Case leadership principles

Campaign on operating culture principles boosted team spirit

What’s the best way to manage organisational culture? What turns eloquently spoken words into real action? In autumn 2015, it was time to see SRV’s principles in action. The principles that foster our operating culture were sent with employee ambassadors around Finland and St Petersburg to be scrutinised and reviewed together.

President and CEO Juha Pekka Ojala came up with the idea in early 2015. “I have been with SRV for more than 19 years. I’ve seen the power of our work community, but I felt that there was still a need to strengthen the principles of working together and shared ways operating,” Ojala says. So, based on the values, leadership principles, and strategy, SRV’s Corporate Executive Team created a crystallisation, which sums up SRV’s successful way of operating. That crystallisation was ten principles, each one assigned to an ambassador and sent on tour around Finland and St Petersburg.

Monday mornings in autumn 2015 marked a nice change of pace for SRV employees returning to work after the weekend. At the beginning of each week, one operating culture principle, crystallising a cornerstone of SRV’s operations, appeared on the company’s intranet. The intranet page also spotlighted the leadership principle ambassador of the week, the principle-themed shirt they were wearing, and where in Finland or St Petersburg they would be travelling during the week. SRV employees were challenged to spot the week’s ambassador, take a selfie with the ambassador, and share the photo on the intranet. Over the course of the week the intranet was flooded with the photos, and on Friday morning a Principle in Action video was released. In each video, the ambassador of the week talked about how that week’s principle guides specifically their work. Engineers had fun creating a desk decoration out of the “do-it-yourself principle blocks” dodecahedron, i.e. a polyhedron with 12 flat faces, with a principle marked on the faces.

Leadership principles 2

From campaign to practical application

After the ten-week campaign, there were plenty of videos, group photos oozing with team spirit, and even an impressive flash mob at Okhta Mall construction site in St Petersburg. “There is no doubt that we all had fun with the campaign at offices and construction sites, but we were left with something more than just warm memories and nice videos. The campaign revealed a work community that really works together to achieve shared goals, inspires one another, and joins forces to build SRV’s future,” says Pirjo Ahanen, SVP, Human Resources.

Leadership principles

  • We drive profitability
  • We provide added value for customers
  • We cooperate
  • We engage in open discussion
  • We learn from our successes and mistakes
  • We support renewal and development
  • We operate responsibly
  • We spark enthusiasm
  • We ensure the quality of our operations
  • We commit ourselves to decisions

SRV partnered with the HR intelligence company Corporate Spirit for the first time to conduct an employee satisfaction survey in late 2015. The results of the survey tell a story of success: the response rate was significantly up from the year before, and SRV achieved the 11th place in Most Inspiring Finnish Workplaces ranking. For the Operations in Finland, the company moved up to the AA+ ranking, and for the entire Group, to the highest AAA ranking in the People Power index. “This level is achieved by nine percent of the participating companies, and the results indicate that we are one of Finland’s most inspiring work places. We didn’t expect this outcome in our first year of participation. The results show that principle-aligned activities are the everyday reality for us – not just a campaign. Our task is to continue nurturing this thriving culture,” Ahanen continues.