Johanna is a talent acquisition and mobility specialist in a major company and responsible for the international mobility affairs of multiple countries in Europe. In her work the emphasis on relocation services and –assistance has been implemented fairly recently.
“We started these initiatives last year, and there’s no one else working on it besides me and some of the recruiters. So there’s some internal uncertainty (on the relocation assistance). When we recruit someone from outside the Nordic countries, that person often requires a lot of information, and it’s not always something the recruiters or managers can answer.”
Expectation management is one of the key factors of successful relocation, and Johanna knows this as well. “Relocation services can provide a lot of value in this part of the recruiting process. The candidate can only take in a certain amount of information, and often they are so overwhelmed by the information flow on company and work specific information from us. There’s also the thing that sensitive personal information and questions are not something they might want to share with us as the employer. An outside partner who supports them is very useful.”
The company hires people to countries all around the Nordics as well as Eastern Europe and offer similar relocation packages to all. Ultimately it is the managers who make the call, but Johanna and her team encourage them to make use of the services. “Immigration, accommodation, local registrations, settling-in, these are all very important to do correctly so the employee gets to work quickly and efficiently”, she says.
Even though she’s Swedish, Johanna has a great image of Finns. “I’ve been working with Finns for 10 years, supporting and cooperating with them. I like their mentality, they are straight forward and clear. The Nordics are very different from each other, but the Finns and Norwegians are very easy to work with. I’ve been in Finland quite a lot as my husband is working there, and I’ve always fit in well.” When asked what kinds of differences are there, she again pauses to think. “It’s not as international as the other Nordic countries maybe, it’s very Finnish in Finland. But I am Swedish, so I fit right in. It is also beautiful with the water and the archipelago and everything. Of course Finland is much younger country than Sweden or Denmark, and that is visible as well.”
When asked how they attract talent to Finland, Johanna pauses to think. “That’s a good question actually, and something we should definitely improve. The recruiters are more work-oriented in their selling of the position, the role and benefits and such, rather than work-life balance or other aspects in Finland itself. We can’t rest on our brand name alone, and millenials and Gen Z’s are increasingly aware and invested in “fluffier” aspects like environment, gender equality, etc.” Fortunately for Johanna, marketing Finland on the basis of these aspects is not a difficult thing to do, as we consistently rank amongst the best in the world in all metrics.
Companies like Johanna’s are often very good at selling the positions and the onboarding process at the job, but may struggle with other matters. Particularly the life outside of work is often a blindspot. Fortunately, Johanna and the talent professionals like her recognize the fact that in order for a new foreign hire or transfer to be effective in the office, they have to have things in order outside the office as well.