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What are the myths of well-being at work and why they should be busted?

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 1.11.2016 10.23 | Published in English on 7.11.2016 at 10.22
News item

There is an obstinate myth that well-being at work is a soft issue that merely involves the human resources administration. Is this really the case?

Permanent Secretary Päivi Sillanaukee from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health explains what these myths in Finland are and why they should be busted now. Director General Pekka Soini from the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, Tekes, outlines how busting the myths will help to bring productive enterprises, innovations and growth to Finland while specialist Marina Vahtola from Aalto University explains what kind of enterprises generate success stories and how they are led.

All three of them gave a talk at the Myth busters of well-being at work seminar which was held in Helsinki on 26 October. For example the following questions were addressed at the seminar: what does it take to create productive work places? Are our views on well-being at work just myths that need to be challenged? What are the means that each of us can use to increase well-being and productivity?

Link to the video interview: https://youtu.be/BnMR6s-pSVg

Text version of the interview

What are the myths of well-being at work and why should they be busted now?

"There is an obstinate myth that well-being at work is a soft issue that merely involves the human resources administration. Human capital and the skill sets that are tied to it are the key factor to a company’s success. It is vital for the management that they have the right kind of skills in the organisation but it is equally important to be able to harness them. When we talk about a new kind of well-being at work we actually refer to understanding, making visible and leading human capital.  This is a hard issue - it is about busting the myths of well-being at work."

How does busting the myths help to bring productive companies, innovations and growth to Finland?

"First of all, a company’s culture should encourage people to be active, bring forth their own ideas and contribute in a genuine way to the enterprise. Of course, people must understand what the company’s strategy is and how their actions impact it; however a certain kind of freedom and openness make people generate fresh ideas and the management welcome these ideas. All in all, it's the atmosphere of appreciation within the company that counts."

What kind of companies generate success stories and how are they led?

"Attitude is a key factor for building international success stories. Success stories are born out of passion, a strong will to build something big and unique, something which has a strong competitive edge and a commitment to the client. Internationally successful brands and concepts are an example of this. Because they appreciate know-how and professional skills, thriving companies recruit top performers and they also rely to a large extent on external know-how.

Success requires very hard work - think about top athletes and the amount of exercise and training they put in to achieve record performances. Goals must be set high; if you set mediocre goals, it will be very hard to achieve high goals and top performances. A thriving company is often characterised by an open and trusting atmosphere and a high degree of well-being at work."

Video: Kimmo Vainikainen