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People management


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Wärtsilä’s People Strategy, as an integral part of group strategy, supports the company’s businesses and the successful implementation of their ambitions. This is achieved by developing the company’s organisation, competencies and way of working to meet both current and future business needs.

The key focus areas of the strategy are the further development of leadership skills 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. At the same time, the strategic actions are aimed at ensuring that the businesses have the required resources and skilled and motivated people at their disposal. This involves the readiness to make changes within the organisation, a continuous focus on competence development and performance excellence, emphasising quality in the setting of targets, proper and regular feedback, the evaluation of overall performance, and recognition of outstanding performance.


Wärtsilä Human Resources works 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 promote the skills needed in people management. In 2018, the focus of the performance management process continued to be on improving the feedback process within the organisation and supporting line managers in their daily leadership role. Wärtsilä Human Resources 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

Together with the company’s digital transformation initiatives, Wärtsilä promotes new ways of working and a company culture that is defined for a changing world. Wärtsilä's purpose is driving all our activities, and 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 an exciting work environment. A diverse workforce generates innovation, higher profits, has better complex problem-solving skills, and enables access to a larger talent pool.

Performance management

One of the essential elements of Wärtsilä’s People Strategy is to embrace and develop a culture of performance excellence throughout the organisation. Coaching to achieve better performance through smart target setting, together with continuous and real-time feedback, is central to this aim.

The well-executed 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. Greater attention has been given to the quality and impact of the process by emphasising the importance of continuous feedback, clarifying expected behaviours, and creating opportunities for both professional and personal growth.

Good coverage of the annual development discussions has continued globally, with 96.1% being achieved in 2018. 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 Talent development

In 2018, 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 four other global leadership development programmes for senior managers were held during the year.

The first implementation of the Growth Lab programme, which focuses on future leaders’ development, was kicked off in August 2016, with the third running of the programme being started in August 2018. Twenty Wärtsilä managers and future leaders, with 7 to 15 years’ work experience, were selected for this action learning programme based on applications. The 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 third Growth Lab programme will end at the end of April 2019.

Wärtsilä’s HR organisation has developed the Operational Excellence Academy learning framework, and an Operational Excellence learning portal with supporting materials for all those staff members in the organisation involved in leading operational excellence. Close to 2,000 Wärtsilä managers and employees have participated in the programme during 2016, 2017 and 2018. The aim of the OE Academy is not only to learn, but to establish operational excellence as an integral 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 sharing of competence and skills by experienced employees with their younger colleagues, are integral parts of the development of knowledge 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 41,258 training days during 2018; an average of 2.2 training days per employee.


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

In autumn 2017, it was decided that Wärtsilä will invest in a new recruitment system and, more importantly, in the development of recruitment and onboarding processes. The system was launched in August of 2018. Through this change Wärtsilä endeavours to attract new talent, improve the candidates’ experience, and promote Wärtsilä’s employer brand.

MyVoice is the Wärtsilä employee engagement survey, where all Wärtsilä employees are invited to give their feedback on topics related to leadership, culture, development and work.

A MyVoice Survey has been conducted globally since 2004 at approximately two year intervals. During the years, MyVoice has been proven to be an important means for developing our way of working and strengthening our work culture.

In 2018, the survey was updated to better meet our current needs. The renewed survey is shorter and gives more attention to engagement and motivation. It is completely online and available on mobile devices. The survey will be conducted globally once a year in the future, instead of every two years. The new MyVoice survey is available in 17 languages and was conducted in January 2019.


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