Employees in an attractive workplace
Södra aims to be an attractive employer with motivated employees that create value for members and customers. The Group’s long-term and coordinated human resources efforts received good grading during the year from employees and students.
Employee-related issues have high priority and are aligned within Södra by a management group for human resources including the director of human resources and the human resources manager for each business. The committee shares experiences and information to help develop joint work methods and improve cooperation. Human resources issues such as recruitment, competence development and termination are to be handled consistently throughout Södra.
Attract new employees
In order to reach and attract new employees, the Company participates in exhibitions, work market days and similar activities. Programmes involving Chalmers University of Technology and Lund University of Technology, and forestry educations are prioritised.
As a result, students consider Södra an attractive potential employer. Södra maintained its position as the most attractive forest industry company in the year’s surveys of students at the Chalmers University of Technology and Lund University of Technology. Södra improved its position on the Swedish corporate barometer that reflects the company that technology students would most like to work for.
Since 2003 Södra has run trainee programmes to help develop future leaders and specialists. Eleven young academics, seven women and four men, were employed in the programme that started early in the year. Recruitment to the next programme is in autumn 2010.
New employees are constantly being recruited as retirements increase and the workforce becomes more mobile. A new employee must have competency for the specific role. In its human resources policy, Södra defines competency as knowledge, motivation and ability. It emphasises the employee’s responsibility for skills and involvement in developing the company.
An objective is to fill a large number of management positions through internal recruitments, in order to help retain skilled employees and make Södra a more attractive employer. Södra actively identifies and develops employees with strong leadership skills, and the corporate productivity department acts as a management and talent school for future leaders. Recruitment of trainees is another example of the process of attracting and developing future leaders to the company.
Corporate introduction for new employees
Södra runs regular introduction programmes for all new employees. During the year 257 employees took part in one of the seven one-day sessions that were held and were able to meet corporate management and colleagues from other parts of the Group. Since its inception in 2006, 23 introduction days have been held with more than 800 employees.
Competence and leadership
Södra wants to be a learning organisation that is constantly improving and developing. Each year substantial resources are allocated to develop employee skills. Leadership is emphasised, and Södra provides training for various needs.
Programmes to development of good leadership are available to managers at different levels. Selected candidates are offered a two-year Executive MBA education at the Stockholm School of Economics, or participation in Ruter Dam, a one-year network and mentor programme for women in leading management positions.
More female managers
Women are generally underrepresented in the forest industry and Södra is no exception. Currently 18 per cent of the Group’s employees are women and the goal is to increase this amount. Of the Group senior management team, 35 per cent are women and 15 per cent of all managers are female. Södra is working to increase the number of female managers and create a diversified environment.
Lift in employee survey
The employee survey during the year showed improved results throughout the Group. The survey measures aspects such as employee motivation, responsibility and control in the job, cooperation, learning and organisational efficiency.
Clear improvements could be seen in comparison with the 2007 survey. The “Voice Index” increased from 627 to 705 and the leadership index also improved. The improvement is explained by the follow-up and measures undertaken in each unit since the previous survey. This follow-up is also a key part of making Södra an attractive employer.
Health and safety
Södra is to provide a safe and stimulating work environment. Absence due to illness continued to decline in Sweden. Industrial accidents also declined, but the industrial injury frequency of 13 continues to exceed the Group’s long-term goal of 10. To achieve the goal, an action programme has been established to reduce risk factors including learning from reported near-accidents.
Södra supports local clubs in the locations where it operates, as well as associations that are active in areas such as preventing drug abuse and bullying. Södra representatives also visit schools to inform about the company’s operations, either personally or as part of forest industry initiatives. Södra also offers work experience positions to young people and provides thesis opportunities.
Objectives for 2010
A human resources strategy and operating plan is to be developed for the Group in 2010. It will specify activities and objectives in areas such as competency supply, leadership and organisation. The result is to be monitored via key indicators and employee surveys.
The process of reducing workplace injuries continues with 10 as the target frequency.
Södra aims to maintain its attractiveness amongst students at the Chalmers and Lund universities of technology and become the most attractive forest industry company on the Swedish corporate barometer.