Mar 18, 2021
Karin Svenske-Nyberg, Executive Vice President, Human Resources
International Day of Happiness is marked on Saturday, March 20 and this year it couldn’t be more poignant. The day was originally decided by the UN General Assembly when 193 United Nations member states collectively called for happiness to be highlighted globally as a far more significant and important issue.
To mark the occasion, Karin Svenske-Nyberg, Elekta’s Executive Vice President, Human Resources, discusses the company’s approach to addressing employee happiness.
“As human beings, we all have a different genetic makeup, so as individuals we want different things out of life. This makes pleasing people very difficult as one size most definitely doesn’t fit all. We are doing our utmost to make what seems an impossible feat, feasible among our staff.”
“Before the pandemic we acted on our responsibility towards the wellbeing of our teams, but didn’t have a specific happiness strategy. Caring is at the heart of our business, so when the pandemic struck, we understood that if we could support our employees through wellness then they would be happier as people.
“Caring is at the heart of our business, so when the pandemic struck, we understood that if we could support our employees through wellness then they would be happier as people.”
“However, what we took for granted before the first lockdown was the social element and engagement people had when they met on a day-to-day basis; we quickly realized that we had to find new ways of working. What was very apparent early on was that no one had any spontaneous social engagement anymore, so we needed to make a conscious effort to develop our empathy for each other and display kindness remotely. Our new buzzword became ‘self-leadership’ as we all needed to play more of a caring role. Making social check-ins became a part of everyone’s job.”
“Our CEO, Gustaf Salford, encouraged our employees to talk to their team leaders (or with him directly!) about how Elekta could improve its offering and support for each other. It’s about being heard, being part of something and having a sense of meaning that makes a personal difference. We have focused on creating a feeling of belonging. In fact, a global wellbeing survey we ran in December revealed that 9 out of 10 respondents felt that they had been supported by their manager when they needed it.
“We have focused on creating a feeling of belonging.”
“From personal messages by Elekta leaders, to online parties, a toolkit of online events and information resources was created so everyone could try to find something that supported and raised their level of happiness.
Screenshot of a Lunar New Year “virtual” celebration.
“From my experience in recruitment, I know that people watch Elekta and what the business does, so having happy people makes us glow from the inside out. Having potential job candidates contact us speculatively because they have heard employees comment positively about Elekta’s culture makes me proud. It´s great to hear that people want to come to us to be part of a team rather than just fill a job role.”
“Looking forward, we need to continue listening to our employees and stay close to each other despite physical distancing. To be an even stronger company, we need to constantly work to strengthen our culture, values and purpose, while continuing to put our employees in the center.
“We need to understand what our employees want and balance that with the needs of the business to create the best possible match. For the business to be able to sustain a strong workforce, we need to offer an entrepreneurial, innovative, and inspiring workplace. Happy employees make happy customers, so we need to show compassion and never be complacent.
“We genuinely care about our employees and, as mindfulness author Tom Miles famously said, ‘Out of every goal human beings want to attain, happiness is usually the greatest, and chances are it’s the one that drives you the most.’ If we can help our employees get one step closer to this, then we will be a better employer for doing so.”