and coaching in the form of a game
Another demo point at Slush featured Trainengage, an online training tool developed by Cloudriven, a Finnish startup founded in 2012.
“Organisations can use the Trainengage service as part of various training programs, for example, in change management or in inducting new employees. The objective is to turn training into a game: the training includes, for example, a video that explains something new, as well as tasks set up in the form of a game for each employee,” explains Cloudriven’s marketing director, Janne Haonperä.
The company believes that coaching, and thus the work, becomes more meaningful if the employees can apply the things they learn directly to their everyday life and can monitor their development through an interactive game.
According to Haonperä, the company is determined to expand globally, as Finland is too small of a market for this kind of service.
“Our target is the US, where matters related to wellbeing at work are really on the crest of a wave. So far we have been able to finance our operations and product development using the cash flow from our other technology products. For our expansion, however, we are seeking financing from external sources,” says Haonperä.
Text: Anna Korvenoja