Scandinavia- Human Capital Summary

Emily and I set out on our adventure to Scandinavia with the intention of analyzing the manner in which Scandinavian businesses utilize human capital, the hiring and retention practices of companies, and the potential differences that could exist between the United States and Scandinavia. Throughout our company visits, one thing that really stuck out to us was the style of the offices. Many of the offices (Klarna and Ziggy Creative Colony being the best examples) seemed to be designed to give the employees a feeling of comfort and relaxation, which can help put employees at ease. These companies have both found success in a relatively short time, and the office culture, beginning with the design, can help bring in and retain human capital.

Another interesting practice in Sweden in regards to human capital occurs due largely to the high wages that employees receive. Essentially, some companies and businesses cannot afford to maintain a large staff because costs could become too high. This leads to a do-it-yourself (for the customer) business model. While having lunch on the island of Visby, we experienced this firsthand. After ordering at the counter, we then took our plates to the table and cleared them at the conclusion of the meal. This practice helps maximize the human capital on site, while being able to keep the number of employees low (i.e. 3 people working an entire restaurant).

Our biggest take away is that the most important thing for businesses to be successful, whether that be in Scandinavia or in the United States, is for each company to focus on empowering their employees and employers. The goal for each company should be too focus on individual strengths of each employee so that company can maximize benefit. Regardless of tax structures, cultural differences, etc., the importance of human capital reigns supreme in all business.