Rosita Vasilkevičiūtė, who has been heading Danske Bank Global Services Lithuania for seven years, says that her last days in the office are emotional, but she’s confident she’s leaving a strong team behind. These years have proven that Lithuanians are not only diligent performers, but also great innovators. Being goal-oriented and ambitious let us reach results that we didn’t even dare to dream about at the start of our journey.
Today she talks about the development of Danske Bank Global Services Lithuania, its vision, challenges and achievements.
Will you miss this job?
Looking back (red. at 2013), it is great joy to see all the work that has been done, the people I met, and this gives me motivation to move forward. Remembering how a very small team has done so many things makes me nostalgic. Back then we used to celebrate even the smallest milestone and as the achievements grew, it seems that we forgot to celebrate them.
The St. Christopher award which Danske Bank received this year for its contribution to the economy of Vilnius is one of the most precious to me. We have received a number of awards and all of them are important, because we had to come a long way to achieve what we did.
Let‘s go back to 2013. How did you decide to join the service centre that Danske Bank was developing in Vilnius?
I was invited for an interview.The position sounded very interesting, but I did not imagine myself working in a bank. Back then the bank, where I had never worked before, seemed like a rigid, hierarchical structure, where things were going slowly. But I challenged myself to beat the challenge (laughs).
As soon as I joined Danske Bank Global Services Lithuania, it was evident that we will have to build everything from scratch. We started with a team of about 100 people, most of whom were constantly in trainings in Denmark. We did not have any established procedures and standards. It took approximately two years to orchestrate the processes. At the same time, we were growing very fast, the scope and complexity of our work increased, and we were continuously adjusting our functions. We intensively searched for competent people, tracked results and kept optimizing everything we do.
What vision did you have when joining Danske Bank and how did it realize?
From the very beginning, there were two important things for me. First, my goal was to meet and exceed the expectations which Danske Bank had for the centre in Lithuania. Second, to foster the understanding in our organizationthat the business of service centres is a business of people. Meeting these expectations wouldn’t have been possible without motivated and empowered employees, who see a lot of meaning in what they do and who are dedicated to achieving good results.
And so, we did meet the expectations and exceeded them significantly. Complexity of operations performed in Lithuania and results we achieve, very well-functioning and happy global teams, encouraged our colleagues to delegate more tasks and at the same time more responsibility to Lithuania. The growing number of our employees also demonstrates that. By the way, the very first plan was 300 employees in Danske Bank Global Services Lithuania and when we exceeded it, expanding our team in Vilnius to a thousandcolleaguessounded simply incredible.
Today we have nearly four thousand employees in Lithuania, together with the IT centre and Danske Bank A/S Lithuania Branch. Danske Bank employees in Lithuania make up 18 percent of all global staff. This is a very large part, especially for such a small country as Lithuania. Our insights are appreciated and taken into consideration at the highest levels of the organization.
To establish four thousand positions in Lithuania is one thing, another task is to attract talent to these positions and to retain them. How did you manage that?
We have been taking care of the team since the very beginning: we developed transparent and clear selection criteria for the applicants, how we manage their expectations, what the principles of our work are and how we will take care of their wellness. We have achieved a lot in this area, however this is a continuous effort.
We also took unconventional steps at the time, which may have been seen with scepticism. We were the first to provide the psychologist counselling benefit in the organization. At that time, it was very new, very unusual, but in fact today we work with five psychologists and they are always fully booked. If you don’t feel like talking openly with your manager or colleague, you can speak out your emotions and work with your challenges together with a counsellor. I believe this was one of the bestsolutions.
We are delighted that today we are leading the way in the market and, to some extent, in the world (e.g. Leesman rated one of our newest offices the 7th most effective workplace globally) by creating an great work environment for our employees
Speaking about cultural peculiarities, what features of Lithuanians help us and what can we learn from our colleagues in Scandinavia?
I think that we (Lithuanians) stand out for our drive: we deliver the things we commit to. We are extremely ambitious and goal oriented. We strive to outperform ourselves. This is what amazes our colleagues in the Nordics. The same goes for our sincere joy for the result, which no one can ignore.
In addition to this, we are curious, we do not leave unanswered questions, we drill down to the smallest details, until we find the very essence of our business. We are creative, keep developing and trying new things.
The strength of Scandinavians, as well as one that Lithuanians find challenging, is the culture of debate. We lack this in Lithuania, as we want quick solutions. In pursuit of them, we do not want to take the time to hear all opinions, to exchange different ideas. We are not used to the Scandinavian culture of discussions, but it is much needed for us.
So what’s next? How will you spend your free time?
First, I will dedicate some time for reflections on what I have achieved during my career and where I want to realise myself going forward.
I do not give up on the dream of sailing a yacht around the world, but for the moment I will choose shorter trips. I like climbing mountains, though I'm afraid of heights. I like to watch the horizon from above.
In fact, this is what I wish every “Danske” colleague - to find time to look at the horizon, to hear themselves, their own wishes and find the strength to fulfil them. We can do everything. If we will.