Helene Hasselskog on: Transforming the workforce for a greener future

Helene Hasselskog on: Transforming the workforce for a greener future

  • 40 minutes
  • Candidate Experience, Talent Acquisition
  • Ep 21

Demand for green skills is growing—but not enough people are taking care of green transformation. This has led to an overall skills shortage, whereby there’s a mismatch between business growth and available workforce.

How can employers hire for competencies in the green sector and shape a new labour market dynamic? 

On this episode of How We Hire, we invited Helene Hasselskog to talk about her expertise in hiring and retaining green talent across borders.

Helene is Sweco’s Chief Human Resources Officer- a company focused on providing architecture and engineering consultancy services internationally, with a particular emphasis on green transformation. Tune in to pick up Helene’s best tips on addressing the green talent shortage.

Key takeaways

  • Breaking past the traditional recruitment model to hire for green transformation
  • Why you should treat talent acquisition as an ecosystem
  • How to account for DE&I when you’re in a rush to hire in a talent shortage
  • Step-by-step approach to identifying core behaviours in candidates with specific skillsets

On the show

Helene Hasselskog (2)-min
Helene Hasselskog Chief Human Resources Officer at Sweco Group
Linnea Bywall
Linnea Bywall Head of People & Operations at Alva Labs

Helene Hasselskog

  Helene Hasselskog is an experienced HR Director and Chief Human Resources Officer at Sweco Group. Her knowledge lies within HR transformation, talent management, workforce planning, and organisational development. Her combined experiences have made her a strategic thought leader within HR. Today, Helene is spearheading the Green Revolution and is creating a lasting impact through her line of work.

Linnea Bywall

Linnea Bywall is a former NCAA athlete turned licensed psychologist – and Head of People at Alva Labs. Linnea was recently listed as one of the most inspiring women in tech by TechRound and was featured as one of the 22 Innovative HR Leaders to follow in 2022 by AIHR Academy to Innovate HR. 

From attracting and hiring to onboarding and growing Alva's employees, Linnea's main mission is to change the world of hiring every day by challenging biases in recruitment.


Show notes

-Tips on ensuring organisational alignment when working internationally-3:08 
-How the global skills shortage is part of the problem when it comes to climate change-5:49
-Breaking past the traditional recruitment model to hire for green transformation-7:56
-Reconsidering the competence criteria within certain roles-9:18
-Process of attracting former employees back to work for you again-10:16
-How Sweco Group’s hiring process differs depending on the hiring track-12:20
-How to identify core behaviours in candidates with specific skillsets-14:19
-Addressing the talent shortage problem by hiring employees for shorter cycles-16:28
-How to bridge the gap between TA and HR-18:18
-Best tricks for workforce planning-19:59
-Biggest mistakes companies who face a talent shortage are making today-25:43
-Tips on how the TA team can make a lasting impact in their day-to-day roles-27:22
-How to account for DE&I when you’re in a rush to hire in a talent shortage-28:39
-How can an organisation set the right salary for highly specialised roles-33:10
-Trends shaping TA and the hiring space going forward-35:26

How We Hire Podcast Episode 21 Transcript

Helene (00:00):

When we went into the pandemic at that time, we had a little bit of an oversupply of competencies going out of the pandemic. We had a deficit for scarcity. That means that we need to think differently. The talent market is no longer in the hands of the employer, it's in the hands of the employee. That means that we need to little bit re-skill ourselves and we need to re-skill our managers in terms of how do we come about the talent acquisition question.

Linnea (00:31):

Welcome to How We hire a podcast by Alva Labs with me, Linnea, licensed psychologist and head of people. This show is for all of you who hire or just find recruitment interesting. In every episode, I will speak with thought leaders from across the globe to learn from their experiences and best practices within hiring, building teams and growing organizations.


Our guest on today's episode is Helene Hasselskog, CHRO from Sweco Group. Helene is an experienced HR director with several senior position within enlisted companies across different industries. Her deep knowledge within HR transformation, talent management, workforce planning, organizational development, just to name a few, has made her into the strategic thought leader within the HR [inaudible 00:01:20]. She also happens to be the person that I call when I get stuck and have no clue what I'm doing in my job. Today, Helene is spearheading the green revolution and creating real impact through her strong leadership. Welcome to How We Hire, Helene.

Helene (01:32):

Thank you so much, Linnea. Excited to be here today.

Linnea (01:35):

For the listeners that don't know Sweco and what you're doing there, can't you just tell us a little bit about the company and your role?

Helene (01:41):

Sure. Sweco is within the... We're purely consultants a little bit more than 20,000 spread across Europe. We are all, not me myself, but all the other ones are engineers and architects and environmental specialists, meaning that we are very much into the green transformation that we're all facing. So that's basically what we're doing.

Linnea (02:00):

And what's your role there?

Helene (02:02):

I'm in charge of HR. I've been here since 2020. If we look at the challenges that we have ahead, it's basically about making sure that we get the right competencies going forward. I would say that's my daily task and also my long-term task to make sure we make that happen, that we get the right people in place.

Linnea (02:17):

I would love to hear a little bit, how does the HR organization look at Sweco?

Helene (02:23):

We have a very decentralized model in Sweco. We operate in 13 countries and all countries have their own HR department and they report to their business, our manager, meaning the country manager, and they have adopted line to me. We believe that this decentralized model, I mean it has served us for the six years that we've been around and so far we've been successful every quarter. And we believe that the decentralized model is part of that because it gives the local organization a lot of accountability, but also responsibility for the results and being close to the client and making sure that the client is happy. So the HR organization is distributed. I have a small team supporting me here in Stockholm of eight persons, all subject matter expertise. But apart from that, we have HR directors in all countries.

Linnea (03:08):

And how do you make sure that the different business areas and the different countries are aligned and following what you want them to follow?

Helene (03:18):

So it's basically not just my call if we start there, but there are of course some parts that we do believe that we need to align upon. One of them is the brand, meaning both the external brand but also the employee brand. So that is one part that we are kind of serving them with. And the way we work with that is that we create a framework and then together with the countries, because they're always involved in everything we do, we believe in a very iterative process when it comes to developing all the areas that are important to us. So we do it together and then we ask them to implement it. And as they've always been a part of that creation process, that's usually not a problem, but that's also crucial that we do so. We've found our way of working in terms of my co-creating all the time in all the areas.


And another part that we always align upon is the leadership. I know we will get back to that later on, but that is also part which is both crucial to our success but also extremely important that we in a little bit work in the same manner because we believe in a certain way of leading. So we want that to come across in all the countries. And of course when it comes to some parts of the conversation benefit, that's also something where we need to make sure that we work in the same manner in all countries as well.

Linnea (04:28):

So creating together, iterating. So that's already part of their DNA when it comes to rolling out and actually implementing?

Helene (04:36):

Yeah, exactly. So that's the way of working that we have created together and being through ups and downs In this process of creating ways of working, we've found this one to be very successful. It's a little bit more lengthy, it takes a little bit more time, but we've found out that this is the best way to make sure that we capture all the needs that is up in the business and not just coming from group telling people what to do. That's usually not a good recipe for success. So that's become our way of working. And there are other areas as well where we work together. For example, when it comes to the performance appraisals, when it comes to the succession planning and... Because when you look at the digitalization, that is also something that kind of calls for more of a common way of working. And once things get digitized, you might need to work more together to make sure you get the scale out of it. So that's also some parts that we have very much co-created, how do we want to come about this?

Linnea (05:27):

And I mean, you mentioned helping them with what they need and what the problems they're facing. And I guess one of the most pressing problems for you, for your team and for your entire industry is the talent shortage within the green wave. So should we jump into what is the current state there? How are you holding up?

Helene (05:49):

Yeah, the status is desperate. No, I'm just joking. If we look at the challenges ahead in terms of the climate change, there was a report released, I think it was this week. Yeah, it was the 20th of March, saying that we are at risk of not reaching the goal of decreasing the temperature 1.5 degrees as was set out in the Paris Agreement. The reason for that is both our own behaviors in terms of not working in the right direction, but also the skill shortage that we face. To be clear, there are not enough people taking care of the green transformation. There are not enough engineers to make sure that we transform into fossil free energy sources like solar, wind, and water. That is a huge problem for us. So we are holding up, last year we employed 4,000 people within the whole organization. Those 4,000 people is also a consequence of a rather high personal turner and also a consequence of that grow and the market asks us to grow because I mean, as I said, the competence is needed.


We are on the track, but we want to grow as much as we do now and we want to make sure that we can serve the market with the competency it needs. That means that we will most probably also this year employ another 4,000 people. But still that is a challenge and the recruitment is a part that is done in all countries. However, we do need to... And we do support them locally, especially in ways of working and in ways of thinking, being more creative about this. But I would say that they are doing a really good job out there in terms of making... I mean attractive, but also in terms of thinking a little bit differently than the traditional way of just recruiting. That's very much part of the success. And if you look into how we do that, because we are in a pretty bad situation in terms of... I mean there is a scarcity and there's a big need and that drives the movement on the market and that also drives the salaries a little bit in the wrong direction.


And when the salaries increase, we also need to increase the prices, meaning that the green transformation gets more expensive. Maybe we can live with that, but we also need to think outside of the box in terms of how we source and how we make sure we get the right people. First of all, retention is of course the most important part for us. I mean, we want people to stay and I can get back to how we work with that as well. But I think that the way we look at talent acquisition is more like an ecosystem, if you like, where recruitment is one part, but we of course look into how can we work with gigers. I mean the pandemic and the way you're working in terms of globalization has opened up the talent market in making it much bigger. So we're not limited anymore to the local market in terms of talents.


So that is extremely important for us to get the gigers on board as well. In certain projects, especially when you need very specific competence. It might be so that we don't have it or we want a higher volume of it. So that's the solution that we tend to work more and more with. But also consultants, I mean we are consultants, but we need to hire consultants ourselves in some parts. We also work with sourcing. We have for example, an offshoring. We have for example, a company in India that supports us with a lot of competence and also now we are opening up in Poland because they're very good at designing, especially when it comes to infrastructure. So they are supporting us there. But then we also look into how can we reconsider the competence criteria that we have within certain roles. I think we all need to do that and be a little bit more creative about do we really need that certain competence on that very level and that experience or can we kind of up-skill people that are fairly new coming up from the universities and technical high schools.


And one other thing that we're also looking into, we have engineers that have kind of the old kind of engineering competencies, so we need to look into how can we re-skill them. So that also becomes a kind of source for us in terms of competencies. So that would be mainly the most important part we're working with. And in addition, we are also looking into how can we get people back, we call them boomer eyes, but we track people that have been working for us and we ask them to come back on. We have a process for that in some countries, which I think... And that's extremely powerful when they come back again to us and that happens on a regular basis, I think we are really happy about that. We can attract them again.

Linnea (10:14):

What does that process look like?

Helene (10:15):

It differs from country to country, but if I take a country that is extremely good at this, that's Belgium, they hold track of all the people that have left. They tend to call them on a regular basis. I don't know whether that's every six months or whatever it is, I don't know, but something like that. And then they have a lunch with them or go for Fika. Fika is very popular word in our European company because that also states that we're a Swedish company, which tend to be popular so that's what they do. And then they tend to get back to people on and on and then eventually people get back. They've done it in a very methodological way and they have it in their calendar to get back to that on and on. We are also looking into, in some countries, hiring people without having a vacancy for them because as we know, our business is expanding, our services are needed.


That means that we can rest assure that there will be a demand for it so we can look into hiring people without having a specific job for them. That doesn't happen in all countries, but in some countries that are extremely aggressive in terms of growth, I mean growth for us... I mean, just need to clarify that growth For Sweco means more people basically. There are other ways as well, but basically so what we also can do is to, we can acquire another company with a certain competence that we need. So that's also way of solving it. But the underlying structure in terms of not having enough competencies in the whole market, that is still a problem, but we're trying to tackle it from different angles.

Linnea (11:45):

Super interesting. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense and I think it boils down to this problem can't be solved with one solution, but rather it's, as you said, it's an ecosystem. So it's retention, it's keeping the talents, up scaling the talent that you have. It's being creative in where you find talent globally. And also what type of profiles, what type of employment. So if it's an employee, a consultant, a giger, and just double clicking on the employee versus consultant versus giger, how does your hiring process differ for those three categories?

Helene (12:20):

So again, that differs from country. I can say that some countries have the giger part as part of their talent acquisition function. Some countries have it as part of, I mean the manager's task, it might be so that the talent acquisition purely is working with recruitment in some countries and in some countries they do it from a manager's perspective. So that differs and both seem to work.

Linnea (12:45):

So if you look at the... I mean I guess it will also differ a bit, but that's still interesting, the hiring process in general at Sweco, how does it take all of these challenges into account? Can you walk us through the general process?

Helene (13:00):

There is no general process for the recruitment. What we have is that we always... As I said, the recruitment is local. We do support from group with some parts of the process, but not with the whole process. But one part that we have found extremely important is something that we have developed that we call the Sweco core behaviors. Because what we believe in is that the consultancy role calls for some specific competencies and certain criteria. So what we usually do is that we assess the candidates against those behaviors that we have set out because it takes a little bit of a different skillset or behavior skillset to be a consultant, you need to be listening, you need to be more close to the client interested in that.


You need to be analyzing, you need to have a little bit more managerial skillset set to make things happen and also have the holistic view, but also attention to data. So it's a little bit combination in terms of competencies. So that is one thing that we are offering the countries that they can kind of use in their recruitment process. I would say that's the most important part to making sure we get right competences. When it comes to the technical skills that is basically done locally and should be done locally. And that's kind of left to them to decide that we are on the right side there.

Linnea (14:13):

And those core behaviors, how did you identify them and how do you assess them?

Helene (14:19):

So that was before I joined Sweco, but it was very much done again, in the IT process together with the business and presidents in each country. We asked them what kind of behavior do you see as the most successful one when being a consultant? After having done that, we set together all the competencies that we believed are the right ones. It's funny because when we showcased that, that was just when I started, we showcased it to our CEO, Asa Bergman, and we said, so those are the skills that they believe out there are the right ones. And she said, so where is the working with people part here? And that was so funny because I mean she's been extremely successful in this company for 32 years and she knows what it takes to be a consultant and create success. So we added that to the tasks that we wanted to see and we are currently using SHL in that assessment. So that is what we are working with currently.

Linnea (15:12):

So you assess those skills with a psychometric assessment?

Helene (15:15):

We do.

Linnea (15:16):

Interesting. And I think the point you make here that it was the CEO that added the people part I think that calls to how challenging it is to actually identify what is needed for a role. Because I think we often talk about biases and subjectivity in the assessment part and forget that it's also present when it comes to the finding out what we need part.

Helene (15:40):

Good point.

Linnea (15:40):

That you will note down that these are the aspects that are essential for the role based on what you think is essential for the role because it's still like we're humans and then that will be the foundation that we assess based on and the not only assessing in the wrong way, but also analyzing the role in the wrong way or not wrong way, but just again, we're human and we tend to be subjective and I think that's something that is overlooked a bit. Okay. So Sweco is not obviously alone in this talent shortage problem. In your mind, can companies adapt to this talent shortage using more gigers, having the shorter cycles of employees? How should that work? How can we leverage those aspects?

Helene (16:28):

Yeah, I think we need to first of all kind of acknowledge that this is the new normal and not ask for anything else because I think this is what it's going to be in the future. First of all, I think it's important to have a strong culture inside and work on that and also have a strong onboarding process. I think that's extremely important. Well, to make this be pretty fast, but that also calls for an inclusive leadership, meaning that you need to have leaders that pretty fast can include new members on the team and also to welcome diversity and other ways of working and other ways of thinking. So that is something that you can foster within the company, but you can lose out in those more of short cycles in terms of employment or assignment. That is also the knowledge sharing, especially for a business like ours because we sell competence and expertise.


So we need to make sure we find structures to make sure that the knowledge gained is right when people leave and then that you can do with systems or in other ways. But I think it's important for us to look into that as well. How do we make sure that we keep the competence within the company? Although every project for us is unique, it might be so that when you're building a bridge, you might... From the other bridge you built as well because there might be something there. That might be a bad example, but just to... So basically inclusive leadership, onboarding and also the knowledge sharing is part that are being affected that you need to look into a little bit differently given the short assignment and employments.

Linnea (17:51):

I was talking to some recruiters the other day where we touched upon the challenge of sometimes TA being fairly excluded from the rest of the HR organization, that it's two different beasts. And I think your answer really shows how important it is to have the holistic view and that everything goes into everything and that collaboration needs to be super tight. How do you do that?

Helene (18:19):

I agree to that. It has to be very tightly integrated and the TAs also have to be very tightly in HR as well, but of course has to be extremely tightly integrated into the business. Having said that, I think it's important also to acknowledge that there are different competencies that you have within TA and that you might have within HR. I think that if you're within TA, you're more like a hunter in terms of your personality and you want to close the deal in terms of making people get them into place. That's just one differentiation that we need to make. If we get back to the business, we need to work close to the business and understand what the needs are of the business, also in the long-term perspective, because if you look at the consultancy business, it's very much driven. I mean, we are in the quarterly business as we are listed, and we are very much here and now.


And the main purpose or the main focus that we have is to serve the clients today. And we do not ask our managers to look into the future and we need to take care of that in somewhere else, maybe within the business planning process or the HR. And the HR has to be part of that TA as well. So I think it's important to have a structured process for the workforce planning. And that could be whether you do it yearly or weekly or whatever you do it, I think it's just when the magic happens, when you kind of look into the business closely, try to understand where it comes from and especially with the demand is in the future, and then TA and HR can kind of serve you with what's needed walking into the future.

Linnea (19:48):

Can we jump into the workforce planning both for a bit? So what's your take? How does one successfully do it? Give us your best tricks.

Helene (19:58):

I think that... Well, I've done my mistakes here to be honest, but I think the takeaway and the lessons learned is don't over complicate it. So we made a extremely ambitious process here that we thought were excellent and the business were like, okay guys, this is too complicated for us. And we were like, okay, but we tried to make the best we could, right in the-

Linnea (20:18):

Wait, wait, wait. This is super, super relevant. Let's learn from the mistakes that someone else has made here. Why was it too complicated? What was it that didn't work for you?

Helene (20:30):

I think we went too far into details in terms of do you want a giger or do you want a consultant or do you want somebody sourcing? They were like, I don't know. I want somebody who knows this very specific part of transport and the rest is up to you to solve. So I think we in a way shoved over the problem to the business, whereas they just wanted to more think in terms of, okay, so what do we need to make sure that we have more wine power, solar power, whatever water power, and the rest is for you guys to sort out how does this solved? So we need to leave to the business, be specific about the competencies, but the solution sits somewhere else, meaning TA, if that makes sense.

Linnea (21:09):

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I also think that to some extent make or creates a situation where TA will need to have a seat at the table where they could actually be truly supportive of the organization and solve the actual problems that manager has banging their heads against the walls for.

Helene (21:28):

Yeah, and I think it's a question of from being reactive to being proactive. I mean this market calls for that. When we started, I mean one year ago we understood that this will be a tough market when post COVID, I mean we are not post COVID, but we are at least a little bit out of the pandemic. We understood that there will be a huge movement on the market. We need to cater for that. And at the same time we wanted to grow and then we needed to think of, okay, so how do we organize ourselves in terms of TA? How do we make sure we get that growth that we want to? When we went into the pandemic, I mean it might be a little bit exaggerating, but at that time we had a little bit of an oversupply of competencies going out of the pandemic.


We had a deficit for scarcity. That means that we need to think differently. The talent market is no longer in the hands of the employer, it's in the hands of the employee. That means that we need to a little bit re-skill ourselves and we need to re-skill our managers in terms of how do we come about the talent acquisition question. One thing that came very apparent to us during this kind of growth work that we did last year was that we as manager, including myself, we might be for example, a little bit too slow in the recruitment process because we don't actually understand how fast it goes out there in terms of somebody else taking the candidate that we had applied. So that is one example of understanding that there is such a fierce competence out there in terms of talent. We really need to be on top of it every day.


And that is something that has changed the game. And I think that when you understand that, when you have literally lost one, two, tree candidates in a row, then you start to realize, okay, something has changed here. I need to change my behavior to make sure that this does not happen again. And then you can start to have a conversation around, okay, so how do we secure that? We get more proactive and less reactive because we want to make sure that we have good candidates today, tomorrow and maybe the day after tomorrow as well. And how do we then do that? And then you can work more structured and then you can have that kind of conversations.

Linnea (23:31):

So how did you speed up the process?

Helene (23:33):

Some managers, they were all over there, but in one of the countries we decided to have a very bold and aggressive growth strategy, and I was involved in that. I'm usually not involved in the local plans, but I was in that country and I would say that the largest change was when it comes to the managers and make them understand. So we did a lot of... We had workshops with them where they expressed their needs and we were trying to, coming from the other angle saying that there is a fierce competence out there, but it's hard to maybe understand that before you have experienced what that really means in filling your vacancy. So in a way, the reality helped us in terms of changing the mindset because it did happen that we lost candidates because we were far too slow.

Linnea (24:21):

So you mean when the manager started dipping their toe into the recruitment pool and realized it was freezing.

Helene (24:28):

It's something I understand it used to be, very much so.

Linnea (24:30):

The real change was them seeing that and then the managers had to adapt?

Helene (24:34):

Yeah, exactly. And we as well.

Linnea (24:37):

What was that adaptation? What did they do differently?

Helene (24:40):

Acted faster. I think that's the largest part. And also maybe changed a little bit the competence criteria because we needed to have that conversations as well. I mean some of the role specs were unrealistic and then you need to have a conversation around that. And I mean you'll be looking for this candidate for two or three years and we still haven't found it. Maybe we should look at it and have a [inaudible 00:25:01] on it, I mean that kind of conversation. And then instill some kind of boldness in terms of looking into less experienced candidates take upon the role of training them, re-skilling them and supporting them, meet a larger maybe onboarding process. But that was something that we needed to work on. Now most of them are super, super efficient in the recruitment process and do understand what it takes. And I think we're all shocked by the new market that we see.

Linnea (25:32):

I mean speaking now of the learnings that you've had as an organization, what in your mind is the biggest mistake that companies that are facing these talent shortage, are making today?

Helene (25:43):

I think it's this. I mean, not understanding the change to talent market and also maybe an inability to think outside of the box because you need to change your way of working, you need to rethink your standard way of working. And also the pace has to be much, much faster than it is now.

Linnea (26:01):

I think one of the challenges with changing how you do hiring is that the feedback loop is slow because you don't really... When you hire someone, it takes a few months before you know it, it was a good hire and then you completely forgot what you said in that interview or what questions you asked. So to some extent, this talent shortage, even if it's real tough one to tackle, I think if we can take that to our advantage and actually demand change in how we do hiring from inwards and outwards and include the mantra in that, I think this can really professionalize TA functions across different industries. So it sucks a bit, but...

Helene (26:41):

Yeah, I totally agree. And I would say that, I mean the TA function in our industry is business critical and I would say the ones that have kind of cracked the code in some countries, they're extremely good at this. Belgium, for example, as I mentioned, and UK as well. I mean they are so close to the business and they do understand every part of it. And they have people designated for different competence areas because you cannot be kind of all over the place in terms of... I mean working with environmental specialists is something else than working with the infrastructure specialists, for example. So you just need to make that differentiation in terms of the TAs as well.

Linnea (27:15):

I think that's one of those things that we hear a lot. You need to be close to the business. What does that look like on a Tuesday in Belgium for the TA team?

Helene (27:21):

I don't know how often they sit down together, but it's very often, I wouldn't don't know if it's weekly, but something like that. What they do is on a regular basis they touch base and say, Hey, so those are the candidates we have and this is the need of the business. What are the needs of the business? Have they changed throughout the week? Do we have any new projects and a new assignments and a new vendors, sorry, and anything new that comes in? And then they discuss it, how do we staff those projects and are there people out in the market? And the good thing here is that the TAs then do have the talent market at their fingertips, meaning they know what they can expect from the market and they know what is defined and what is not defined. Since they have this continuous dialogue with the talents that is out there, they basically know who to call if they are close to the business.

Linnea (28:07):

And I guess that's the power having it distributed model where it's not Stockholm that caters Belgium's talent needs. That makes a lot of sense. So if we then put the diversity and inclusion lens on all of this, there's too few candidates, too many projects, too much of a hurry to solve all that. How to also make sure that you hire a diverse workforce and include those people when they join.

Helene (28:39):

I mean, first of all, we need all the competence that we can get no matter background, the sex, gender, whatever it is. As you started with saying, I mean, we can assume that all of us are biased in some way. So using assessment tools for example, is one way of making sure we have as much as we can the non-biased process. So that is one part also making our managers aware of, I mean there is something called biased, meaning that we tend to hire people that look like ourselves so that it's also kind of a knowledge that we spread. We acknowledge that the pandemic has rewritten the rules for leadership and all that. So what we have done now is that we have looked into the leadership statement, if you like, that we have and said that there's some kind of... There's a little bit different leadership skills that are needed and one of them is to make sure that you are including, I wouldn't say that that wasn't necessary before, but it's even more important now that you can work with different nationalities, different ways of thinking, different gender, whatever it is.


And you need to welcome that in a certain way and how do you make sure that everybody feel included. So that is part of our training. There is also more to it in terms of how do I create a psychological safety in my group or in my team. And that is also something that we are looking into. Somebody asked how we can be so successful because it looks as if we're just hugging each other, but then we earn a lot of money. But I think the winning formula here is that yes, we do hug each other and we care for each other, which is one part of it, but we're also extremely demanding and we do hold each other accountable. And I think that kind of combination is also something that we are carrying out in our leadership and trying to fast forward as much as we can and try to be much more clear on that. And being inclusive is part of that leadership statement that we now have set forth and also will implement the coming months.

Linnea (30:40):

I think just to build on that, to your point, it's always been important, but now it's higher stakes because we have the global talent market to play with, but also, that means that we will have more diversity and then combination with this distributed ways of working where people are hybrid or remote or onsite or both or neither. You can't just rely on the same tactics, I guess.

Helene (31:09):

Exactly. Exactly. That's the one. That's an extremely important dimension to it. What the hybrid work does with us, and we are looking into that because we have now in a way... For two years, the world has been in some kind of laboratory in terms of hybrid work. And the question is what have we learned from that? There's a lot of thinking and feeling about the hybrid work. It's not that much research on it yet. I mean, we know that if you want creativity and innovation, you should sit together and if you want to be more effective, you should work from home that we know.


But what we are looking into now is that how does the hybrid work? What does the hybrid work do with the motivation? Because I think that's extremely important to look into. What we can see is that motivation is closely related to the billing ratio and working in a positive way, working in a consultancy is extremely important that we get the billing ratio high. That's where we make our money. So if I'm motivated, I tend to build more. That's basically the findings that we've done or the other way around, because it might be a hand and egg problem here as well. If I build much, I tend to be more motivated. And we know that that is so closely related to... Motivation is so closely related to the leadership that is carried out.


So to us, this is a bottom line question. And we are still investigating what the pandemic has done with us in terms of motivation, profitability, we want to learn more about that. So we are looking into each country and ask them what they're doing and what they have been doing and trying to underpin that with data because it's a little bit, again, a laboratory and we still don't know.

Linnea (32:47):

I think this is so interesting and I guess an entire podcast series in its own, but given now we are in the retention bucket. You did mention the talent shortage driving salaries. So how can an organization... Well both set the right salaries of course, but also attract talent when higher salaries is not within your budget.

Helene (33:11):

I mean, we know that, I mean, salaries and compensation of course is important and getting more important than it used to be, maybe due to the fact that we have higher costs at home and the inflation is kind of getting to us all. But I think that it's still a question of can you as a company define a clear why? And I think it has to do with, so [inaudible 00:33:32] and what is your contribution to, I mean, if you want to be bombastic to the planet? And I think if you can define that and if you can articulate that in a way that is attractive, that goes beyond the salary or the paycheck. So I think that's one thing that's important.


If you can also offer a leadership that is attractive, meaning somebody's there to unleash my potential, somebody's there to make sure I get the best version of myself, it's there to make sure I learn and also can contribute in a way that gets into something that's bigger than myself. I think that's extremely important. And for us, it's also we know that people tend to stay on because of the interesting projects that we have. I mean, of course it's cool to work with the metro in Paris or in Stockholm or whatever it is, or the energy island in Denmark. I mean there are so many cool projects that we're working on that I would love to be part of. And that's basically also something that we know the cooler projects that we have, the more we see people tend to stay on.

Linnea (34:33):

So just to summarize, clear purpose, having strong leadership and then cool stuff to work with?

Helene (34:40):


Linnea (34:41):

I'm nodding heavily here. You can't obviously hear that through your headphones right now, but I'm nodding heavily.

Helene (34:47):

And maybe add to that your opportunities for course, because we know that's extremely important. Well, you want to grow right in the company.

Linnea (34:54):

Yeah, and I mean that's fantastic with being in the large organization where there's probably a lot more opportunities to really stake our career paths and so forth. If we start wrapping things up a bit. So I mean, as you said, the talent markets has changed. We now need to speed up our processes, be better, dance with the candidates a lot more. What do you see shaping the trends or needs for talent acquisition and HR for the future?

Helene (35:26):

I think we will work closer and closer to the business because, depending on how much people are important to your business to make sure that you make your money, that will also kind of dictate how important HR will be to you going forward. So I think it's a greater importance for HR and that also might mean that we need to step up in a way, make sure that we need to first of all understand the business and also make sure that we underpin all the decisions and the proposal that we'll make with data. I think there's something there for us to improve but not lose out on our origin competencies in terms of making good judgment calls, I mean understanding things that might be between the lines and all that that we are really good at already. But I think there's a little bit of shift in terms of how we can contribute to the business.

Linnea (36:19):

So what would be a message that you want our listeners to take away from this conversation?

Helene (36:25):

We live in an extremely interesting world, and it goes so fast and there's so many changes. I mean, it happens almost every day, things that we didn't believe would happen. So I think it's super important to stay close to what happens and I think of how does this affect my ways of working? Do I need to rethink my plans, my way of working? And also to be bold to do so, and also be kind of maybe obsessively curious about what happens outside to make sure we don't lose out on any opportunities or challenges that are out there.

Linnea (36:56):

I think that's a good note to end on. Thank you so much for joining How We Hire. It was a pleasure listening to your thoughts, picking your brain. I always learn so much when I talk to you.

Helene (37:07):

Thanks, Linnea. My pleasure.

Linnea (37:08):

Thank you. So hope you want to listen to this one and the coming episodes of How We Hire and connect if you want to continue this discussion. Bye bye.

Helene (37:19):

Bye now.