Towards a new organisational culture and improved profitability
A new organisational culture started to take shape in 2019 in the wake of big structural changes at VEO. It is no coincidence that the ingredients of change, i.e. a new approach to leadership and people management as well as new working methods to develop the company’s tools and processes, can all be retrieved from the company core values. During the autumn, the transformation of the work culture became concrete, especially in VEO’s massive process development initiative; the TOP3 project. In the project, the employees were widely involved in developing their own working methods and processes.
What is the TOP3 project?
Hanna Myllymäki, Director of Process Development and Administration at VEO, leads the team having overall responsibility for vital functions such as quality, process development, HR, health & safety as well as environmental management. The team also manages the TOP3 project, initiated in autumn 2019, in cooperation with designated process owners.
“The short-term goal of the TOP3 project is to identify quick cost-savings with short payback times, whereas the long-term strategy is to increase process efficiency, develop new tools and improve the usability of the tools we have available. In this way, we will lay a solid foundation for VEO’s profitable growth”, says Hanna Myllymäki.
“The entire TOP3 project is based on working together in workshops, and always involving those who best know the process in question and actually do the work.”
The TOP3 project is divided into three subprojects: Sales, Project management and Engineering, with each having different types of process development needs. Also, the process interfaces with other processes, such as production and sourcing, are included in the development project. Each subproject has its own project group with a designated process owner and representatives from each business unit involved.
“The entire TOP3 project is based on working together in workshops, and always involving those who best know the process in question and actually do the work. By doing so, we ensure that our employees’ commitment to the change process will be successful and the new working methods will define how things are done at VEO.”
For the same reason, it was important early on in the project to assign process owners for sales, project management and engineering within VEO to ensure uniform procedures and the observance of important process gates and checkpoints. In addition, important key persons from each business unit and function were chosen to work in the development project.
Important recruitments for key positions
In 2019, VEO continued actively its recruitment campaign, both internally and externally. This helped us to ensure there would be experienced leaders in many of the leading positions, with the skills to steer us through this important time of change.
“I would say that there has been a major change in our work culture.”
“We made well-planned decisions and added new areas of skills and competence to our organisation. Through new leadership and people involvement, I would say that there has been a major change in our work culture, which is moving towards more openness, personal engagement and working together to find the best possible solutions.”
Good reception and commitment to a new work culture
According to Hanna Myllymäki, the level of commitment and trust in the new way of working remains high; people have started to realise that anyone in a team has a chance to develop their work and working methods.
“Our employees are very interested in the new way of working together and we believe that it creates trust. They look forward to hearing about the latest results within the company, and their attitude to applying new tools in their work is all in all positive. We have also witnessed a positive spiral where new practices have spread and resulted in other improvements.”
“Everybody in the company is kept well-informed. There are clear targets. The need to increase profitability is openly communicated.”
Other reasons to explain the successful change in our way of working are due to openness and clarity in VEO’s communications. Everybody in the company is kept well-informed and has access to the material produced. There are also clear targets when it comes to VEO’s financial position. Moreover, potential challenges and the need to increase profitability are openly communicated throughout the organisation.
Employee satisfaction says it
Looking at the company’s financial turnaround, we can say that the changes made in 2019 were necessary and well-motivated. Proof can also be found in the annual employee satisfaction survey for 2019. Despite the tough year of reorganisation, uncertainty and cooperation negotiations, overall employee satisfaction throughout the whole organisation remained unchanged at the previous high level. Moreover, the performance of team leaders and supervisors notably improved, the confidence in VEO management increased. According to the survey, over 90% of VEO’s employees would recommend VEO as an employer to their friends and acquaintances.
“Despite the tough year, overall employee satisfaction throughout the whole organisation remained at the previous high level.”