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Chief People Officer at Nordic Unmanned eager to get more diversity in the company

Nordic Unmanned have further strengthened the leadership team and are happy to announce that Katrine Meldahl have been promoted to Chief People Officer and will be part of the leadership team from January 1st, 2022. Katrine joined Nordic Unmanned as Vice President of Human Relations in August 2021, so we asked her how her first months has been! She also reveals what traits the HR department looks for when recruiting new candidates, and we talk about diversity.

I’ve only had about 5 months in the company, but it already feels like I have been part of the team for 12 months!

Everything is fast paced here. That doesn’t mean that I work more than what I’ve done in my previous jobs, but in Nordic Unmanned you get things done quicker.

In my past work, many of my activities have been related to improvements where stakeholder management have been key to get the changes implemented. Change processes has been very time consuming in the past. That is no problem here. The management has an incredible trust in the employees. The trust is built on the basis that every employee wants the best for the company. That makes everyone pull in the same direction and creates efficiency in decision processes. The changes and improvements are not a challenging process, it is part of the daily work here. We have a test and learn culture, where constant improvements are a part of who we are.

When you think back to the start of 2021, Nordic Unmanned had 35 employees. Now we are over 130 employees including acquired companies, and with over 100 in Nordic Unmanned alone. The group has around 15 nationalities across all companies.

It’s clear that change is inevitable. Change will happen in the way we lead, what structure is needed, the way we work, in the products and services we provide and much more.

What are your main responsibilities within the company?

My responsibilities are everything that has to do with staff and organization. This ranges from attracting the right employees, hire them and develop them.  Attract, develop, retain. With our growth rate, the recruitment of new talent is very important. We are at the same time building the foundation for all HR processes, implementing better system support and building our culture.

Nordic Unmanned see the importance of a great foundation for our employees and building a great place to work. This is why I now became a part of the leadership team, and we already have two more HR resources in place to help build the HR foundation and facilitate the continued growth. There is a lot of practical tasks that needs to be done, such as recruitment, ensure a good onboarding, payroll etc, but it also involves the bigger picture; how are we going to organize ourselves, what culture should we cultivate, how do we develop good leaders that will takes us to the next level, how do we attract and develop talent, and much more?

How many employees are Nordic Unmanned expecting to be in 2022?

It is likely that we will be over 200 amazing employees!

So, the recruitment pace hasn’t slowed down in 2022?

Well, we are starting to get the foundation in place, which is the administration and support functions, but more recruitment is on its way. The amount of recruitment is determined by the number of assignments and contracts won. If you look at the number of contracts we have won in the past couple of months, there is no doubt there is a need for more operational personnel, such as pilots and technicians.

“In a growth company such as Nordic Unmanned, the people are our most important assets. It is vital to get the right people into the right positions. We give our employees an enormous amount of trust, and the employees experience a lot of development opportunities. This isn’t the working place for people who want to wait and be told what to do. This is the place for people who enjoy being bold, and like to build and shape, not only their own, but also the company’s future. “

Katrine Meldahl – CPO, Nordic Unmanned

What makes Nordic Unmanned so attractive for job seekers?

First off, we have an enormous advantage being in the drone industry. The industry is still in the start phase and employees find it exciting to be part of building an industry for the future.

Secondly, it is the opportunity to be a part of the growth journey. Our business has really taken off in the last couple of years but that doesn’t mean that the book is now written. We are in constant development. It’s the people who want to be a part of this journey that we want as employees, and it’s the same people that will look at us as an attractive place to work.

Lastly, it’s key to further build on our workplace culture and to avoid too heavy growth pains. Of course, we want some healthy friction and that is also why diversity in the team is key.  Ultimately, we want every employee to feel they can influence our future.

On top of it all, we build and leverage new technology and methods to contribute to a better society through offering solutions that help save the environment, and even save lives.

Are there any traits you are looking for when you are recruiting?

We must distinguish between those who are on rotation, who are pilots and technicians performing the operations and the more administrational support functions. The pilots and technicians performing the operations must be interested in the new technology. These usually have a pilot or technician education from traditional aviation as a background and want to be a part of the emerging unmanned aviation industry. Their job is not only to fly from A to B, but they use the drone to collect data and solve their customers’ needs. We want pilots and technicians to be involved in developing the services and constantly seek improvements to ensure more efficiency, and collect more and better data to meet the customer needs in the best possible way. At the same time, we are looking for highly skilled pilots and technicians with a safety mindset.

In the administration, the commercial side and on the development side, it’s all about leaning forward. You need to have the desire to be involved in the development of the industry, be solution-oriented, want to be given and take responsibility, thrive in a changing environment, willing to test and learn, and lastly, be a great team player.

On the operational side, we have a lot of male employees. What are your thoughts on getting more females in different roles within the company?

We are very eager to get in more females and diversity in general, in the company. So not only diversity in gender, but also in age, nationality, background, and other factors. On the issue of proportion of women, we would love to have more female pilots and technicians. This autumn, we made a huge leap in the proportion of women in the support and commercial roles, but we wish to do more on the operational side.

Every female pilot and technician from the aviation industry with desire to enter the unmanned sector, are more than welcome to apply!

If you look 2-3 years into the future, where does the company stand?

Nordic Unmanned is a business with great ambitions. This means that in 2-3 years’ time we will be a significantly bigger company with subsidiaries and employees in many countries and even on different continents. This increased international reach, will also create exciting opportunities for our employees.

Being part of a company with this growth rate, creates great development opportunities. Not only in terms of climbing a career ladder, but also for growth in specialist roles. We will invest in finding and developing young talent, that will grow with the company. People will be given possibilities to take part in different projects, experience new challenges and visit new places, so there is a very exciting future ahead.