Imagine being with the same company for 21 years, and when looking back you cannot think of a single day where you felt like skipping work because you were fed up with your boss, your colleagues or the work environment. This is the reality for Birgitte Gosvig Petersen: “I can truly say I love my job. I come to work happy every day – I do not remember thinking – arh, this morning I just don’t want to go manage the reception at SimCorp. It is a very rewarding position and I meet kind people every day”. Birgitte has witnessed a lot of changes in the past two decades: “I remember back in the beginning when you knew the name and extension number of every employee, and also there was a lot of mail, which we delivered, so we knew at which desk each employee was sitting,” says Birgitte.
Moved with the company two times
In Birgitte’s career, SimCorp has moved two times to accommodate the growing number of employees. When you move such a big company there is a lot that needs to be planned and coordinated, and the experience of moving to the current location is one that stands out for Birgitte: “Moving from Oslo Plads to here eight years ago is a day I will never forget. Even through such a big transition – the show must go on and for everyone else it is business as usual. I remember we were sitting on packed up moving boxes with the telephone system in our lap directing calls until the end of business hours. As soon as the phones were closed, we facilitated and organized the move all night until one in the morning. The next morning at six, we were in place in the new reception making sure that everything was in order and all computers and phones were up and running before our colleagues met for work in the new offices.
Keeping track of 1200+ employees
Even though the company has grown to 1200+ employees, 500+ in the office in Copenhagen, Birgitte says the corporate spirit has stayed the same: “There is an openness and friendliness in the company, which has stayed the same throughout the years. You sense that people like being here and that everybody gets along.” As Birgitte has been in the reception for the longest time, one might claim that she is the mother to the reception, and in some sense even the mother to all employees: “I think our most important function is keeping track on everything and everyone. It is our job to make sure there is order – yes in many ways you could say it is equivalent to a mother-role. So really – my day is better when the children behave and remember their access cards every day and treat this property like they would their own property,” says Birgitte.
Birgit Østby Nielsen who has been with SimCorp for 18 years has also been on quite a journey with the company. In the beginning of her career, Birgit worked part time in the financial department and part time in the reception so she followed the expansion of SimCorp very closely: ”Every time SimCorp entered a new market and scouted for new office spaces, I was right in the middle of it responsible for getting the right people to sign the confidential papers”. That there are more employees and more business is certainly something that is felt in the reception area – both in terms of traffic and work load: “These days, the reception is like Fredericia Banegård (busy Danish train station), I don’t remember the reception ever being this busy – we have so many people visiting – both external business partners and our own employees from the other markets. You really feel that the action has picked up”, says Birgit.
We are the ears and the eyes
Although SimCorp has a large human resources department, the reception is often where employees go for answers to all sorts of practical and work related issues: “In many ways you can compare the reception at SimCorp to a concierge function in a hotel. We know our way around the business – we are the ears and eyes of the place, and our colleagues come to us for practical questions or to speak their mind”. Birgit is known throughout the company as a very social person – when you pass the reception, she has a joke or a quick comment ready for most situations, or a sympathetic ear to lend. She loves the interaction with everyone that passes the reception: “Often people come by just to have a chat and a laugh. It has always been like this. Even though the company has grown, this spirit has not changed. Of course it is not quite the same as in the old days when the sales representatives brought duty free vodka back from Oslo on Fridays, but we are still a very social company with many social events and great parties,” says Birgit.
Flemming’s – where employees become friends
Another place where employees can socialize and speak their minds is the bar “Flemming’s Frikvarter” (recess-red), named after founder Flemming Tamstorf. The bar is always open, full of different social games and after office hours, the employees can enjoy a drink. According to Birgit, this bar is symbolic for the core of the company: “The concept of Flemming’s has existed for almost 20 years. It is where employees become friends. I truly think it is instrumental in the great atmosphere and work environment. When you enter Flemmings everyone is equal, regardless of organizational level – and the talk changes: no more work, now it is more like hanging out with friends.”
Marianne Sandvad Nielsen is the newest kid on the reception block. She has been with SimCorp for 8 years, but until three years ago, she worked full time with travel booking. When this function was outsourced, she transitioned to the reception: “I was offered to join this close-knit team that had run the reception with a third colleague, who was retiring. I had some big shoes to fill, as the former receptionist had been there for close to 20 years, but Birgit and Birgitte immediately made me feel welcome and part of the team”, says Marianne. She loves her new role, where she gets to be service-minded and do her best to help everyone and make everyone feel welcome, -which she finds is very central to the work environment at SimCorp: “There is a great atmosphere here at SimCorp – it seems like the employees are happy, satisfied and proud. It is a contagious feeling that I hope we also take part of spreading here at the reception.”
In charge of Christmas at SimCorp
Marianne is helping prepare and execute the annual employee family Christmas party, which is an ambitious and very popular event: “'Our newest concept involves making a lot of different workshops for the kids, such as baking, making Christmas decorations, learning to code, having family portraits taken, etc. Besides all these activities throughout the day, there is a visit from Santa, where the kids get great gifts picked by their parents in advance,” explains Marianne. Being in charge of gifts and creating this great event is a perfect job for Marianne, according to Birgit and Birgitte. They also claim that Marianne is the softest one of the three: “Yes, I know I have this reputation for being the one to go to, if you do not want to be turned down. I will go to great lengths to help – unless it is against regulations, mostly – yes I do find it very hard to say no,” says Marianne.
Drawing of the reception by colleague Stine Nørgaard Olesen