Do productivity and well-being at work go hand in hand?


Aalto, Nordea and the University of Tampere joined forces to study well-being at work, social networks and productivity.

The research project led by Aalto University School of Business studies how social networks and well-being at work are connected to the productivity of work. The project is carried out in collaboration with Nordea and the University of Tampere. 

‘The initiative to start the research project was made by Nordea Life, a life insurance company which is part of Nordea Group. The research is supported by the commitment of both the management and staff of the participating Nordea units’, explains Project Director Markku Kuula, Logistics Professor at the Aalto University School of Business Department of Information and Service Economy.

The research will provide insights on, for example, the factors that either improve or reduce productivity and well-being at work. The project also studies the effects that the finance sector’s development and digitalisation in particular have on well-being, social networks and productivity. Being able to simultaneously study the insurance company and the bank that delivers its services is a novel angle to financial sector research.

‘The significance of well-being at work cannot be over-emphasised. At Nordea, well-being is now of special focus as the financial sector is at a major turning point. We currently have various projects and pilots focusing on the issue and this research excellently fits our agenda’, tells Sini Kivekäs, Head of HR at Nordea.

Unique data on employees’ experiences and productivity

The project offers a unique opportunity to connect people’s personal experiences regarding quality of work with information concerning their productivity. Productivity is studied, for example, by analysing data on advice and sales of services to customers.

‘The research project has exceptional data. The interrelationships between social networks, well-being at work and productivity have hardly been studied previously, especially on the individual level’, explains researcher Juha Eskelinen.

With respect to well-being at work and social networks, the research is based on a survey that was carried out between May and June 2017. The survey was taken by 650 Nordea employees who work at the bank’s physical service points and remote services, as well as at Nordea’s life insurance company, Nordea Life. The survey focused on the employees’ views on topics such as work engagement, management practices and the effect of digitalisation on their work. Data on productivity will be gathered until the spring of 2018 so that the dataset will be sufficiently reliable.

‘When improving the productivity of a company, we cannot focus solely on the customers but we must pay attention on the employees as well. We must be able to maintain an excellent working atmosphere which is consistently monitored and improved. This creates a positive cycle which reflects on everyone’s work. In the end, everyone benefits’, states Kivekäs.    

Productivity is analysed at Aalto University and the University of Tampere studies well-being at work as well as social networks. The objective is to generate results that can be utilised by Finnish business and industry, especially by the financial and service sectors. The research project also aims for visibility in the scientific community.

‘It is inspiring to conduct research in a cross-disciplinary team in which the productivity analysis know-how of Aalto University School of Business and the University of Tampere’s expertise on well-being at work complement each other’, says Eskelinen.

The research is funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund and Nordea Life. The project was launched in autumn 2016 and lasts two years.


More information:

Researcher Juha Eskelinen
Aalto University School of Business
+358 (0)40 081 3858