Responsibility for employees creates the foundation for a winning team

Responsibility for employees is one of the cornerstones of social responsibility. In Alma Media, the focal points in human resources in 2010 were ability to renewals and development of equality and non-discrimination plans.

Alma Media employs a total of approximately 2,800 people in nearly 50 locations in Finland and six other European countries. Human resources management in the company is the responsibility of the Human Resources (HR) chain, headed by Vice President, Human Resources of Alma Media Corporation. The objective of the HR management function is to make the company the most attractive employer for talents. In 2010, the focal points in HR development were renewal, developing and diversifying rewards and incentives and leadership and management.

Responsibility for employees is based on a number of policies and principles, such as the equality and non-discrimination principle, training policy and incentive policy. The key principles in responsibility for employees will also be documented in Alma Media’s Code of Conduct, which will be published in 2011.

Based on the most recent employee survey, conducted at the end of 2009, the work atmosphere at Alma Media has continued to improve and the Group is now among the top 15% of all Finnish companies in this respect. During the spring of 2010, Group’s business units reviewed the survey results and created concrete operating plans based on the results. The next survey will be carried out in late 2011.

Training complements on-the-job learning

Alma Media offers its employees a wide range of opportunities for renewal and professional growth. The Group uses the 70-20-10 model for competence development, under which 70% of all learning takes place on the job, for example through new projects and job rotation.

According to the model, 20% of learning takes place through other people, for example in the form of development discussions. Annually, approximately 80% of Alma Media’s employees have a performance discussion. In late 2010, the company adopted a development and renewal tool known as KehU, which will further improve the practices related to performance discussions and is expected to result in an increase in the number of performance discussions conducted. The tool helps to ensure that all of Alma Media’s people have a performance discussion and that the matters agreed upon are documented in a consistent manner, which is also helpful if the employee’s supervisor changes. KehU will also improve transparency and openness in goal setting.

Active learning, including training, constitutes the remaining 10% of competence development. In 2010, Alma Media’s employees participated in a total of 1,740 internal training days. In addition to open training days organised by the company, employees complement their professional development by other types of training.

One of the focal points in the trainings organised in 2010 was management by coaching. Coaching programmes have been developed for management, supervisors and experts. Another area of emphasis in training was fighting bullying. A total of 12 workshops were organised on the subject, with some 300 Alma Media employees participating. The goal of the workshops was to familiarise employees with Alma Media’s project against bullying, which started in 2009, and to disseminate information on how to prevent workplace bullying.

Improved equality in compensation

Equality and equal opportunities are at the core of Alma Media’s corporate responsibility. Based on the equality audit carried out in summer 2009, there are no significant problems in the company related to equality and non-discrimination. Nevertheless, the planning of equality matters was highlighted as an area of development for the company.

Work on revising and improving equality plans and related equality training began in all of Alma Media’s business units in 2010. While the contents of the plans are based on unit-specific needs, they particularly concern issues raised in the equality audit, such as the justification of salary differences, the principles governing temporary employment contracts and the division of tasks based on gender. In addition to gender equality, the plans also cover non-discrimination based on age, religion, conviction and sexual orientation.

Alma Media’s equality plans include practical and detailed objectives, actions, schedules, responsible persons and metrics such as the equality index, which is measured once every two years. The equality index based on the most recent employee survey in late 2009 stood at 66.1 (compared to 63.9 in the previous survey).

The differences in compensation between genders at Alma Media reflect the average pay structure in Finland. As one of the measures to promote equality, the company-specific portion of the salary increase in spring 2010 was allocated in a manner that promoted gender equality in pay. In 2010, gender equality in pay at Alma Media improved by several percentage points in nearly all employee categories compared to the previous year.

Alma Media employs roughly an equal number of men and women. Offering women equal opportunities to advance to supervisory and managerial positions has been selected as one of the areas of development in the company’s equality planning. In 2010, the proportion of women among supervisors and senior management increased from the previous year.

In December 2010, 62% (68%) of all those in managerial positions were men and 38% (32%) women. At present, senior management includes 30% (29%) women, the Group Executive Team 11% (11%) and the Board of Directors of the parent company 14% (14%). This structure is typical both in media companies and in other industries.

Versatile compensation

The Group’s principle is to reward its employees for improving operations and the financial result. The basic salary is determined by the employee’s job content and the competitive situation in the employment market. Other aspects of the total compensation are defined in accordance with reward schemes drawn up on the basis of Alma Media’s strategic objectives. All employees whose employment contract with Alma Media has lasted for more than six months are included in the incentive scheme.

In addition to salary, compensation at Alma Media comprises flexibility with regard to the employee’s life circumstances and a number of personnel benefits at the Group and business unit levels. Full-time, temporary and part-time employees are entitled to the same benefits.

Diversity’s growing significance

The significance of employee diversity is increasing in the aging and internationalising society. At Alma Media, this trend is reflected in, among other things, distribution operations, as a significant proportion of Alma Media’s newspaper delivery personnel are of non-Finnish origin. For instance, in Pirkanmaa they represent a 14% share of delivery personnel.

Diversity is also reflected in different age groups being well represented. Supporting well-being at work and providing opportunities for flexible working arrangements such as remote and part-time work can help match work with different life stages. Alma Media is adopting the average retirement age as a new metric for monitoring coping with work, employee diversity and corporate responsibility. In 2010, the average retirement age was 63 years.

Pending lawsuit on discrimination at work

Alma Media does not discriminate against anyone in any circumstances. In March 2010, the Court of Appeal of Helsinki ordered Alma Media to pay damages to the appellant based on unfounded termination of a director contract in the amount of approximately EUR 80,000. The Supreme Court did not grant Alma Media a leave to appeal, thus the decision of the Court of Appeal remains unchanged. Alma Media contests this ruling. In relation to the same case, the President and CEO Kai Telanne has been sued for occupational discrimination. The case will come before the Helsinki District Court in 2011.

Occupational safety highlighted in printing and distribution

The majority of occupational accidents and accidents during work-related travel at Alma Media each year occur in printing and distribution operations due to the nature of their work. The majority of accidents happen in distribution operations; cases of slipping and falling, for instance, occur every winter. Occupational accidents in printing operations have been minimised with the help of training and specific operating policies. In distribution operations, measures such as the appropriate selection of materials for newspaper stacks have helped reduce the number of accidents. 

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