Safety of our people

 

In 2020, our operating environment was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Securing the health and safety of our nearly 700 employees was a top priority for Suominen. In our development work, we focused on understanding the level and drivers of our employee engagement and on enhancing our processes to promote a high performance culture. 

 

Safeguarding our employees

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the operating environment of companies around the world in many ways. For Suominen, securing the health and safety of its employees is in all situations of the utmost importance. In 2020, we implemented various safety and other precautionary measures, and we continuously monitored the development of the pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, a COVID-19 task force with participants from all our locations was established, and it held weekly – and later biweekly – meetings. To assess the impact of COVID-19 in daily work, we also conducted two pulse surveys among our employees, one in the spring and the other in December. A large majority of the respondents felt that they had been able to work effectively despite the pandemic, have confidence in the company’s response to the pandemic, and feel safe carrying out their duties during the pandemic. Thanks to our dedicated people and our proactive approach and actions, the exceptional situation had only a limited impact on our ability to serve our customers and to run our operations.

Advancing employee engagement

Increasing employee engagement is one of our key people-related targets in our Sustainability Agenda for 2020–2025. As an important step in this work, we conducted a global employee engagement survey in the second half of 2020. The response rate for the survey was 79%. The survey results identified both positive areas and opportunities for improvement. With regard to the positives, our people appreciate Suominen’s commitment to safety and sustainability, know our strategy and what is expected of them, and have strong confidence in the company’s future. The opportunities to further increase the level of engagement relate to employee feedback and recognition, communication, and career development. The results have been shared with the relevant team leaders to be further discussed within their teams and to be used as the basis for creating targeted, actionable development plans. We have a follow-up procedure in place to ensure that the plans are implemented and to support the systematic development of our employee engagement and performance culture. Based on the results, our employee engagement index is 69%, which is on par with global manufacturing companies. The index is a combination of questions concerning our people’s likelihood to recommend and stay in the company, organizational pride, and commitment. The result means that 69% of the survey participants responded favorably to those questions. Further developing our recruitment and onboarding processes and the related experiences is an important long-term target for us. We will also strengthen and communicate our employer brand more actively to increase employee commitment, retention, satisfaction, and attraction.

In pursuit of high performance

Building a high performance culture is an important element in Suominen’s strategy and Sustainability Agenda. We are aiming for a culture in which people are encouraged to exceed expectations – to go the extra mile – and are enabled to perform to their full potential. To support the successful implementation of our strategy and the high performance culture, we ensure that our employees’ targets and actions are aligned with the company’s strategy and objectives. We continuously develop our processes and practices to identify, foster, and reward excellent performance and to drive a pay-for-performance compensation model. In 2020, we worked extensively on our job architecture and further developed our performance development and reward systems and processes. Suominen’s performance development discussion process consists of regular employee – manager discussions covering topics such as success in reaching the previous year’s targets, setting targets for the ongoing year, and identifying development needs and plans. During the year, we strengthened the quality of target setting and promoted a feedback culture to further enhance the process. In 2020, the employee – manager discussions covered 75% of our employees. Our target for 2021 is to develop and harmonize the performance and development discussion process also for our blue-collar employees globally. 

Promoting equal opportunities

Suominen has nearly 700 employees, representing more than a dozen nationalities working in eight locations on three continents. We recognize the business benefits of having a diverse workforce and want to offer a fair workplace with equal opportunities for everyone. We do not tolerate any kind of discrimination, including discrimination based on age, gender, religion, or ethnic origin. When making employee-related decisions, for example when recruiting, promoting, rewarding, or developing our personnel, we pay special attention to equality.

Supporting personal and professional development

It is crucial for our success that we identify and develop the competencies and capabilities needed to reach our strategic objectives. An important part of this is to systematically support our employees’ personal growth ambitions and continuous professional development. In 2020, health and safety issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic somewhat slowed our training activities. However, we started a global program to further develop our sales capabilities and common processes, and we also carried out a number of local training programs covering topics such as safety, quality, and best practices.

Securing the health and safety of our employees is of the utmost importance in all situations