CEOs should talk less and listen more
Dedicare is the largest healthcare staffing service in the Nordics, and operates on nearly every continent. When Great Place To Work ranked their Norway office the Best Medium-sized Workplace in the country, CEO Bård Kristiansen invited 20 of their 90 employees to the stage to share the honor. And now, with 100% scores on many statements, Dedicare Norway has earned its place as one of Europe’s Best Workplaces, too. Their secret? Humble leaders and highly motivated employees.
“Having a culture of trust has had an enormous positive impact on our business,” Bård says. “Our people-oriented business depends on experienced personnel, so retention is extremely important for our financial results. In the past five years, we’ve had practically no turnover. We’re able to keep all the competence within the company. As a result, sales and EBIT have been extremely positive. Now, the staff is really proud to work at Norway’s Best Workplace. This will only encourage them to stay longer. The internal culture is only getting stronger. We’ve gained market share for 19 quarters in a row in a highly competitive business area.”
Berit Tromsdal, Business Manager for Dedicare Nurse, explains how that pride extends far beyond the bottom line, too. “When I talk to my friends, I realize how different my workplace is from theirs. I never worry about going to work. There are no workplace conflicts. We work on building a strong culture every day, and not just at events. Teamwork and team spirit have a high priority, and we celebrate both small and big victories together.”
Learning from insights
Bård says his employees are his greatest teachers. “CEOs need to talk less and listen more. My employees have taught me that if I give them responsibility and truly trust in their capabilities, the company achieves so much more than it would if I was making all the decisions. For the past 5 years, we’ve continuously run a Leadership Development Program. All 20 members of our leadership team are great, and it shows.”
But don’t take Bård’s word for it. Berit sees the value of Dedicare Norway’s leadership, too. “We consistently communicate a framework of standards. There is no authoritarian leadership. Leaders are open to suggestions, even in the decision-making process. And the continuous Management Development Program strengthens leadership at every level.”
The motivation motor
What does it take to keep employees motivated? Berit says it’s about putting competition in the right place. “We are competitive in the marketplace, but we do not compete with each other. Work teams thrive in meeting market demands. Team spirit is good, social competency is high, and we take good care of each other.”
Bård says that motivated staff is everything, since they can help the company achieve anything. “A motivated staff creates better growth, better results, a better working environment, and more creativity. A leader’s main role is to keep the staff motivated. I want my colleagues to experience a feeling of mastery every day. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my staff being successful.”
Enabling genuine ownership
Bård has plenty of opportunities to congratulate his staff on their successes. Every morning, he walks around and greets everyone. “I have never seen myself as more important than the rest of our staff. Changes, ideas, and improvements come from staff, and I execute. It’s a working environment in which all staff feels genuine ownership in their job, and to Dedicare as a whole. A leader who believes he/she is more important, or better able to make the right decisions, will fail.”
Berit confirms that Bård’s theory is working. “At Dedicare Norway, everybody is responsible for the work environment. Suggestions for changes or even new business areas can come from anybody in the organization. We may not act on every single suggestion, but they are always welcome, and we make sure this is communicated. Which is again a source of motivation.”
Ask the questions
Bård once received some advice that guides his actions. “A great leader asks the questions, and challenges you to find the solutions yourself. That may seem like pretty basic leadership theory, but it really motivates me. Allowing my employees to find the answers themselves creates much more motivation and ownership than answering all their questions for them.”
Want to be a Best Workplace like Dedicare Norway? Listen more than you talk. Create motivation that drives creativity. And enable your teams to truly own their work and their decisions.
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