The Yammer conversation platform was widely implemented among employees in 2014. The platform improves internal company communication and participation across the Group. By implementing the Yammer application, Alma Media wants to enable and activate internal dialogue, facilitate internal collaboration across organisational boundaries, promote ideas and innovation and create a stronger, uniform corporate culture and identity.
In 2014, the new office premises in Helsinki and the new printing facility in Tampere further improved the working conditions and employee well-being for those working on these premises. The Töölönlahti office building, which brings Helsinki-based Alma Media employees together under one roof, has particularly facilitated collaboration, the sharing of expertise and networking between units. The employee co-operation networks established in 2013 continued to be active; they included the Young Alma Medians network for the young and young at heart, and a software developers’ network.
An employee survey, which is done every two years, was conducted in 2013. The respodents of the survey felt that managerial work, in particular, has improved from previous surveys. In addition to managerial work, the survey respondents appreciated the improved operating methods and greater flexibility. The responses from Alma Media employees based in Helsinki also highlighted the improvements in the working environment brought about by the new office premises. The most significant areas of improvement revealed by the survey were related to the transformation of the media sector. Respondents felt that their work is more stressful than before, and the future of the industry is perceived as uncertain. This was also reflected in ambiguity regarding common targets and objectives.
Based on the results of the employee survey, improvement of the digital competence of Alma Media employees was identified as an important area of focus across the organisation. The results of the survey were reviewed team by team in spring 2014, led by their respective managers, and these discussions were used to prepare concrete development plans with measurable targets and designated responsible persons. The next comprehensive employee survey will be conducted in autumn 2015.
Digital coaching, organisational restructuring, international acquisitions and recruitment for digital business operations brought new competence to Alma Media and improved the Group’s capacity for sharing know-how. Both the proportion of employees working on digital services and the share of employees stationed outside Finland continued to increase in 2014, due to, for example, Alma Career expanding its business into new countries, namely Poland and Hungary.
In 2014, the company employed an average of 1,830 professionals, excluding deliverers. Of them approximately one quarter worked outside Finland.
Diverse competence development
The digititalization of the media field creates a need for new compentence. Employee competence is developed through coaching and new, dynamic organisational models. Collaboration across organisational boundaries is seen as a starting point for operations. In 2014, training activities focused on digital competence, change management and enhancement of managerial performance.
Alma Regional Media that publishes all of Alma Media’s regional, local and city newspapers started a new project called Etukeno for the development of digitality. Employees play a central role in this development project, as they are challenged to take part in the planning of digital business. The needs of active media consumers are the basis for the development of renewed business models, operating culture and expertise. This development project of Alma Regional Media will run for several years, and it has received funding from the Liideri programme of Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.
Digital competence has also expanded through specific training courses, recruitment of new employees by, amongst others, the Alma Diverso unit and international acquisitions of companies in the field of digital recruitment services. The shared premises and the Yammer conversation platform that enables the internal engagement of employees provide a natural setting for bringing different skills together and enabling effective teamwork.
The Alma Flow programme was continued through 2014. Alma Flow is a managerial work development programme with the objective of supporting employee commitment and motivation through management by coaching. In 2014, the programme focused on means and methods for the promotion of employee well-being, the early intervention model and themes related to employees’ own time management at the workplace, which are also related to employee well-being. In addition, the Alma Flow programme increased mentoring of managers and provided other development tools to support managerial work. In 2015, the Alma Flow programme will be further developed to respond to new challenges in the industry.
In total, Alma Media organised approximately 1,300 training days for its employees in 2014. This included internal and external training and coaching. In addition to open training days organised by the company, employees complemented their professional development through training provided by external partners. This training is included in the reported figure for total training days. In 2015, the development of digitality and projects, such as Alma Regional Media’s Etukeno project, will increase the annual investment in coaching. This enables the employees to develop in the centre of digital change.
Promotion of equality and non-discrimination
Alma Media's unit-specific equality plans include practical and detailed objectives, actions, schedules, responsible persons and metrics. Equality plans are part of human resource and training planning, and they are updated annually.
Although the differences in salaries between men and women at Alma Media have been in line with the average Finnish pay structure, improving gender equality in pay has been highlighted as an important area of monitoring and development for the Group. This development has been successful in almost all employee groups, partly by allocating company-specific portions of salary increases in a manner that promotes gender equality in pay.
In 2014, due to the general economic situation, company-specific portions could not be allocated, however. Thus, equality in pay could not be promoted in this way. In 2015, close attention will be paid to the development of equality in pay, and Alma Media will strive to improve it further.
In 2014 the share of women of all managers and the Group's management team was in par with the numbers from the previous year. At the end of December in 2014, 55 per cent of those working in supervisor positions were men and 45 per cent women. Women comprised 39 per of the senior management and 22 per cent of the Group's executive team. In the Board of Directors, 13 per cent of the members were women.
In January 2015, Alma Media signed the Diversity Undertaking and has made a commitment to draft an action plan for the development of diversity at Alma Media. Alma Media is committed to providing equal opportunities for employees, identifying and using individual skills and needs and managing its employees and customers in a fair manner.
Increasing multiculturalism at Alma Media
The diversity of employees is an asset for Alma Media when it is building the future of media. The significance of employee diversity has increased in the ageing and increasingly international society. At Alma Media, distribution operations in particular offer employment opportunities for qualified candidates who have moved to Finland from abroad. Immigrants represent slightly over 17 per cent of all distribution employees; in the Pirkanmaa region this figure is as high as approximately 26 per cent. The Group’s printing and distribution unit Alma Manu focused on the challenges and opportunities presented by employee diversity in 2014: taking multiculturalism into account was specified as one of the objectives of the action plan for 2015.
Alma Media has adopted the average retirement age as a metric for monitoring employee well-being and diversity as well as social responsibility. In 2014, the average retirement age was 63 years, unchanged from the previous year (2013: 63).
As in the previous year, diversity also increased in 2014 due to international acquisitions. Alma Career Oy, which manages Alma Media’s digital recruitment services, continued to expand its business to Poland and Hungary through a collaboration with Monster Worldwide 2014. While increasing internationality will present new management challenges in the coming years, it will also provide significant opportunities in the form of diverse expertise, new working practices and fresh perspectives.
New business premises boost occupational health
Alma Media employees in Helsinki moved under one roof at the turn of the year 2012–2013 as the Group’s new office building was completed in Töölönlahti. Employees were involved in the design of the new building from the start. In addition to participating in unit-specific working groups, employees had the opportunity to influence their new working environment through an idea team, the Helmi system for employee suggestions and initiatives, pilot projects and voting on various issues. The shared office building has contributed to progress on a variety of matters that are central to the development of corporate responsibility and operations, such as the sharing of know-how, employee well-being and collaboration across organisational boundaries.
Alma Media paid particular attention to occupational health in the design of the new office building in Töölönlahti. The many health-related aspects of the working environment that were taken into consideration include indoor air quality, ergonomic workstations and lighting. Employees are encouraged to stay physically active by means such as providing loan bicycles and supporting leisure-time physical exercise. The menu of the office building’s cafeteria promotes healthy eating. Occupational health was also a prominent element at other Alma Media offices during the year.
A total of 131 occupational accidents were reported in 2014 (2013: 117). On the other hand, the number of days absent due to occupational accidents dropped to half in 2014, totalling 670 days (2013: 1,301 days). The majority of occupational accidents and accidents during work-related travel at Alma Media occur in distribution operations, as they are affected by weather conditions. The occupational safety of delivery personnel has been highlighted as a key area of focus in distribution operations. It was specified as a particular target in the unit’s action plan for 2014. The objective of providing a foundation for continuous improvement of occupational safety was achieved in 2014.
Responsibility and occupational safety issues, such as appropriate clothing, anti-slip solutions and safe walking, continued to be integral aspects of the training provided for delivery personnel. The structure of Alma Manu’s occupational safety and health organisation was modernised in 2014. The focus is now on the identification of hazardous situations and operational prevention of accidents by improving the analysis of accidents and hazardous situations. Occupational safety and employee well-being were given a great deal of consideration in the design of Alma Media’s new printing facility in Tampere, which began operations in 2013. The aim is to minimise accidents during printing and distribution.