Values as a foundation for Raisio’s leadership

Raisio Group, an international company specializing in food production, wanted to unify its leadership activities through shared values. The company involved its entire personnel in defining its values. This resulted in an increasingly profound view of value-based leadership.

Business impact

  • The company’s value-void was replaced by courage, fairness and enthusiasm
  • As the entire personnel participated in the value definition process, a better understanding was gained of value-driven leadership
  • Values provided the basis for new leadership principles

When starting his work 18 months ago as the President and CEO for the Raisio Group, Pekka Kuusniemi was surprised by the lack of shared values.

“Value-based leadership supports the building of a joint company culture, and, in cases where a small-sized company has several subcultures prevailing at the same time, it can suffer a major loss of intellectual capacity”, says Kuusniemi.

Everyone’s activities are steered by strong values, be they supervisors or employees with no subordinates. In addition, values are a major competitive factor in recruitment.

“If a company fails to communicate the purpose of its existence, and its values, to young professionals, it will certainly fall behind in the competition for the best experts”, says Pekka Kuusniemi.

Raisio launched the building of its new target values in cooperation with Talent Vectia.

Involving the entire personnel

The building of new values kicked off with a workshop including some 15 participants, which generated six values in compliance with Raisio’s company culture. These provided the basis for value-related discussions conducted by the supervisors with their teams.

“Since the discussions were held as per team, participation was close to 100 percent”, Merja Lumme, VP Human Resources, is pleased to say.

Talent Vectia assisted the company in preparing the supervisors for leading the value-related discussions.

“This proved to be an excellent method to start the journey of value-driven leadership. The consultants also carried out the whole process skilfully in other respects, which is why I have recommended them to a number of my acquaintances,” says Kuusniemi.

An important part in gaining a better understanding of the process was played by an online self-study material tailored to the needs of Raisio’s personnel. These were also translated into English, Russian and Polish.

“The study materials helped everyone to personally analyse what values mean in relation to their own work”, says Merja Lumme.

Values are highlighted in leadership

As a result of the development project, the previous value-void was replaced by courage, fairness and enthusiasm, which will help the company find the best employees when striving for growth.

The process itself was more significant than any verbal expressions, because it clearly showed what value-based leadership means in practice.” — Pekka Kuusniemi ja Merja Lumme, Raisio

The workshops conducted for the personnel proved to be so significant that only one of the original six suggested themes was retained.

What was much more important, however, was the fact that the personnel realized the fundamental meaning of values.

“It is extremely important that the process covers the personnel in its entirety. This generated a significant process: people started thinking what value-based leadership really means in practice”, says Kuusniemi.

To prevent the formulated values from stagnating into mere proclamations, the company also embarked upon developing its leadership principles with these values as the basis.

“Based on the workshops’ results, we were able to define our leadership principles, which sum up the nature of our work in a concrete form, says Kuusniemi.

As an example of these concrete results, he mentions the effect of courage, which was on the agenda from the very beginning.

“This means that we are making increasingly effective efforts to improve our competitive position, instead of just relying on old practices.”