Timur Kärki, CEO of Gofore. Photo: Pauliina Toivanen
Gofore has never done employee based adjustments during their 15 year path. According to Timur Kärki, the co-founder and CEO of Gofore, the might behind last year’s 50% growth in sales and 69% increase in operating profits is in the workplace which was recently awarded as the greatest in Finland.
Four digital designers and coders have gathered around and orange foosball table to stimulate their coffee break with some social athletics and laughter. A modern but cosy open-space office in the heart of Helsinki sends out a warm and welcoming feeling. Not only does it seem that the employees are truly thriving there, but also their expertise has gained praise from the research organization Great Place to Work, which annually lists the best Finnish workplaces. The study involved 151 organizations, which employ a total of about 49 000 employees. This year, Gofore was the winner of the medium-sized enterprise series. In addition to employees’ know-how, the study evaluated the expertise of companies’ management practices.
“Our decision-making is decentralized, working is self-directed and hierarchy is squashed to the minimum. Our aim is to be highly transparent. Employees have the power to influence their own work which steers the whole company’s direction. The enthusiast attitude is experienced and shared together, which gives us the motivation to go forward and grow. Gofore would not be that great of an environment for those who must be dragged along, because the workplace develops itself,” Kärki explains.
People at Gofore design and build electronic services engagingly with their customers. When a company senses the need for digitalization Finland´s best experts are there to give a hand. Even though digitalization has taken massive leaps within the years and even weeks, the values of Gofore have stayed the same during their decade of prosperity, the first value being a great place to work and the second being living from the success of customers.
“Our employees are also extremely aware and demanding when it comes to our values. If we are having a conversation about a new project they highlight how does it make Gofore a great place to work. The ways of communicating must evolve along the way: it’s a whole different mode of communicating when there’s 200 employees compared to 50. At the end of the year 2017 there’s going to be 300 of us in total working in Tampere, Helsinki and Jyväskylä.”
Even though big amount of crafts jobs are on the line to become extinct due to digitalization and machine learning, Kärki sees that a great place to work is created in the hands of artisans – also in the digital era.
“Even a code can be seen as a handicraft, the product or service being created with detailed and accurate work and the artisan seeing the concrete results of his achievements,” Kärki says.
Gofore helps its customers in their digital transformation process by building fascinating digital services and helping the managements of organizations to see and understand the whole picture of digitalization. For Gofore’s customers, it’s critical to see the possible new competition and to understand all the new opportunities that evolving technologies and service platforms bring. One of the most important factors is the way in which the service creation is managed.
“Smart people can’t be guided too much. The new model of leading means providing the best kind of working environment where it’s pleasing for the employees to develop their skills and knowledge. Increasingly, vocation and enthusiasm of the workers are the features that lead the way for both change and success.”
Kärki reminds that transparency is one of the cornerstones of the new awakening business culture. Luckily, it’s also the part that is fairly easy to put in order.
“Many corporations tend to keep their knowledge in hidden silos. We are not afraid that someone else might get advantage of our know-how. Instead, transparency gives us the ability create new things and gain merit out of them,” he states.
Text: Pauliina Toivanen