Business stories
Oct 7, 20193 min read

How our ways of working empower our people.

Profile Cecilia

by Cecilia Nordin

We need to work differently than traditional banks.

At Klarna, we’ve realized that we can’t make great products and provide a world class customer experience without talented and passionate people. And after finding the best possible people, we want to give them the freedom and foundation to shine at their brightest. To ensure quick-decision making and empowered employees, we need to work differently than traditional banks. So a year and a half ago, we turned the traditional management pyramid upside down, removed management layers and introduced agile ways of working across the whole company.

My name is Cecilia Nordin and in my role as Org Development Manager within the Organisation & Leadership domain, I help ensuring Klarna continues to be a fast paced and innovative company.

So, what is really different with Klarna ways of working?

Klarna consists of more than 300 start-up teams responsible for their own business problem and setting their own vision, mission and business plan.

Teams are small and represent mixed competences depending on what problems they are solving. Engineers and product managers are bolstered by insights from other competences such as analytics, marketing and legal. We introduced the Klarna team practices which is a set of common daily, weekly and quarterly routines that all our teams follow to ensure flow, speed and alignment.

It is almost impossible to keep up with all the new teams we are starting, and we are not afraid to even close down teams in the organization that are no longer adding enough value. The teams are led by an Accountable Lead that is responsible for the team’s deliveries and everyday work. Due to the high focus on delivery and the fact that teams change and evolve over time, we also need to ensure stability and long-term focus both for Klarna and our employees. Therefore everyone at Klarna is supported by a Competence Lead that is responsible for guiding and nurturing professional growth. But more information on that in a future article.

And the results of our operating model?

Since we made this big shift we have grown with over 1000 employees globally and our employee engagement has increased by 6%. For us it is important that we keep the startup spirit even though we are becoming a large company. And you can bet that our new company valuation of $5.5 billion is down to our ways of working. Our rate of innovation wouldn’t be possible without the empowerment of us as employees to dream big and move fast.

Life at Klarna means working with inspiring, hard-working colleagues and getting things done at a high pace. Every day is different and it creates a unique environment of creativity that other workplaces can’t match.

I am still amazed that over 40 new employees join us every second week, and people come from all around the world to work at Klarna. Every second week I join the onboarding program where I present our ways of working to all new joiners. It’s important that everyone is given a good introduction to our operating model because most have never seen anything like it. When I explain why we have decided to work in this way, and how much autonomy they will have to solve problems, I always see many happy faces. It’s great to see how energized people get when they’re in a place where they can feel empowered.

Doesn’t it sound like a place you’d like to join?