Mentorship strengthens Vattenfall

Some 100 people are available to anyone requiring a mentor for both professional and personal development.

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Thea Alavuo and Linn Rejström

Mentorship is based on encouragement, openness, mutual trust, respect and a willingness to share. Mentors and mentees who discuss and share knowledge and experiences can be a key to success for Vattenfall. There is a developed internal mentoring programme and a portal that was officially opened in September 2017, where the services provided by the various mentors are described in detail.

The mentoring programme is open to all colleagues in all countries. One of those who signed up is mentee Thea Alavuo who chose Linn Rejström as a mentor. Their collaboration started in November 2017 and they met for an hour once a month. They sometimes have physical meetings outside of the office in cafeterias and sometimes online meetings.

  "Initially we drew up a kind of informal contract with clear targets. I have been able to decide on the contents of the contract based on the areas that are relevant for me. Sometimes we agree on homework before the next meeting and there is time for reflection. For instance, we have discussed how I should make the most of my personal strengths, career development and we have drawn up a yearly plan relating to issues I want to achieve," says Thea Alavuo who works at Consumer Sales Nordic in Finland with sales and marketing.

thea alavuo_linn rejstrom2.jpg"It does not take up that much time being a mentor. But you have to be genuinely interested in wanting to help young and ambitious talented people develop. This way it is very enjoyable. In addition to our meetings, Thea has texted or phoned me for urgent help for instance regarding tips and advice before going into a meeting or negotiations," says Linn Rejström who is global Head of Recruitment at Vattenfall.

It can be liberating for a mentee if their mentor is not their boss and vice versa if the mentor does not have any HR responsibilities. On the other hand, mentors usually have both experience of management and being an employee.

  "Things are more open and relaxed. It's a great feeling that Thea wants to listen and ask for my advice. It is very nice to be able to give something back," says Linn Rejström.

The framework for the mentorship is set from 12-18 months, preferably psychical meeting every 4-6 week for about two hours.

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“The mentoring is a very good activity, open for everyone, who have a development need and identified a certain challenge, who take advice from a more experienced person, in that specific topic”, says Marina Holtmann at Vattenfall HR, responsible for the Mentoring Programme.

Mentors like to help people to develop, to see and support people in their own development. A lot of the mentors has self been mentees in the past and want to give something back.

“I like the idea when people come across countries and business areas, hierarchies and age. This can make Vattenfall become a more open company, were people support each other and give feedback. A step in the change of the culture, exchange knowledge and experiences as well”, says Holtmann.

There is a notion that it is only the mentee who learns from the mentor, but many times the sharing of experience goes both ways.

"There are some amazingly talented people in the company. It feels good to follow the path taken by young ambitious colleagues who want to develop further, and you always learn something about yourself by just talking to others. I can almost always relate to my own dilemmas when Thea brings up different issues. It is often the case that a mentee is wiser than I am. There is no end to what I have been taught!," says Linn Rejström.

"2018 was a very eventful year. Linn has helped me with what matters most to allow me to develop and reach the goals we set out at the start of the year. I really recommend mentorship to anyone wishing to develop themselves. It's just a matter of taking some initiative," says Thea Alavuo.

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