Career development discussions are an important leadership and management tool for us. In 2013, we placed special emphasis on the career development discussions of hourly paid employees.

Success through good supervisory work

In 2013, our HR goals included, first and foremost, clarifying supervisors’ roles and increasing the competence of our employees for the new strategy period.

Our goal is to be the best employer in the construction industry. We pursue this goal by developing leadership, management, supervisory work and by offering Lemminkäinen employees opportunities to continuously develop their expertise.

Employee survey yielded positive results

In our employee survey, conducted annually in all of our operating countries, we look into matters related to, among other things, leadership, management and supervisory work,  personnel commitment, occupational well-being and safety, and work with customers. The 2013 response rate improved to 69 per cent, up by one percentage point. Among salaried employees, the response rate was 74 per cent and among hourly paid employees 63 per cent.

In general, the overall result was more positive than before, and especially the results from hourly paid employees have improved clearly. According to respondents, the most significant improvements have been achieved in occupational safety, environmental protection and the application of the Code of Conduct. The number of career development discussions conducted and the handling of the employee survey results in teams increased from the previous year.

We invest in developing leadership

Leadership has been defined as one of Lemminkäinen’s key corporate responsibility aspects, and it is also one of the most significant aspects of HR. In the construction industry, project work and changing work locations pose challenges for management and supervisory work.

Career development discussions are an important leadership and management tool for us. During the discussion, an employee and his/her supervisor agree on the employee’s targets. The career development discussions help Lemminkäinen employees understand their role in the implementation of the strategy. According to our experience, the discussions have a clear impact on personnel satisfaction, efficient organisation of tasks and labour productivity. In 2013, we placed special emphasis on the career development discussions of hourly paid employees.

In 2013, we started the clarification of supervisory roles and tasks. This work will be continued in 2014. In order to support supervisory work, we have also standardised and developed the HR practices related to recruitment, the beginning and end of an employment relationship, payroll administration and travel management, for example. Standardised operating methods also support equality.

According to the employee survey, management and supervisory work at Lemminkäinen has improved. Our result is also good when compared to other manufacturing organisations. On the basis of the survey results, we have identified the lowest performers among our supervisors and now support them in various ways.

In the autumn of 2013, the global HR management team started its work. The team makes decisions on HR guidelines that apply to Lemminkäinen employees in all of our operating countries and affect supervisory work. The next areas for which we will be defining common guidelines include remuneration and personnel reporting.

Key personnel’s leadership skills assessed

For the implementation of the new strategy, we wanted to gain a good overall picture of leadership competence and its development needs at Lemminkäinen. Therefore, more than 40 members of the key personnel were assessed in summer 2013.

The assessment showed that Lemminkäinen’s key personnel were very dedicated and leading operations in line with our values. According to the key personnel, Lemminkäinen’s strengths include high professional competence, the company’s growth opportunities and its strong history. Challenges are posed by, for example, last years' change speed. There is also room for improvement in cooperation between different businesses and operating countries. In the assessment, change management, ability to change and people leadership were considered important competence requirements of key personnel.

People planning helps to ensure competence

Through people planning, we ensure that our businesses have a sufficient number of the right kinds of experts in the coming year.

People planning helps us to organise and plan key tasks, identify current and future key talents, conduct succession planning and make potential new recruitments. With the aid of the plan, we identify competence development needs, define remuneration guidelines and develop the management of risks related to working capacity.

We develop our employer image

The most important element in the development of Lemminkäinen’s employer image is to ensure that our current employees enjoy their work and are satisfied with Lemminkäinen. Our employee survey provides us with information on our internal employer image.

In Finland, we monitor our external employer image through the annual employer image survey conducted by T-Media. In 2013, questions related to Lemminkäinen were answered by approximately 12,000 respondents. According to the survey, approximately 88 per cent of the respondents know Lemminkäinen as an employer. Our goal is to be the best employer in the Finnish construction industry. The survey showed that we are the most interesting employer among university students interested in the construction industry and the second most interesting employer among technical vocational degree students. In 2014, we will assess our employer image in our other operating countries, too.

One of the goals of Lemminkäinen’s employer image activities in 2013 was to increase our attractiveness as an employer. We searched for summer employees through a recruitment campaign in which we also provided information about Lemminkäinen as an employer. We want to ensure that Lemminkäinen’s summer employees have a useful and enjoyable work experience. Therefore, we participated again in the Responsible Summer Jobs (Vastuullinen kesäduuni) campaign. The campaign challenges employers to offer young people more – and better – summer jobs. We provide various forms of support to supevisors in recruitment as well as in the guidance of trainees and summer employees. In 2013, we had about 350 summer employees working in Finland.

Dialogue with vocational students

Our goal is to make Lemminkäinen a more interesting employer option especially among vocational students. In 2013, we participated in the Amis-Dialogi project in which we, together with vocational students and six other companies, explored ways to further improve work practices.

In the project, a better working life was considered from four different points of view: which skills are useful when working; how to attract good employees to where there are jobs available; what good work is like; and how companies can be encouraged to hire new graduates and thus reduce youth unemployment. The final report of the Amis-Dialogi will be published in spring 2014.

Cooperation and dialogue with students and student organisations

We support the activities of construction industry student organisations. At the beginning of 2013, we organised a campaign involving these organisations as well as online resources to help construction industry students learn more about Lemminkäinen and our operations.

The Finnish National Skills Competition Taitaja is the biggest annual event for vocational students in Finland. The competition is intended for vocational students aged 20 years or under; in 2013, it was held in Joensuu in eastern Finland. We have sponsored the Taitaja competition for several years, and in 2013, our sponsored disciplines were air conditioning installation, plumbing, and masonry and tiling work.

Cooperation with Taitaja gives us an opportunity to meet potential future employees of Lemminkäinen. It also offers us a chance to tell young people more about Lemminkäinen as an employer and about our employees as colleagues.

We support competence development

In career development discussions, we evaluate the needs for the personnel’s competence and career development. A total of 71 per cent of the Lemminkäinen employees that took the employee survey had taken part in a career development discussion during the preceding year. Our goal is for every Lemminkäinen employee to have a career development discussion.

In order to support competence development, we offer customised training to all personnel groups in Finland. The PAKKI training promotes occupational safety and skills that ensure top-quality results. The VIILA training offers additional coaching on various topics, such as competition law, improvement of operational efficiency and management of development projects.

As part of the Lemminkäinen supervisors’ academy LEKA, supervisors and management are trained in topics related to Lemminkäinen’s common operating models, supervisory work and the implementation of the strategy, for example.

Support from an experienced expert

Lemminkäinen’s first mentor-mentee and master-journeyman pairs began the approximately 6-month programme in Finland in spring 2013. In the mentoring and master-journeyman programmes, an experienced expert (the mentor or master) advises, supports and advances a less-experienced colleague who is eager to develop his or her skills.

The programme will help develop the professional skills of the mentee or journeyman, as well as the transfer of expertise and tacit knowledge. It will prepare new people for positions that cannot be filled by those coming directly from educational institutions. It is also suitable for training people for new positions when their working capacity is at risk. Mentoring is aimed at salaried employees, while the master-journeyman model is for hourly paid employees.

Our experiences with the programme were good. The participants considered it an inspiring way to learn new things and to transfer their own expertise. A new group started in the programme in November 2013.

Personnel negotiations in autumn 2013

During 2013, we continued the harmonisation of our employer-employee cooperation practices in Finland. In June, we organised the first joint staff representative event in our Finnish operations. From now on, the joint staff representative event will be organised once a year.

In August 2013, we initiated extensive personnel negotiations concerning the entire Group and all personnel groups. The aim was to continue the lightening of the cost structure in order to reduce the impact of seasonality and to improve our competitiveness in an increasingly difficult market situation. At the same time, it was necessary to adjust the number of personnel to align with the lower volume of business operations.

With the new efficiency measures, we are pursuing savings of EUR 30 million. As a part of the efficiency measures, we will reduce our personnel by approximately 500 man-years. By the end of the year, the reduction in Finland was nearly 300 man-years and in other countries approximately 100 man-years. In some of our operating countries, the process is still ongoing.

In Finland, Lemminkäinen offers dismissed personnel outplacement coaching that aims to support them in the change and in finding suitable new employment as quickly as possible. Customised change support has also been provided to individual teams, when necessary.