Tove Oldebäck

April 23, 2024

Tove Oldebäck, the CEO & Co-founder of Recommended by, is a driven entrepreneur who has helped over 50 technology and gaming companies hire top-tier talent. She's currently building a TEAL organization, where employees can set their own salaries. Tove strongly believes in the value of AI tools and emphasizes the importance of great managers in supporting personal growth and development.

1. How many days per week do you prefer to work from home and why?

I have kids in preschool, so I really appreciate the flexibility that remote working offers. It's great for managing drop-offs and pick-ups, among other things. However, I also enjoy getting out of my home in Nacka and heading into the city to meet clients, colleagues, and friends. I find that working from home 2-3 days a week suits me best. I can really focus on my tasks and fit in my workouts without interruptions when I work from home. On the days I'm in the office, I prioritize meetings with clients, partners, and colleagues.
This setup allows me to have a productive week without feeling stressed, while still giving me the chance to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Stockholm's city center for a few days.

2. What is a hidden treasure among apps for you — a favorite application of yours that might be unknown to many?

I am a big fan of meditation since it has really helped me deal with stress, external pressure, and big feelings in general. After trying many meditation apps, I've settled on a favorite called SereneAI. It was developed by a friend of mine with the help of AI (how cool!?). The app asks me how I feel, and what I want to focus on, and gives me long-term suggestions to improve my mental well-being, in addition to providing great custom-made meditations! So, SereneAI is the perfect mix of meditation and a coach – and also very cheap and always on call.

3. Any tips on how to use AI in daily life or work? What is your company policy around it?

When we started working with ChatGPT, I noticed that many of us felt like we were "cheating". That's why I made sure we talked about it a lot within the organization, almost boasting about it, to get into the habit and become good at being critical of the content rather than not asking ChatGPT at all. Our strength as consultants lies in our analytical ability plus our ability to work quickly and efficiently and drive the customer forward even in the most sluggish organization.

In that regard, AI is an excellent tool that further strengthens us. I use it daily to solve complex problems, inspire me with projects other companies have done that some clients might undertake, or simply translate and proofread my texts (like this one). But the best use of AI for me is asking for scientific research and summarizing it for me – it has saved me hours of time!

4. What's your most important work tool, making you productive?

Can I answer "colleagues"? 😃 My productivity comes from an inner drive, a desire to do well for the team and for the customer. There are, of course, several technical solutions that help me achieve that, but my colleagues are smarter, more fun, and push me further than any other tool ever will. Without my colleagues, neither I nor Recommended by would be anywhere near where we are today.

5. What career tips would you give your younger self?

Since I wasn't (and still not am) a person who listened to a single career tip, I probably wouldn't give any advice at all. "Don't take career advice too seriously; they've never walked in your shoes" would have been the only thing that resonated. But looking back at my career and pondering on the decisions I've made that have been successful, it's been "Choose a manager, not a job".

A great manager worked wonders with my personal development, and a bad one almost broke me down to the smallest atom. And that's something I brought with me when starting Recommended by and helping our clients' teams grow: Choose your people wisely – they are the "make it or break it" for you.

6. What is your view on employee choice, i.e. flexibility for employees to choose their hardware and software?

My philosophy is that a company doesn't get better than the level of engagement its employees have. So, if you want to maximize the potential of your employees, you should offer them – on an individual basis – exactly what they need to perform at their best. It's obviously more costly for the company, but when you work with complex technical solutions, the benefits are greater in the end, and then it's worth it. Therefore, I advocate for full flexibility in work tools, workplace, hours, etc. – as long as you can collaborate as a team.

But I always recommend management teams to really question what is actually required for collaboration, or what new solutions can work to make the situation better for the individual, and thereby improve the result for the company.

7. What is an ideal new employee onboarding experience?

Onboarding starts even before the official onboarding, with a great pre-boarding where the candidate receives a lot of information from the intranet, but also some fun facts about colleagues and the culture. It also involves a fika/afterwork with the team to create a stronger sense of belonging and psychological safety. When the onboarding officially starts, I prefer a well-organized first week, with a visually appealing schedule given to the candidates even before they start.

In our organization, we value self-leadership, and I like to be involved in that from the first week, both because it's part of what we're evaluating, but also to set the right expectations from the start. The most important thing is to balance learning with fun and some productive work – and to always remember that the first week at a new job is intense, so don't expect any miracles from your new employee that week. :)

Have you read?  Voices & Choices # 9: Interview with Peder Cillers, Founder of Cillers

"Voices and Choices" is a weekly interview series where we dig into how top talents, founders and leaders work and what makes them productive.