“Giving people opportunities” has for a long time been one of our taglines. And we have plenty examples that we do. With 300 employees spread across ten countries the opportunity to be seconded to the office in Milan has arisen for Johnny, Signija and Louisa. Keep scrolling to read their stories and learn more about why they have been seconded, what they have learned and how they believe Obton can benefit from this.
Facts about the office in Milan:
Founded in: 2020
Location: Via Carlo Ottavio Cornaggia, 10, 20123 Milano
years old) Director, Finance & Commercial Management, Nuova Obton Italia
has been seconded to the office in Milan on a two-year contract. Johnny has
been working at Obton for almost 4 years now. “I have
been a part of this journey since there were only two employees in Italy. Now
there is about 40. I have helped build this part of the organization, define
it, and adjust it over time,” says Johnny.
employees at a distance is difficult and therefore, Johnny had a dialogue with
his immediate manager about seconding him to Italy enabling him to be present,
bring the Danish and Italian team closer and work with the Obton values on
decision about seconding Johnny to Italy seemed as a plug’n’play solution as he
already knew this part of the organization well and hopefully could play a role
in strengthening the collaboration between the two teams. “Well, it goes both ways,” he explains. “It is easier for me to work with the organization and people here as I am present. It is a big part of my daily life. Trying to bring the two cultures closer together and create a better understanding both ways”.
that it can be difficult for Danish employees to understand the Italian work
culture and says: "Hopefully, I can also help create a better understanding for my non-Italian colleagues of how to act in the Italian market.”
moving away from home once again
going to Italy was the ultimate opportunity for personal- and professional
development. And within an area where he is very passionate – leadership. He
describes it as moving away from home once again. “I have really had to stand on my own two feet when it comes to being a leader. When everyday life hits it is up to me to decide which has really helped develop my independence and resilience as a leader,” he says.
describes the biggest professional challenge as the different expectations
there are for a leader in Denmark verses in Italy.
“I have really learned a lot about working with leadership within different cultures and on different levels in an organization.”
decision about moving to Italy was not without concerns because Johnny’s wife
and three kids have moved with him. And although he describes his family as
very open minded and not afraid to take on new challenges he was (as any father
would be) worried to send his children into uncharted terrain in a new country,
with a new language and away from family and friends but states: “Obton has played
a great part in establishing not just me but also my family.”
about how Obton can benefit from seconding employees to our offices abroad he
tells: “We can benefit a lot just by sharing our knowledge. And in the end
that will benefit Obton as a whole. Learning from each other and having an
international mindset can help us adapt and solve the challenges we face
adds that it contributes to a broader understanding of how things work in that
country. “I have gained a certain knowledge about working with solar in
Italy. Both when it comes to starting up new projects and understanding the
work culture in general.”
years old) is given the opportunity to work abroad at the office in Milan as
Financial Controller in the Financial Controlling and Accounting department.
For a while
Signija has been a Student Assistant at Obton but really wanted to move abroad
for a while to work. Making it fit into her Master studies in Business
Administration and Auditing was difficult so the alternative was being seconded
through her job. “I wanted something new to happen, so I had a dialogue with
my manager at the time where I told him about my wishes. The People &
Culture department then helped me reach the department manager in Milan to ask
if they could use someone with my skillset. Luckily, they could,” She explains.
Off to a
Signija she has only been in Milan for a week, but the first days have been
great so far and everything has lived up to her expectations. “The people
here are so nice to me. They are welcoming and have offered their help several
times. They have given me advice about everything from how to get tickets for the
metro and finding good places to eat”.
going to Milan Signija had already met the Italian colleagues at this year’s
kick-off trip in Ireland (insert link) which has made her less nervous about meeting
the colleagues in the Milan office. An office with an atmosphere she would
describe as unique and young where people prioritize getting to know each
Signija is excited and has been off to a great start she knows the secondment
is not without challenges. She describes one of the biggest being the language emphasizing
that it is not a challenge at the office where employees speak good English but
more when communicating with local partners. “Some external partners don’t
speak English at business level, so I am really motivated to learn some Italian
to communicate better with people here,” Signija says.
describes that the cultural differences can be a challenge but is not afraid of
this as she loves the Italian Culture. She emphasizes that it is important that
we try to understand each other’s culture.
“Hopefully, me being here can
contribute to bringing the Italian and Danish team a bit closer,” says Signija.
into the details
When it comes
to her work tasks, Signija tells that her work at Obton until now has been
mainly from a helicopter perspective and she hopes to gain a more detailed
understanding when it comes to working with portfolio-management and adds: “Hopefully,
I can also contribute with my own point of views and what I have learned
working in the office in Aarhus”.
wanted to go study/work abroad on the 3rd semester of her master’s
degree. After a meeting with the CHRO and her immediate manager they made a deal
that she could travel to the Milan office for three months working in the
M&A, Investment and Project Financing Team. Louisa tells: “The CHRO told
me that Obton didn’t have much experience with sending Student Assistants to
offices abroad while doing the 3rd semester of their Master’s,“ and
continues: “but I really wanted to go so we found a solution together.”
office was a possibility as it is (besides HQ in Aarhus) the biggest office in
Obton (in number of employees) and it made sense to go to Milan as Louisa’s
team in Denmark already had a lot of collaboration with this office.
going to Milan Louisa was excited. She explains: “I have heard that people are
nice there. That they are kind and warm people. And I was really looking
forward to learning more about the country and Italian Culture. And of course,
try all the great food.”
stay she also experienced how a workday can be different in Milan compared to
Aarhus where it is not a typical 9 to 5 workday. “You spend more hours at
the office each day and work in another pace. And you prioritize to have lunch
or a cup of coffee with your colleagues during the workday. ”She tells and
continues: “Although I only stayed for a relatively short period of time,
these breaks really helped me to get to know my colleagues well.”
she was also looking forward to gaining more insights into working with Solar
“I wanted to learn about solar parks as an asset. Not only some
numbers in an excel-spreadsheet,” she tells.
Louisa two of her colleagues in Milan (Gloria and Silvia) were her mentors
during the stay. “They had a lot of knowledge about the Solar market in
Italy, Portfolios and which challenges you might face in the market. I really
learned a lot from them.”
it was exciting to gain insight into the challenges Accounting and Tech faces
daily Louisa underlines that it takes more time and experience to really gain that
technical knowledge about Solar PV.
now returned to the office in Aarhus and when asked about what she has learned
from the experience she says: “It is easier for me to keep up when my
colleagues talk about solar in Italy. It has made me more critical in my work
and everything makes much more sense whether it is development of projects or
how our Italian solar portfolio is structured in general.”.
Obton is one of the largest
Danish investors and developers of large-scale solar PV projects located all
over the world. We are more than 300 colleagues both at our
headquarters in Nicolinehus in Aarhus and at our local offices around Europe.
We invest in our
employees and constantly strive to develop our skills and take advantage of new
opportunities. In return, we expect our employees to invest in our company
through dedication, joy, competitive spirit, empowerment and proper work
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