Expert

Lindström Group
Lindström Group
12.02.2024

We Care Culture – How a human-first company culture has enabled Lindström to become one of the leading textile service companies in Europe and Asia

We Care Culture – How a human-first company culture has enabled Lindström to become one of the leading textile service companies in Europe and Asia

We Care Culture is about feelings, a sense of belonging and all those little things people remember about having that human touch rather than being a stiff corporation. It’s about people having your back, even in the toughest situations.

This is how Helena Loncar, our Head of Talent and Culture, describes the essence of the Lindström We Care Culture.

What Lindström We Care Culture signifies to us

Purpose, values, leadership principles, and the We Care behaviours are at the core of our culture.

Together, these signify that we are attentive and mindful of not only our employees but also our customers.

“We simply would not exist without our employees and customers,” Loncar says.

We understand that we must first have happy employees to have happy customers. We foster an atmosphere of friendship and partnering, listening to each other and doing what is best for them. For us, this is the way to a win-win situation.

Leadership sets the tone for the rest of the organisation

Leadership is a key role in any company, as the leaders of a company have set the tone for the rest of the organisation.

Being mindful of this is also key to building our company culture. It all starts with choosing who we select in the leadership positions; who do we want to lead Lindströmers?

“We are very mindful of our leaders fitting in. They play a key role in building our culture and leading Lindströmers. So, it is not just a number or a result thing to ensure the company does well; it is also a personality thing. Leadership behaviour is a guiding light to our culture, and we need to be able to support them in this, too”, Loncar explains.

Our leaders come from different backgrounds and present various personalities. We need to support and help them to be great leaders. And they are also guided in this work by our leadership principles. With these, we try to ensure we lead all Lindströmers in a similar way. 

“We always start with internal candidates for leadership roles. But sometimes, we may need to bring in expertise from outside. In those cases, we always detect how our We Care culture resonates with them”, Aleksandra Safonova, our HR Partner in Latvia, says.

“When I talk about our culture to new employees, I present our leadership principles first”, Safonova adds.

Why company culture matters so much

The appreciation towards a strong company culture is probably more significant now than ever. It can be a powerful dynamo keeping people connected despite working remotely in a rapidly changing world and an international working environment, such as our company.

With operations in 23 countries and 5,000 colleagues, having a distinctive company culture as our mutual ground is key to success in our multicultural organisation.

“In an organisation like ours with such a vast number of people, each unique and valuable, it is a challenge to guide all in the same direction. How you introduce change to people as their acceptance depends on it and their attitude towards change. Some people are pro-change, others are more traditionalists. For us, it’s important to accept that people accept change at their own pace. So far, we have been pretty good at facilitating change at Lindström, but we always look forward to learning from our change experiences”, Loncar explains.

Our We Care Culture emphasises setting an example of a caring organisation. Caring starts with each of us. When we all care, our culture of caring grows stronger.

“This resonates with me the most about our culture: We act as an example. I care before we care. When HR and management set an example of a caring organisation, we have a safe organisation to learn from mistakes, support each other and grow together. Our employees appreciate this mindset and positive attitude”, Safonova says.

Lindström We Care Culture in a Nutshell

Putting our We Care Culture in a nutshell is essential, especially for our new employees.

As Safonova puts it: “We like to do things together. Whether these be official occasions or the non-written traditions, activities, or the ways we like to celebrate wins, but also the peoples’ special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. We want to celebrate our people in different ways and feel that this also leads to better collaboration. Our culture of openness fosters a sense of commitment and the willingness to go the extra mile. Our employees can suggest additional improvements or activities and take on new responsibilities. For instance, many well-being activities and initiatives take place because of the proactive attitude of employees.”

This type of self-driven and active way of working also requires a lot from the individual.

When we see an individual taking an interest in a topic and wanting to do something to change it, they have the company’s support. Our leaders are key in fostering this behaviour, leading to continuous organisational improvement.

Helena Loncar, our Head of Talent & Culture, has said that culture is something that you can feel in our corridors and offices regardless of which office you visit in our 23 countries.

“You can be yourself here and feel safe in your skin and with your ideas and perceptions. We don’t have to wear masks and pretend to be something we are not. We foster the freedom of being yourself and doing your quirky things, and we appreciate these differences in each other. These are strengths instead of non-fits for us. Diversity is our strength,” she adds.

The Four We Care Focus Areas

  1. We Care – Health and safety

Health and safety are elementary areas of care in an organisation where many employees work physically demanding jobs.

We keep the highest safety standards, ensuring our employees are onboarded and retrained to avoid work-related injuries and keep themselves and others safe. We make sure we follow country regulations and stay compliant to keep our people safe.

Because our safety measures are set at a high level, we have kept our injury levels consistently low.

However, we are not only concerned about physical wellbeing.

Mental wellbeing is equally essential at Lindström Group. We have learned that a “one size fits all” approach is wrong here.

The approach to mental wellbeing seems to differ from country to country. We focus on providing global guidance, direction and initiatives but want to give the local teams the freedom to implement what seems right for their people.

Read more about how we are boosting health & safety culture with ISO 45001.

  1. We Care – Learning and development

Learning and development are vital areas of attention in a world that keeps moving forward quickly. As our customers change, we must change too to stay competitive and hold our position as their trusted partners.

In addition to the standard support from annual development discussions and the usual regular daily sparring and collaboration, we provide our employees with individual development plans.

What makes us happy is the commitment of our line managers to supporting learning and development. Many of them no longer need HR to initiate the annual routine for individual development planning. Instead, they roll out these discussions independently with their team members.

“Continuous improvement is a never-ending process, and we in Lindstrom fully acknowledge the importance of empowering employees and fostering a culture of innovation, as the world is constantly changing, Safonova says.

Regarding learning, we are moving towards a more digitalised and virtual era with our internal learning system. We expect to release the “Linda Learning” system in 2024 and will keep investing in it to provide updated learning and development content for our employees.

This system will be a great content and database for our people for the years to come, with topics ranging from finance to sales, marketing to service operations and leadership.

In addition to this internal learning system, we continue investing in external resources when necessary. We believe it’s good to become exposed to other people and organisations and bring in new knowledge and experiences from the outside.

  1. We Care – Fair Employment

Equity among all our employees is a core aspect of our We Care Culture. We measure this regularly through our Voice of Employees survey every November and with a short pulse survey every May.

Loncar tells us that wrongful behaviour seems to be quite rare at Lindström. However, she encourages anyone to come forward should they ever become treated wrongfully or unequally.

“DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) is a big topic at Lindström, like in many organisations. It means different things now than 15 years ago, and we must recognise that. We are starting to focus on what DEI means at Lindström and cascade it from senior leadership onwards. It is one of our priorities for next year,” Loncar says.

  1. We Care – Leadership

Safonova explains how our We Care Culture is deeply rooted in our values and leadership culture. And our leaders are key in creating great employee and candidate experiences for everyone.

Our leadership principles are easy to remember: We care – We dare – We shine – We grow.

We care, dare, shine and grow. Simple yet empowering!

Because we also care about our leaders, we provide them with training and support for leadership skills, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, building trust, and high-performing teams.

But guess what do we support the most?

Leading with heart.


What are our employees saying?