Future Maker - Ilona Kangas, YTK

Ilona Kangas, YTK's Director of Communications and Customer Relations, has been a part of making YTK Finland's largest unemployment fund and one of the most reliable brands. In our new Future Maker series, Ilona opens up her views on what success is based on and what the road ahead looks like.

Who are you

I am an experienced entrepreneur and communications professional from Espoo and have now been working on the other side of the table, so to speak, for two years. I work as the Director of Communications and Customer Relations at YTK, the General Unemployment Insurance Fund, and as the Executive Director of the YTK Association for the members of the Fund.

If you had to describe yourself as hashtags, which words would you choose?

#theater #people #alwayscurious

The best thing about my job

What is most rewarding about your work as the YTK's Director of customer relations and communications?

Oh, so many things! Firstly, the YTK is an exceptionally inspiring community. While the fund has an important public role as a provider of unemployment insurance and a payer of earnings-related pay, it is at the same time an inspiring, caring and truly agile work community.

Through 30 years of systematic and member-oriented work, the fund has grown to become the largest fund and reliable brand in Finland. Our members, every fourth of all Finnish employees, are amazing and they challenge us to develop the customer experience every day.

Alongside the fund, the association can provide various services to its members. I believe that services related to working life will be very much changing in the coming years and the association offers a vantage point to be involved in building a more functional working life for future employees as well.

"I see the future as extremely interesting."

The secret to success

YTK is Finland's largest and most popular unemployment fund. If you should summarize its secret to success in three points, what would they be?

First are our customers, i.e., members. We want to provide them with the best service and strive to develop for them.

Our members are second as well because we want to be worthy of their recommendations. Our membership growth is largely generated through recommendations.

Third is the YTK staff - expertise, service and passion are second to none here.

Life after COVID-19

COVID-19 has affected businesses and people in many ways. How do you see the change brought about by COVID-19 from your own and YTK’s perspective - did something change permanently and if so, what?

For us, COVID-19 caused a huge workload that has only really begun to ease this summer.

For us, getting back to normal means winding down and refocusing our development and customer experience. At the same time, we are learning a new way of working in a hybrid world, and this is just the beginning. We have been very online based in the past as well, as our services are mainly online. COVID-19 did not change that.

What's ahead

What inspiring do you see ahead?

I see the future of the YTK Association to be very exciting. We have more than 230,000 active members (about half of the members of the fund also belong to the association), whose changing working lives we want to serve even better. Working life is changing at a rapid pace, so the services that support it must also change.

We strive to develop something new in strong collaboration with our members. On the fund’s side, of course, topics of interest include digitalization and issues related to the development of customer experience. It is being repeated everywhere now that data is a new oil. For half a million Finns, we have an understanding of trends related to work and unemployment, and we could be involved in developing solutions to labour shortages. We also want the fund to be as open as possible and to help people better understand this system.

Personally, I look forward to going to the theatre again soon - a dear hobby that has been on pause for too long.