Copenhagen’s thriving tech scene is a world away from the United States’ Midwest, but embracing different cultures and backgrounds has been central to the career of Planday’s Mollie Oving. Everyday she uses her experience from recently moving to Denmark — and as a soon-to-be new mom — to help power the company’s modern approach to employee engagement.
The days of traditional ‘human resources’ (or HR) are done, Planday’s Head of People & Culture Mollie Oving believes.
“People & Culture is something that’s growing massively right now. When people typically hear about an HR department, they think of them as paper-pushers, most commonly. And that is not what we are,” Mollie says.
“People & Culture is really re-defining that type of department; with everyone looking at us as people who are more proactive, as opposed to reactive. We are trying to build and get ahead of our employees’ needs and provide them a pathway forward in their career.”
For Mollie and the Planday People & Culture team, staff are not simply onboarded and left to their own devices, Planday-ers become the greatest assets for broadening the company’s networks to hire new people in the future.
“After someone is onboarded, we want them to bring their knowledge about Planday to their best networks and entice other people to want to come and join us. And then we start that process all over again,” Mollie says.Since she joined the company fresh from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis 18 months ago, Planday’s staff numbers have doubled and the number of people from different cultures and backgrounds has grown along with it — bringing with it challenges in communication and onboarding — whilst dealing with changes in laws throughout the EU.
Planday in numbers
“I was very excited to work at Planday because I come from the United States and so a lot of my background was previously limited to the states in which the employees were located, all of which in the United States. Here I am able to work with a lot of different cultures with varying communication and management styles, and learn and understand multiples countries’ employment laws and benefits,” she tells The Planday Blog.
“It really opened the door to a lot of different aspects for me — chances to broaden my knowledge in so many ways.”
This new approach to people management and embracing diversity is firmly grounded in Planday’s values and one of the main reasons Mollie decided to join the company.
“That was something I know Christian — our CEO — talked a lot about to me when I was hired. That the way we look at our team at Planday is very different to other, more traditional companies and departments,” Mollie says.
“We are constantly talking to different departments, thinking about how does this affect our people on an everyday basis? And how can we make this an environment which is really helping them? Is it making Planday a good workplace?
“So you have to collaborate. You can’t do this work on your own. You have to be talking to many different departments and understand what they are going through on a day to day basis. And that’s what I love about it.”
As well as helping Planday-ers from almost 30 nationalities across five offices settle into life at Planday, Mollie is about to take some time away from Planday as she and her husband start their family in Denmark.
“There’s a whole slew of things — from communications styles to management styles, to the office environments that I have worked in previously — that are different about life in Denmark and life at Planday,” Mollie tells The Planday Blog.
“One of the bigger things that I am experiencing personally today is the difference around government-sponsored healthcare and benefits, especially for women.
“I am pregnant, and so in the States I would have worked right up to the week before I had the baby and then I would have had six weeks off at 60 per cent pay. Here I get four weeks prior to birth to relax and prepare for that and then — depending on how you share it with your partner — you get about 46 weeks after that you have the option of taking up.
“So that’s more of a benefit and much longer period of time to spend with your new child and your family and it is just completely different.”
As a family company Planday’s supportive company culture has helped Mollie and her family prepare for their new arrival.
“That’s something that I have been able to feel excited about leaving, but at the same time, also sad about leaving. I have had a really supportive team and a supportive boss, and just a supportive culture,” Mollie says.
“Through talking about my departure for the interim period, I have got nothing but happiness and congratulations and then conversations around figuring this out together and transitioning through it all. Together we have talked about getting our team in a position where we can handle these things until I come back and am added into the team again. That’s been a huge thing.
“Even being able to feel comfortable talking with your team, your boss, anybody who is involved in your day to day, about not only the transition out but then the transition back in — and knowing that they want you to come back into that — is huge.
“Because for a woman these things are scary, especially for a first-time mom. You don’t know what to expect. They don’t know about these things. And to have support coming 100 percent, that makes it ten times easier.”
Get to know Mollie
In this new section of the Life at Planday blog, we are going to discover what our Planday-ers do when they are not empowering awesome at our company. Thanks Mollie for speaking to us!
What is something that other Plandayers would not know about you?
Maybe they wouldn’t know that if you get a good song on, I am likely to start dancing. And if you hand me a glass of whisky on the rocks that will definitely do me in!
What’s the song that draws you to the dance floor?
Lizzo — Good as Hell. You guys have to look that up. That will definitely get you on the floor too!
Other than the dance floor, where would we find you when you’re not at Planday?
I don’t really have super solid hobbies. I have always been somebody who just always enjoys connecting with people. So when I am not at Planday I am usually hanging out with friends, I am with my husband’s family. Otherwise I am a big cleaner and gardener — so I spend time at home if I am on my downtime.
What is your favourite Danish word?
I really love selvfølgelig, which means of course. I don’t think I ever said, “Oh, of course!” — it feels a little lofty, but then trying to spell it and seeing it for the first time written out, I just really loved it. And now I use it a lot actually, when I try to speak Danish — the little that I can.
What is your favourite social media platform and why?
I am not huge on social media but I think Instagram is probably the good one, because you can follow a little bit of your passions but you can also keep up with people like your family and friends.
Where do you get your news from?
I get my news a lot of times from podcasts. I listen to things like Pod Save America and The New York Times and then in trying to find a little bit more my local news, and listening and talking with my husband around what’s going on, but it’s a little bit harder to find that in English. So I try to stay up with what’s happening in the States and then try to dive into some of the translated sites here in Denmark.
Do you have a favourite European city?
Florence — I have been there a couple of times. It’s simply because of food and wine. It’s relaxed, it’s a little bit away and it also just feels old-world when you can walk around any corner and find a really nice picture and all that.
How did you end up in Denmark?
I met my husband in the States, in Minnesota, and somehow he convinced me to move over here. And after a long process and conversations and then finding a job at Planday then I was like, “Alright — time to go!” That’s how I got here.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Probably a little bit: settle down! And more seriously, to not worry so much about what titles and what specific role you want to find yourself in, but just looking a little bit more into things like: what are you comfortable with? What do you enjoy? And be able to pull those things into the role that is going to start to build that portfolio in your career.
At least in the States, that’s about the time at which you start to think about what you are supposed to be contributing to this world, and so that’s a major anxiety for me at that time. But I found a place, so that’s good!
To be part of Planday’s modern approach to People & Culture, check out our careers.