In 2017, we were successful in recruiting many new talents to our teams. We hire and foster versatile professionals. Our positions are demanding, but they attract people who enjoy the challenge.
We are able to offer our employees competitive contracts, which allow them to develop, learn and take on a wide-range of professional challenges. To keep our experts, we focus on leadership and employee wellbeing, and offer both work health benefits, a nice work environment and subsidies for exercising. The workload can be tough at times, but we strive to be on the lookout for it and offer flexible hours and flexible IT systems to work around it. Despite the hard work, we are happy to see our people in high spirits. A highlight of last year was definitely our annual Christmas party. It was packed with more attendees than ever before to celebrate our successes of the year.
With 80 new people joining us from the UK and 20 new positions in 2017 alone, VEO now employs 450 hard-core professionals in four countries. The international growth we are experiencing brings on three challenges. Firstly, we need to be quick in learning to understand the specifics of each country we are active in: their business culture as well as all technical and safety-related regulations. Secondly, international business increasingly requires developed language skills from our personnel. English has become our company language and in our Scandinavian markets Swedish is important. To this end, our bilingual and multicultural home city of Vaasa is fruitful.
With clear structures and strategy, we can create a globally growing unified VEO, which attracts and keeps the best talents.
Thirdly, a larger organisation also puts pressure on our internal data management and in 2017 we finalised the integration of a new ERP system. For increased efficiency, we need increased system knowledge to be able to smoothly transfer information throughout our different processes.
With more international offices, the need to integrate all of our personnel into the VEO way of working becomes important. Our growth must be planned and coordinated also in terms of our internal processes. With clear structures and strategy, we can create a globally growing unified VEO, which attracts and keeps the best talents. Our expats are an important part of this strategy and we are constantly looking for more individuals who want to go abroad.
2017 also held in store large organisational changes for us. By searching new ways to organise our work, we have sought to meet the challenges and goals of our growing business.
Changes are never easy and require both skills from management as well as patience from each and everyone involved. With the shifts in our organisation, we have put special effort in management training. We believe in leadership by coaching. The idea is that our managers have the time and the ability to lead and support their employees as part of their everyday tasks.
At VEO, we believe in being stronger together, by working on our goals and challenges in unison. Our personnel is an incredibly important resource, which’ capabilities we do our best to cherish, tend to and harness. I think we all enjoy being able to have our voices heard. At VEO we strive to include our people in the decision making, both directly and through different development groups that gather employees from different functions to solve current issues. Of the development suggestions we receive, close to 50% are rewarded.
VEO is only equal to the knowledge of our people and therefore it is important for us to tend to our personnel’s skill development. This we do in many ways. In addition to traditional modes of training, we encourage day-to-day mentoring and guidance, from superiors or between colleagues. Naturally, digitalisation has also helped us on this front, as knowledge can now more easily be transferred and acquired, wherever whenever. With a growing organisation and increased specialisation, especially the transfer of tacit knowledge becomes ever more important to us.