Building A Workplace of The Future in Finland: Musti Group, part 1

musti group

WorkingWith AgileHR

With all we do at Peoplegeeks, our goal is to positively impact and together with our clients co-create a healthy working environment. We’re especially proud that, even after a long time, our clients come back to us, ask for help and are ready to share about their experience with Peoplegeeks.

This time, we met Mira Jokinen– HR Specialist at Musti Group Oy, leading pet specialty retailer in Nordic countries. During a very good discussion over a cup of tea in their headquarters, we talked about how AgileHR story started at Musti Group and how it looks like to be in the frontlines of building a workplace of the future.
It’s very important to share this kind of story with all those who are still unsure about their AgileHR journey and even more so to ones thinking about where to start.

Thank you for having us, Mira. Could you please tell a bit about yourself and your background in HR?

I’m Mira Jokinen, currently HR Specialist at Musti Group. I started my HR career at Musti ja Mirri Oy, Finnish branch of Musti Group, working as an HR Assistant in Tampere office.
After that, I became an HR Specialist and moved to our Helsinki office. This work also brought responsibilities in multiple HR projects. I was given a chance to work with Nordic-wide projects and recruitments at Musti Group.

What HR is Doing Isn’t Only “An HR Thing”

There’s a lot of talk about agile and it’s already old news in tech industry. However, agility in HR is just gaining deserved momentum. What does AgileHR mean to you?
Previously, we were using traditional HR methods in our daily work, operating just as any other organization’s HR department. Once we got introduced to AgileHR, this was bound to change for good.
In AgileHR, everything is based and built on trust.

Oftentimes people forget that what HR team is doing affects the whole company, not only a few people in the team itself. In a concrete example of Musti Group, changes in human resources were backed by not only team members but also store personnel, line, sales and logistics managers. Everyone was involved in changing the way organization is working and not only by filling quarterly surveys but by taking an active role as project members.
That’s what it should be- working and resourcing together to build a future-proof organization.

How and when did you first learn about AgileHR? What were your expectations and thoughts at the time regarding agile methodology?

Changes in leadership and new HR Director gave the team a new direction. Everyone was supposed to learn about AgileHR and its application in everyday work. Just as with any change, this one wasn’t easy either. Luckily, nothing has been such a game-changer as AgileHR trainings.
That’s where all the great HR changes have started.

At that point, I didn’t know what to expect. How we did things in the past was very much day-to-day oriented. Only when I got a little bit deeper into the core, I realized how many endless possibilities you have with AgileHR, both as an individual and an organization.

Getting Started with AgileHR

Could you briefly describe AgileHR training process you went through?

Considering we were new in AgileHR field, so I had the comfort of not knowing. We had a Skype kick-off to get to know what’s our knowledge base at that point. We didn’t know much.
Next phase included 2 half-day sessions where we put all of our processes on paper and made small notes. This phase was very significant to me because I saw how some very simple HR processes were unnecessarily complicated. We had lots of employees, we have people joining us all the time and these processes were taking up so much of our time.

We spent some time describing processes we had. It was obvious that we had to re-think them. The most important thing to train was mindset and asking ourselves “WHY?”. Even when we thought that some step in the process needed to be there, this question was crucial- Why does it have to be there? This was a course-changing time.

What are the things that you consider most beneficial in AgileHR?
Process design.
The most beneficial thing with AgileHR is the way you design processes anew and do development on the go. You have the time to do new things, see if they work and make tweaks. Working in an agile way means working in shorter time increments.

It’s easier to reflect and say: “Okay, this wasn’t working the best, let’s change it.” and then you change it. Compared to completing a project and only then realizing something doesn’t function the way it should, this is less of a pain.
Of course, in our line of business and in this country, we need to consider different circumstances. Each region and store have their own reality and we must take all those factors into account.
This change isn’t cheap or painless but two years ago, without this switch to AgileHR, we would’ve still had new expensive systems in place, but we wouldn’t know how to use them fully and take the most out of them.


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