Axelent had been around for nine years, there were about 25 employees and only two were women. In 1999, the company was in its infancy, and in her first year, Cecilia Davidsson had already gotten a taste of the rapid development that would characterise the years ahead.
“During that year, more and more white collar employees were hired, a customer service department was starting to be built up and we were starting to work more actively and turn our focus outward. It was also around this time that we work a lot with our brand values and the new logo with the X”, says Cecilia.
Describe your journey at Axelent – how has the path looked like until today?
Over the first 15 years I went from a role as a marketing assistant – with responsibilities that varied from working the switchboard, customer support and invoicing – through roles with purchasing responsibility and quality assurance, to developing and being responsible for the customer service department. By 2014, the company had grown so much that it was time to create its own HR department.
When we were about to develope our own HR department, I was asked if I was interested. Up until then, our CFO had handled personnel issues and payroll processes. Our staff has always been an important resource for the company and its success, and with the addition of our own HR department, we were able to focus even more on the people in the organization – on finding the right person for the right position and helping each individual develop professionally.
In conjunction with this, we also started to work with a clearer focus on our motto, ‘Grow with us’. As HR manager, I stepped into a role that I have come to really enjoy, where I have been given the opportunity to grow both as a person and professionally.
This has been and continues to be a very exciting job. Since the spring of 2019, I have also had more direct responsibility for Axelent Engineering; the position is constantly expanding. I have had many roles within the same company and have had the opportunity to grow in line with the company’s growth.
Now, I have been working here for 21 years, and that’s precisely because I have had the opportunity to work on so many different things. Being involved in creating new positions has been very exciting!
What does a normal day look like for you?
Today I work with about 220 employees who are all employees of the Axelent Group’s Swedish companies, with about 150 employees at Axelent and Axelent Safe-X and about 70 at Axelent Engineering. Over the years, Axelent AB in Hillerstorp has seen very strong growth, both in terms of the number of employees and the addition of managerial roles.
It’s hard for me to predict what any single working day will look like as I handle everything from coaching the company’s managers to all types of personnel matters.
My energy goes where it is needed. But above all, I meet with people in the organization and try to work out how we can move forward and solve the question marks that come up. It can be personal things but also more strategic, work-related matters.
I also work as the contact person for schools and various networks to create a common view of the company and the industry – to develop guidelines for how we will work with and attract the next generation and to attract young people to work in the industry. I am responsible for ensuring that they are informed of what the industry and Axelent can offer them in terms of the various jobs and roles here”.
What is your biggest challenge in your role?
Getting young people interested in the industry is one of the bigger challenges forward. Competition for tomorrow’s workforce is high, and it is important to market yourself and maintain contact with the people who may be a good fit.
It’s important to stay on your toes. The industry has changed a lot and will likely continue to do so. We need to constantly be seen on site and work with both primary and secondary schools as well as universities. It will be even more important in the future that we let people know what it’s like to work with us and what we offer – to talk about what Axelent stands for and why it is an interesting place to work. I also involve our leadership team in these matters”.
How does Axelent work actively when it comes to CSR?
So much has happened since I came to the organization in 1999, especially in terms of diversity. For my part, I came in as the second woman in the organization, and strategies have been gradually put in place to increase diversity among the company’s employees.
In the production for example, we have actively elevated the women who have applied. We can see that the results are getting better as the composition of the workforce is more mixed.
Axelent’s diversity is one key to its current success. Just as the technology has evolved, one’s thinking can also evolve. People used to think that if you wanted to work in the warehouse, you need to be big and strong and tall, but that doesn’t really hold true anymore. Increased diversity has made positive contributions to our working environment. Many of our workers have immigrated to Sweden and strengthened our workforce – in our production, we currently have workers who are originally from nine different countries. We couldn’t have done it without them!
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