The new organization has meant exciting challenges for many employees and new roles have been developed. However, the year also was marked with serious accidents.
Higher targets for safety
SSAB has long been engaged in systematic work to increase safety and health. In 2010, the bar was raised still further: SSAB shall be one of the leading steel companies in the world within health and safety. The two steel mills in Mobile and Montpelier demonstrate very good results as regards safety and, according to independent observers, are among the leading steel mills in the US within the area of health and safety. High priority is accorded to the work on achieving equally good results in the Swedish operations.
As part of its strategic action plan extended through 2015, SSAB has established a long-term target to reduce occupational injuries by five percent per year. To support attainment of the goal, SSAB has introduced a ‘zero tolerance’ program designed to develop a safety culture, emphasizing a safe working environment and adherence to established safety rules and practices. Risks will be regularly identified and eliminated with the ultimate goal being to perform all work elements safely. Employees also receive regular training on safe work procedures. SSAB has also made it clear that a personal commitment from all employees is necessary in order to achieve a lower rate of accidents and to sustain this for the long term. The requirement – that all employees perform their work safely at all times Z– has been clarified over the course of the year.
All employees shall have an annual performance and planning interview with their immediate manager. One of the main objectives for 2015 is more than 90 percent of employees should have completed annual performance and planning interviews. In 2010, slightly more than 80 percent of the employees took part in such interviews with their immediate manager. The percentage of performance and planning interviews carried out constitutes an important key ratio for SSAB’s work in becoming a high performance organization.
Safety certification in SSAB Americas
2010 proved to be a busy, but productive year in safety for the Americas. The Mobile and Montpelier facilities were challenged late in 2009 to register and certify their Safety Management System to the OHSAS 18001 standard. As a result of team effort and working on an accelerated schedule, both facilities received certification to the standard in December of 2010. The newly adopted Safety Management System is laying the foundation essential for continuous improvement in the safety effort. For 2011, the safety group has set their target on certifying the Houston, St. Paul and Toronto cut-to-length facilities to the 18001 standard.
SSAB Americas’ steel mills finished in the top rankings of the safest steel mills in North America by the Steel Manufacturers Association. The association represents 85 percent of the total steel production in North America. The Mobile facility took top honors with the lowest Recordable Injury Frequency Rate among other members represented by the organization.
Active management planning and internal mobility were important factors in the implementation of the organizational change that occurred in 2010. Because of this new organization, work conditions improved for synergy and cooperation.
By stimulating internal mobility, greater areas of contact were created within the organization, contributing to improved cooperation and exchange of knowledge.
Specialist careers within SSAB
SSAB is a knowledge-based company in which technical specialist expertise within areas connected to SSAB’s strategic business is critical in order to continuing to being a competitive organization.
As part of its skills supply work, SSAB identified key skills and clarified the opportunities for specialist careers within the Group last year. There are three specialist role levels intended to help secure and develop key expertise within areas related to SSAB’s strategic business development. The role as a specialist includes contributing knowledge to the organization and developing one’s own expertise.
In 2010, 27 employees were appointed as specialists within EMEA.
Regular work on strengthening the organization
Employees are crucial for the company’s continued success and SSAB’s has targets for strengthening its brand as an employer. As part of these targets, SSAB’s employees will be motivated, capable of developing in their work, and perform work in a safe environment. Several of the most important aspects of the strategic personnel work are presented in detail below.
Internal mobility contributes to development
The overarching aim of SSAB’s human resources strategy is to continue to develop the organization and strengthen its high-performance culture. The employees’ willingness to develop and mutual learning are key elements for SSAB as a knowledge-based company.
SSAB encourages internal mobility and skills development. The objective is to have an individual development plan for each employee, to carry out annual performance and planning interviews between managers and employees, as well as use a common CV database when filling internal vacancies.
Good management is crucial
First and foremost, SSAB strives to recruit internal candidates for managerial positions within the Group, intending to have three internal candidates per each managerial position. As part of the new structure, staffing of the organization by business area involves a high degree of internal staffing.
Thanks to deliberate work to address generational changes and exchanges of skills, most management groups are characterized by a sound balance between ages, skills and cultural backgrounds.
As a basis for the work, SSAB’s global manager supply process, consisting of six common manager criteria, is applied. A good manager within SSAB will create results, serve as an example, carry through improvements, give others the opportunity to develop, generate energy and be aware of his/her own strengths and weaknesses. These criteria are to be applied when identifying, appointing, developing and evaluating SSAB’s managers.
Diversity and equality
Diversity strengthens the company’s ability to develop and achieve success. For that reason, SSAB has advanced its position on diversity with an updated policy. Equality of opportunity is clearly a major part of the diversity concept.
SSAB’s diversity and equality work begins with the Group Executive Committee, where there is a large diversity of ages and backgrounds. Of the Group Executive Committee’s nine members, two are women and several of the members were born outside Sweden. This demonstrates to the rest of the organization SSAB’s level of commitment and, together with increased internal mobility, the long term contributions of increased diversity at all levels of the organization.
SSAB operates in a traditionally male-dominated industry, particularly in regard to production workers. In 2010, the percentage of women in the Group increased marginally, totaling 19 (18) percent. The percentage of female managers in the Group also has increased to 18 (16 percent), meaning that the gap between the percentage of female managers and the percentage of female employees is closing. Additionally, closing the gender gap aligns with the goal to achieve correlation between the percentages.
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A safe workplace is the highest priority
Providing a workplace that is free from recognized hazards and health risks is fundamental to being an attractive employer. In addition, every employee must work in a safe manner. This is assisted through the development of sound, comprehensive safety management systems. According to independent U.S. surveys, the North American operations of SSAB are among the leaders in industry based on their safety performance. Swedish operations have focused on safety throughout the year and a number of measures have been carried out.
SSAB units exchange experiences among one another, emphasizing process, precision as well as other efficiency standards and best practices. This system is executed through the SSAB One production system, which is based on the Six Sigma program.
In order to achieve a common, more systematically structured approach to continuous improvements within the working environmental area, all Swedish production plants require certification in accordance with the OHSAS 18001 standard. Operations in Luleå are already certified in accordance with the standard, which involves a third party reviewing and certifying safety practices, as well as the systematic working environment. Borlänge and Oxelösund also are pursuing implementation of this systematic approach, intending to achieve certification in 2012. The operations in Mobile and Montpelier were certified in 2010.
Active preventive healthcare
SSAB has made a major commitment to help its employees improve their health and a number of preventive healthcare projects are currently underway. During 2010, sick leave within the Swedish portion of the Group declined to 2.8 (3.4) percent. Sick leave in Sweden declined to 3.3 (4.3) percent for blue collar workers and to 1.6 (1.8) percent for white collar staff.
|Number of employees at year-end||2010||2009||Change, %|