May 20, 2016

An atmosphere of trust and responsibility encourages us to make the right decisions

Jenni Santalo

Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Tieto

The Mothers in Business (MiB) network visited my workplace at Tieto a couple of weeks ago. I had just started my maternity leave, but I followed the event on Twitter and Facebook. And I thought that social media captured just what it is like working for Tieto.

My colleague Hanna Reijonen opened by illustrating how we at Tieto have supported progress in women holding management positions. Management currently consists of more women than men. Tieto has many strong policies that benefit all their employees. Being able to work anytime and anywhere has been the biggest advantage for me so far. I haven´t necessarily needed it, but it sure is fun sometimes to work at a coffee shop, at home, at the company's canteen, at the Stockholm office, in a hotel room, at the summer cottage or in our open-plan office. I am sure that freedom of choice increases creativity and efficiency and—above all—makes working more pleasant! And now that I am about to become a single mother, I believe that this flexibility will be even more valuable for both me and my child.

In the Finnish magazine Kodin Kuvalehti, I recently read Saku Tuominen's interview (in Finnish) about Finnish working culture, which I did not really recognize as familiar. School-like work sounded very old-fashioned. I also did not recognize a culture of watching over other people, an inclination to transfer responsibilities to others or an inability to make decisions. It may be true that the need for meetings should be reassessed and that meetings are usually too long, but I was otherwise shocked. With such a working culture, how can we build an inspiring and brave Finland, where people can combine work and family while being innovative and productive? I would not want to be in such a workplace. Luckily, I am not.

Becoming a single mother might feel bewildering at times, but now I am waiting for the arrival of my son into the world with my heart bursting with love. And the fact that I work for a company that believes in an open atmosphere, intellectual freedom and free use of time without hierarchies (Open source culture) has given me the courage to make the decisions that are important to me. I pride myself on doing good work, and I am sure that I will continue to be assigned challenging innovation and development tasks. And digitalization, which was also discussed by my colleague Katarina Segerståhl during the MiB visit, is of course at the core of our company. It promotes the coexistence of work and family as professional responsibilities and social interactions change while business practices and models as well as marketing and sales processes are renewed.

A few years ago, I resigned from Tieto and left for Africa to do volunteer work. Tieto took me back after my trip, believing that I would bring something new to the company, and thus they gave me more responsibilities than before. This shows that trust can also be found in large, listed companies. Trust always goes both ways. In my opinion, the company and the employee must both earn it and create it through their actions.

I am sure that trust and responsibility encourage us to make the right decisions. According to a recent article in Kauppalehti (in Finnish) this kind of culture has taken nothing away from investors.

Freedom, responsibility and results go hand in hand, and Tieto understands this. Thank you to MiB and to my colleague Jessica Diktonius for organizing the event. This kind of support, cooperation and exchange of ideas is exactly what we need!

 

Written by Jenni Santalo.
As she is about to become the mother of a little boy, Jenni is currently on maternity leave from her role as Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Tieto. Jenni can be found on Twitter @JenniSantalo and on LinkedIn.

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