Audra Kauniene

Audra's career did not take a drastic change when she joined Danske Bank: she traded a broader field of internal audit for a narrower one – Fraud Risk Prevention. However, having changed the place of employment, she has felt a significant cultural difference compared with her previous experience, as here, at Danske Bank, even new colleagues taking their very first steps at the company are trusted, given special attention, and the utmost support of colleagues, which Audra finds highly encouraging to tie in with her diverse team, understand new processes and  perform well. Her life experience also comes in handy at this stage, as having three children has taught her to plan her time with great precision, leaving nothing undone to the last minute.

Why did you decide to look for a new job?

The first thing that caught my attention was the campaign aimed at attracting mature talent, featuring the writer Žemaitė. I think the ad pinpointed the target audience – more mature employees, including me. This ad made me smile and encouraged me to opt for change.
I had worked in my previous job for a number of years, which has set me in a certain routine, and I had limited opportunities for development and learning. I realised that I could and wanted to do more, so I purposefully applied for the vacant position at Danske Bank, where there was a position available working with fraud prevention – a field that I find highly interesting and impactful on society.

I was encouraged and motivated by the positive feedback from both current and former Danske Bank employees, the job that required English language skills, and the good working conditions on offer. The Danske Campus is also incredibly attractive.

I have worked in a similar campus before, during my internship in Poland, and I liked it a lot – having everything in one place and well thought out. I have also been familiar with the Danish work culture, and I find it very appealing: pleasant atmosphere, consistency, attention to detail, and appreciation of employees. Flexible working conditions were also tempting, as I did not have the opportunity to work from home in my previous job, which does not seem wise in the wake of the Covid pandemic. 
Actually, having decided to leave my previous job, I applied for several other positions and had several real job offers. However, the more I discovered about the Danske Bank’s work culture and working conditions, the more I wanted to start working here. It was my purposeful choice.

Did you hear any age-related comments when looking for a new job?

Personally, I have not heard any ageist comments. However, from time to time, I hear that some are still facing it  in the Lithuanian working environment. But it is not only older, more mature people, who get these comments.

Young people are also commented about their age, telling them to "Stop, wait, do not rush, you still have time”, while older people are told “Stay put, why would you want to learn new things, just do what you do and that’s it”. You can never please everyone!

Personally, I got more remarks related to raising three children. So, nothing surprises me anymore. However, I am happy to see that age-related comments are becoming rarer in Lithuania.

Although most of my colleagues at Danske Bank in Lithuania are quite young, I do not feel a big age difference. I believe it also depends on my own attitude and behaviour. When I joined Danske Bank, I knew I would work in a diverse environment. I just didn't expect to fit in so easily, to find a common language and to interact with my colleagues so freely. Therefore, I think age is not such a significant factor. The ability to communicate openly, to share professional experiences and to work in a diverse environment is more important. The team I work with is remarkably diverse in every sense: in age, nationalities – I have Danish, Icelandic, Filipino, Indian, Polish and Lithuanian colleagues –, and life stages: young and recently graduated, those who are only starting a family, and those who already have it, as well as empty-nesters. In the end, it is our work experience that counts. My teammates joined Danske Bank from different backgrounds and brought their own work experience, while I came from internal audit. I believe there are many advantages to having a blended team: we are strong because we have different experiences, yet we are able to connect our different perspectives, share information and achieve common goals working together.

Do you think that stereotypes and negative attitudes towards age are an issue in the job market, or is this just a myth?

I think that, unlike in the Danish work culture, these stereotypes are still quite strong in Lithuania. Unfortunately, cultural things don't change that quickly: you can't wake up the next morning having new values. It is a process. However, perhaps because of my own positive attitude, I have not been directly confronted with it. I live a fairly active life, I have many different interests, travel, visit museums, do sports, I cycle with my family, and ski in the winter. Possibly people do not dare to say it aloud, but from what I hear living in Lithuania, I understand that, unfortunately, the attitude towards an employee having reached a certain age – above 40, or, nowadays, above 50, – changes. I have met colleagues, people plus-minus my age, who do not dare to change jobs and pursue new challenges or professional development; they have this attitude that they will not go anywhere else, safely staying in the same place and waiting for retirement.

What was the most worrying about starting a new job?

Since I had inquired a lot about the company, its work culture, and the feedback from current and former employees before applying for the vacancy at Danske Bank, I was worried about whether I would be able to adapt to the new working environment. I knew that Danske Bank in Lithuania has a lot of young people, but now, six months into my work in 1st Line Financial Crime – Fraud Risk team, I can see that things are going well. I am truly impressed by the kindness and support of my colleagues working alongside me.
I also had some doubts about the professional side: whether the knowledge and experience I have gained will be sufficient and relevant for Danske Bank. When my probationary period ended, and I got a positive evaluation and encouragement from my manager, I was happy that my efforts and work experience were appreciated. This motivated me even more to do my best in performing my tasks properly.

I perfectly understand that it is not only the organisation that does a lot for you as a new employee, i.e. welcomes you, introduces you into the team, draws up plans and objectives for your new start, but you have to make an effort on your part as well: to actively participate in trainings, trying to integrate and become part of the team and the company.

The outstanding experience of being welcomed by my manager and the team, i.e. how Danske Bank onboarded me, is worth a story of its own. The time, attention, guidance and support which I received from both my managers and colleagues was immense and invaluable. I felt trusted and encouraged at every step, even though I was new, and nobody knew who I am, how I work or interact. I was very pleasantly surprised to see the warmth, concern and responsibility surrounding the onboarding of a new team member. I believe this is due to the values the organisation holds and the responsibility it has to its employees and the community – Danske Bank not only has its values outlined in writing, but also lives them. I can tell from my experience that this is the real thing.

What previous professional/life experience comes in handy working at Danske Bank Lithuania?

As I have previously mentioned, my husband and I have three children. Even though two of them are older and the youngest is 9, there is a lot to do when you are responsible not only for your own self but also for others. So, I brought with me the ability to combine different interests, to plan and to rationalise my time. After all, we all have 24 hours in a day, and it is up to us how we use this time. For example, I never wait until the last minute – I try to think things through and prepare in advance, because I know that time flies. My experience and skills in precise time management help me a lot at work. I have also learnt from my previous work experience to analyse and summarise documents, the understanding of how large organisations operate and how important it is to collaborate with colleagues from other teams in pursuit of common goals. 

Was there anything new that you learned about yourself since you joined Danske Bank?

Professionally, my beginning at Danske Bank has been a true challenge – lots of new, structured information, new processes. I got a huge opportunity and a boost both professionally and in terms of personal development. I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am trying to make the most of it.  I would like to note that personal contribution is also particularly  important: you have to put in the effort, keep learning, seeking for information and improving, which I love doing and which motivates me. 

What would you say to someone your age who can’t quite find the resolve to look for a new job or change jobs?

I can tell from both my own experience and that of my colleagues that when hiring, Danske Bank focuses on candidate's professional experience, ability, and willingness to work, and curiosity. Age is not a decisive factor in recruiting.

Therefore, for those who have any doubts or are hesitant, I strongly recommend giving it a try and see for yourself. I view my decision to join Danske Bank as a true success and an invaluable experience. And good things are meant to be shared!
I hope by sharing my success story with Danske Bank, I will encourage and inspire other people my age who do not dare to make a change to just to it.