Angelika Wichmann Sørensen, CEO of Poolia Norway, on tech’s role in their organisation and the future of staffing

Oct 26, 2022

In this serie, Globus is sitting down with some of the staffing sector’s leading experts to learn how technology impacts their organisations and the industry as a whole...

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We continue our serie of interviews with leading staffing experts to learn how technology impacts their organisations and the industry as a whole. Here, our Head of Marketing, Katarina Marais, speaks with Poolia Norway's CEO, Angelika Wichmann Sørensen.

Angelika, thanks for joining us! Let's start with a little about you. Who is Angelika, and what inspired you to get into the staffing sector?

 If I had to describe myself,I'd say I'm energetic, dedicated, positive and easygoing. Staffing and recruitment is my passion, and I have been in the business for almost two decades. 

There are so many interesting people and organisations you get to know, and you learn a lot from them. We humans love telling others what we are good at –  and candidate interviews give me a lot of that. 

My first inspiration to get into staffing was a headhunter named Nina who that called me one day fora process I joined and after that I wanted to work in the same industry as well. One role led to another, and here I am. As far asI'm concerned, staffing and recruitment is all about connecting with people.

Can you tell me about your main ambitions this year and next? Do you have anything concrete you're working on?

 We launched two new departments in July. In 2023, we will solidify everything we do this autumn.It's our main goal to keep growing. Over the next 3-4 years, we want to double our revenue. This means we're hiring! Instead of hurrying slowly, we will hurry as fast as we can.

When it comes to your organization's operations, how did the Covid-19 pandemic affect it?

 For us, it's been business as usual. Working from home has been successful. We have clients all overNorway, and Teams meetings work well, both for client meetings and for candidate interviews. I'd say the pandemic made our organisation more flexible and efficient.

We do hybrid work now, where employees work both in the office and from home.

The pandemic has also had its downsides. Building company culture on Teams can be tough. However, we do lots of activities and get-togethers that help us build culture.

How do you see staffing changing over the next five years?

 Staffing hasn't been very innovative historically, but that’s changing. Everything is accelerating, and will keep doing so as new technologies enter our industry. Also, the competition is getting fiercer. “Why should this candidate work for us instead of our competitors?”

Going forward, we need to work even harder on employer branding and standing out in the marketplace. For that to be successful, you need to demonstrate passion and execution. In fact, Poolia’s motto is Passion & Execution!

Also, we need to use the right staffing technology to be more efficient.

Speaking of technology, how does it play a role at Poolia?

 Most of our work is done digitally now, from signing work contracts to creating letters of confirmation.In terms of paper use, we have become more environmentally conscious. We switched to a new accounting system last year, which has made things much easier for our finance department. There are a bunch of apps our recruiters use to log hours.

For us as an HR and Tech corporation, technology plays a crucial role. On the other hand, we must never lose sight of the fact that we’re dealing with people – the human being is the most crucial factor. Personally, I like meeting people in person instead of emailing. In my humble opinion, business is best done face-to-face.

How will technology affect staffing agencies in the coming years?

 First of all, it'll save us time and make us more efficient. Automation technology frees up time for us to interact directly with our co-workers and clients. 

Secondly, using innovative technology gives staffing agencies a competitive edge. Not only does it help us work faster, it also gives us access to better candidates – faster.

In your opinion, what makes a great company culture?

 The best company culture is where there's openness and freedom of action. We're encouraged to make our own decisions, and we're allowed to fail. When we make mistakes, we learn from them. Together, we celebrate big and small victories. There are no stupid questions. Everyone shares the attitude that “We love what we do, and we get things done”.

Do you have a hero who inspires you?

 I believe that all of Norway stands behind me when I talk about the cross-country skier Therese Johaug, whoI consider one of the most wonderful heroes. A truly amazing athlete! She has given us so much excitement as a nation, and so many tears of joy. 

The minute she retired after this year's Olympics, I said to myself, “Wow, thank you, Therese, for all the great moments you have given us!”

When it comes to work-life balance, how do you do it? 

 Over the course of my career, I've "hit the wall" a few times. Exercising has been the key. I love running! I live near the sea and a lovely forest, so I often go for a run to clear my mind. 

I also have a great husband who works in the recruitment industry as well, and we talk about it a lot.It's important to have some arenas in life where you can just be yourself.

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