Creating great employee experiences – the key to an attractive workplace

29-03-17 16:26 | Digital banking | About Nordea | The Digital Hub

The way we work is constantly changing, and all kinds of workplaces face many challenges related to managing today’s tremendously diverse workforce. It’s a workforce with very different needs, one that is used to, and demands, new technology, and one that is inspired by creative environments. The challenges are also highly relevant for the financial sector. However, while adapting to new needs and demands, the part of the workforce that operates in a more traditional way must not be overlooked. Nordea has to accommodate all of it.

When I started my career, I had to be at the office at 8 o’clock. Every day. I would arrive at my desk, where I had my stationary phone, my computer, my monitor, my pencil cup, and where pictures of my family were taped to the wall. I would mainly stay at my desk and work from there all day. I would be opening letters, answering the phone, and then leave at (exactly) 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Would I prefer to work that way today? No, is the simple answer, because it no longer matches the nature of my work and lifestyle – or that of lots of other people. 

Inspired by Disney

A working environment is not just about furniture and buildings. It’s about the experiences gained during your working day. At Nordea, we want our employees to give great customer experiences, so we also need to make sure that our employees get great employee experiences too.

In our quest for the new “Nordea working environment experience”, we wanted to take our inspiration from the best. We looked at organisations in our own industry, at inspiring startups, and at companies in Silicon Valley. And then we looked to Disney – because you always remember visiting Disney World.

I joined one of Disney’s courses and – I can tell you – they are extremely professional and nothing is left to chance. Whether it be how Disney’s visitors are admitted to the venues, how, what, and where people eat, how visitors are “nudged” into certain behaviour, and how people are all treated differently as the individuals they are. We are of course aware that a financial institution is not an amusement park, but I took my findings with me and compared them to how we have orchestrated the experience not only for our customers, but also for our employees, and we embarked upon a very exciting journey.

Times are a-changin’…

Today “my office” is anywhere and everywhere. I can, connected by mobile devices, check in at home, on the bus, or from a café no matter where I am in the world. But, I also still love coming to one of Nordea’s physical locations several times a week to meet my colleagues and to get the energy from them. 

We want to be an attractive workplace that offers a dynamic, modern company culture, and one that nurtures performance at the same time. We therefore introduced Nordea Unlimited – an agile concept that accommodates new ways of working and encourages you to come to Nordea to meet your colleagues. It’s how we work.

During a normal day, we all have various activities planned in our calendars. Some require a quiet or private environment, some require team work, online meetings, normal desk work, or casual conversation. Most of our offices are divided into common areas that are adapted to different kinds of work. All of it is, of course, supported by mobile technology. We have exploration zones where you can relax, meet your colleagues, or hold informal meetings. We have cafés, canteens, kitchenettes, gyms, and in some locations we even offer the possibility of a massage or a haircut. We want to offer a variety of working environments that can be adapted to executing different tasks and which create a better work-life balance. We can see that Nordea Unlimited is not only changing our ways of working – it is changing our entire company culture.

…Now inspiring others

Like the world and the workforce of today, at Nordea we are constantly evolving. While we are still gaining inspiration every day, we ourselves are now also inspiring the workplaces of tomorrow. Over the last couple of years, companies from all over the world, from the Faroe Islands to Japan, have paid many visits to our headquarter buildings and to our branches. We have also had a couple of TV teams here, both from Denmark and France.

These initiatives will help us to deliver on the business, but also make sure that we remain an attractive workplace that can attract and retain the right people. And, we are always looking for new inspiration.

Nordea Unlimited isn’t all we’ve achieved either. Check out my next blog entry for more inspiration.

/Trine Thorn, Head of Workplace Management in Nordea Denmark.

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