Meet the Swedish company revolutionising the workplace

This week, SI News caught up with Caroline Fjellner, co-founder of &frankly to talk about emphasising work culture and the importance of engaging employees in the process.

Meet the Swedish company revolutionising the workplace
Photo: &frankly

Founded in Stockholm in 2014 by Caroline Fjellner and Peder Nordvaller, &frankly aims to drive employee engagement in the workplace. “Our purpose is to make people happier at work,” says Caroline.

&frankly is a cloud-based tool helping to measure and trigger employee engagement to drive positive change and strengthen culture in the workplace.

Sweden may have a reputation as one of the world's best countries to work in with its gender equality policies and employee perks, but with a growing pressure put on employees to perform and the rise of work-related diseases, there are is still a lot to be tackled.

Photo: &frankly team

Caroline Fjellner and her co-founder Peder Nordvaller were working as consultants and noticed the same patterns and behaviours from employees showing a lack of engagement in their companies. “The traditional employee engagement tools companies we worked with used, such as engagement surveys, were not seen as a positive thing by employees or as something they could use to make their voices heard,” says Caroline.

The fast-paced and stress-inducing atmosphere of many workplaces has repercussions on employees when they feel they are not heard or seen. “Looking at data people are generally not happy at work, as you've seen in the news reporting on the big challenge with people on sick leave and their mental health deteriorating,” explains Caroline.

From this alarming observation, their idea was to create a service that employees would see the benefit of to improve their workplace. “People have so many lifelogging tools. You have smart watches, and you track how many steps you take each day, you track what you're eating. But there’s not that much focus on work even though we spend most of our time awake at work,” she explains, adding that “if we want to feel better we need to focus on how we can change our day to day life at work.”  

Of course, new ways of working and innovations have made life in the office easier. But the modern workplace can still be tough on workers. “One of the issues is that you’re not really treating employees as their whole selves. We talk about bringing your whole self to work, and I believe employees should be seen as complete human beings instead of tools with one specific task,” says Caroline.

Research has shown there are seven drivers for creating an engaging workplace including working in a healthy environment, having a social aspect to work, feeling valuable and recognised, and feeling pride in the company and the direction it is taking. “Having a strong culture and a solid direction going forward, with purpose and leadership, those are the most important things,” explains Caroline.

&frankly believes that engaging employees should not only be for Human Resources to take care of, but for everyone in a company to be involved in. Changing how companies work with employee engagement will make employees happier and drive company success.

“We want employee engagement to be a topic that leaders and teams work on, daily, because it's the core of making a successful company” concludes Caroline.


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Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.