In today’s business world, companies are facing a critical challenge: creating workplaces that inspire employees, foster a sense of purpose, and promote responsible leadership. This means building cultures where productivity isn’t the only goal, but where work is genuinely meaningful and fulfilling. It also requires leaders who set the example with integrity and ethical behavior.

This isn’t just about being trendy; it’s a vital part of a company’s strategy for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues. By prioritizing these aspects, companies not only keep their employees happy and engaged but also demonstrate their commitment to being good corporate citizens. In an era where society pays close attention to how businesses impact the world around them, companies that succeed in creating meaningful work environments are likely to thrive.


ESG strategy

Discussions on ESG issues became common only in the 2000s and are related to concepts such as sustainability and corporate responsibility. Sustainability and corporate responsibility are more holistic goals and philosophies, while ESG focuses specifically on the data and metrics that help companies make informed decisions, both short-term and long-term. Growing concerns about issues like climate change, human rights, and fair executive compensation have made ESG strategies important for both companies and investors who want to make environmentally friendly and socially responsible choices. As Tana’s Marketing Director Kirsi Ahonen puts it, “ESG work is never really finished.”

Tana’s VP of People & Culture Johanna Sajasalo and Mechanical Engineer Atte Meriläinen discuss the company’s social responsibility (ESG – Social), the significance of meaningful work, and the role leadership and management play in this equation.


The importance of connecting employer image and practical actions

Atte Meriläinen got a job at Tana directly from school. During his studies, he heard about Tana from his teacher and eventually ended up working on projects with Tana’s product development team. When the time came to consider his thesis, Meriläinen had fresh memories of the rewarding collaboration with Tana, which positively influenced his perception of the company. Meriläinen also applied to other companies, but Tana was his top choice. Although corporate responsibility was not his primary criterion when applying for jobs, it would have been a significant factor if Tana had not been familiar to him already.

Atte Meriläinen tana oy meaningfulness at work young employee

Meriläinen’s description concretely shows that even at an early stage, young employees value corporate responsibility and meaningfulness. “It has been evident in recruitment for several years now. More and more often it comes up that because Tana operates responsibly and in a responsible industry, towards a better tomorrow, it has enormous significance for many,” Sajasalo confirms. It sounds like Tana’s unique selling point (USP) in recruitment has formed quite naturally.

The importance of responsible behavior is also emphasized in recruitment. According to Sajasalo, the employer’s image should be based on truth and accountable actions, while reflecting the company’s values and culture. “By doing so, we can attract skilled and motivated employees in recruitment who share the company’s values”, summarizes Sajasalo.


Meaningfulness at work

The meaningfulness of work is a crucial factor for the success of an organization. The role of leaders and managers in this process is emphasized, as they are responsible for ensuring that employees find their work meaningful and receive feedback.

“It’s a good question whether everyone feels a profound sense of meaning in their work. Not necessarily, but it would also be challenging if the work was completely insignificant. The important task of leaders and managers is to clarify to employees their role and how their work impacts the bigger picture. Meaningfulness does not necessarily always show through one’s work to the end customer, but the tasks can be significant internally and enable the next steps for another function.”

From the employer’s perspective, employees must find at least some degree of meaningfulness in their work, according to HR director Sajasalo. She notes that if the work does not offer any meaningfulness, it can easily become tedious.

Meaningful work involves fostering employee development and a purpose-driven culture. Offering learning and development programs and clear career progression paths helps employees feel valued in their roles. At Tana, implementing flexible work arrangements, i.e. remote work and flexible hours, aids in balancing the staff’s professional and personal lives. Acknowledging and rewarding employees for their contributions – both in terms of performance and involvement in meaningful work – improves job satisfaction and loyalty.

johanna sajasalo tana people & culture esg meaningful work job satisfaction

Community and feedback

What is the significance of community and constructive open feedback? Community and constructive open feedback are essential factors in creating organizational dynamics and a work atmosphere. They not only support employee engagement and well-being but also promote effective communication and increased trust within the organization. It is important to note that the diversity of feedback and communication is key so every employee feels heard and valued. Feedback practices are surprisingly culture-dependent, and it is important to consider that feedback methods should be adapted to the specific characteristics of each culture.

Associate Professor of Work Wellbeing, Marja-Liisa Manka, stated in a YLE article; “Why do we (Finns) express our thoughts critically rather than cheering one on? Evaluative and critical feedback is deeply ingrained in our culture. It is common for us to question why something happened and who is responsible, seeking to assign blame. Conversations frequently follow this pattern, making critical feedback more prevalent than encouraging remarks.” At Tana, the story is different. Constructive feedback is justified, and praise, encouragement, and thanks are actively expressed rather than merely thought. Meriläinen has already observed in a short time that colleagues at Tana excel at showing appreciation for one another. “The act of giving positive feedback is present daily”, Meriläinen states.

HR director Sajasalo finds it great to see a strong feedback culture in the workplace. This phenomenon shows it is a characteristic that runs through the entire organization. If we think that only a supervisor and an employee give feedback, it would be very one-sided and hierarchical. “It is genuine community spirit when feedback is given and shared among employees. This is what exudes the Tana spirit from our staff.”

One-to-one feedback is important and Tana staff seem to have a good command of it. They also carry out regular surveys that gather feedback on workplace culture, policies, and management practices, which cultivates a mindset of openness and creates a to-and-fro stream of communication between employees and management. A simple idea such as implementing a suggestion box or digital platform where employees can submit ideas for improving processes or workplace conditions encourages a sense of ownership among employees. Tana has also been working together with local organizations, e.g. youth sports, to help address community needs and create shared value, improving Tana’s social impact and community standing.


Building a sustainable and resilient future

From the perspective of the ESG strategy, it’s clear that responsibility and meaningfulness aren’t just trendy marketing buzzwords at Tana—they are part of the company’s very DNA and daily operations. Tana exemplifies how companies can genuinely live their values, ensuring these principles shape their external actions and internal culture. This authentic commitment to ESG creates a strong foundation for a sustainable and successful business, one that values the environment and prioritizes the well-being of its people.

By embracing ESG principles, Tana not only enhances its reputation but also drives long-term value, building trust and loyalty among stakeholders who increasingly demand responsible and ethical corporate behaviour. Organizations should be proud of their values and consistently align their actions with them, creating a business model that is resilient, innovative, and deeply connected to the needs of both the planet and its people.