Personnel development and preparing for future needs were key priorities

Personnel and organisational development as well as other activities aimed at maintaining working capacity continued in 2018. The decision to invest in the battery chemicals plant resulted in preparations for the training and hiring of new personnel.

In 2018, Terrafame recruited approximately 180 people, to fill vacancies resulting from employee turnover and to allocate personnel for summer jobs and projects. At the end of the year, the number of personnel was 667 (2017: 650), of which 650 were in permanent positions. The increase was mainly due to the transfer of certain previously outsourced maintenance work tasks to Terrafame. Temporary positions were replacements of various absences and internal development projects. The company also had workers from approximately 70 partner companies working at its industrial site.

Developments in the overall labour market situation were reflected in the company’s employee turnover rate. The exit turnover of permanent employees increased to 10% (2017: 6.2%), i.e., to more than 60 people during the year. The headcount was at its highest during the summer months, when the company employed approximately 720 people. 91% of employees were men and 9% were women and the average age of employees was around 41 years.

As in previous years, the effects of Terrafame on employment in Kainuu were significant. At the end of the year, 87% of Terrafame’s employees lived in the Kainuu region – most of them in Kajaani and Sotkamo municipalities. The year-end number of employees of partner companies who worked regularly at the industrial site was approximately 650 people. Approximately 60% of them were from Kainuu.

Two changes took place within the Management Team in 2018: the retirement of the chief technology officer and the resignation of the chief communications officer.

Development of competences in supporting change

Development of the professional competence of employees and managerial work continued to be strong. In addition to on-the-job learning and short day courses, long-term training continued in chemical engineering, electrical and automation maintenance, and leadership. Over the course of the year, nearly 90 people participated in degree-oriented training.

The development programme for user-maintenance teams launched in the autumn of 2017 continued throughout the year, with nearly 60 people in total participating. Nearly 70 people participated in the project management training organised during 2018. The aim of these two programmes is to develop leadership, planning and co-operation practices throughout the process, to ensure cost-effective, high-quality operations.

During the year, training arranged in the workplace amounted to an average of 3.4 days per employee (2017: 2.5). The focus of training was on occupational and environmental safety and professional competence. Safety induction and training in chemicals, protective equipment and first aid were also organised for everyone working at the site. Training arranged to develop managerial work amounted to an average of 4.5 days per supervisor (2017: 3.6). Additionally, some employees took part in supported voluntary qualification studies.

Maintaining working capacity in focus

Terrafame’s industrial site has its own occupational healthcare service point with occupational nurses and a doctor. Compared to the previous year, the number of employee sick leaves decreased, accounting for an average of 4.3% of the theoretical regular working hours (2017: 5.5%).

The work tasks and working conditions at Terrafame impose requirements on working capacity and well-being at work, as well as on how to combat the related risks. The company has a wide range of occupational health services at its disposal, and risks relating to exposure and working capacity are monitored systematically. Early support and replacement work models were also actively applied during 2018. Workplace and ergonomic surveys were carried out regularly throughout the year in different task areas.

The company offers its employees vouchers for sports and cultural activities and subsidised meals through workplace lunch services. A staff summer party and Christmas party were also organised in 2018, and a record number of people attended both parties.

Rewards for production and safety

In 2018, Terrafame paid all employees a safety bonus for accident-free periods. In addition, employees were rewarded with a production bonus based on monthly goal setting. The remuneration system was supplemented by separate payments for initiatives and personal performance. The company also has a bonus scheme for management based on annual targets.

Organisational development continues

A personnel survey was carried out again in February, providing comparative information on the survey carried out two years earlier as well as guidelines for future development. All in all, Terrafame’s employee survey results were close to the national norm level. The overall results improved slightly compared to the previous survey. The PeoplePower® index describing the overall result increased to 65.1 (2016: 64.2).

The most important development step was seen in the commitment index for measuring job continuity, future prospects and employer image. Most clearly, strengths were connected to the company’s image as an employer and the work of line managers. In relative terms, the company’s recent developments, the brightness of future prospects, seeing the values and goals as something worth pursuing, and the high quality of products and services, were raised as the company’s best features.

The most obvious targets for development were found in the company's operational culture as well as in the areas of departmental communications and inclusion. In relative terms, the respondent’s views on unnecessary bureaucracy, the flow of information within departments, fair and equal treatment within the company, and the fairness of remuneration, were raised as the company’s main weaknesses.

Based on the results, approximately 70 measures were drawn up to be implemented at the corporate, departmental and shift levels. The implementation of these measures will be monitored on a regular basis.

Over the course of the year, small adjustments were made to organisational deployment, reporting relationships and departmental shift models within the organisation. The most significant organisational change concerned the metals production plant, where the tasks and responsibilities of employees were redefined for each process area. In conjunction with this change, a new salary model was created for different task areas.

The new human resources information system – Sympa HR – was deployed in late 2018. The system will improve the control of human resources data and processes and the data management and reporting activities. The system will also be used as a recruitment platform for open positions, apprenticeship training and summer jobs. Late 2018 also saw the deployment of an IT system for monitoring the access control, contracts and professional qualifications of partner companies and sub-contractors operating at the site, as well as safety at work.

Capturing talent started

The investment in the battery chemicals plant announced in late 2018 increases the need for skilled process workers. Competition for professionals has intensified in the Kainuu region and, on the other hand, people have not been aware of the versatile work and career opportunities offered by Terrafame. That is why the company wanted to start playing a more active role on the labour market and be more visible both as an employer and as a developer of process skills. This was the principle for launching a project to improve the company’s image as an employer and a recruiter in late 2018. The result was a talent capture campaign ‘Extracting talent’, with a company presentation and a website included.

Terrafame started to plan the apprenticeship training during the autumn season and the application period for attending the training opened in December. The aim is to train more than 100 new process experts in the following years in a two-year training programme leading to vocational qualification in a processing industry. Apprenticeship training helps offset employee turnover and meet future employment needs.

The most significant direct investment in developing the training offered in the region was the donation for funding a three-year senior lecturer position at Kajaani Polytechnic. The donation will enable offering specialisation studies in process technology in conjunction with the institution’s degree studies in engineering. The aim is to train engineers with more in-depth knowledge of processing industry and uptime. In terms of its scope, the three-year senior lecturer position funded by Terrafame is reportedly a unique donation in Finland.

We respect equality

In its human resources management, Terrafame complies with national rules and regulations as well as international conventions on human rights and labour markets. The company respects the freedom of association and abides by legally binding collective agreements. Employee participation and consultation have been organised in accordance with national rules and regulations.

Terrafame’s Equality Plan was bolstered in early 2018. The company promotes equal opportunities and equal employment and career development in the spirit of the Act on Equality between Women and Men and in compliance with Terrafame’s Equality Plan.

In 2018, Terrafame's number of employees increased slightly.

Terrafame’s personnel structure is balanced. The average age of employees is around 41 years.


More than half of the emloyees worked 12-hour shifts, with four days at work by six days off.