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Here, we walk the talk

Well-being is flourishing at Spar Nord. One of the companies that has ranked high for many years is Spar Nord in Helsingør/Hørsholm, where Piet Petersen is creating both results and high level of well-being. There is one thing in particular that the managing director pays attention to.

13. May 2024
4 min
English / Dansk

“There’s no place for egoists here. We want nothing but team players.”

Although diversity is valued at Spar Nord in Helsingør/Hørsholm, it does not extend to egoists. Being professionally skilled is not enough to get hired; you need to have a social gene.

Piet Petersen, Managing Director, and Henriette Schiønemann, Union Representative in the Elsinore bank area, agree.

Together they rejoice at the 40 or so employees in the departments who have reported a very high level of well-being in the bank's new internal survey. And that goes hand in hand with considerable growth, the managing director points out.

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Managing Director Piet Petersen is concerned about well-being.
Union representative Henriette Schiønemann is regularly involved in well-being at work.

Number of people under stress is halved

Finansforbundet's satisfaction survey from March shows that Spar Nord is doing well across the board. Ninety per cent express varying degrees of well-being at their workplace – of which more than half, fifty two per cent, say they are very satisfied. At the same time, a lot fewer employees report feeling stressed often or always compared to earlier. The number of people reporting to be stressed has almost halved from 20% last year to 12% this year.

Jannie Skovsen, Senior Union Representative and Chairperson of Finansforbundet’s Spar Nord Branch, says that the positive development has not happened automatically:

“At Spar Nord, we have worked determinedly with leadership, well-being and stress prevention for several years. There’s every indication that we have found some good solutions.”

Nipping things in the bud

In Helsingør, Piet Petersen has focused on well-being for many years:

"I took over as manager of the department in 2009. It had earlier resembled Roskilde Bank, and the first year was a complete mess.
But after that, I believe we have seen good well-being throughout the years.”

Henriette Schiønemann agrees, adding that initiatives to improve well-being are not only her doing; they often come from the managing director as well:

“Our financial results have improved a lot over the years, and there were times when our colleagues found we were spending too much time on non-customer tasks. This has helped Piet hire more employees with alternating profiles to ease the workload.”
She praises the fact that she is continuously involved as a union representative:

“I really do think Piet walks the talk when it comes to well-being.”
Piet Petersen emphasises the importance of collaborating with the union representative:

“I involve Henriette in a lot of things; she also attends management meetings. We work together to make things happen, and sometimes it's better that she’s the one passing on messages instead of me.”

This would be the case if, for example, small groupings were to start forming, such as if the same people go to lunch together all the time.
“It’s less dramatic if Henriette starts talking to her colleagues about the importance of mingling with other colleagues for the sake of everyone's well-being.”

“We are extremely alert to people who tend to be too egoistic.”
- Piet Petersen, Managing Director of Spar Nord Helsingør/Hørsholm.


No place for egoists here

“When we hire new colleagues, we pay a lot of attention to how they will fit in with our other employees,” he says:

“We are extremely alert to people who tend to be too egoistic. It's important to have a social gene; to be a team player when needed. We’re not willing to jeopardise our high well-being by hiring the wrong people.”

Those we invite on board can expect a high degree of freedom, including the ability to make decisions for themselves.

"With us, you are treated properly and respectfully. If you have the skills, you get the opportunities to do things yourself and exploit the opportunities.”

For example, you don't have to ask Management for permission to leave early:

“It's old-fashioned. We're dealing with adults, and it's their responsibility to assess if it comes together. As managers, we’re not in the habit of wagging our finger and talking down to people; it won’t work,” says Piet Petersen, who sits together with his employees at the first desk to the left of the entrance.

"I want to be accessible and show that I'm part of this on an equal level. I don't need people to speak to me differently than they speak to other people. But of course with respect for the fact that I'm ultimately in charge.”

Going abroad together

Socialising is highly valued, an example is the joint breakfast meeting every Friday. Henriette Schiønemann explains that it is important that everyone participates as much as possible:

“That's why we're not allowed to work from home that day, for the sake of well-being at work. Regardless of your other plans for the day, you try to come in for the breakfast meeting, where we are served freshly made scrambled eggs and more.”

Participation in a joint trip abroad every other year is completely voluntary, but most employees tend to go, even if they have to finance much of the expense themselves. They have visited places like Malaga, Rome and Lisbon and reminisce about it and look forward to it a lot. 

 “I have promised that these trips will continue as long as the majority wants to go. And so far, most have been willing to,” says the managing director.


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