Article by Leena Koskelainen, Tecnotree

group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company cultureIt’s fair to say that this year has not panned out quite the way we would have expected back in January.

However, as 2020 draws to a close and the talk of a vaccine become more and more positive, I think it’s important to try and find positives where possible. And one of the key positives for those of us that work in technology has been a far greater understanding and acknowledgement of our sector amongst the wider public. From Zoom calls and food deliveries to mobile tracking apps and content streaming, there has been a much wider appreciation of technology and how fundamental it has become to so many aspects of our lives.

As refreshing as this external recognition has been, 2020 has also forced many of us that work in the industry to cast a critical eye on how we engage with own colleagues and workforce. Within my division at Tecnotree, I lead teams involved with digital transformation programmes to bring legacy business support systems into the modern age with the latest technology, automation, analytics and machine learning capabilities. However, I’ve also found myself conducting a similar process on my teams to ensure that we’re getting the best out of our teams and colleagues during this time!

One of the key areas I’ve discovered is the importance of collaboration and getting the balance right between managing and autonomy. In situations like this, I actually think it helps to be a woman. There have been various studies and articles written about how women are more naturally collaborative then men and with us having a female CEO, I feel that feeling has naturally cascaded down to all of us and has been reflected in the ethos of our company. I am responsible for teams in the Middle East, Bangalore and other places and used to have constant calls with 170 people reporting, updating and more. It was often a challenge to know where to focus my attentions. Now, thanks to internal training and removing some pre-existing hierarchies, we’ve started to see results emerging. As a leader, I’ve had to get the balance right between putting best practice in place, but at the same time aiming to improve productivity, and according to our most recent results, it seems to be working!

The other area that has been a focus is team culture. It’s a cliché but at the end of the day, any company is only as good as its people. As Vice President of Product Engineering, I work with some truly brilliant scientific minds on a daily basis, but with COVID, there’s also been a danger that people become even more isolated and siloed in their work. So, I’ve made it a priority to ensure we’re doing what we can to balance things out and bring people together / make them feel valued. We’ve also sent care packages to employee’s home addresses so that they can share gifts with their families and let them know we’re thinking of them. Also, on the family engagement front, our HR team has been running “Kudos to Kiddies’” program, where we have invited the children of our staff to post pictures and videos of their crafts, art and hobbies which we then publish for entire company to see and appreciate.

It’s definitely been a strange year, but in a funny sense, its actually been a good one for Tecnotree and me personally. It’s reminded me of the advice I always give to young women coming into the industry – don’t be afraid of the unknown. The COVID situation has actually made me adjust the way I lead and manage my teams and provided the impetus to do things differently. It’s bringing results and had set us all up for further success even further down the road post-COVID.

WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube