Little Big Deed: When you believe in someone, good things happen

Hanna Mattelmäki, the retailer of K-Market Mestari, sees helping employees move forward on their career paths as her duty. When her employee Vasiliki Metaxa told Mattelmäki that she would not be able to study for the degree she had hoped for, the K-retailer decided to do everything she could to help.

Vasiliki Metaxa moved to Finland from Greece in 2013. She dreamed of getting a business college degree, but because she couldn’t speak much Finnish, she had been directed to study for a vocational qualification in sales instead. As part of her studies, Metaxa went for on-the-job training at K-Market Mestari in Tampere, where she got to know the retailer Hanna Mattelmäki.

“Vasiliki was eager to work and learn and asked me if she could continue to work at the store after the training period. She couldn’t yet work the cash register, so I told her we could come up with subsidised work. She was active in the matter and soon called to tell me she had obtained pay subsidy for six months,” says Mattelmäki.

During a development discussion, Metaxa told Mattelmäki she would have preferred to get a business college degree. However, as a mother of small children, she could not study full time. Mattelmäki told Metaxa that she could get a business college degree also via an apprenticeship.

However, Metaxa’s school did not think she could succeed in her studies due to a lack of language skills. That is when Mattelmäki decided to contact the school, and finally Metaxa was able to start working towards the degree she wanted. Metaxa has made good progress and will be graduating soon.

“I had seen Vasiliki in action, and knew how determined she was to learn new things, so I couldn’t accept the school’s response. I really had to work to convince her student counsellor.”

The Covid-19 epidemic has meant changes to Vasiliki’s studies, but they have proceeded. She has also been given more responsibility at the store, and can now work the cash register.

“When I moved to Finland from Greece, I didn’t know anyone and couldn’t speak Finnish or even English. Thanks to Hanna, I will get my business college degree this year,” says Metaxa.

“You must hold on to motivated employees”

For Hanna Mattelmäki, one of the most important duties for a retailer is to support and help employees move forward on their career paths. She believes you should hold on to motivated and committed employees. She believes you should hold on to motivated and committed employees. 

“My task is to serve my employees so that they can serve the customers. It’s a joy to see how happy Vasiliki is to serve our customers.”

Hanna Mattelmäki says she has also gotten support from others during her career. From Metaxa, she has learnt courage to make dreams come true.

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