Workforce: Attract, hire and promote a diverse workforce for the future
A preferred employer
The success of our organization is based on a strong company culture, powered by a diverse, continuously learning, multi-skilled workforce. To ensure both the current and future success of SSAB, we need to be able to attract, retain, develop and motivate qualified employees both in the short-term and long-term.
We target our employer branding and recruitment efforts at diverse groups of potential candidates with relevant competences. Collaboration with selected educational institutions is via long-term partnerships. We also work together with companies in the same geographical and competency areas to increase the attractiveness of the industry, especially in Sweden, Finland and the US. Joint efforts within the metal industry include projects such as Female Leader Engineer (Sweden), Tekniksprånget (Sweden), Women in Tech (Finland) and the Association of Women in the Metal Industries (USA). These initiatives also contribute to diversity within the industry. In 2020, 777 (1,050) new employees joined SSAB. Employee turnover in 2020 was 6.2 % (6.1%).
Diversity, inclusion and gender equality
SSAB is diverse in many ways: we operate in more than 50 countries and the combination of different backgrounds, service years and ages ensures diverse capabilities. For SSAB, diversity means not only building a diverse workforce with a relevant competence base, but also creating an inclusive workplace. Inclusion, meaning equal opportunities and respectful treatment of all employees, is a ground rule for every part of SSAB’s organization.
Diversity is taken into account in all human resources processes and in every aspect of our business. We have zero tolerance for any kind of discrimination, whether it is based on ethnic origin, nationality, religion, political views, gender, sexual orientation or age. SSAB is taking numerous actions to enhance diversity, with most initiatives driven at the local level. For example, in recruitment, some divisions have developed processes related to ensuring diverse sets of candidates. Some sites have chosen to work with specific diversity projects, such as a 50-50 gender ratio among summer workers, or working with the local institutions to provide internships for immigrants.
SSAB is aiming to increase the number of women in top management positions. At the end of 2020, women held 29% (27%) of SSAB’s top management positions. There was a positive trend in the total managerial population, where women accounted for 19.3% (18.7%) of all managers.
Changes in the organization in 2020
At the end of 2020, SSAB had 13,974 (14,514) permanent employees, which was 540 employees less than in 2019. The 2020 number includes 433 employees in Abraservices, which was acquired in the end of 2019, and was not included in the 2019 numbers. In addition, the divestment of Ruukki Building Systems decreased the number of employees by 520 compared to 2019. Temporary personnel accounted for about 3.8% (3.3%) of all employees.
Since March 2020, Covid-19 has had significant impacts on our operations. Starting at the beginning of April, the company used different working time cuts and personnel cost adjustment measures, also utilizing the government support package where possible. In situations involving workforce reductions, SSAB collaborates with the authorities in the countries concerned and utilizes the means available locally to support employability.
Workplace: Develop an inclusive and innovative workplace
SSAB ONE and continuous improvement
SSAB ONE is our internal approach to continuous improvement, based on lean methodology. During the strategy deployment process, we define targets and cascade them from the top of the organization down to teams and individuals across the company. Over the past year, the top priorities for all divisions have been to improve both safety and production stability. In addition, improvement projects are identified at all sites with the aim to improve quality, delivery performance and cost efficiency. Cross-functional teamwork that includes employees from different levels of the company is key to successfully discovering and solving the root causes of our challenges. We will continue to work this way as we move ahead, creating opportunities for cross-learning and sharing best practices.
Employee engagement and competence development
During 2020, SSAB moved ahead with implementing The SSAB Way concept, a corporate culture framework with the purpose of bringing our vision, values and strategy together, and clarifying how they all connect to strengthen our common culture. Implementation aims to further strengthen engagement and our company culture. Employer Branding activities, recruitment, leadership development, employee performance management and talent selection processes were updated along the lines of The SSAB Way. We also continued to gather feedback from our employees in the form of lighter follow-up engagement surveys, which were adjusted to measure also the Covid-19 implications for our employees.
High-level competence and engaged employees are necessities for success. During the coronavirus pandemic, we made some targeted efforts in competence development to complement the ongoing competency updates. For example in Sweden and in Finland, 874 employees participated in online language courses and we implemented safety training programs at some at production sites before Covid-19 precautions had to be applied. Safety training will continue in 2021.
SSAB continued to work systematically to identify and meet the demands for critical competences and to implement competence development programs at different organizational levels. Our programs also support talent retention and include the following:
- Technical specialist and business development programs
- Middle manager training focusing on change management, team leadership and financial understanding
- In-house mentoring programs
- Management programs for new line managers
- Competency program for Fossil-Free Steel 2045
In addition to globally coordinated programs, our sites are responsible for organizing programs to improve professional competencies and to ensure mandatory training is completed.
SSAB maintains a group talent pool for future leaders, which includes candidates from all parts of the organization. Talent pool candidates are offered personal competence development plans, including leadership training, coaching, mentoring and on-the-job learning. The talent pool is based on nominations by division and functional leaders.
Annual performance dialogs are the key process for ensuring that competence development plans are in place, setting performance goals, providing a basis for continuous performance feedback and for cascading the group level strategic targets down to divisional, team and individual targets. For office workers, the annual rate of performance dialogs conducted in 2020 was 94% (95%).
To support engagement and talent retention, the company has a pay-for-performance compensation approach, which means that compensation is to a certain extend based on job requirements and employee performance. The different compensation and benefits programs are reviewed as needed.
Community: Be a responsible partner and enhance our reputation as a company and employer
In locations where SSAB operates, the company plays a significant role in the local and regional community as an employer, taxpayer, buyer of regional goods and services, and charitable benefactor. Contributing to the communities in which we operate is an integral part of the way we do business.
Active engagement in local communities
SSAB strives to develop and maintain good relationships with various stakeholders in our society and actively engages with the communities in which we operate. Local community engagement is deﬁned by each site at the local level. SSAB is also an important partner for local educational institutions and research. We offer opportunities for internships and thesis projects to college students. SSAB also works with local environmental regulators on site-speciﬁc issues. In addition to ongoing collaboration with local authorities, SSAB works together with cities and associations to monitor environmental conditions such as air quality and waterways. Every year, SSAB hosts important visitors from the community, such as students, customers, subcontractors, government officials, inspectors and regulators.
Supporting local activities in Sweden and Finland
In the communities in which SSAB operates in Sweden and Finland, we contribute to creating a wide range of recreational activities in which SSAB’s employees, their families and also the local community can participate. Examples include sponsorships of local sports organizations and exchange of knowledge with schools. SSAB also supports associations in which employees are involved, primarily within sports and culture.
Strong community involvement in SSAB Americas
SSAB Americas has a long tradition of community involvement. This takes place not only in the form of ﬁnancial contributions, but also through participation in various charity initiatives and projects. SSAB is an important partner for local educational institutions and research. SSAB Americas sponsors an annual scholarship at the University of South Alabama, which beneﬁts full-time junior and senior students in the University’s College of Engineering. SSAB Americas also supports primary education through the SSAB Foundation for Education. Employees also participate in numerous activities throughout the year to beneﬁt their communities, including food drives, fundraising events and volunteer opportunities.