Foodora, the largest transport service company for restaurants, grocery stores, and other retail stores in the Nordic countries, is known for its fast moves. A growing company constantly needs new managers – and managers need training for their work tasks.
”It’s been pretty full-on, and the same is set to continue,” Senior HRD Specialist Sanna Haavisto sums up when asked about Foodora’s recent developments.
”We’re in the middle of a rebrand. We operate in several countries around the world. In Europe, all countries are adopting a joint Foodora brand. There’s a lot going on both in Europe and in Finland,” Haavisto explains.
Customer Care Team Lead Topi Heikkinen agrees that Foodora has had plenty of reasons to celebrate lately.
”We celebrated the brand refresh most recently, but there have many other causes too. Foodora is doing well, and we have every reason to be proud,” Heikkinen states.
Sixteen new managers from Foodora in the same training
In the spring of 2023, sixteen new managers at Foodora Finland completed the First Time Manager training offered by Aalto University continuing education, Topi Heikkinen being one of them.
”Foodora’s core values are: Be an explorer; Care for your co-workers, and, my personal favorite, Get shit done while having fun. They encapsulate that we are fast movers constantly striving to improve while wanting everyone at Foodora to keep well. It sets the bar high for managers,” says Heikkinen.
”It’s great that Foodora offers training opportunities for new managers. People are not just told to do better but are offered tools and coaching to ensure we have every possibility to succeed.”
Currently, in charge of a team of nine, Topi Heikkinen had served as a manager for seven months when he started his First Time Manager training.
"I was very new in my manager position when I went to training, and I still am. I went in with an open mind, interested in learning new things," Heikkinen says.
”In leadership, it’s easy to slip into a one-size-fits-all mindset: this is the type of manager I happen to be, and this is how I lead. During the training, we reflected a great deal on how managers can create functional relationships with different kinds of people and find effective ways to help them succeed at work.”
Foodora invests in the training of managers
The average age of employees at Foodora is 27. According to Sanna Haavisto, it especially attracts ambitious, forward-looking people who want to be part of a fast-growing business.
“Managers have a huge impact on the success of individual employees. Managers play a key role in job satisfaction and whether people are motivated, the workload is suitable, and they get to develop as professionals.”
”We are not in the habit of throwing new managers in the deep end and watching them struggle. When you give responsibility, you also need to provide the conditions to carry that responsibility and thrive.”
Sanna Haavisto hoped that the First Time Manager training would above all serve as a good way to kickstart one’s work as a manager.
”We were after a versatile training that would help our new managers grasp their new role.”
”We wanted the First Time Manager training to offer a chance for participants to think about the type of managers they are, what they want to be, areas of growth, and how they want to lead their teams,” Haavisto describes.
“Naturally, we also wanted to provide them with practical tools for their work as managers as well as a broad overview of current leadership.”
Topi Heikkinen feels that the First Time Manager training provided plenty of food for thought.
”I was even a little surprised by the individual approach. We talked a great deal about how the manager’s personal well-being is reflected in the well-being of the team. You have to take care of yourself, so you can help others with their challenges and problems.”
I was even a little surprised by the individual approach. We talked a great deal about how the manager’s personal well-being is reflected in the well-being of the team. You have to take care of yourself, so you can help others with their challenges and problems.”
”Some of the issues seemed pretty obvious at first glance. We did a great deal of self-reflection, right down to our sleep and diets. But when we began to think about areas of development in our personal wellbeing, we soon realized there was plenty of work to do.”
Heikkinen mentions the practical tools as a clear perk of the First Time Manager training.
”Without wanting it to sound like a cheesy TV ad of ‘I tried this and came out a winner’, but many of the tools I gained from the training have proven useful in my day-to-day work as a manager. For instance, I learned how to ask certain questions that have clearly helped build trust with my team. I also found a time management tool that has made my life so much easier,” Heikkinen adds.
”I particularly liked the fact that not once were we told ‘do this and you’ll be a top boss’. Instead, we were asked questions that caused us to reflect for ourselves and find our own answers.”
Peer support from other new managers
Topi Heikkinen also received plenty of new ideas from the other participants.
”The peer meetings were possibly the best part of the training. Hearing out the thoughts of other managers and seeing how issues can be viewed from a number of perspectives was eye-opening.”
The peer meetings were possibly the best part of the training. Hearing out the thoughts of other managers and seeing how issues can be viewed from a number of perspectives was eye-opening.”
”I appreciate the fact that all of the new managers at Foodora Finland were able to complete the same training. Since then, we’ve had many spontaneous discussions around the coffee table at work, bouncing ideas and reflecting on themes raised during the training.”
Sanna Haavisto points out that this type of internal networking is precisely what Foodora had in mind when they decided to send sixteen new managers to the same training.
”In our daily work, we usually don’t have the time to organize separate opportunities for managers to get away from their tasks and mentor each other. Our new managers have been inspired to discuss and share ideas across different roles, which I see as a major strength.”