People management

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Wärtsilä’s People Agenda contributes to the company and its businesses in supporting the achievement of business goals and ambitions. By translating business strategy into people priorities for the business, and deploying expertise in organisational development and workforce effectiveness, critical competences are secured and further developed to meet both current and future business needs. The People Agenda’s key focus areas are talent and leadership development, culture transformation, and performance excellence. Talent actions ensure that the businesses have people with the required skills and motivation at their disposal. Continuous learning, competence development and growth, as well as evolving the organisation and its ways of working, strengthen our competitive advantage. These actions are integral to driving the business agenda in a dynamic marketplace, and for maintaining a relentless focus on providing value to customers and stakeholders.

Strengthening accountability and ownership is encouraged by promoting employee engagement through a culture of open communication, integrity, and innovation. At the same time, we emphasise performance and operational excellence throughout the organisation. This includes quality in the setting of targets, proper and regular feedback, the evaluation of overall performance, and recognition of outstanding performance.

Talent and leadership development

At Wärtsilä, equal opportunities and opportunities for professional and personal growth are core principles. The company empowers its employees by providing self-paced learning, and through encouraging people to drive their own career paths to stay relevant and thrive in a rapidly changing business environment. Recruiting and retaining the best talent enables Wärtsilä to be a valued business partner to its customers, and the employer of choice for current and future employees.

Wärtsilä supports its line managers in their people development and leadership roles. Much focus is put on developing virtual learning solutions to increase the flexibility and ease of access to learning, while saving both time and cost, and reducing the carbon impact of travelling, in line with our purpose. A leadership development programme, focused on creating a Wärtsilä culture that builds and sustains high performance, is in place for senior managers. The programme contains elements related to leading high performing teams, leadership and performance excellence, and customer centricity.

Learning on the job, self-learning, mentoring, coaching, and job rotation are integral to the development of knowledge and competence within the company. Whilst employees are given formal classroom learning opportunities at all organisational levels, from induction for new employees to learning programmes for the company’s top executives, there is a strong emphasis on developing virtual learning solutions, and providing learning on the job through new ways of working. In 2020 Wärtsilä spent 377 EUR/ employee as direct costs for training.

Transforming company culture

Together with the company’s business transformation initiatives, Wärtsilä promotes a company culture that is defined by a changing world. Wärtsilä’s purpose drives all activities, and the company’s values of “Energy, Excellence and Excitement” are strengthened by the diversity of its employees. Wärtsilä aims to capture opportunities and make things happen, to do things better than any of its competitors, and to foster openness, respect, and trust while creating an exciting work environment.  

Wärtsilä embraces collaboration and co-creation in order to succeed in an increasingly complex and uncertain business environment, while maintaining clear individual accountability. Purposeful sharing and working transparently as one, brings value, both internally and externally. Exploring and adopting new ways of working that foster collaboration and sharing are part of the transparent and inclusive approach. MyVoice, Wärtsilä’s global employee engagement survey, enables all Wärtsilä employees to provide feedback. MyVoice has been conducted globally since 2004, and in 2020 was enhanced to respond to current needs.  

MyVoice is conducted completely online, and is also available on mobile devices, and in 17 languages. More than 17,000 responses were collected in November 2020, representing a participation rate of 82.3%. In addition to this annual survey, which is applicable to all employees, pulse surveys by business or topic were also established during 2020. These promote a more regular and focused feedback loop.

Performance excellence

One of the essential elements of Wärtsilä’s People Agenda is to embrace and develop performance excellence throughout the organisation. Coaching to achieve better performance through smart target setting, together with continuous and real-time feedback, is central to this aim.

A well-executed performance management process supports the reaching of business targets by translating business strategies into team and individual objectives. Each Wärtsilä employee needs to know and understand these strategies and their goals. More importantly, everyone needs to be aware of the main targets set for their own units, and the target areas related to their own work. Greater attention has been given to the quality and impact of the process by emphasising the importance of continuous feedback, clarifying expected behaviours, and creating opportunities for both professional and personal growth.

Good coverage of the annual development discussions continued globally, with 91% coverage being achieved in 2020. Each employee receives performance feedback, and an evaluation based on their overall job performance, as well as a personal development plan for the future. Overall performance evaluation is one of the considerations in compensation decisions, and is in line with the principle of performancebased rewarding.

Strengthening the alignment between human resources and the businesses

Wärtsilä Human Resources, powered by an effective operating model, aims to strengthen its strategic alignment with the Businesses and to become more people-centric. The ambition is to create a compelling employee experience by developing people processes, tools, and ways of working across national and organisational boundaries. This includes investing in technologies and tools that, for instance, enable quick access to online reports, employee information, and annual compensation planning for both local and multi-country teams, as well as embracing proactive change management. The ultimate goal is to make an impact by creating high performing teams and talent to enhance our competitive advantage.

Top nationalities of Wärtsilä employees at the end of 2020

   Total workforce(as % of total workforce) All management positions, including junior, middle and senior management (as % of total management workforce) 
 Finnish  7,83%  24,81%
 Italian  5,52%  9,04%
 German  3,96%  5,72%
 Indian  4,54%  5,63%
 Dutch  4,49%  4,79%
 Russian   3,39%  4,50%


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