People management

The purpose of Wärtsilä’s People Strategy, as an integral part of group strategy, is to support the company businesses and to ensure the successful implementation of their strategies. This is achieved by developing the company’s organisation and competencies to meet both the current and future business needs.

The key focus areas of the strategy continue to be the further development of leadership and a leadership culture, as well as an emphasis on high performance and operational excellence throughout the organisation. Strengthening accountability and ownership is encouraged by promoting employee engagement through a culture of open communication, integrity, and innovation. Similarly, the strategy ensures that the businesses have the required resources, and skilled and motivated people at their disposal. This involves the implementation of changes within the organisation, a continuous focus on competence development and performance excellence, with quality in the setting of targets, proper and regular feedback, the evaluation of overall performance, and recognition of outstanding performance.

Wärtsilä Human Resources continues to develop people management processes, tools, and ways of working that are consistent across national and organisational boundaries. In particular, an intensive effort has been made to further develop managerial skills in people management by rolling out Management Focus, a modular training programme for line managers. In 2016, the performance management module and content was reviewed to provide even better support to the line managers in their daily leadership role. Wärtsilä Human Resources continuously invests in technologies and tools that enable quick access to online reports, employee information, and annual compensation planning for both local and multi-country teams.

Transforming company culture

Wärtsilä continued to work on diversity during 2016. 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 excitement. A diverse workforce generates higher profits, has better complex problem-solving skills, and enables access to a larger talent pool.

During the fourth quarter of 2016, Wärtsilä's digital strategy was introduced. It is a strategy designed to drive digital competence pervasively across the business, rather than to create a separate digital silo. This transformation is about reinventing our company into becoming "Wärtsilä as a service" – a digitally enabled, insight led, customer centric leader in the Marine and Energy sectors.

The first phase of the transformation initiative was kicked off in December by presenting the future Digital organisation. There will be multiple steps involved as progress is made towards the final digital vision. Through this transformation, Wärtsilä will change the ways of working, which will mean changes in the current setup as well. The significant digital transformation to be executed will require the acceptance of change, as well as working with different processes, solutions, and business lines.

Performance management

One of the essential elements of the Wärtsilä People Strategy is to embrace and develop a culture of high performance and performance excellence throughout the organisation. Coaching to achieve better performance through smart target setting and continuous, real-time, feedback is at the core of succeeding in these efforts.

The performance management process supports Wärtsilä in reaching its business targets by translating business strategies into team and individual objectives. Each Wärtsilä employee needs to know and understand Wärtsilä's business strategies and their goals. More importantly, everyone needs to know the main targets set for their own units, and the target areas related to their own work. More focus has been put on the quality and impact of the process by emphasising the importance of continuous feedback, expected behaviours, and opportunities for personal growth.

The positive trend in development discussion compliance has continued. The global coverage of the annual development discussions was 96.2%. As a part of the performance management process, 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 performance-based rewarding.

Learning and development

Wärtsilä continued its leadership development activities in many areas. New learning solutions for line managers have been developed to support them in their people management and leadership roles. The annual executive development programme (LLP) was held in November, and six other global leadership development programmes for senior managers were held during 2016.

A new learning solution - Growth Lab - for future leaders´ development was kicked off in August. Twenty-two Wärtsilä managers and leaders, with 10 to 15 years work experience, were nominated for this new action learning programme. Participants have been given three project assignments by the Board of Management. These projects are aimed at analysing and building possible future business opportunities. The Growth Lab programme will be closed during the first quarter of 2017 with the next programme, which will be based on the lessons learned and the feedback from the first implementation, set to begin later in 2017.

Wärtsilä’s HR organisation has developed an Operational Excellence Academy learning framework and an Operational Excellence learning portal with supporting materials for all those staff in the organisation involved in leading operational excellence. Close to 100 senior managers starting from the top management have participated in operational excellence learning modules during 2016, and more than 100 leaders will do so in 2017. The aim of the OE Academy is not only to learn, but to establish operational excellence as an integrated part of the company culture and way of working, and to ensure continuous efficiency improvement.

Learning on the job, self-learning, mentoring, coaching, job rotation, and assignments designed to encourage competence development and the transfer of competence and skills from experienced to younger employees, are integral parts of the development of learning and competence within the company. Employees are given formal classroom training at all organisational levels; from induction training for new employees, to training courses for the company's top executives. Wärtsilä employees attended a total of 54,999 training days during 2016; an average of 3.0 training days per employee.

In 2016, HR together with the Wärtsilä Land & Sea Academy, began preparations for upgrading the global learning management system. The new cloud version will be more user friendly and features the latest learning management system (LMS) capabilities, which are translated into an enhanced user experience. This supports the organisation's present and future needs in terms of virtual learning, collaboration, reporting, assessment, and finally mobility; enabling users to learn anywhere, anytime. The new LMS will be operational by the end of the second quarter of 2017.


At Wärtsilä, equal opportunities and opportunities for personal growth are core beliefs. The company supports its employees in self-improvement and in finding their own path within the company. Recruiting and retaining the best talent enables Wärtsilä to be the most valued business partner of its customers, and the employer of choice for current and future employees.

MyVoice is a global Wärtsilä employee satisfaction survey. The purpose of the survey is to collect employee feedback on issues related to well-being at work, the work environment, management and strategy, and to initiate development actions for improving practices

The ninth MyVoice survey took place during September – October 2016, and the results were published in November. The overall participation rate was 79.4%, which was at the same level as in 2015. On the group level, the biggest improvements were seen in the areas of Customer Focus and Values. Among the overall observations from the 2016 results, Wärtsilä values are well known, and pride in working at Wärtsilä remained high on the response chart. However, a small decline was noted in the Engagement index, especially in those units where restructuring measures have been taken. The results also indicated a continued increase in appreciation of the equal opportunities and diversity awareness at Wärtsilä. Among the challenges indicated in the survey were remunerations, as well as the amount and quality of communication with managers.


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