Johanna Pystynen, Founder & CEO, LaaS Company

Johanna Pystynen: Revolutionizing the HR Structure

When passion meets purpose, it altogether becomes a fuel that drives people towards their specific goals. Johanna Pystynen’s passion to help organizations increase their agility and make working life more meaningful, sensible, and productive for everyone, led her to become a CEO at LaaS Company, a digital product family for all workplaces

Dared to Innovate

The story of LaaS begins in Finland in 2012 when Johanna Pystynen joined IT company Vincit as HR Director. The team created a modern and agile leadership model and wanted to find a tool that would support this new mindset. However, all the HR tools available on the market were company-focused, and not developed to help employees. As an IT company, they decided to create a platform of its own. This platform led Vincit to be a three-time winner of the Best Workplace in Finland Award, awarded as the Best Workplace in Europe in 2016, and rated among Fast Company’s global Best Workplaces for Innovators 2020 – list. Soon, several organizations wanted to adopt the same agile leadership models that Vincit had been awarded for. To help others make self-organization as easy as possible, the company wanted to share their digital platform with the world. This is how LaaS Company was born.

In December 2020 Johanna left her place at the Vincit executive team to drive LaaS to its full potential. At the moment, a team of 10 professionals from the fields of software development, organizational psychology, management, and educational studies, and service design are striving to meet the growing demand.

LaaS is a digital HR platform that helps organizations update their whole toolkit to meet the needs of modern working life, based on the Leadership as a Service philosophy. This agile, co-organized, and data-driven platform helps companies lead employees’ well-being, competencies, and employee experience, offering tailored support and services to meet individual needs. It has been awarded as HR Tech 2021 Winner by Talent Culture and Top 10 Employee Wellness Solution.

Building Employee Trust

Johanna is of the opinion that companies won’t succeed in the revolution of work if they don’t focus on employee wellbeing and employee engagement. This is often built-in in start-up cultures, but it gets more difficult when the company grows. Companies really have to start putting effort into developing a positive culture and creating structures that enable and maintain this.

In Johanna’s words, “It is a prerequisite for success. To tackle the constant changes in the operating environment, small and big, we need to have a platform to try new things and learn fast, to collect data on what works and what doesn’t, and to focus resources on the right things. In HR, too much is done based on guessing and this needs to change. We need to learn to lead with data.”

She adds by saying, “At the same time, employees can’t thrive in the demands of self-organization unless workplaces start to focus more on providing possibilities to actually lead themselves. With digital tools, we can provide information, data, and understanding for the employee on the other hand about their wellbeing and competence and on the other hand on the company needs and vision.”

Taking above situation into consideration, the company has built a LaaS model to help its employees to lead their wellbeing, network, and share their expertise over team borders. This Leadership as a Service model allows everyone to choose from its “internal marketplace” the support that best meets their individual needs. Employees are treated as “internal customers” and active consumers, enabling them to solve their problems instead of passively waiting for help. The key is to encourage employees to take ownership of their wellbeing and employee experience and learn self-leadership skills.

Importance of HR-tech

According to Johanna, Technology should not only help the management but also to employees. Tech should offer data and support to both individuals and teams to help them to understand what is important, what challenges they might have, how they can reach their goals, and who could help them with that. It should also support a holistic view. It is important to look at well-being, competencies and employee engagement as a system, where all the areas interact with each other. Understanding the correlations between these themes helps companies to realize the root causes and focus on solving the right things.

Understanding the Requirements of People

Johanna believes that there is a huge untapped talent potential inside organizations. The first step is to make this expertise visible by conceptualizing it and making it available for everyone. Companies need to help people understand what are the strategically relevant competencies in their organization. The second step is to enable them to direct their own expertise towards this common goal. This should be done individually, as different people have different needs when it comes to competence development and organizations should be able to support everyone in a way that suits them.

LaaS company does this in an agile, cost-effective way. Its service catalogue helps its employees to understand what support they have available and who could provide them help: it might be their colleague, sales team, HR team or sometimes even CEO!

A Future Life

As the world around us is developing all the time, the team at LaaS is constantly researching the future world of work and always trying to be one step ahead. The key is to be curious and challenge thinking. There is always room for trial and error. In five years, the company wishes to help thousands of companies globally to change their way of leading wellbeing, competencies, and employee engagement into a modern, agile leadership model.

An Enlightening Advice

In her advice to emerging entrepreneurs, Johanna says, “Trust yourself and your intuition. Don’t try to adapt to a role that doesn’t fit what and who you really are. If there is something you don’t manage yet, get support around you. In my experience, people are more than happy to help. Be curious and dare to grab opportunities.”