As Europe treats the climate crisis there’s a growing sense of urgency more households and businesses are investing in clean technology. Svea Solar is at the forefront of this revolution supplying hardware and expertise.
Employing 600 people across its operations it has a presence in its native Sweden as well as the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Spain. It turns over around €100M per annum and is poised to grow strongly over the next five years.
Finding and retaining high-quality employees is a challenge for any company. As of late 2021 Svea Solar is hiring 40-50 people every month. During 2021 it onboarded roughly an average of one person per day. That would be a big task even for much larger companies.
Responsibility for Svea Solar’s people falls to Hanna Mannberg, its Global Chief Human Resource Officer. Hanna has worked both in HR and business operations and is well aware of the how the two are linked.
The growth journey is just getting started
“How successful we are at attracting talent and retaining our employees determines how fast we can grow,” Mannberg says. “Everyone at our company knows how important that is.”
Her senior colleagues realised that recruitment was a potential bottleneck to growth. So, they were quickly persuaded of the case for a core HR solution to act as a hub for all Svea Solar’s other personnel-related applications.
“The business case for a new HR system was easy to make and to get approved,” says Mannberg. “We showed how much time we spend on manual work and how much time a new system would save. That was especially clear going from having numerous different systems that had to be updated individually to one central HR system that communicated with the rest.”
As we work in a specialised sector, in a company and with people who reflect that, many of the requirements we have of an HR system are distinct from those of many other industries. That’s why it’s vital to be able to steer and configure the system ourselves.
Global Chief Human Resource Officer
Combine IT and HR expertise
While it fell to Mannberg to make a case for a system to the board, it was IT Director, Erik Tevell, who took the lead on the digital landscape.
“For us, it’s important to have a modern HR system that works well together with the rest of our IT landscape” Tevell says. “What many do not understand is the importance of employees’ master data being integrated with other systems. That in turn determines both efficient IT onboarding and enables access control in many other systems.”
“The biggest challenge for IT being a growth company,” Tevell says, “is to both have time to build a stable foundation, prioritize the right initiative at the right time, and to support the business in achieving its short- and long-term goals.” That’s a polite way of saying that with Svea Solar growing at breakneck speed he really didn’t have time to mess around. He needed a solution that was straightforward to implement and delivered on its promises.
We chose Sympa because the system meets all the requirements we have for a modern HR system and also has the opportunity to create our own APIs based on various data points of interest.
Designing the ‘mothership’
With this in mind, Mannberg and Tevell carefully surveyed the available alternatives before settling on Sympa.
“We chose Sympa because the system meets all the requirements we have for a modern HR system. It also offered the opportunity for us to create our own APIs based on various data points of interest.”
This ability to customise the system and do so independently of Sympa was important to the team. As a result Svea Solar now has a central HR system that acts, in Mannberg’s words, as a ‘mothership’. Indeed it was Erik Tevell who was the key mover behind the design of the ‘mothership’.
It’s a highly integrated suite of solutions with which Svea Solar can design and build the processes they want. A major priority is to give its HR team all the data it requires to track key growth-related KPIs and understand colleagues’ needs.
“As we work in a specialised sector, in a company and with people who reflect that, many of the requirements we have of an HR system are distinct from those of many other industries. That’s why it’s vital to be able to steer and configure the system ourselves.”
One feature already added is the automated onboarding path that allows Svea Solar to familiarise new recruits with the company’s culture and ways of working so they quickly feel at home and have a strong sense of belonging.
A smooth ride
As of late 2021 the implementation is still a work in progress, but already a strong team spirit has developed between colleagues at Svea Solar and Sympa.
“We liked Sympa’s promise of a ‘smooth ride’,” she says. “We wanted to deliver a smooth ride for our managers and HR. And we are.”
One thing Mannberg and her team can be sure of; however fast the company grows, with Sympa they’ll have an HR system that can keep pace.