LaaS – Leadership as a Service is a modern leadership system developed by the software house Vincit. It helps companies to identify and provide leadership services that are important for their employees. Furthermore, it helps employees to develop themselves and their skills through self-management. Shared leadership means changes to operating models and leadership within organisations. When putting shared leadership into practice, HRM Partners is an expert in helping to complete the process successfully.
The cooperation between HRM Partners and Vincit started at these shared interfaces.
“LaaS is more than a mere tool. It’s a system that provides a new perspective to leadership and its organisation. Implementing the new operating model means that the organisation must also change. In order to enable smooth deployment and efficient use of the system, we have looked for partners with a strong track record of supporting organisational change. That is why we chose HRM Partners as our LaaS partner at a very early stage,” says Mikko Kuitunen, the founder of Vincit.
The development of LaaS was triggered by leadership-related challenges at Vincit, a company chosen as the Best Workplace in Europe. The company realised that leadership was too much based on guesswork by the management and HR staff, trying to figure out what the employees want or need.
“At the business level, it has been obvious to us for a long time that profitable business starts from understanding the customer’s needs. We take good care of our external customers, so why not do the same to our internal customers – our employees – who implement our services,” Mr Kuitunen continues.
As it was also evident that the personnel of the rapidly growing, data-intensive software house had many leadership-related needs, Vincit started to develop the LaaS leadership system.
At the centre of LaaS are the employees, who can request leadership services through the system in order to maintain and improve their expertise and, consequently, achieve their goals. The content of leadership is specifically tailored for each company, and the services can be provided by the company’s own experts or external service providers.
Mr Kuitunen describes LaaS as a vasculature that reaches every corner of the organisation but will not do anything, unless someone pumps oxygen into the system.
“You need a partner who understands this change and helps to explain the implementation of the change to the organisation, and who understands how leadership services should be developed. HRM Partners is a true expert in handling these processes, helping us to put LaaS into practice in our customers’ organisations,” Mr Kuitunen explains.
LinkedIn sparring service in demand
Slightly over a year ago, Vincit tested the LaaS system as a pilot experiment in part of its organisation. Now the services are available to the entire personnel.
“We launched our own LaaS system in five different leadership categories: physical and psychological well-being, improvement of skills, sharing of information and career expertise. Through our experiments we have learned which contents work or which services are particularly in demand,” says Johanna Pystynen, HR Director at Vincit.
According to the feedback from Vincit’s employees, there were two areas of leadership in which they particularly needed support.
“The importance of sleep in promoting well-being was so strongly emphasised that we established a specific parent category for it,” Ms Pystynen relates.
Vincit employees were also interested in leadership support for making their skills better known in the organisation.
“We have a flat organisation without hierarchical career paths. Therefore, making your own career development visible can be challenging. We developed the LinkedIn sparring service, which helps people to exhibit their skills more efficiently through various projects and customer feedback,” Ms Pystynen explains.
Leadership service design arouses interest
Account Director Tiina Alho from HRM Partners says that the LaaS system developed by Vincit has aroused enthusiasm among customers and launched a discussion on leadership service design and the content of leadership.
“Workplace culture is changing rapidly, and so are employees’ expectations of leadership. In the same company, there may be employees at the beginning of their career path, others in the middle of their busy years of family life and work, and some experts already close to retirement. All of them have different needs and expectations related to the development of their skills and the role of leadership is in this process,” Ms Alho explains.
According to Ms Alho, modern leadership must take diversity into account, and LaaS delivers in this respect.
“With LaaS, the line manager or senior management no longer needs to randomly guess what might be the most efficient method for each individual to reach their targets. However, tools don’t work alone. In addition to the use of the service, adequate communication and interaction must be ensured. LaaS does not remove the need for leadership. Instead, leadership becomes shared. In this way, individuals will take more responsibility for what they do,” Ms Alho says.
The breakthrough of self-managed leadership
Paula Kilpinen, CEO of HRM Partners, says that the LaaS operating model and partnership with Vincit are particularly inspiring, because they promote HRM Partners’ strategic goals.
“Workplace culture, talent requirements and leadership are in a huge transition. For a long time now, we have been coaching self-leadership, and we feel that its final breakthrough is at hand,” Ms Kilpinen says.
“We want to participate in the promotion of our customers’ ability and ambition to undergo a transformation and find solutions responding to the needs of new leadership. LaaS provides a new way of serving employees and teams, which are more and more steering themselves,” she adds.
Today, people increasingly want to feel that their work is significant and their contribution is part of something larger. Employees want to participate in creating the content of their work and the working methods.
“The innovation developed by Vincit responds to this challenge. The opportunity to choose leadership services relevant to your well-being and skills encourages employees to actively develop themselves and their skills,” Ms Kilpinen says.
At the same time, the company is always kept up-to-date on the personnel’s needs and can easily respond to them by providing services that promote the development of skills and enhancement of productivity.
Deployment of the LaaS leadership system
Johanna Pystynen, HR Director at Vincit, says that a leadership system like LaaS means taking a completely new perspective on leadership. It requires flexibility, courage and accountability of supervisors and employees alike.
“For someone in a supervisor role, it may be challenging to give up the dominating position and distribute their leadership.
On the other hand, employees are responsible for reflecting on their skills and identifying obstacles that prevent them from becoming committed to the organisation’s goals,” Ms Pystynen comments.
She encourages organisations to analyse with an open mind how the LaaS leadership system would work for them. She gives five tips for putting LaaS in practice and encourages organisations to choose a partner for the transition process.
- Analyse how modern your organisation’s current management model is.
- Consider which factors associated with the organisational hierarchy or the employees could be obstacles for the deployment of LaaS.
- Define a specific area in your organisation for the piloting of the LaaS leadership system. Services related to well-being can be a good choice for testing the service model and its efficiency.
- Test and modify the services in accordance with feedback from supervisors and employees.
- Be prepared for a demanding transition period, when you are running the old and new leadership systems in parallel in the organisation.
Author: Olli Manninen, Photo: Lotta Kasi
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