People

Safety

In safety matters, the year 2018 was very good for Empower and we proceeded briskly towards our targets.

We focused on rooting the HSE culture more deeply by organizing culture workshops, where we established a shared baseline of what a good HSE culture is. The workshop participants also got a good understanding of Empower’s current level of safety and paths to further improvement.  

In 2018, Empower’s target was to reduce the frequency of lost time accidents (<5), and we nearly reached this target with the full-year LWIF (lost workday injury frequency) of 5.4. Empower’s goal is to improve safety in the coming year, too. According to the principles of continuous improvement, each year we keep some of the previous year’s indicators and develop some new indicators to supplement them. Empower’s numerical LWIF target for 2019 is below 4. In addition, our aim is to reduce the total recordable incident frequency (TRIF) by 20%. Small accidents have the potential to become serious accidents, so a thorough investigation of all incidents is crucial. 

Empower celebrated the fifth Zero Accident year at the Anjalankoski mills

Empower has been responsible for maintenance and project planning at Stora Enso’s Anjalankoski mills since 2008. During this time, significant investments have been made in the development of work safety and on April 30, 2018, the Anjalankoski mills achieved the milestone of 5 years without lost time occupational accidents. Everyone is proud of this accomplishment because the entire personnel worked for this achievement. 

When Empower became Stora Enso’s partner at the Anjalankoski mills, occupational accident statistics were completely different: the total number of accidents per year was approximately 35. In 2010, the mills started using the current statistics compilation method that categorizes accidents into lost time accidents (LTAs) and total recordable incidents (TRIs). 

– In these five years, our way of working has changed considerably as now our personnel is fully committed to work safety and everyone understands its significance. Now, before any work starts, we consider potential hazards and observe the working environment regularly on the basis of instructions. The number of our safety observations has increased steadily as our personnel has gained a better understanding of what kinds of things can cause risks, says Matti Saarainen, Unit Manager at Empower. 

Empower and Stora Enso, the owner of the Anjalankoski mills, also encourage employees to make observations. Every month, both the best safety observation and the employee who has made the most observations are rewarded in Anjalankoski. Of course, the entire personnel celebrate Zero Accident milestones – there have been many celebrations during the past five years.

Well-being

The well-being of the personnel is an asset for Empower and the focus of projects increasing work capacity has shifted every year from reactive treatment of illnesses to proactive prevention.

As a whole, this work has yielded good results: 58% of Empower employees stayed healthy throughout the year without any sick leave absences and our sick leave percentage was generally low, 3.1%. The management of absences due to musculoskeletal disorders and symptoms succeeded particularly well in 2018 and we managed to reduce these absences by 20% compared to the previous year.

Omavalmentaja improves work capacity

Together with Terveystalo, Empower launched the Omavalmentaja (My Coach) program to prevent and reduce musculoskeletal symptoms. In the program, occupational health care professionals assess the employee’s health, goals and willingness to change and direct the employee to training provided by an occupational physiotherapist and a nutritionist, if they consider this necessary. Empower’s program is targeted at persons in physically demanding work who can influence their own well-being and ability to function by increasing the amount of physical exercise and whose health and work capacity clearly benefit from increased physical exercise.  

– A total of 30 employees from different functions were selected for the program, says Laura Ahlblad, HR Business Partner at Empower. On the basis of the results of this pilot project launched in 2018, we will evaluate whether the Omavalmentaja program could be established as a permanent operating model. Feedback from active participants indicates that the program has yielded benefits and participants have a good motivation to make changes. The reward for small changes is a better general energy level and a better ability to cope.

Aalto and Hintsa Performance – researching better life at Empower

Aalto University and Hintsa Performance are conducting a research project called “Parempi elämä ja suorituskyky” (Better life and performance) in 2018–2020 to find out how the well-being of an organization’s management is reflected in the well-being of the organization. According to Juha Äkräs, responsible for the research project at Hintsa Performance, scientific research has proven that the personnel’s well-being and performance are closely related. Healthy and happy employees in an empowering and encouraging organization may achieve peak performance and are also a guarantee of customer satisfaction.  

Empower was one of the first companies to participate in the research project. Its aim was to find tools for understanding and developing the personnel’s well-being. Comprehensive comparison results will be available only at the beginning of 2020 but Empower’s results already show that the organization is led with so-called servant leadership, which supports self-steering teams. The relations between managers and employees function well and the culture has a strong atmosphere of expertise – a sign of an expert organization with talents that want to develop.  

– Leadership is about caring for people and, on the other hand, the opportunity to offer an environment nurturing development and success. The research project confirmed the conception that we have many experienced and competent employees who have a good self-confidence and are willing to exercise influence. As the energy sector is undergoing a significant transformation, we can offer our experts challenges and responsibilities: they have the chance to develop future energy ecosystems and play a key role in creating energy-efficient and climate neutral solutions. It is characteristic of our culture to share information among people and to offer a safe environment for challenging the status quo and for developing, says Mika Yletyinen, President, Energy Intelligence.