Montel Intergalactic – happiness first. Part I.

This is part one of our sustainability report and a plan for a future proof company that cares about humans and the Earth.

Happiness is one of our core values: the happiness of us, of our clients and of the Earth. We aim to be the most responsible and sustainable software company in Finland.

It is easy to talk but not always easy to act for more responsible business. To make sure we keep evolving to be a more responsible and more sustainable company we have started to make an annual sustainability report and sustainability plan - a concrete plan that we will follow. This first version is still quite lightweight but it’s something to start with.

These reports and plans will be public for anyone to check. We also appreciate any feedback from any of you.

We pay attention to environmental, social & cultural as well as economic aspects of sustainability. The following wrap-up for the past (especially 2019) and the plan for 2020 have been divided into three sections according to these aspects. In this post, the two latter are presented. The environmental aspects are covered in another post.

Chapter 1: Montel for people

Diverse, inclusive & happy team

New Montelieers are chosen by their skills and their capabilities to work in a company like ours. 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.

Currently, our team members' ages vary from 23 to 45 and we are from eight different countries. We have noticed that diversity is a very positive thing. It’s also one of the seven core values that we have chosen together.

Our company culture is maintained by us, by our handbook and by a value map that we have formed together. The culture determines the common ways of working that we all follow. That common work culture is enriched and evolved by different kinds of people with a shared passion for technology.

All events – after-work beers, sports sessions, TekijäTorstait/Tinkerers’Thursdays, meetups etc. – are for each and every Montelieer. All events (apart from some sports sessions and terrace beers) are shared online so that our teammates from all over the world can take part.

The wellbeing of Montelieers is continuously nurtured and also measured every six months to make sure everyone is doing well: at work and in free time, mentally and physically. We take measures for physical health and work ergonomy, varying from exercise employee benefits and joined sports adventures to ergonomic bouncy balls to sit on. We encourage everyone to make sure to have a good work–life balance and enough energy for family and friends. We offer the same number of annual vacation days to all Montelieers around the globe.

For us, it has proven to be fairly easy to be like friends who can easily communicate with each other, share the worries and frustrations and keep up the good spirits. When the team grows this will inevitably become harder but we are committed to keeping happiness as our top priority.

Moreover, the Corona crisis has put our work culture and happiness into a test. We have and will during this year develop our remote work culture further and make sure our wellbeing will not be compromised by the current situation or anything that follows. The get-togethers shall not stop, they just find new forms!

Learning & sharing

Two of our seven core values are Knowledge sharing from Montelieer to another and Learning enabled & encouraged. These values are taken extra good care of to keep our inquisitive team happy: we have knowledge-sharing events, personal study plans and Slack channels dedicated to sharing and learning. Also, part of our work time is allocated for studying new things. Every Montelieer also has an annual budget to be used for courses, certificates, conference trips or seminars.

We measure the learning outcomes with different indicators (wellbeing survey, study plan completion etc.) and we expect the learning to be this year at least the same level as 2019.

Caring for others & 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 2020 too.

In summer 2019 we participated in Ketjureaktio. For every 25 kilometres in Kilometrikisa (which we participated in to encourage Montelieers to cycle for health and greener transport) 1 € was donated to the Finnish Red Cross.

We have earlier 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 (see part II of this report). In 2020 we will keep on following this practice.

We think any company should speak out their values and contribute to advance equality, tolerance and other important values in the society. We have occasionally participated in our social media in campaigns that aim to advance such values: for example, we encouraged people to not buy anything on Black Friday and participated in Pride Helsinki.

Chapter 2: Montel, growth & ethics

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.

Our company has been formed and molded through sustained collaboration with several fast moving startups. That has given us opportunity to support the local businesses, not just by bringing in valuable product development but also new cross disciplinary insight and access to an interesting network of players. In addition, this has given us the opportunity to truly get to know the companies we work with and the values they hold on to.

Moderate growth is one of our goals. We have chosen to make sure that happiness comes first, before the growth. We don’t pursue to grow too fast as we want to make sure to maintain and evolve the culture and happiness we have reached. We also want to make sure to be able to hold on to every team member, even through the possible hard times. However, growth can bring happiness so it’s not indifferent to pursue. Also, growth means more great teammates and more interesting client cases.

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 I present our actions and plans for a greener Montel Intergalactic.

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