WithSecure launched Auntie globally. The results have been very good. The multinational company really appreciates the fact that Auntie Professionals provide service in 23 languages.
WithSecure is a Finnish company that provides consumers and companies with security services and products. The company has about 1,700 employees around the world, with about 750 of them working in Finland.
Wellbeing at work is important to WithSecure, as the company understands its value to the employees’ motivation, performance and, above all, holistic wellbeing. Wellbeing at work is also an important theme at the company, because in the cyber-security sector, companies have to compete for the employees and not the other way around. WithSecure wants to be an attractive workplace where everyone enjoys working.
“We want to be a good, interesting and attractive workplace for the top professionals in the industry, since there are fewer competent consultants in this field than what are needed on the market. We want to invest in wellbeing at work and support our employees in the best possible way. Wellbeing plays a clear role in our company,” says HR Specialist Anssi Kuortti, who is in charge of the operational management of benefits and wellbeing-related matters in Finland and, to some extent, internationally.
“I’m really glad that we started using Auntie, although I have to admit that I was first surprised by the results, which were really good. One of the best things about Auntie is the moderate pricing.”
Anssi Kuortti, HR Specialist, WithSecure
Particularly the company’s cyber-security consultants are under a tremendous amount of pressure. They participate in projects at a short notice and usually have to do the work as “urgent”. Consultants have to prove their competence over and over again in each project.
“Wellbeing-related challenges are particularly visible in our company in the employees’ workload and ability to cope. In many units, the pace of work can be quite fast from time to time, which, of course, may wear the employees down. Particularly the pace, rhythm and nature of our consultants’ work come up when we discuss wellbeing at work in our company,” says Kaisa Heiskala, who is in charge of HR-related matters in Finland under the title of Head of Finland People & Culture.
“We, as an employer, can trust that our employees’ voices are heard and they get help when they start using Auntie.”
Kaisa Heiskala, Head of Finland People & Culture, WithSecure
Challenges in managerial work dripple down in the organisation
Both Kuortti and Heiskala agree that sometimes the workload is distributed unevenly among the employees, which is partly due to issues in management.
“All the stress factors of work have come up during our occupational health negotiations, and high variation in the workload is one of them. We want our managers to be able to manage the work in a way that keeps the workload more even, both at the individual and team level. Our company has launched a Leadership Program, the purpose of which is to help our managers lead in accordance with WithSecure’s principles and in a way that ensures consistent managerial work throughout the organisation. One of the most surprising challenges related to wellbeing at work has been how common burnout is among young employees. People in their twenties have high expectations, they want to succeed and work really hard. Unfortunately, they don’t know their limits yet and often discover too late that they should have slowed down earlier,” describes Heiskala.
WithSecure aims to act in a more preventative manner and increase awareness of the early support model. In many cases, the challenges related to wellbeing at work could, at least on some level, be solved by discussing the matter with the employee at an early stage. Only the thing is that this requires the manager – and colleagues – to notice the reduced ability to work and have the courage to address the situation. What is more, the period of wide-scale remote work has made this even more difficult.
Auntie launched simultaneously in 17 countries
WithSecure launched Auntie in the spring of 2021 simultaneously in 17 countries. In Finland and the UK, the service was implemented in the autumn of 2021, after which Auntie was available in 19 countries.
“We first launched the service in other countries, where the need was greater than in Finland or the UK. However, we soon realised that there was also need for the low-threshold Auntie services in Finland and the UK, so we also launched the service in those countries. We’ve received really positive feedback from all the countries,” says Heiskala.
To Kuortti, it is important that Auntie provided the company with material that was ready for use and helped make internal communication clear and meaningful. The managers were informed of the service first, and then everyone was invited to information events in which the service was described in more detail. All employees also received an email directing them to the new intranet page built for the purpose.
“The packages were sent out really quickly. In some countries, the local HR organisations also did very good promotional work. The launch went really well in one go, with no need for additional advertising. I’m super happy and proud about how well the service was received at our company, there clearly was need for something like this. We’ve been given the opportunity to try out different things, which is also a sign of the management recognising the value of wellbeing at work and various services supporting it,” says Kuortti.
“In the autumn of 2021, Auntie was launched in Finland and the UK. The decision to launch the service in Finland was particularly influenced by the partial return to the office and the hybrid working model. We felt that our employees had all kinds of new things to deal with in the autumn of 2021. Auntie provided good support when we implemented the new hybrid working model,” describes Heiskala.
One of Auntie’s greatest benefits is service in 23 languages
Before the pandemic, WithSecure utilised a coaching service that provided the opportunity to book a face-to-face meeting with a working life coach.
“The service was of great help, but since there was only one coach, it was not flexible enough to meet the needs of a large company. In my opinion, implementing Auntie was a logical step after using the coaching service, with the important difference of having access to a global network of Auntie Professionals who help our employees in several languages. People don’t want to use Google Translator when opening up about difficult issues, which is why it helps immensely that Auntie can provide service in over twenty languages. The language selection covers the majority of the languages used by our employees,” says Kuortti.
“In stressful situations, the threshold may be higher for seeking help through occupational health services than through Auntie. Auntie is an excellent low-threshold service that perfectly complements the offering of occupational health care. I can warmly recommend the service to other companies. When selecting the most suitable Auntie package, employees are faced with a tough yet helpful decision, as they have to think about what their problem really is and why they are about to choose a particular package. Even though the package can be later changed with the help of a professional, having to choose a package in the first place helps get a better idea of what the underlying problem might be,” explains Heiskala.
The HR department is also piloting an Auntie analytics portal for HR decision-makers. Kuortti and Heiskala do not yet have any experience in using it, but they commend the reporting view by saying that it looks clear and simple. In the future, accumulated data also helps justify the use of Auntie to company management.
Excellent feedback from all users
“Our global survey revealed that 100% of the users would recommend the service to others – the result was surprising, as services aren’t usually received this warmly. When given the opportunity to answer freely, the respondents said that the use of Auntie is a sign of the company caring about them. Almost all of those who had used the service felt that it had helped. The Stressed Out package is the most popular one in our company, and, according to the survey, the users feel it has helped reduce their stress levels significantly. That, if anything, is an investment that pays for itself,” sums up Kuortti.
“In my opinion, the best things about Auntie are the low-threshold and skilled professionals. We, as an employer, can trust that when an employee starts using an Auntie package, they will be heard and get help,” says Heiskala.
Both Kuortti and Heiskala feel that it builds confidence among the employees that the HR department will never know which employees have used the service. This further lowers the threshold for employees to seek help through the service.
“There’s one more important benefit to Auntie: the extremely moderate pricing. The pricing keeps the service from becoming too exclusive, quite the contrary. It also helps convince the executives,” concludes Kuortti.
WithSecure is a leading cyber-security company that has been promoting cyber-security innovations for three decades. WithSecure has extensive experience in protecting terminal devices and the detection of and response to cyber attacks. WithSecure’s solutions help companies and consumers protect their devices from advanced cyber attacks, data breaches and widespread ransomware infections. WithSecure’s security specialists have participated in the investigation of more European cyber crimes than the specialists of any other company on the market. Over 200 operators and thousands of retailers sell WithSecure’s products worldwide.