Danske Bank

Supporting supervisors boosts the entire organization

Danske Bank offered coaching to all its supervisors in Finland with the aim of boosting their motivation and coping at work. Subsequent measurements of workplace atmosphere showed a dramatic improvement in energy and motivation.

Business impact:

  • Impressive results in work atmosphere measurements
    • Supervisors and teams experienced rapid improvement in work motivation and engagement
    • Staff became increasingly willing to recommend the bank as an employer
    • Staff also became more willing to recommend their own immediate supervisor

One factor that is essential to any company’s success is the wellbeing of its supervisors. If a supervisor is not coping well at work, then the whole team suffers and loses motivation.

For this reason, every supervisor faces a double challenge when it comes to coping at work. They must ensure not only the wellbeing of their team, but also their own wellbeing. The two are intertwined.

In recognition of this fact, Danske Bank offered coaching to all its supervisors in Finland to help them maintain their enthusiasm and energy at work. Such skills are particularly important in all specialist organisations, where supervisors must increasingly act as coaches.

“The biggest changes affecting working life are actually still ahead. Employees’ expectations of employers are changing all the time, with the traditional top-down style of management losing ground”, says Ville Orava, who is head of retail investments and savings at Danske Bank Finland.

Encouragement by senior management

After an extensive selection process, Talent Vectia was chosen to organise the training. The content of the programme that Talent Vectia tailored to Danske Bank’s needs was carefully developed in close cooperation with representatives of the bank. Danske Bank’s management, HR department and occupational healthcare services were also involved in designing the programme.

The coaching programme was tested in two pilot groups before being taken into use in autumn 2018.

“From the point of view of participation, it was extremely important that senior management encouraged supervisors to prioritise things so that everyone could participate”, explains Hanne Laitila, HR strategy partner for the Finnish market area at Danske Bank.

The training programme consisted of two half-day conferences, complemented with a couple of sessions in small groups.

Between the training days, each of the participants carried out a Firstbeat analysis of their own wellbeing. The wellbeing measurement system developed by Firstbeat Technologies is based on heart rate analysis, and provides information on factors such as the person’s capacity for recovery from stress and exertion.

In addition to the actual programme, Talent Vectia also strengthened the coaching skills of the bank’s HR partners through separate training. HR Partners have an important role to play in maintaining the positive momentum with the help of small-group coaching to ensure that the lessons learned during the coaching are not left behind in the rush of everyday work.

Dramatic improvements in work atmosphere

These efforts are already bearing fruit: a survey of the working environment at Danske Bank’s offices that was carried out some time after the coaching shows that the entire staff and supervisors have experienced a dramatic improvement in the working atmosphere. Both team members and supervisors reported a major increase in engagement at work, and team members say they would now give higher approval ratings to their supervisors and would also be more willing than before to recommend the bank as an employer.

“There has been a massive uptick in many of the indicators we use. We have exceeded our targets in our key indicator areas." — Hanne Laitila, HR Strategy Partner, Danske Bank

Small group discussions were important to many of the participants in the coaching, as supervisors are not necessarily able to discuss management-related concerns with their colleagues in their work.

“Working in small groups made it easier to talk to new people about personal experiences and about influencing and enhancing the work culture. For example, I learned a lot from analysing my own social network and its interconnected influences”, Orava says.

The Firstbeat analysis was also a new experience for many of the coaching participants, and opened their eyes to the importance of wellbeing for themselves and their teams. Some participants were highly surprised to learn from the analysis that they had high stress levels even on the weekends, with low sleep quality and low rate of recovery. All in all, the supervisors were very pleased at having learned to focus on their own wellbeing through the coaching.

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