Digital transformation is all about people
7 November 2019
In 2017, SCC patron Stena Line took off on a transformational journey to digitise and consolidate the company’s transactional processes. For Margareta Jensen Dickson, Group Head of People at Stena Line, the journey led to a thriving partnership with SCC member Quinyx, as she took on a holistic approach of the company’s workforce management. “When you talk about digital transformation, you think it’s a technological transformation. But really, it is all about a change in mindset and behaviour of people,” Margareta says.
Margareta joined Stena Line, a world leading shipping company and part of the Stena Group, in 2015. It wasn’t long after the company initiated its digital transformation and started to map out the current IT systems and processes. “We understood very quickly that there was a myriad of IT systems in different regions of the company. A central part of the digital journey is to make good use of your data, which becomes increasingly difficult when you have several disconnected systems that operate in isolation. During this time, I heard that our Danish counterparts had invested in a workforce management solution called Quinyx. Shortly after, I received an invitation to an event from the Chamber that Quinyx was hosting, which encouraged me to reach out and explore whether their system could be a good fit for our wider organisation,” Margareta recalls. After a rigorous workforce management procurement process where Stena Line assessed 16 different suppliers, they recognised that Quinyx was best suited to meet their requirement for a modern, userfriendly solution.
Erik Paulsson, Business Development Manager at Quinyx, explains the idea behind the software: “In essence, Quinyx optimises the matchmaking process between work demand and employee availability. This means including the employee in the decisionmaking process by letting them have a say on when they prefer to work. Not only are the employees happier and more productive as a result, but the business also becomes more resilient. The risk of late shift cancellations decreases and employees stay with the business for longer.” Margareta elaborates: “It makes life easy. In this area, you often have outdated processes, with phone calls to communicate and spreadsheets to plan and execute rosters. With Quinyx, it’s as easy as buying a cinema ticket. There is a simplicity to it, both from an employee and managerial perspective. The feedback from our managers that already use Quinyx is that there is no turning back, that this is the future.”
Flexibility as a motivating factor
According to Erik, employers today need to find new ways of making themselves attractive to employees: “What is a job? What does it mean to be an employee? It’s the employees’ market in many industries and we see flexibility is a motivating factor in job selection, even more so than salary. Including your employees in the process is no longer an employee benefit, but critical to having a successful and happy business.”Margareta agrees: “It’s one of the megatrends we see in the world today. The war of talent, in combination with urbanisation and globalisation has made the labour market global – you can work from anywhere today. It’s a huge challenge to find employees in blue collar industries. This has become a strategic issue and we’re constantly asking: ‘What can we do to make ourselves more attractive?’”
Transforming an organisation digitally also creates transparency in processes and decision-making which, according to Margareta, is a trademark of Swedish leadership. “I often say you should surround yourself with people who are better than you and let them get on with the job. This is Swedish leadership. We give autonomy and believe in people. We don’t micromanage, we simply let people deliver. This is where transparency comes in. There is a shift from knowledge to power, as systems and digitisation allows us to share that knowledge. Swedish leadership is something we should be proud of. Based on what’s happening around the world, this movement will be at the forefront,” Margareta says. Erik adds: “This is a business culture challenge that’s part of discussions we constantly have with C-level executives in blue collar industries. We ask them: ‘To what extent are you willing to incorporate your employees in the decision-making process?’. Not everyone understands transparency and collaboration are critical for future success. There’s often a learning curve we have to take into consideration when talking about this shift and we have to respect the cultural impact a modern workforce management solution has on any business. With Stena Line, our values were aligned from the start, so it was very easy to move from the ‘why’ to the ‘how’ and the technical aspect then fell into place quite naturally.”
There is more to the digital transformation journey than just technology. According to Margareta, it is also about people: “When you talk about digital transformation, you think it has to do with just technical transformation, but there is a lot more to it. It’s about new ways of working, and a shifting mindset and behaviour in people. People need to understand our world is evolving and we need to evolve with it or be left behind.” “When people are onboard, the impact is clear to see,” Erik explains: “Our app gets strong reviews from our users, not only because it is a great app, but because it improves the relationship between managers and employees”.
Relationship based on trust
So, what is the key to a prosperous business relationship? Erik says: “A relationship starts with a common vision and goal, and it leads to a promise that the goal will be reached together and there’s no end to the relationship. The days of selling something and saying goodbye are over. A customer like Stena Line will be involved in developing Quinyx for years to come because there’ll always be a need for feedback and optimisation. For us, success can only be mutual. If Stena Line succeeds, then Quinyx does too.” Margareta concludes: “A relationship is based on trust. If you have made a promise, you stand by your word. It is also about helping each other. If I have the opportunity to help Quinyx succeed and be successful, it will be positive for both of us.”
Margareta Jensen Dickson, Stena Line and Erik Paulsson, Quinyx.