June 3, 2015 in Events (live blogging), European HRD Business Summit 2015

Changing and shaping company culture: Speeding up your cultural journey from aspiration to reality

Minna Torniksoki – Vice President HR, Talent & Leadership Development, Tieto

Organisational culture is part of ‘organisational DNA’, and Tieto needed to reset their corporate culture to prepare for the digital future. Tieto’s culture change journey has involved a number of steps:

Open ears I search and give feedback
Open mind I challenge the status quo
Open actions I am accountable for results
Open doors I lead by example and values

Tieto values:

  • we work together
  • we care for people and our customers
  • we are committed to quality
  • we learn and grow


Tieto decided to ‘open source’ their culture as they really wanted to forge an emotional connection with people and co-creating a culture can be a very effective way of doing that. They were very clear on the Tieto they wanted to be: transparent, open-minded, a community of brave minds, a garden of ideas. All of which contribute to Tieto getting better and better,

Once they were clear on the culture that they wanted, they embedded it everywhere. They recognise that you can’t totally manage culture, but you can nurture and encourage it. Their culture is showing up in subtly different ways (e.g. India and Poland are different from the Nordic countries).


Some examples of the Tieto culture in action:

1 – Open Ears: You can send an online thank-you card over the intranet to say thank you to people. They are kept in an inbox for each employee (so they can view all their thank-you card together) and the overall data is made available to managers. There is also an annual ‘wall of fame’ that employees are nominated for.

2 – Open Mind: They have an innovation programme called Tieto Spark, aiming to build a lean startup spirit within the company. It includes elements of discovery, a bootcamp, and an accelerator and Tieto make this available externally (e.g. for co-creation with customers).

3 – Open Actions: Tieto Voice measures progress on their culture, with a clear driver on personal accountability as nobody else but you will create your company culture.

4 – Open Doors: Tieto have an annual 2-day top management meeting for 200 key leaders but have now introduced live streaming so that is can be viewed in its entirety by all employees, and is made available to all employees to watch later on their corporate intranet. Not only that, it is now being opened up to young professionals within the organisation and to all passionate employees who want to participate.


You can’t just say the words of culture, you need to live it.


Their overall approach was:

Get basics in place
1 – we do this together – all to the same level
2 – shared experience for ‘harvesting all old assumptions’
3 – dream together – where do we want to go?
Engage people
4 – Let culture grow, feed and nourish all activities that are aligned
5 – Integrate, but do not manage details

Their key learnings: changing culture needs a lot of patience but you should do everything you can to speed up change and communicate, communicate, communicate!


(This was live-blogged during a session at the European HR Directors Business Summit 2015 in Barcelona – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in.)

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