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Pursuing your path – rewards in taking risks

Immediately, I got excited. I knew right away that I wanted to learn more and to see how the team in this area worked. So, I got on the phone and called my manager, asking if he would approve a job shadowing period for one week in Kista. He said yes. So, I put myself out there and waited.

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Angela Rothla 

Head of Inbound Hub Düsseldorf

My Ericsson experience

For the last nine years, I have been a part of the Ericsson Supply team, where I am now working as the Head of Inbound for our Supply Hubs Duisburg and Boras. I have always enjoyed my work at the company, and I truly love being a part of the Ericsson family, where I have experienced a culture of hard work and respect that is strengthed by sincere moments of humor and kindness from colleagues. Of course, with such a big company, everyone in all locations might not share this same experience – development, after all, comes in stages. But listening to Börje's message about implementing more of a people-first mentality, I'm confident that Ericsson is on its way to furthering this kind of mindset – the full realization of it is just a matter of time.

An accidental discovery

One day in late September of 2018, I saw the job ad for Head of Employee Experience Communication and Employer Brand. I had no reason to go to the job ads page – actually, I don't even remember why I opened it! I guess some things are just meant to be seen...

Immediately, I got excited. I knew right away that I wanted to learn more and to see how the team in this area worked. So, I got on the phone and called my manager, asking if he would approve a job shadowing period for one week in Kista (a short flight from where I'm based in Tallinn, Estonia). He said yes – partly, I think, because he knew that the topic this job centered on was an important one for me, and I had many times in the past emphasized my belief in the importance of happy people in the workplace. So, I put myself out there and waited.

Three months later, Sophia Boleckis was appointed to the position of Head of Employee Experience, and I decided that I would wait a little bit longer until March to ask Sophia if she would be willing to let me shadow her for a week. Knowing how busy she must have been, I was fully prepared for a polite "no." I was happily surprised, then, when she emailed me back saying that should would be delighted to show me the ropes of the team's role and share her knowledge and experience with me.

Shadowing in Kista

The actual shadowing took place that May (2019), and it was absolutely a unique experience in the most positive of ways. Sophia was – and is – an insipiring leader, full of contagious energy and really great ideas. Her team is the same way, which I loved, and I really enjoyed how the work was done there. Almost no time was spent behind a desk; rather, members from the team met people in common areas, meeting rooms, and in cafes, ensuring a more peronable, engaging spirit of interaction and collaboration.

Sophia's team was tasked with, among other things, attracting new employees to the company and continuously improving the experience of our people. They asked the imporant questions concerning who we want working in our company, how we can reach them, and, on the emplyee side of things, how we can communicate better internally and empower teams and people to create the workplace experience they wish to have. They actively sought ways to capture insights into how our people think, what they value, and which things they want to see more and/or less of. It was very encouraging to see and hear all the discussions that centered around these topics.

Lessons from experience

For me, coming from a different backround, it was a great learning experience, and it really got me thinking even more about how to improve the workplace experience for our people. While my experiences during my time shadowing Sophia's team were manifold and absolutely wonderful, there are three main thoughts that stand out in my mind:

  1. If you get the chance to job shadow, absolutely do it. We are all busy, and it's easy to get stuck in daily work, but if you have an area you are truly interested in, go for it
  2. Cross-collaborate with different units and teams as much as possible – it really helps your team grow, can inspire new ideas, and also provides you with the extra support of colleagues who might have different perspectives and unique insights
  3. While we do have a new global function that is dedicated to improving and developing our employee experience, Ericsson is no small company, and to accomplish such a feat will require all of our efforts – from acting out our company culture every day, to taking steps to challenge the status quo and introduce new, helpful, people-first ideas, we can all contribute to creating the organization we wish to see
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