FOCUS AREA #1
Innovative and Developing People
Bittium´s operations are based on a deep trust in people and technology. Bittium employees build better connections between people as well as between people and machines. Innovative people are the company´s most valuable resource, with the well-being of employees being the foundation of its success. At Bittium, we invest in the development of competence, supervisory skills, and employer image. Every day, we strive to act in accordance with our values trust, courage, and innovation.
The most important resources of Bittium´s business are highly competent people, a diverse work community free of discrimination, and ensuring employee well-being and competence. Bittium provides its employees with challenging and motivating jobs and is committed to supporting their development and investing in their well-being. Strengthening the employer image plays an important role, as there is fierce competition over the best talent in the industry.
In terms of employees, the key measures in 2022 included the shift to a hybrid work model and the Bittium Leader trainings. During the year, Bittium also wanted to increase the sense of community among its employees and help the employees´ children better understand what Bittium does and what types of professions there are. In the BitStock´22 summer party, employees were again able to enjoy spending time together after the COVID-19 pandemic years. At Oulu office Bittium participated once again in the Take Your Child to Work day, which was a success. About 60 children of various ages were able to try product testing and familiarize themselves with the basics of coding or the operation of a robot.
Objectives and Sustainable Development 2022
In the Innovative and developing people focus area, Bittium´s major objectives are monitored with the help of annual measures and key performance indicators. The new sustainability program specified four important aspects and objectives that are relevant to the focus area instead of the three that were monitored previously. Going forward, Bittium measures its development with regard to the following objectives: the employee commitment index, maintenance of employee competence and ensuring special competence, strong employer image and diversity, inclusivity, equality and equal treatment.
Employee Well-being and Engagement
In its new sustainability program, Bittium set 3.7 (scale 15) as the target for the employee commitment index, and this target was reached. The 20232025 target figure for the employee commitment index is 4. Overall, the Bittium Employee Survey (BES) scores indicate a positive vibe. The organization change that was implemented during the year resulted in rearrangements in teams, and many employees were assigned a new manager as a result of the reorganization. Despite these changes, supervisory work was given a high score (4.16) in the employee survey, even though it declined a little compared to the previous year. Remote work has increased the employees´ expectations regarding high-quality managerial work and leadership. Of the employees, 77 percent responded to the employee survey (2021: 73%).
The hybrid work model was adopted as the recommendations for remote work ended in the beginning of 2022. The model was created already earlier in close cooperation with the staff by involving the employees, and in the fall, the practices were refined with a recommendation on common office days for the teams. In practice, the employees work at the office two days a week, with teams themselves deciding on which days work takes place at the office. Due to the nature of the work, some employees cannot work remotely at all. This includes people working in production and laboratories as well as employees whose job requires working in security-classified areas.
Personnel Development and Training
Bittium´s objective is to maintain the competence of its employees and ensure special competence. Bittium´s position as a pioneer of the technology requires that the personnel actively maintain and develop their own expertise, both in terms of basic skills and the related common ways of doing things, as well as the latest technologies, tools, legislation and other regulations of the rapidly changing operating environment, and that they have a vision of the trends in the development of technology and the operating environment. In the development of skills, the goal is continuous development and learning while working.
The Bittium Leader training, which was started in 2021, continued during 2022 as planned, with two new groups starting the training program promoting coaching. The participants include managers, project managers and team leaders. A total of 110 Bittium employees participated in the training.
Online trainings are an important part of the maintenance of the group´s common basic skills, and online trainings targeted at all employees are available in relation to processes, methods of operation, systems and tools, among other things.
The company also deployed the Pluralsight learning platform, where employees can participate, for example, in high-quality mini webinars. In the development of skills, current themes are, for example, topics related to information security, quality systems, programming languages, working in a cloud environment, and embedded systems.
In 2022, the average number of training days was 5.1 per employee. This includes both internal and external training as well as orientation training and independent study. Internal training may also involve on-the-job learning and the sharing of expertise, and external training may involve independent study. A total 80% of personnel have participated in training in 2022.
Bittium as an Employer
Early in 2022, Bittium carried out a survey on its external employer image, with approximately 300 respondents. The results indicate that Bittium is seen as a reliable Finnish company, which is known especially for its cooperation with the defense forces. Awareness of the company´s health care technology business has improved, and the company is seen as a competent specialist company in this sector. Awareness, which is still poor in some respects, is recognized as a challenge, which is why the company will continue its long-term communication work related to the employer image especially outside the Oulu economic area. The company updated recruiting materials and renewed the visual look.
Bittium canvasses the satisfaction of new employees regarding the orientation training and company image before and after the start of work through surveys. This year, the image score before start of employment was 7.6, but the image improved to 8.1 after employment started. The score accurately reflects the fact that employees find the work community and workplace atmosphere to be good.
Diversity, Inclusivity, Equality and Equal Treatment
Bittium wants to provide its employees with equal working conditions regardless of backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, age, and other factors. In addition, Bittium maintains and promotes an interactive and participative working culture.
All employees and job applicants are treated equally regardless of their gender, age, ethnic background, political views, or other background factors. Bittium´s equality plan is based on the Finnish Non-discrimination Act and the Act on Equality Between Men and Women. An update to the equality plan is planned for 2023. The actual situation concerning equality at work is assessed in employee surveys from the perspectives of pay, career development and recruitment. The implementation of the equality survey planned for 2022 was shifted to 2023.
At Bittium, non-discrimination means equal treatment and ensuring a working culture that is free of discrimination. The company respects its employees´ right to organize and it has zero tolerance of discrimination or harassment in any form. No discrimination cases emerged in 2022.
The principles concerning the diversity of Bittium´s Board of Directors are defined in the Corporate Governance Statement.
Bittium also wants to present the technology industry as an attractive option for women, who are still under-represented in this field, and to non-binary persons. This is advanced by the measures taken during the year, such as active cooperation with schools and student organizations. An example of cooperation with schools during this year is the Shaking up tech event, where Bittium´s female employees talked to young people in general upper secondary education about their work as a product developer, test engineer or UI/UX designer. The participation in the event supported Bittium´s objective to stay in the minds of young people as an interesting employer and to increase awareness of the diverse nature of the technology industry.
Managerial Work and Performance Reviews
With the transfer to remote work, monthly sessions for managers, Leadership coffee breaks, were started at Bittium. These sessions have been continued as one method to support managerial work. In these sessions, the HR and managers have the opportunity to discuss topical issues, which supports the maintenance of Bittium´s interactive corporate culture.
In accordance with the performance review model, the employee and manager have an informal quarterly discussion (Quarter Chat). A key objective of the switch to more frequent, regular discussions has been to take into consideration individuality, support well-being at work and build trust in the relationships between managers and employees. The employees can also agree to have separate longer conversations, especially with regard to a long-term competence development plan. This actual performance review is held at a time that effectively supports competence development.
Well-being and Occupational Safety
At Bittium, the majority of work involves R&D and product (software) development. Therefore, the most significant disability risks include musculoskeletal diseases, coping at work and mental well-being. Project-based work is prevalent, and the schedules and workload may vary greatly depending on the situation. The need for occupational health care services at Bittium was higher than normal in the first six months of the year. There were fewer short sick leaves, whereas the number of longer sick leaves was somewhat higher. The number of sickness absences followed the general trend and reached a level higher than before the pandemic.
The model for early support was explained to both employees and managers as part of the Bittium Leader training. The model is considered to involve the entire work community, and it helps increase openness. From the perspective of work-related stress, it is important that one is allowed and able to talk about coping, as this enables a change towards a healthier corporate culture. Coping, the role of the work community in well-being at work and psychological safety are some examples of the discussion topics for the HR coffee breaks during the year. There were a total of ten sessions, and they were met with huge interest from the employees: an average of 200 Bittium employees participated in each event.
Based on the workplace surveys carried out by the Occupational Health Service, Bittium is a good, healthy company. Matters to be discussed in the report include e.g. occupational safety and occupational well-being. Based on the results, attention was paid to, among other things, work ergonomics, especially in remote work, and the rules of the game for working in an open office.
Employee well-being is supported by occupational health care services, which are more extensive than required by law, as well as by other employee benefits. The occupational health care services also include a digital clinic and the opportunities for remote consultations. Employees also have access to the services of an occupational physiotherapist and the Cuckoo Workout application. Bittium supports its employees´ community spirit and activities also outside working hours in the form of various clubs, physical exercise and activities.
All Bittium offices have appropriate safety plans in place. Some of the employees perform duties in which it is of particular importance to ensure electrical safety. The risks associated with manufacturing and manual work are a relatively small concern. The Close Call reporting channel in Bittium´s intranet enables employees to report potential safety and ‘close call´ concerns. No such concerns were reported in 2022.
Bittium´s HR management and OHS function analyze occupational accidents at regular intervals and whenever particular risks emerge. In 2022, a total of 5 occupational
accident reports were submitted in Bittium´s companies in Finland, from which 3 were classified as a work accident. None of these accidents led to disability to work.
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals by the UN
The measures related to the occupational well-being and promotion of the work ability of Bittium´s employees, safety and equality plans, and the offered employee benefits promote sustainable development goal no. 8 (decent work and economic growth). The company´s investments in R&D activities and the competence development of its employees promote sustainable development goal no. 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).