Happiness first. 2020-2021 edition. Part I.

Montel Intergalactic’s responsibility and sustainability report 2020 and plan for 2021.

In 2019 we started our process to be the most responsible and sustainable software company in Finland. In addition to our brave goal to excel in responsibility and sustainability, we also have a brave motto, Happiness First. To stand behind our motto and work towards our goal we need to know where we really stand and what we can do better - and then act.

In the beginning of 2020 we published our first sustainability report and a plan for a future proof company that cares about humans and the Earth. (Part I  and part II for 2019-2020 in our blog.) Now it’s time to see what happened in 2020, and what needs to be done in 2021.

As we support open and transparent company culture we publish the annual reports and plans here in our blog. Also, we appreciate any feedback from any of you.

In our actions we pay attention to different aspects of sustainability – environmental, social & cultural as well as economic. The following part I of the wrap-up for the year 2020 and the plan for 2021 focuses on the social, cultural and economic sustainability. The environmental aspects are covered in part II, in another post.

Chapter 1: Montel for people

Diverse, inclusive & happy team

As we have written in our last 2019 edition of this report: We don’t do or approve any discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, age, sex, or sexual orientation and are careful not to let any prejudices affect our recruitment decisions.

Our team members' ages vary from 24 to 46 and we are from nine different countries. Diversity is one of the seven core values for our company. These core values we have chosen together.

Our company culture is maintained by our actions, the Montel handbook and Montel value map that we have formed together.

All our events – after-work beers, sports sessions, TekijäTorstait/Tinkerers’Thursdays, meetups etc. – are organised together for each and every Montelieer, including those working on the other side of the globe.

The wellbeing of Montelieers is continuously nurtured (especially by our new Head of HR and Culture Emmi and our Head of Happiness Luca) and also measured every six months to make sure everyone is doing well: at work and in free time, mentally and physically.

We offer exercise employee benefits, organise sports events and have a variety of ergonomic stuff for everyone to use. As due to corona many of us have been working from home more than normally we have offered ergonomic office facilities, such as proper work chairs and electric tables, to everyone’s home office. Our Head of Sales even got his own soundproof phone booth!

We encourage everyone to make sure to have a good work–life balance and enough energy for family and friends. We also offer the same number of annual vacation days to all Montelieers around the globe. Also, as 2020 was quite a tough year for everyone we all got an extra paid vacation day as a Christmas/Quaid-e-Azam Day/New Year’s present.

In the beginning of 2020 we wrote “We will during this year (2020) develop our remote work culture further and make sure our wellbeing will not be compromised by the current situation (covid) or anything that follows. The get-togethers shall not stop, they just find new forms!”

We are relieved, happy and proud to say that we have succeeded in keeping our spirits high and people happy through these corona times. (Read about our remote work culture and for tips to survive the covid-times in our blog Remote Work in Space.)

Cookies anyone? One of our remote get-together was all about baking cookies.

We are committed to keep our people happy and mentally and physically healthy in the future too. Starting from the end of 2020 we have channelled more work resources to the HR and also upgraded our company health care and insurance. (Now we can all go bananas with our extreme sports.)

Remote Aikido class was organised by our Argentina-based developer Mario.

Learning & sharing

Two of our seven core values are Knowledge sharing from Montelieer to another and Learning enabled & encouraged. We have knowledge-sharing events, personal study plans (for studies within work hours) and Slack channels dedicated to sharing and learning. All these activities have continued throughout the year and we are now in the process of reforming our “Montel School” into something even greater. Every Montelieer has had and will have an annual budget to be used for courses, certificates, conference trips and seminars.

We measure the learning outcomes with different indicators (wellbeing survey, development and performance discussion, study plan completion etc.) and we expect the learning to be this year at least the same level as 2020.

Caring for others and speaking out

Since 2017 we have supported local sports and hobby opportunities by developing pro bono sports club Westend Indians’ website and player registry system. The cooperation continues in 2021 too.

We have together made a decision to do responsible donations instead of buying material Christmas presents for our team. In 2018 we donated our Christmas present money to Unicef to support children’s education in crisis areas. In 2019 we conserved forest (read more). In 2020 our donation went to Plan and with the money 28 girls from developing countries get to learn programming and other IT skills that help them to have better livelihoods (read more). 2021 we will keep on following this practice.

Chapter 2: Montel, growth & ethics

Though our business is not about making solar panels or building schools in developing countries we hope to help our clients to work for a better world. We have worked for, for example, better health and healthier lifestyle in many of our client projects. We don’t work with companies, organisations or associations that don’t follow laws and regulation, or the ethical way of doing business.

As we are mostly working with small and mid-sized businesses we have had the opportunity to truly get to know the companies we work with, the people behind the companies and the values they hold on to.

Moderate growth is one of our goals. We have together chosen that happiness comes first, before the growth. We don’t want to risk losing the culture and happiness for fast growth, and we also want to make sure to be able to hold on to every team member, even through the possible hard times, such as sudden pandemics. However, growth can bring happiness: more great team mates and more interesting projects for us to use our tech wizardry.

This was a summary of the actions taken and the plans and principles we follow to be a socially, culturally and economically responsible and sustainable company. Leave your comments and stay tuned for part two where our actions and plans for a greener Montel Intergalactic are presented.

Read more insight in our blog