In the Nordics we are increasingly looking for novelty and more job satisfaction at work.

Tine Thygesen, CEO of The Creators Community
This article was first published in Finans DK

“Everyone is entitled to a cool kitchen,” is the tagline in Kvik kitchen commercials, and that is, of course, just nonsense. But what about a cool job? At least that’s what people in the Nordics want today. These days, we are noticing a new tendency. We no longer just expect a good salary, we also insist on job satisfaction.

The time in which job security and a good salary were the most important parameters is over. Today, more and more people are looking for a job where they can unleash their talents, excel and make a difference. In fact, many are now willing to receive less pay in jobs where their values are aligned with the organisations’. The American motivational expert Dan Pink refers to “Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose”, meaning that we want to be able to constantly develop our skills, have influence on workflow and believe that we make a difference.

At my job, where I build networks, innovation and coworking, we can clearly see a change in people’s behaviour. Whereas five years ago, we saw a request for entrepreneurs, today we experience a general influx from big companies, SMEs and experienced business people. All because they want to leave behind the traditional business environment and get more daily inspiration.

The tendency was first seen as a youth rebellion, where millennials (born during 1981-1996) sought more meaning and freedom. Today it is obvious that millennials were just a catalyst for a movement which now includes people of all ages seeking a life with more balance in their values.

Many people, whom for years have mirrored themselves in the dream of more freedom and flexibility, are venturing out as freelancers or accepting jobs in companies that offer more opportunity for leave of absence and reduced hours, to make room for the dream of writing that book, doing a yoga course, or to find more time for stuff that brings value to them in their daily lives.

On top of flexibility, the tendency is towards more personal development. These days, even people in well-paid positions are resigning to accept jobs that offer more learning, and to work with something they are passionate about. A sentence I often hear from these people, is that they feel like an insignificant piece of a big machine. And that they want to be where their efforts can be seen and felt. Often, it’s when they buy a second car, and the house they dreamed of, that they realise these belongings do not make them happy. Instead, they realise a need to use their time better. I can easily recognise the situation as I started my own career in a hundred-year-old bank which hadn’t changed its rulebook since its founding. I felt strangled.

Because small companies are not burdened by processes and because each employee’s influence is bigger, today we see a huge surge towards startups which derives from this trend. Less bureaucracy, less internal politics and a big responsibility to the individual, are what attract this type of person who has become exhausted by the predictability of the hamster wheel. And it is not only the case with entrepreneurs. The majority are employees who replace a big organisation with a smaller one.

When we, in coworking, create work environments that encourage learning and development, it is more than just the physical framework. Even though the interior design is a cornerstone in why there is more innovation in some offices than others, it is important for us not to simply offer desks, but the power to create.

The power to create, comes from a combination of being surrounded by people with the right attitude and an understanding of the subjects that are critical to your success within a framework which allows for freedom, flexibility and the ability to nurture new thoughts and big ideas.

The majority of Nordic employees are sadly spending most of their working life in boring offices with worn-out furniture and linoleum flooring. Despite a desire from management towards productivity and innovation, they do nothing to motivate their employees through the simplest parameters for productivity, the daily surroundings. It corresponds to putting a wild animal in a cage without trees, climbing opportunities or stimulus. Such an animal would languish. And so do people when their natural creativity and motivation are limited.

Research within job satisfaction shows us that the most important element is the people we surround ourselves with. Therefore, the combination of people should be curated with the same care as art at a gallery.

The composition of people is something which is underrated when the cold professional competencies becomes the paramount parameters for recruiting, firing and team composition. We want to be surrounded by people who inspire us. We want to be a part of professional debates at a high level where we can immerse ourselves. This basic professional development can only come from being surrounded by the right people. It appears as a drop in the ocean to offer five training days a year. It is the daily inspiration that brings results.

The Nordic languages are some of the only in the world with the words “arbejdsglæde” (job satisfaction), and “skaberkraft” (the power to create). I suggest we turn this linguistic advantage to a daily advantage. In Denmark and Norway, we were the frontrunners for good working hours and conditions. Let us be the frontrunners of daily motivation, inspiring surroundings and increased job satisfaction.