During autumn 2018 we decided to continue our internationalisation and expanded to Munich, Germany. Here is our Munich team’s story of their first months on location, building our new office step by step and company culture in the new country.
At the heart of Solita are the people
Whether it’s setting individual objectives or defining new ways of working, we always come back to the people. Will our people like this new objective? Will this change make things better or worse? We’ve set the bar high in Finland and for that reason, our people are very satisfied and faithful to the company.
Once you find yourself surrounded by happy colleagues, you see at people start developing the company by themselves. One of the greatest signs of that was that last year we got over 300 new owners to Solita. All of them from inside the company, wanting to change the company and be a part of the story. So when we started growing abroad in 2017, we knew that it was going to be troublesome time for the company culture. How could we guarantee that the new offices around the globe are like the ones we have in Finland? The answer was easy, let the people build the offices and ensure that the values of Solita are rooted at new offices from the start – it doesn’t matter if you step inside our office in Oulu, Gothenburg or in this case Munich, you’ll feel like home.
Our first months in Munich
A team of three, later four, left to Munich in late 2018 to discover new office premises, seek new opportunities and spread the culture. What we found was more than we expected. First of all, we got a great office space in Karlsplatz (Stachus). Jackpot, so to speak. Having an office space with near proximity to public transportation was a must and will always be a key factor when deciding our office locations. Karlsplatz is basically the city centre, near Marienplatz and rail station. This means that we have excellent S, U Bahn and train connections to anywhere in the city (and outside).
For us Finns, living in the North far far away from everything (and in cold climate), it also meant that we’ve had mini-vacations starting from our office on Fridays. France, Austria and different German cities have been on our list already. For example, it takes 2 hours to Stuttgart and 4 hours to Vienna by train and it’s quite cheap. Just decide at least a week ahead where you want to go, book train tickets and go. The world is yours, so to speak.
Most of us had also a second location at customer premises twice or three times a week. This meant introducing similar ground rules as we have in Finland. Essentially our company encourages us to develop our skills or do something else which is giving value either to the company or the people around us. In our case, it meant that we started looking into venues where we could be present and (simultaneously) getting beer from our local supermarket for our after work gaming sessions.
I can’t really recall which came first, but our mini Super Nintendo has been on heavy use and local Augustiner is “go-to” brand when deciding which Helles to choose. When it comes to events, we’ll start with Munich Data Festival 2019, where you can meet us in person. We’re bringing two speakers to tell our data story and what we do as a company.
Getting Solita culture to Munich
We also started a similar shared breakfast culture we have in Finland, but with a German twist (one part of us is missing the traditional Finnish food, the other part can’t get enough of pretzels in the morning). None of us is a fluent German speaker, but our vocabulary consists already of several Bavarians words for breakfast items due to our breakfast culture. Basically, we started building the company culture without actually doing that on purpose.
The rule of thumb was that if we had something awesome in Finland (or in Sweden or Estonia) let’s introduce that in here as well. For the people who do not know Solita yet, but would like to know more, please come say hi to us in Data Festival 2019 in Munich!
Seeking new colleagues
Currently, we’re building a hardcore data platform together with our customer and at the same time seriously trying to seek new colleagues to attend into our first ever German Super Bomberman battle tournament. The next thing is to bring in more colleagues. Our intention to stay here, for good. For that, we need more people. So if this blog got you interested and you would know more about our work possibilities abroad, please send your application to [email protected] or see our careers here.