Having started his career at Danske Bank five years ago, Žygimantas Girdzijauskas would never have dared to offer his candidacy for a position at a finance and service centre because he was convinced that his competences were simply not suited for the job. Now he sees just how many opportunities open up when working at a large organisation, even if the experience you have is not directly related to finance or banking. Having come from the construction sector, during his career at Danske Bank he also moved from the area of transactions to management, and he encourages his colleagues to never stop learning as well: always test what you know, learn new skills and strengthen old ones by participating in the bank’s social activity. 

Scandinavian work principles free up creative potential

“Before joining Danske Bank five years ago, I worked in a completely different sector – I implemented construction projects for Scandinavian investors all over Europe and I searched for Lithuanian manufacturers for Danish clients. The fact that I knew Danish was the only reason Danske Bank invited me to work at the Help Desk. I did not have sufficient IT skills, however, I was assured that the programme for introducing and training new employees would be effective and I would become qualified for my work. This is just how it turned out in practice. It was very interesting to experience such a rapid career change,” shares Žygimantas.  

“I had already had previous experience working with Scandinavian companies, and here, once again, I was completely persuaded by the Scandinavian management system. The company trusts its people and motivates them instead of punishing them. This frees up the person’s creative potential and allows them to work more effectively,” Žygimantas explains, “I was used to picking new things up quickly, but here no one pressured me about anything. And in spite of there being no pressure, three months turned out to be more than enough to learn about a completely different field. Only a little over half of my training time had passed and I had already taken on a lot more work and responsibility than I was supposed to according to plan.”

The company offers many opportunities for learning and building skills

At the time, Žygimantas had set himself a goal: he was going to try to work at the company for at least a year, during which he would assess how well he was doing. “From the very beginning I saw how many opportunities the company offered for growth, learning and expanding my skill set. For example, everyone can participate in the company’s social activity and thus develop the managerial or other competences they want to build on,” shares Žygimantas. During the high point of the pandemic, he founded and began to head the Social Hub, which hosted remote activities for employees during quarantine, for example, morning Advent letters for colleagues, quizzes and step challenges. 

When the pandemic was over, the club Žygimantas founded continued to thrive in one of the company’s departments, and Žygimantas himself joined the company-wide Social Co-founders club, which organises the majority of Danske Bank events – from athletic and themed events to family gatherings and summer festivals. “Not so long ago, my colleagues and I discussed a new idea that we would like to implement. I have already organised a couple of events as a member of the club, but I still feel like a beginner in this area,” says Žygimantas.

A leader's responsibility is to see every employee's potential

The term 'beginner’ certainly does not describe Žygimantas with regard to his managerial experience: “Management is my vocation, and my responsibility as a leader is to see the potential of every employee. This is probably the most interesting part of working with individual team members – encouraging each and every one to set their own goals and guiding them in their attainment. This path is very different, it depends on every individual’s readiness and motivation. Some have already planned their careers out themselves, so my role is to just allow things to happen and advise. While others may not even want any professional transformations – these things can’t be forced.”

According to Žygimantas, who now heads a team of 16 specialists, if a person does not have experience, they might not know where to begin, perhaps even rejecting encouragement to do something because they doubt their own capability. “At this point it is incredibly important for a leader to see the person from an outside perspective: how they perform even the most menial tasks, what natural traits or talents they have. If you notice these things, as a leader, you can guide them in a certain direction. Perhaps over a longer period of time they would get to the point of achieving their goals through sheer hard work, but I find satisfaction in being able to notice these things earlier and provide encouragement and help where needed.”

Opportunities for all: with or without experience

Žygimantas not only encourages his colleagues, he also boldly takes advantage of new opportunities himself. Four years ago, he dared to leave Danske Bank because he began to miss the field of management. However, when the opportunity arose to take on a management position at Danske Bank two years ago, Žygimantas came back. He has since changed his job position: first working with a Transaction Screening team in Anti Money Laundering, then moving to the Buying Home DK team last year: “I made this move simply because with my current team I have the opportunity to speak Danish more during discussions with my colleagues in Denmark.”

Despite over 25 years of work experience in various sectors and companies, he sees more opportunities for improvement and growth at Danske Bank: “There are opportunities for all at our company – whether you have experience or not, the most important thing is that you try. When reading job descriptions we often have questions and doubts, but I keep to this principle and recommend it to others: if you see some part of yourself in a job description and if you think that you can learn whatever you need to quite quickly, then you have to give it a go.”