Navigio, a company with the vision of offering full-service consultancy within the area of human relations, is a true role model for employers. They believe that happy employees are the key to success.

Some of the core aspects of a vital and growing organisation are innovation, a clear strategy, and effective leadership. They focus on building and nurturing successful teams and aligning everyone onto the same page with a genuine “buy-in” for the organisation. They also nurture and keep talent, excel in communication both internally and externally, and of course serve existing and new customers.

A company successful in these skills is Navigio, a company with the vision of offering full-service consultancy within the area of human relations. They focus on the development of people and organisations and work with the four different skills of:

• Recruitment
• Development of leadership
• Performance management
• Strategy and organisations

Navigio has offices in Sweden, Norway and Denmark and has 65 employees.


“Our core values are important to us. Being client centric, precise and passionate, warm and entrepreneurial in everything we do guides us in our everyday work. Together, we have defined successful behaviours linked to our values and we use them as a base for our individual performance development.”


“The people at Navigio are our greatest asset and we believe in each individual’s ability to grow and develop to his or her full potential. Our goal is to develop ourselves to stay the most professional experts in the industry and we therefore continuously train ourselves in the Navigio Academy. We mix theory and practice, and most of our courses have a case-based approach to give ourselves practical methods and techniques which can be applied in our everyday work”.

What then is the Success Story of Navigio? It has always been of utmost importance for Navigio to be a so called “Great Place to Work” (GPTW) which is a high ambition to reach for a company small in size.

One of the tools Navigio use to reach for this goal is the use of an annual survey taking the temperature of the organisation. At first Navigio used to perform the survey on their own, when it was called WIN, We Improve Navigio. After a couple of years Navigio started to work with the Great Place to Work Institute and nowadays GPTW performs the survey on behalf of Navigio.

“GPTW has been a great tool for us to learn more about our employees and what is important to them”, Elin Kiw says, Senior Manager and lead of internal development at Navigio.

Elin Kiw – Senior Manager Strategy & Organization, Navigio

Navigio was founded 25 years ago but the journey for the past seven years has been a great experience with particular focus on determining what kind of company Navigio wants to be, its cores and its values. The goal has been to act as an attractive employer where you as an employee will be able to reach your true and full potential. Of course, this ambitious goal puts a great deal of work and responsibility upon every employee, but at the same time it is Navigio’s mission to help the employee to reach the targets set.

At first the GPTW at Navigio was managed as any other internal project with the collection of raw data for analysing the temperature of the company as one of the strategies. After collection, this data was allocated into one big spreadsheet with approximately 100 different action points. Today GPTW is part of everyday life at Navigio and GPTW questions and issues are discussed at every unit meeting and at every one of Navigio’s six yearly conferences. The GPTW work therefore truly engages everyone in the organisation. And today the 100-line spread sheet is a more condensed list of prioritised strategical development projects that Navigio focuses on each year.

Actually, Navigio has been voted on the top-ten list of Sweden´s Best Workplaces since the very beginning (2010). The competition has, of course, been rather tough but through focus and ambition Navigio has managed to stay in the top-list and from 2017 Navigio has moved from the list of smaller companies to the one of medium-sized companies.

In June 2017 Navigio also entered the list of Europe´s Best Workplaces and is recognized as number 40 in the 2017 ranking alongside 99 other organisations in Europe.


Today Navigio works to an even greater extent with different motivation factors to be able to help each and every employee to perform the very best, each and every single day. The involvement of every person in this is vital and all employees at Navigio have a Personal Business Plan with short and long-term goals.

Navigio puts in a lot of time and effort into remaining a great place to work and each year the company produces a book, including quotes from the company’s employees, signifying the core values and the heart of the company. It describes the Navigio culture and acts as Navigio’s Workplace Strategy.

Navigio’s organisation consists of three different units of employees; consultants, researchers and business support and the focus for this year is to improve collaboration between the different units. One of the tools for doing that is the creation of a Collaboration Index that measures collaboration on an individual level.


The Trust Index survey is sent out to employees in January and the results of the survey are presented in late February or the beginning of March. At the same time, Navigio also receives the results of the Culture Audit that Navigio have been writing during the autumn.

A crucial aspect of working with company surveys is how to handle the negative input that you might receive. How do you make sure the findings are transformed into fruitful aspects of development?

“When the survey is performed we create an internal team with representatives from all three units, which then analyses thefindings and presents an improvement plan. This plan is official at the spring conference and results in great focus upon different actions of the company during the next 12 months”, Elin Kiw says.

To be able to achieve the improvements, Navigio concentrates on ten tasks from the presented improvement plan, for instance Collaboration or Communication.

“We work with these different projects within the whole company, at staff meetings, team meeting and so forth, there is always something we discuss according to the outcome of the project”, Elin Kiw continues.

In January, March, July, August, October and December Navigio informs employees on the status of the project and how far away from the different goals the company is.

Over the year Navigio has six different conferences for the purpose of creating a strong company culture. Some of these conferences are only for one day and some take two days.

“We are having fun together”, Elin Kiw says, “It is important to spend undemanding time together with your colleagues.”


“Navigio is using their own experiences from Great Place to Work to help their clients develop their organisations, which is of course very valuable. We talk about our own journey with our clients since we are all, of course, very proud and excited about the journey we have done ourselves and happy to share our experiences”, Elin Kiw continues.

Navigio creates a book every year to get everything on paper, in order to not to forget anything as sometimes it’s hard to remember all the small things you do, for example the celebration of a new client or a well delivered project. Navigio uses their book called “The Culture Audit” in recruitment as well, as it has become a tool for cultural success and part of the core of the company.

What will be the most important things in your future, culture, competences etc?

You need to have good relationships with each and every one of your employees and also, not to forget, with your former employees.

Onboarding is also important. A practical introduction where your new colleague gets to learn by doing and “act as a back pack”, hence learn from others. The onboarding should be structured and planned in detail to be able to guide the new colleague with the core values of the company as easily as possible. Navigio has its own “Academy” offering introductory trainings and different certificates for every employee.

One of the strong beliefs of Navigio is that of providing the employee with the different tools needed for him or her to be able to reach their full potential.

How have you been able to keep the employees committed during the company growth?

During 2016, Navigio hired a total of 25 new employees. To be able to grow at a speed like this, some basic foundations have to be in place such as onboarding. This development process then must be continued with each employee having their own Personal Business Plan.

Navigio doesn’t have an appraisal meeting only once or twice per year, rather there is close communication between the manager and the employee during the entire year.

The Personal Business Plan focuses on the future with different goals and achievements to look ahead for, the past not being much of a focus at all.

An important aspect of the plan is “What can Navigio do for the employee and what can the employee contribute to Navigio?”.

What does Navigio’s organisation look like?

It is a traditional organisation with a hierarchical structure, it has its CEO, MDs and Managing Consultants. But as of now (June 2017) the structure of a new organisation is being formalized to work in a more client centric way with the customer and business at focus.

What is Great Place to Work?

The Company was founded in New York in 1981. Great Place to Work® helps organisations in all industries and sizes to evaluate and develop their workplace culture.

How does it work – the competition?


Evaluation of how the psychosocial and physical working environment is by examining the organisations own employer offer, called Culture Audit. How do you work with recruitment, development, communication and other activities to actively create a profitable workplace culture?


Employee surveys are a proven method of mapping the psychosocial and physical working environment. The Employee Survey Trust Index is based on a model verified by data from the 7000 organisations that perform the evaluation every year, and form the core of the Great Place to Works method. The survey is based on more than 30 years of study on employee experience in the workplace and is today the most widely used employee survey in the world. The survey provides information about what drives engagement and profitability within the organisation, and also provides a zero-status report on an employee index and leadership index. The employee survey provides reports that are easy to understand and work with. Consultants also help to link the results to the organisation’s business goals.


Employing new co-workers takes a great deal of responsibility, effort and costs a lot of money as well, approximately 500 000 SKr per new employee in direct and indirect costs. At Navigio the understanding of taking care of your employees and the effort needed in keeping a happy workplace is central and this effort pays off year after year in accordance to the GPTW survey.

Navigio is a role model employer and more companies could learn from Navigio and benefit from having happy employees and a prospering business due to the energy that comes from a positive environment.

At the end of the day how well your business is doing all adds up to how well you can take care of your employees. If you don’t act in the right direction and your staff leaves, you will end up with losing business, money and market share.


  • Active listening. You have to actually listen and care about what your staff is telling you. Act, don’t react!
  • Feedback in dialog is vital. Return to your earlier discussions, don’t ignore what you have been informed of. Do something!
  • Make sure that Human Relations get to take part of the latest technological inventions to make use of the advantages it may bring. Sharing is caring!

The authors are Lotta Ekman and Camilla Kogg.


Enjoyed the article? Here’s further reading for you:

Visions2020 Part 4: AI Triathlon

Read the previous article in Visions 2020 series:

Visions2020 Part 2: Digitalisation is a Cultural Change About How to Unleash the Human Capacity

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