Talouselämä (5/2019) introduced specialities of well-known Finnish companies – things their employees mentioned as qualities for a good workplace, when asked in an interview. Inspired from it, we decided to compare our own specialities to the list.
In the article, the companies were divided into small (20-49 employees), middle-sized (50-499 ee), and large (over 500 ee) companies. Besides the basic info (location, personnel, revenue, and industry), a Specialty is listed for each company. Many of the mentioned things sound very familiar to us and are close to our activities.
Under the category of small companies, Cubic Analytics, for example, have their own fringe benefit system where employees choose the most important benefits for them. At Poplatek, anyone can bravely suggest new and alternative benefits. Latest reforms were the doubling of our weekly fruit basket and new, monthly wellbeing incentives.
Visual Components organizes a yearly VC Day, where everyone participates in strategy work, and have fun together. We also have our own strategy days at Poplatek – last fall we spent one night at Nuuksio. It’s not very common that every employee in the company has an opportunity to take part in the strategy creation.
Furthermore, developing the company is everyone’s right at Poplatek: every few months we get together with the whole crew for a CWR (Company wide retro), where both the past and the future are taken into consideration.
Related to developing the company, Poplatek has so called ‘Friday cafes’. Every other Friday, we come together for an afternoon session, where we go through the current situations of projects and other actual topics. There are also some snacks and special activities, such as coding challenges or presentations, on the agenda.
Newsec brings up their inner social media channel, where everyone can give positive feedback to their colleagues. Poplatek has a similar channel in Slack called #kehu, where we modest Finns can give and receive praises with a lower threshold.
Other similarities were giving feedback to a person who is eliminated from the recruitment process. We aim to give every applicant personal and instructive feedback. Moreover, similar to Pohjolan Voima and Efecte, we also send Poplatekcrew’s greetings to our new employee in the form of our employee handbook, before s/he starts at work.
After reading the list, we really started thinking – What would have we said, if we were interviewed to the article? What distinguishes Poplatek from others? We ended up with these five options:
1) Lunch excursions: If someone knows a restaurant, which makes everyone drool, a common lunch invite is sent. Latest destination was Vallila’s burger place, Bites Burgers, where we headed with multiple cars from our office.
2) Monthly activity experiments: Every month Poplatek sponsors a common activity for those who are interested. Lately we have been for example downhill skiing, at a swim school, wakeboarding, and playing floorball. Midnight run at the end of the summer has already become a tradition. Some of the crazy ideas for the future are a tank drive and riding Icelandic horses. Moreover, some of our overly excited employees from Turku constantly try to suggest activities related to sailing.
3) Pre-Christmas parties in February: As you might have read or noticed from social media, each year we organize our company’s pre-Christmas parties in February. It’s always a party for the starting year. During the last few years, we have travelled more further away. Our latest epic trip was to Rome.
4) Work-jam sessions at the office lounge: Our office is often filled with a mixed group of employees. Everyone takes their own place – on beanbags, couch, even floor – and have their laptops on their laps tapping their work forward. Usually, there’s some music from the radio or from the list of the person who has taken the DJ’s role plays on the background. It’s easy to get help and peer support to one’s own challenges at the lounge. Furthermore, it’s possible to find new musical gems by listening to colleagues varying playlists.
5) A book shelf: We organized a small library at the office. Everyone can now bring their own books here for loan and similarly borrow the books of others.
We value these amazing things at Poplatek, and they truly make us happy employees. However, we think that “a speciality” is not necessarily the best word to describe the above mentioned matters. We have noticed that some of the things on the nice-to-have list have actually risen to our must-have section, so that we can ensure the satisfaction of our employees.
We too have a lot to improve. The article gave us many great tips for, for example, how the whole work community can take part in developing the career and know-how of a colleague. We also listed some ways how to memorize our employees over the years. These processes are constantly developing and good ideas are gladly accepted!
Read more about our company’s history from our 10-year anniversary blog!