VD-intervju med Sympa

9 juni 2016


Keijo Karjalainen, CEO Sympa

Sympa är en av Skandinaviens lysande stjärnor på den stora HR-himlen. På några få år har Sympa vuxit till en ledande HR-leverantör och påbörjat sin internationella expansion. Vi har träffat CEO Keijo Karjalainen för att få information om nuläget och framtiden.
What is the story behind Sympa?
Reply: Story of Sympa begun in the early 2000 when we created a great model to combine individual targets and competencies to company targets, vision and strategy. Main idea was in operational results, return on invest (roi) and efficiency. The very first software was distributed via CD disk, but we quickly realized that there must be a way to get rid of technology. We wanted to focus on people, globally. Sympa company was founded in 2005 by two siblings Taina Sipilä and Keijo Karjalainen, when the Sympa HR Cloud solution was built. Already the first pilot was international and launched in two locations at the same time, in Finland and in China. Being global is something we consider self-evident. Today Sympa employs around 60 people in the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and our Finnish headquarters, as well as several business partners internationally.

Your company is growing rapidly. Where and how?
Reply: Growth has been self-evident and one of our priorities since the very beginning. Growth is something that exists in all of us Sympa people. We are a group of individuals, looking to grow together and we really want to make a difference. Sympa has become a fixture on Deloitte’s list of fastest growing technology companies over the recent years. Sympa’s organic growth has been more than 216 % during the last 5 years. The highest growth comes from the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway), and now we are also starting to grow quite rapidly in the Netherlands and Switzerland. I think the growth story is similar in all organisations. All growth companies want to put more focus on people, as it is people and their skills that help companies to differentiate and be successful. But at the same time, organisations are not that keen on IT projects, implementations and integrations. Organisations require rapid results with low investment costs, which we can offer.

What is the explanation of your success? What´s your recipe?
Reply: Sympa HR is the most flexible and comprehensive service in the market and one of the few, if not only one, that really supports Agile HR. Flexibility combined with the most sophisticated best practice solutions is a killer combination. We provide best ROI in the market. In addition, we can provide local solutions globally. By simplifying and unifying the collection of HR data, we give our customers an aggregated, clear view of their people’s well-being and development. We measure the pulse of our customers’ business. Our recipe also includes the best possible service and HR consultation for our customers. I dare to say that Sympa people are praised and loved. And actually in May 2016 one of our service teams, Support Service, made a new record: satisfaction score 100 %. We truly are happy when our customers are happy.

HR seems to be a rather universe process area, but do you meet differences in different countries?
Reply: We focus on people and people are alike in every country. Of course there are different legislation and leadership models in different countries. This is one of the parts where Sympa HR’s flexibility really comes handy. System configuration, for example for payroll, holidays and development discussions, supports several countries. Sympa HR feels local where ever you use it.

HR is a growing business area with new vendors and systems entering the market each month, how do meet this competition?
Reply: The number of providers in the field is growing all the time, and more specialized companies doing only a niche function are emerging more and more. However, we feel comfortable in our market space. Yet we have not seen any other vendor providing the same efficiency and flexibility than we do. We are very happy with the current growth path.

Finally, what are your goals for the coming years? How much can you grow and how global can you become?
Reply: At the moment, Sympa HR software is being used in 50 different countries in 13 different languages. The Sympa solution is naturally global and a highly scalable service. We are a growth company, but we are also keen on customer success and this requires active cooperation with our customers. It is also much more fun for us, when our customers are happy. Being aware of that, we are opening new markets every year.