Translation of post by Peter Østergaard

Nærvær is the new hygge

7 March 2022

Or, to put it in another way, there are things which simply cannot be translated or explained.  

As Delegate grows, we also become more international in relation to our new employees, our customers, and our partners. This also means that we are increasingly communicating in English. The core in everything we do is our culture. Culture, as most people would agree, is something that is difficult to define, and it cannot be explained. Culture must be experienced – we call it #feelit. Our culture is the foundation of our values and our promises to our employees and customers. Our values are Reciprocity, Recognition, and Nærvær. We work intensively with nærvær, in particular, because it has become the mantra in everything we do. Our overall agenda for the coming years is that we will maintain our nærvær while growing.

As I mentioned, our communication is edging more and more towards English. One challenge in this is to translate our values while ensuring they are understood and perceived in the way we want them to be. Recognition and reciprocity were straightforward, or rather, we had no challenges with the English terms of, recognition and reciprocity. But we could not nail it with Nærvær, so we have chosen to keep it in Danish in our English communication. The inspiration came from the fact that, here in Denmark, we have given up trying to translate “hygge”, so now it has become a “famous” word in many places all over the world.

We are on a mission

For this reason, we are now on a mission where we must anchor our version of “hygge” in all our communication. What does nærvær mean to us at Delegate, and why is it significant?

Nærvær is important to us, because we believe that the things we create together, the social relationships, and the psychological security are all part of Nærvær, and they are fundamental for us, as human beings, to function. This means that we are there for each other, both when we celebrate the latest successful project and when we need to support each other during a corona pandemic. Trust and security do not come by themselves. They come, among other things, from Nærvær. As a workplace, Delegate must provide the framework for Nærvær. We must make room for nærvær, and make sure it is lived during the week, and we must organise ourselves in a framework of nærvær.

Examples from everyday life

The following are a few examples of what creates nærvær with us:

  • In the context of the corona pandemic, we developed a new and more flexible approach to where we work. We named it “workfromanywhere”, but the focus is still on nærvær. A large part of the responsibility for the Nærvær lies with our team leaders. Team leaders make sure that employees meet physically or online once or more a week, so we see each other eye to eye and stay connected. Teams are autonomous and are allowed to make decisions within their team. Being a part of making the decisions helps create Nærvær in our teams.
  • We use officevibe (www.officevibe.com) to monitor how all our employees feel about working at Delegate. Every week, everyone is asked to rate their job satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 10 in an area that changes from week to week. That gives us an eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) for the entire organization. The employees also have the opportunity to make written comments, anonymously of course, which the immediate manager must respond to.
  • We have created the phrase “See the world, keep your job and colleagues”. We want to be part of a stable foundation for our employees. Our employees can see the world without having to worry about work, finances, and colleagues. They are safe both while they are actually “seeing the world” and when they come back. We believe that the perceived nærvær can be taken out into the world by holding onto what you know from your workplace and colleagues at Delegate.

Nærvær and growth is a journey for us at Delegate. We will never finish building the framework for our business. We will definitely need to adjust and adapt along the way, as a consequence of gaining more knowledge. But the journey has begun, and it does not stop.

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