To the reader

The coronavirus crisis posed a challenge for our operations throughout the year and had a considerable impact on the way we all work. For some of our staff members, it meant an increased workload, while others began working remotely or were left without any duties. However, it was fantastic to witness how quickly a large-scale city organisation was able to reorganise itself and manage its service provision so well under such unprecedented circumstances. We centralised our decision-making to a coronavirus team, and the City’s top management was constantly provided with up-to-date information about the prevailing situation. Both internal and external crisis communications received plenty of positive feedback from residents and the City’s staff. Furthermore, the results of a staff satisfaction survey, carried out in the autumn, improved despite the pandemic, and leadership in particular had become better.

A good example of our flexibility was the launch of a talent pool, which allows us to allocate our HR resources to areas in need of workforce. When certain duties disappeared due to the crisis, others were arranged, sometimes very quickly. Hopefully we will be able to take advantage of the labour mobility within the organisations and between different divisions in the future as well, even when we are no longer forced to do so due to a crisis. It is important for everyone to find a role that allows them to be successful. A person’s first job may not be the right one, and nor might the second one. Therefore, if we can make it easier for our employees to find the right fit with us, we will not lose them to other operators. At the same time, we will be able to respond to workforce demand.

It was fantastic to witness how quickly a large-scale city organisation was able to reorganise itself and manage its service provision so well under such unprecedented circumstances.

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, we were able to make progress on our strategic projects. One of these is the joint leadership approach throughout the City, which we first determined together with our senior management level and then began implementing in our operating principles and training. Our approach to management is to mentor our employees, and in its implementation we use success discussions and brief, 15-minute talks. We have also implemented a tool called Onni, which will provide support for success discussions. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, were have been unable to carry out these discussions systematically and regularly face-to-face, which is our goal.

The crisis has shown us that we require more information about our staff: the type of talent we need, the well-being of our staff members and the ways in which we should further develop our skill sets. This has given a boost to our HR system project. The project serves a dual purpose: We will launch a new mobile financial management system, which will have significantly more automated features and reporting functionalities. At the same time, we will also work on a new HR system, which will help us gain an overall understanding of our staff and provide seamless support to our most important HR processes. The areas included in this are hiring, induction, success discussions, rewarding and skill development. 

As the period of remote work went on, we came up with new ways to operate that will inevitably have an effect on our future practices. However, as we continued to work remotely, week after week, we began to miss face-to-face interaction with our colleagues and spontaneous exchange of thoughts. Both are needed to invent and discover new things and to create innovations together. Because remote work has already become an established part of the way we operate, we will be better able to utilise both options in the future, regardless of where we carry out our work duties. When it comes to physical contact with others, at least one important theme is familiar to us from previous years – we work together in order to serve the city’s residents. So how can we, by working together, incorporate their perspective into our work even better than before?

Nina Gros
Chief People Officer