According to Berndt Johansson, Chair of the Hedengren Board of Directors and third-generation owner of the company, the growth strategy of Hedengren is based on a culture of appreciation and strong stakeholder relations. “Responsible ownership means that your employees and clients can rely on the company even in difficult times.”
With nine years’ experience as the Group CEO and twenty-three years as the Chair of the Board of Directors, Berndt Johansson says jokingly that he was born with the Hedengren logo on his forehead. Both his grandfather Einar and uncle Bror were at the helm of the company for a long time: Einar in 1920–1961 and Bror in 1962–1998.
During his long career at Hedengren, Johansson has departed from the company only once. Known as a passionate yachtsman, Johansson was persuaded to take over managerial duties at a boating company in 1991–1995.
“I recommend stretching your wings outside your family business for even a short while at some point of your career. The experience will give you more insight and help you approach your company and its resources from a fresh point of view,” says Johansson.
Generations cheering on each other
Johansson says that the owner family has been actively involved in Hedengren’s operations throughout the company’s history. The company principle is to always appoint a member of the family as the Chair of the Board of Directors or the CEO, and the Board should include at least two representatives of the family.
“Ownership is about looking to the future. Hedengren’s success is the result of each generation striving to build a better company. Every new generation is more ambitious than the previous one.”
According to the Chair of Board of Directors, the company aims to find the most competent professionals for each job.
“The sector is evolving rapidly. Both the Board and the operational side of the company must possess diverse expertise and be more prepared to respond to changes. These days, shareholders can be employed elsewhere and still be committed to the operations of our company,” Johansson explains.
Company culture is everything
Johansson says the new company strategy is an action plan that is based on the owners’ values and ambitions. He thinks that the company’s most important strategic themes are company culture and the client promise.
“From the owners’ point of view, the most important aspect of the strategy is our appreciative and forward-looking company culture. We want to attract the best professionals in the field and inspire people to get educated and learn something new.”
Another important factor highlighted by Johansson is the company’s client promise. Every single Hedengren employee’s contribution to keeping this promise matters.
“The client promise makes our operations meaningful. It indicates that our top priority is to help our clients succeed in their everyday operations. Everything else is a result of our success in these two areas.”
Strong relations are the cornerstones of a successful business
Johansson believes that constant vigilance and strong stakeholder relations are the reason why Hedengren has succeeded as a family company for more than one hundred years while still being a pioneer of international innovations. Over the past decades, the company has succeeded in establishing strong relations in all directions.
“Our innovations are based on open communication with our clients, partners and suppliers. Open communication enables us to identify our stakeholders’ needs and provide systems and solutions that benefit all the links in our value chain.”
“Good competitiveness is achieved through the permanence of our expertise, relationships and practices. We strive to engage in long-term partnerships and establish customer relations that last decades,” Johansson adds.
The Chair of the Board of Directors believes that the current market environment and attitudes have increased the value of domestic and responsible ownership.
“In Finland, subsidiary-focused economy and institutional ownership have become increasingly common. The prolonged coronavirus pandemic and stricter sustainability requirements have increased the value of domestic and transparent ownership. Our clients seek partners whose work and commitment they can rely on even in difficult times.”
Responsible societal contributor
According to Johansson, the most crucial value behind the company and the new strategy is responsibility.
“Our goal is to develop Hedengren into a company that will employ and serve generations to come. Durable systems and high-quality life cycle services play an essential role in our line of work.”
Johansson adds that maintaining a positive company reputation also falls under the value of responsibility.
“Reputation is our most important resource. We cannot avoid all mistakes, but we can resolve issues together and support each other. This applies to both mistakes concerning our clients and internal issues. Ultimately, we owners bear the responsibility for our company’s actions.”
The hundred-year-old company is also happy to continue to bear corporate social responsibility.
“Our company has grown simultaneously with the hundred-year-old Finland, and we want to continue to push the whole field and society forward. We are promoting the development of service business and facility automation through strategic projects. We strive to inspire young professionals to enter the field by implementing new models of cooperation.”