How a culture-first approach makes Solita Sweden a great place to work

Johan Torstensson EVP, Sweden, Solita

Published 28 May 2024

Reading time 4 min

Johan Torstensson, EVP, tells us why Solita Sweden tips the scales towards employee satisfaction over purely profit-driving work.

At Solita, we work around one simple truth: culture drives growth. Sure, we might have pure growth goals, in terms of our employees and customers, but we know what actually differentiates us – and what is going to make or break those goals – are our people.

Our culture isn’t just a ‘nice to have’, it is the key to achieving our main mission: To make Sweden data-driven. This is no small challenge – while many organisations in Sweden have been on a digital journey, few are realising the full value of data. Data is growing exponentially, and companies need the right strategy to make the most of it.

Our strategy is obviously informed by our culture, and as head of the Swedish organisation, I don’t just lead on that culture. I learn from it, too. It’s a top-down approach, where leaders and the board set the standard. But it’s also bottom-up: our people live our culture every day.

So, what makes it so special? Let’s take a look.

Unconditional collaboration

What is the standout part of our culture? The way we collaborate. I’ve worked in many big tech companies, and I’ve never seen anything like it. In fact, the defining feature of our culture is unconditional collaboration.

What does that mean? It doesn’t matter which organisation you sit in, which country you work in, what team you’re part of, or what level you’re at. People will help you – and they won’t ask for anything back. It means that when we’re helping our customers, they’re really getting the support of over 2,000 people across all our offices, not just 200 in Sweden. For our employees, it means you’re always treated as an equal. There’s very little hierarchy. When I joined, it even took me three months to see an org chart. That sent a very clear message that is still strong today: It’s not about your position, it’s about people.

The scale of Solita

What makes our culture unique? It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We’re part of a bigger ecosystem of Solitans that inputs into each other. Our office in Finland has a breadth of experience with large customers we can learn from, and we’re paving the way in other areas, too. All of this means that when you join us, you bring your experience and culture, but you also get something back from the wealth of knowledge of our offices in different countries.

It would be naive, however, to say there are no cultural differences between our different offices. In fact, this is what makes us great. We’re not simply steered by Finland because that’s the headquarters of the company. We have our own way of doing things. You don’t have to fit a cultural mold to work here – everyone is unique. However, we’re all aligned on similar values. We have a way of doing things when it comes to work. On the occasions where we look at options to expand, for example, we always look at culture first. We take care of people first, and nurture good relationships with our customers. That’s a priority.

Johan Torstensson

Inclusion and action

It’s not enough to just say we have a good culture. We have to live it.

Our culture in action was obvious to me from early on. When I was first interviewed for the role, Ossi Lindroos, our President and CEO, led with culture first, not financial targets. This was a massive green flag.

But what does that mean for our day-to-day? To name a few things, we have a flexible workplace, annual pay equality surveys, unconscious bias training, female leadership networks, paid for mental well-being support, and salary transparency. Phew.

But we also recognise where we still have a way to go. We want more women in leadership positions, for example, and we have goals to support this. We’re all learning every day, and we’re constantly trying to move the needle.

A good culture also means work should be fun. That’s not just about free fizzy drinks and pizza nights, it’s community, support – and trust. We operate from a position of if you’re here, you don’t have to earn our trust. You already have it.

The future of Solita Sweden

So, now you know where we are. Where is Solita going in Sweden?

Firstly, we want to continue to build our unique culture in a way that’s fun and motivating for Solitans. We want people to stand in line to work here. This is partly achieved through our second goal: to only take on challenging work. The result of that is our third goal: to be known in the market. We want our customers to see us as a strategic data partner, but that only happens when we solve their challenges and grow with them. That’s down to our people.

That’s why culture is so central to everything we do: if you put culture first, it enables everything else. Sure, we’ll grow. But good, sustainable financials are simply a byproduct of a successful culture.

Want to join our community of perfectly imperfect people in Sweden? Take a look at what we can offer.

  1. Culture