Sitting down for a quick Zoom fireside chat with Petra and Saku last week was a great opportunity to reflect on their incredible journey as co-founders at Finders Seekers.
We covered a lot of ground, but the main point on the agenda was Petra’s new role as COO, and Saku’s appointment as FiSe’s CGO, as Vivi Brooke takes over Petra’s role as Head of Employer Branding, and Saku passes the baton to Lassi Lankinen who is now Head of Sales.
Turns out, this is only the beginning of their scale-up plan….
So, Saku, what are some of the reasons behind the incredible recent growth we’ve seen at FiSe?
“We always set out to run FiSe as a growth-oriented company. We have a strong growth mindset and a big part of that has been ‘hiring people who are smarter than yourself.’
This attitude feeds into where we find ourselves today: with an incredibly talented team who are ready and willing to take on more responsibility.
It all boils down to our growth-oriented culture where people feel OK about stepping up to the plate.”
What about you Petra, what would you like to say about the role evolution(s)?
“As an entrepreneur, I am also very growth-minded. I think we’ve also always had this need to be slightly anarchist, slightly disruptive. We definitely want to disrupt the status quo.
While we go through these meaningful organizational changes, we also want to focus on taking care of the team and having fun.”
How have you managed to foster such a culture of responsibility?
For Saku, it’s something that has always been there: “it’s really a continuation of how we have always been at FiSe, like when we decided to give out company shares to the team.
This kind of sharing responsibility through involving and empowering people comes naturally to us.
FiSe is for everyone.”
“Trust is the key to empowering people” – Petra
“A deep sense of trust is really at the center of it all. Recently, the FiSe team made this video for us where they talked about what FiSe means to them and trust was a big theme that kept coming up.
It’s really about being a work family, about making people feel like they are trusted and valued. This work community we have created is based on this super fundamental culture trust: the kind of trust that is just given to you, no questions asked.
And the way we foster that and keep re-committing to that idea of trust is by being really transparent, including the team in all ongoing conversations so that there are no hidden agendas. Everyone is trusted from day one.
This kind of trust also enables a brave culture where people feel able to experiment. This kind of culture of experimentation works because people know that they will always get honest feedback on what they are doing… so they have the courage to go out and test the waters!
I am always encouraging people to come up with new business cases, business plans, and ways of working – to test out new things.
This also ties into how we are always transparent with our vision. We talk about our vision a lot.”
FiSe has inside-out trust
One of the key messages from Saku and Petra is how trust is truly baked into the way that FiSe operates. It’s about having an inside-out trust that is not just a marketing ploy. Transparency is a big part of FiSe culture.
As Petra explains, “recruiters can sometimes feel like outsiders. People find a place to be truly appreciated here at FiSe. People come here to realize that their expertise is appreciated and that everyone here is an expert in their own right.”
What does a FiSe leader look like?
A leader at FiSe knows that they have a team who will always back them up and be right behind them. It’s about servant leadership and leading to serve.
Petra explains: “We always encourage our team to challenge all ideas, but once a decision is made, we have to stand behind it as a united team.
Leading at FiSe is about enabling. We believe in servant leadership. The most important role of a leader is to always enable success for their team members.”
The employer branding journey
Petra opens up about FiSe’s employer branding journey: “we have been developing our EB product for over two years. Vivi Brooke joined the EB team and it was clear from day one that she is amazing at what she does: she’s a real expert at employer branding with a stellar track record and career history behind her. She will make a great Head of Employer Branding.
When you hire people like Vivi you need to know when to step aside and not become a bottleneck for growth. As a co-founder, I want to build on people’s strengths and keep going with that growth attitude. It’s about moving to the next phase as a scale-up.
For me, I am excited to move into my new role of COO. I am looking forward to managing FiSe’s information flow, improving in-house synergy, and ensuring we are internally ready for a scale-up. We need to ensure that we as founders remain the core growth hacking team and write down and embody our culture.”
The new sales and growth plan
Saku has always been a growth-minded entrepreneur: “until last autumn I had always single-handedly done sales at FiSe, but now the sales team is growing and scaling.
And for me it’s important to figure out how to ensure we keep on growing.
My strength is definitely on the client relationship-building side: those conversations are natural ones for me to have.
I see my role from now on pivoting to focusing on growing what we already have and finding new revenue streams, whereas Lassi who will be taking over from me as Head of Sales will focus on new customer acquisition.”
What does the future of FiSe hold?
Saku: “More structure, more strategic growth.”
Petra: “We want to become the number one talent acquisition house in Finland. Also we want to keep focusing on becoming a holistic partner and maybe looking outside of the IT industry in future. We want to always find new ways to be international and find new business areas; we don’t want to ever limit ourselves to what we could be here at FiSe…”
Well, with these two as COO and CGO there will definitely be exciting times ahead…