Customer stories

Interview with Alexander Lindqvist, Partner & UX Director at Frank Digital Experiences

Post by
Marcus Castenfors
Interview with Alexander Lindqvist, Partner & UX Director at Frank Digital Experiences
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Hi Alexander, thank you for chatting with me today. Could you please tell us a bit about your background, role and where you work?

Absolutely. I have a background in graphic design and I’ve been in the business for about 10 years. I started working with traditional design such as print, but for every year I progressed, I moved more and more towards working with digital media. 

During the last 4 years, I’ve been exclusively working with user experience (UX). Currently I’m the UX Director at an agency called Frank which I also co-founded a little bit more than a year ago. My role focuses mostly on mentoring and leading teams of designers ensuring that they are happy and are growing in their craft.

I know you care deeply about employee happiness. Where did this fascination come from?

Basically, it’s about two things.

The first aspect: I have worked as a consultant during my entire career. From that experience, I’ve learned that consultants can end up in uncomfortable situations at work. I’ll explain more what that means.  

The root cause is that, as a consultant, you often work from the clients’ virtual or physical offices and, by that, you lose touch and the sense of belonging to the organization that actually hired you. You get caught in-between, in a “no-man's land” type of situation. You’re not hired by the client, and you don’t feel a part of that organization, and at same time you lose connection to your peers and the culture within the consultancy that you work for. Basically, you don’t feel seen or heard. 

I also know first-hand what that can do to a person. It can both cause burnout because of an overwhelming or underwhelming workload, or, that the person becomes fed up with the consultancy and starts working somewhere else. 

The second aspect is that leaders and organizations forget that their product is their people. Caring for your people is good for business, a lot more than leaders think about. You need to take care of your employees because they are the heart of a company. Without the people, you don’t have a product or a business. 

That’s how it originated. When I started to talk about these more human aspects to consulting to my team members, there were many who felt the same. They too had the perception of not being heard or seen. That’s when I started to think: How can we feel better? How can we change the norm of how things are done today? Based on these questions, we made changes in the team that I was in at the time. When I saw the impact of those changes, I realized how important those questions are.

How do you at Frank work towards a happier work environment?

We try to approach our internal processes in an “Agile” fashion. We try stuff. If it doesn’t work, we don’t do it. What I mean by that is that we experiment with lots of things relating to our culture, tools, processes and organization. Everyone at Frank can come up with suggestions and then we try them and then evaluate them. We let everybody steer the culture. That’s a big point in our company's happiness. 

We also have Hapkey, of course, which is our systematic way of measuring our happiness. However, I also have one-on-one meetings with everybody in my team to dig deeper into how we can increase their happiness. I use Hapkey as an indicator and then I go deeper and more personal through conversations. 

Additionally, we have retrospective meetings where the whole company is invited, once every month. We try to build a culture that is as transparent as possible. We strive for a culture where employees can be candid with their thoughts and feelings to everybody.

If you would give some tips to fellow managers out there relating to increasing employee happiness, what would they be?

Oh, that’s a hard one, since it’s so personal and contextual. I think I will refer to what I alluded to earlier: try to “let go” as much as possible. Let people, as we say in Sweden, “fly”, for themselves and see where it takes them. On the contrary, if you try to micromanage and force rigid processes on individuals, it will inhibit creativity and hinder the individual from growing. From that sense, I try to see myself more as a facilitator than a leader. My advice to you is: try letting go more and see where it takes you.

You’ve been using Hapkey for about a year now. Could you tell us about how you use Hapkey in your organization?

We are a fairly new company. We have been operating for one and a half years. It’s been quite a journey. We started out as a company of 4 and we were about 4 people when we began using Hapkey. You might think: do you really need a tool for this when you are 4 people? Since we are a high-growth company, it was the right choice. Hapkey is assisting us in our growth. Hapkey, in part, ensures that we don’t lose important cultural aspects as we rapidly grow. Losing those aspects are quite common in a growth journey. Some things might be left behind, culturally speaking. When you are expanding, you’re so focused on the growth that you lose touch of the people who formed the fundamentals of the culture. 

Hapkey will play an even bigger part moving forward as we are separating our company into two teams, which will be further expanded. We will have a much bigger organization that will make it harder to talk to each and everyone.

What problems do you think Hapkey solves?

I think Hapkey solves quite a lot of problems. I have used similar products before. But the difference between Hapkey and other tools is that they are anonymous, unlike Hapkey. 

I have always been wondering about that. How would you be able to take action on anonymous data? You wouldn’t know who said what and why. For instance, if everybody is rating 10 and one person rating 1, it will drag the total down. It will look like the situation is worse than it is and only one person is unhappy. I really appreciate that Hapkey is different from the competitors.

Additionally, Hapkey makes it transparent where there are problems. This is a bit off topic, but we had a board meeting recently during which we talked about Hapkey. One of our investors has been working with recruitment and we discussed the topic of anonymous surveys. His opinion was that people are typically apprehensive about telling and discussing uncomfortable aspects relating to their job to people’s faces. He posed the question: why should it be different with a digital service? My response was that if we want to build a transparent organization, where people are open to each other, why would we use a non-transparent survey? By using Hapkey we send a message that we want to be transparent. 

Another problem that Hapkey solves: when you have teams who are distributed, especially now during Covid, it’s even harder for us to understand how people are feeling. Hapkey helps us gauge how everyone is feeling. The insights drive how we continuously improve Frank.

What would you tell someone who's considering using Hapkey?

Start the trial. See for yourself. You will receive value just after your first survey. 

Since you have a free trial, I don’t see why you shouldn’t. Just go for it.

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