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Interview with Taina Makkonen – A Series of posts about The Betsson Team Leaders

‘I simply love our refreshed values: Customers at Heart, One Betsson, We Aim High, Passion for Business, Execution is Everything, We Play Fair. I am looking at these statements every day on the wall and couldn’t think of a better way to define what we need to do and how we need to behave.’ With a Master of Science degree and 16 years of experience in general management and global human resources, Taina joined Betsson Group 9 months ago in October 2013 as Chief HR Officer looking after Human Resources at Betsson Group globally.

Taina Makkonen - Chief HR Officer at Betsson Group

Taina Makkonen - Chief HR Officer at Betsson Group

The Team The HR/Admin team consists of 14 people globally, whilst the Office/Reception team includes 8 people working in the different offices in Malta, Stockholm, Tallinn and Manila. These teams work together across different departments, locations and functions. ‘Together with

all the people managers in the company, our HR & Office team wants to make Betsson Group the best employer in the industry. We must make sure we have the right people in the right place at the right time; motivated and passionate about the business’ Taina says.  ‘We want to ensure that our employees enjoy it here, and at the same time everyone is contributing to the success of the company.’

The best customer experience in the industry

‘HR has a big role in our journey to deliver the best customer experience in the industry,’ continues Taina.  ‘Firstly, we need to make sure we attract and hire the right people to join our company to fill competence and resource gaps. There is always a balance between speed and quality with recruitment, as we need to make sure we get the people in place as quickly as possible, and at the same time make sure they are the right fit for the role and the company. It is also important to have effective on-boarding practices in place.

Secondly, we want to make sure we have a culture and working environment that is safe, engaging and motivating for all our employees, as well as organisational structures that support our strategic aims. We facilitate individual development through e.g. structured development talks, internal job rotation, performance management, talent reviews and high potential programs.

Thirdly, we need to make sure we do all of the above cost efficiently to contribute to the best in class margins.

In my book HR has multiple roles that are equally important; being the administrative experts to run all people processes smoothly throughout employee life cycle, being the employee champions listening to our employees and ensuring fair treatment and equal opportunities, and being the strategic partners and change agents steering the company culture, practices and structures to support getting to our strategic goals. There is no boring day in HR!’


The key HR priorities in 2014 revolve around structure, culture, communications and a world class day-to-day support for our managers and employees.

‘After getting the basics in place we will put increasing focus on areas such as leadership development and employer branding. We are also only in the beginning of internalizing our refreshed company values, which is an exciting area for all of us to continue the dialogue together!’ says Taina.

The Future

‘I can envisage a very bright future for Betsson Group,’ continues Taina. ‘ We have a clear vision that will help us differentiate from the competition, we have amazing people in the company around the world, we have together defined the culture and values of the company – our guiding principles, we are making solid progress towards our strategic goals, and we love working together to overcome any obstacles on our way. There is no better recipe for success!’

‘When it comes to HR & Office, we really have a Dream Team in place. I am super proud of every single person in the team and together we can really make a difference.’

‘Making progress and achieving things we set out to do not only motivates me but also encourages me. It’s all about making things happen. It is so rewarding to work together with smart colleagues in different teams, bounce ideas, solve problems and jointly keep moving forward!’