A high-performing organization is one of the key elements in SSAB's strategy and an essential enabler for achieving the company’s ambitious strategic targets. An operating model built on decentralized responsibilities and entrepreneurship are fundamental to the success of SSAB.
There are three main priorities toward achieving a high-performing organization:
- Improve safety with the focus to be the safest steel company in the world
- Enhance productivity by continuous improvements
- Strengthen the performance culture
Enhance productivity by continuous improvements
SSAB One – our shared management philosophy
SSAB One is our common management philosophy. It encompasses SSAB’s vision, values and principles, which together give a direction and framework for the company. The word ‘’management’’ does not mean the philosophy is exclusive to managers; SSAB One is relevant to each and every SSAB employee. Only when all employees understand our management philosophy can we successfully involve everyone in SSAB’s development efforts. SSAB One provides us with a common framework and language across different parts of our company.
SSAB One serves as a common denominator for our improvement structure at SSAB. We will succeed by ensuring we have an understanding of SSAB One and the company’s vision as our common purpose, living the values as standards for our convictions and behavior, and using our principles as the rationale to achieve our fundamental goals.
SSAB One has two objectives:
- Improve our flows based on customer demand
- Involve and engage all employees in continuous improvement
- Normal state: We can only improve if we have defined and visualized our “normal state” in terms of safety, quality and efficiency. By recognizing our normal state, we can easily recognize deviations and act upon them
- Right from me: Each of us ensures that we get things right the first time round. Errors are prevented from progressing in the production flow. We have a systematic way of dealing with deviations and errors and learning from them
- Learn and improve: Development is part of everyone’s daily work. Managers coach their teams and give all employees the opportunity to contribute with their knowledge and commitment
- Customer demand driven: We understand our customers’ needs and focus on improving all the activities that create value for customers
Strengthen the performance culture
Talent and competence sourcing
The whole industry is challenged to attract and retain skilled employees and strong leaders. SSAB works systematically to identify and meet demand for critical competencies .The following activities are just some of the things we do to attract and retain core talent:
- Host individual performance dialogs with every employee, as well as annual dialogs with leaders of our businesses
- Identify critical sources of competence, such as schools and universities
- Work with other industries in areas where we have overlap in our recruitment demands
- Provide development opportunities for employees at all levels of the organization
- Conduct annual succession planning
Engaging SSAB employees for performance toward goals
Aligning individual performance with SSAB’s strategic direction is a central element in being a high-performing organization. Employee engagement, clearly defined objectives and performance expectations, as well as feedback, are key enablers to effectively achieve results.
SSAB strives for broad awareness of our annual business strategy from all employees. By ensuring all employees understand our strategy, we can ensure that each team and each employee is aligning their efforts toward the same unified goals. SSAB’s management philosophy, SSAB One, provides the framework for continuous improvement and performance excellence. Structured performance dialogs between employees and their manager are used to define objectives, follow up on results, provide mutual feedback, discuss the workplace safety and atmosphere, and to plan future performance and individual development.
SSAB continuously reviews and aligns reward structures to ensure performance management processes are effectively supported. Our employee and manager criteria are important elements to exemplify good performance. Matching potential candidates with development opportunities at different levels in the organization is important for developing a high-performing organization.
Diversity promotes performance
Our success depends heavily on the competence and engagement of our employees. SSAB operates globally, and has approximately 15,000 employees from diverse demographic backgrounds in more than 50 countries. Leveraging this diversity is a prerequisite to providing a superior customer experience. SSAB strives for an inclusive leadership and corporate culture, meaning that employees feel a sense of belonging and have equal opportunities to contribute and succeed.
The steel industry is traditionally male-dominated, and SSAB is no exception. SSAB believes that improving gender balance will positively contribute to the performance and safety culture and make SSAB more responsive to customer needs. SSAB has a long-term goal of increasing the presence of female employees across the company. Women in top management positions serve as important role models for others, which drives further development. In 2015, SSAB launched a diversity target aiming to have women in 30% of the top management positions in the company by the end of 2019.
SSAB has a number of initiatives and tools to raise awareness and further promote diversity and inclusion in the company. Here are a few examples of additional efforts to support this process:
- Developing a high-level in-house mentoring program, where SSAB´s Group Executive Committee members serve as mentors for female mentees. The program was successfully initiated in 2016. The mentoring program is a mutual learning experience for both mentors and mentees, through challenging each other, exchanging experiences, broadening perspectives and building networks across the organization
- Actively promote diversity when recruiting to management and specialist positions, as well as our strategic development programs, such as the Technical Development program and Business Development program
- Conduct an employee survey every second year
- Collaborate with other companies and authorities. As an example, in several locations across Sweden, SSAB partners with local municipalities to create internships for people with diverse backgrounds, including those from outside of the country. This provides participants an opportunity to gain experience in the labor market in Sweden and to build on their Swedish language skills, at the same time as giving SSAB an opportunity to find new competence needed
- Participate in external strategic initiatives such as Female Leader Engineer (Sweden), Women in Tech (Finland) and Association of Women in the Metal Industries (Americas)
Strengthen leadership capabilities and employee engagement
A strong leadership pipeline is not only a requirement for a high-performing organization, but also a strategic choice for SSAB. Leaders are instrumental in delivering results, establishing an inclusive culture and managing change. SSAB works to ensure that internal leadership talents are identified and systematically developed. Leadership development is aligned with SSAB One, our management philosophy.
SSAB conducts employee engagement surveys to give employees an opportunity to voice their views on topics related to their workplace. The surveys help analyze the drivers of employee engagement and capture improvement opportunities which contribute to leadership, high performance and engagement. The survey results are utilized at all organizational levels, starting with the Group Executive Committee and all the way down to individual teams. Each manager is responsible for improvement planning, executing and following up with his or her team based on the results of the survey. SSAB has developed a toolbox to support managers in communicating the results and developing action plans.