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How do company values actually affect daily work life? 

In order not to bore the reader with long philosophical ramblings on what constitutes company values and how they’re supposed to guide our decisions, here are some short examples of how our core values manifest themselves in our daily life at VALA. All these topics and examples come together to create a sense of meaningfulness toward the work we do at VALA.

A. Empathy

Throughout our lives, we all face a wide range of challenging experiences and emotions that may be even crippling at times. In addition to happiness, love and enthusiasm, we also face loss, separation, anxiety and defeat. Therefore, we believe that employers should always face their people empathetically.

Example 1: People at VALA are constantly asked how they are doing. Weekly Feeling Meters, Catch-up lunches, quarterly surveys, monthly events, weekly get-togethers and one-on-one chats are all about making sure VALA people are doing well and if there is any support needed. 

Example 2: When life hits you in the face, VALA urges you to focus on what really matters in life and lifting yourself up on your feet. More than once during my time at VALA, I’ve quite suddenly released my stored exhaustion and anxiety on unsuspecting colleagues. The reaction from my colleagues has every time been to catch me falling and offer their most sincere support and empathy. Knowing you have an entire organization behind you having your back, makes the biggest difference in the world, every single day.

B. People and impact before numbers

Putting people before money has been a core value at VALA since the very beginning.

Example: Although we measure various KPIs in our customer projects to ensure overall viability, what matters most is whether the customer project matches our values and whether VALA people enjoy working in that project. If there are two possible projects for a VALA person to decide from, the most important factor in the decision-making is which project the employee finds more suitable for him-/herself. If this means that VALA has to turn down a more profitable customer project, so be it. People come first.

C. Transparency

We believe that when everyone has a say in company matters, and information and decision-making is transparent, people have a stronger sense of influence and belonging.

Example 1: The company strategy is built together with the entire VALA community. Every year, all VALA people gather together for intense but fruitful events of workshopping our common future and direction at VALA. During these workshops, we decide VALA’s objectives and values for the coming years. The mission, vision, direction and values are decided on together to make sure everyone feels they are topics that they can stand behind.

Example 2: No information within VALA is kept from reach as long as it is within legal bounds. We are also in the process of building our IT-structure more transparent so that most information can be stored within the reach of the entire company.

Example 3: Employee benefits, our collaborators and service providers (eg. occupational healthcare provider and physical wellbeing services), charity causes, and other company-wide decisions are voted on democratically.

D. Life-long learning

Life-long learning and occupational sustainability is reached by maintaining a curious mind towards the world and sharing and receiving knowledge from others. 

Example 1: The communities within VALA provide opportunities for VALA people to share knowledge and learn from each other. The community workshops offer comprehension, support and inspiration to its members by its members. Understanding how others work and the challenges they face, gives a wider perception of the work we do and brings people together.

Example 2: Out of curiosity, Sampo, our QA Lead, followed Teemu, our Head of Operations, for a day to further understand Teemu’s line of work and what his typical day looks like. Sampo now has a better understating of what takes place in managing the customer interface and operating administrative tasks of a company. This makes it possible for Teemu and Sampo to learn from and support each other.

Example 3: Everyone at VALA gets to plan their own occupational development path with as much autonomy and support as they themselves require. Mentors, sparring sessions by Project Contacts, required resources, courses, materials and People Team support have all been created to fulfill people’s professional drive with whatever they need to excel. 

E. Autonomy

Autonomy at VALA means the freedom to decide for oneself as many work related matters as possible and the ability to decide oneself the course of direction in one’s own work. Autonomy requires clear objectives, trust and an active support system.

Example: I know what my high level objectives are for my job. Because VALA is an autonomous organization, I get to choose how I reach these goals with as much support as I require. I decide the following aspects of my work: my schedule, my work locations, the tools I use for my work, how I work, what I work on to reach the above goals, how I measure the progress of my work, the people I work with, etc. This freedom comes with plenty of responsibility but we believe VALA people thrive in this culture.

 F. Sustainability  

Sustainability at VALA means taking responsibility in matters both on an occupational and societal level. Societal sustainability is pursued, for example by fighting climate change and maintaining a dialogue on important topics internally and with the surrounding world.  Occupational sustainability is pursued by maintaining and developing our expertise so that they match the needs of not only today’s work life’s expectations, but the future’s as well. 

Example 1: Societal sustainability is practiced in daily life but also through various campaigns VALA takes part in. These include campaigns such as improving national gender equality in occupational matters through The Dad Campaign/Isähaaste, improving international gender equality by raising funds to Women’s Bank/ Naistenpankki, raising awareness to workplace equality through Work Does Not Discriminate campaign and taking part in Jouluapua to support underprivileged families. Another cause that VALA supports annually during Christmas time is child protection activities through Pelastakaa Lapset ry/Save the Children. VALA does cooperation with the Red Cross Blood Service to promote blood donation with VALA’s own established BloodGroup called VeriVALA. We are also planning on taking part in Me Säätiö’s Kaikille Kone campaign with the objective to diminish social inequality and exclusion of children, youth and families in Finland by making sure no one’s studies are interrupted due to not having access to a personal computer.

Example 2: Societal sustainability is also practised at VALA through fighting climate change as a community. One measure is by taking part in VALA’s Environmental challenge 2019 which encourages people to take more sustainable actions in our private lives. Around 20 people from VALA are currently collecting points and competing against each other in different green initiatives in their daily lives throughout the year.

Example 3: One more example of societal sustainability is to compensate all VALA employees’ carbon footprint for 2019. Every interviewed candidate’s monthly carbon footprint is also compensated by VALA. All carbon emissions for work related flights are compensated at VALA and people have a chance to decline VALA merchandise and donate the money into clean energy projects fighting climate change.

These are just snippets of our life here at VALA. The only way to really experience the values and culture, is to be a part of the community. If these examples felt like something that you could stand behind, feel free to take a look at our Career page for open positions. If not,  we’d love to hear from you, how do your company values manifest themselves in daily work life? In order to continuously develop our company further, we are always looking for new ways to enhance our culture.