Healthy Leader, Healthy Team

By Sari Ek-Petroff, Learning and Development Manager, VTT

Sari Ek-Petroff, Learning and Development Manager, VTT

In 2017, VTT established a holistic, modular development program to build new leadership. Two years later, all the leaders and managers have completed the program. This has helped us create a common language and leadership culture at VTT. We have been working on main aspects of leadership, including management of your team, yourself and your business.

While a common ground is important, it is also good to bear in mind that we are all different. Each leader has individual strengths and challenges. We use WorkPlace Big Five assessment tool to identify them that enables our leaders to become aware of their uniqueness and to build their leadership on that basis.

"VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is going through a transformation that started when the company redefined its strategy. Culture and leadership play an important part in this shift."

Focus on Well-Being

In today’s hectic world, it is growingly important to pay attention to employees’ well-being and recovery. VTT is a project organization where the workload is uneven throughout the year, which makes this even more crucial.

Well-being is a holistic matter. At VTT, we think that leadership and self-management, physical and psychological health, as well as occupational and psychological safety are the principles of well-being, explains PeppiHärme, well-being manager of VTT. It is important to guarantee all employees a safe environment where everyone can express their opinions without fear of negative consequences. The leaders play a key role in creating this atmosphere.

VTT’s young professionals even hosted the company’s first Gala of Failures this year. VTTers shared their stories of failing and learning from it – openly in front of the audience. VTT wants to endorse the culture of sharing experiences and being proud of what we have learned.

One Step Ahead with AI

VTT is exploring ways to use technology and artificial intelligence to enhance well-being. One of the tools is an application called AlviOne. It uses AI and algorithms – created by VTT – to foresee potential health risks. The analysis coversten different fields of well-being.

The risks are calculated based on the health data from a wide group of users. The application has specific triggers that indicate a potential need for help. When these triggers go off, the user gets an automated message about how to get support. It is then up to them to take the advice or not, Härme says.

Another technical solution is Firstbeat. It measures heart rate variability and provides information about stress levels, sleep, and recovery. We encourage our leaders to use this analysis. It gives data about their current state of health and the right individual measures for recovery.

Well-Being Comes from Within

Leaders at VTT set an example of self-management and well-being. If we want healthy employees, the leaders must feel good too. This creates a culture where we encourage everyone to take care of themselves.

However, the leaders can’t do it all. The organization can offer the framework and tools for self-management. After that, it is up to each employee to use these tools. No one can deliver well-being: it must come from within.

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