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High-performing organization

A high-performing organization is one of the key elements in SSAB’s strategy and an essential enabler for achieving the company’s ambitious strategy targets.

SSAB and Rautaruukki merged in 2014. Since then, the organization has changed shape and been simplified so that SSAB is better equipped to meet market demand. At the end of 2016, the headcount had decreased by over 2,500 compared to the time of the merger. 

A high-performing organization provides a structure that helps to align actions, behavior and skills with strategic direction and the competences needed by the business.
There are four 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
  • Develop leadership and employee engagement


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. Use of the word ‘’management,’’ does not mean the philosophy is exclusive to managers, but that it is relevant to each and every SSAB employee. Only when all of our employees have a good understanding of our management philosophy can we successfully involve everyone in SSAB’s development efforts. SSAB One provides us with a common framework and language between the 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 the normal state. This makes it easy for everyone to see how safety, quality and efficiency reflect how we work. Any deviations can easily be recognized and immediately acted upon
  • 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 customer needs and focus on improving all the activities that create customer value

Strengthen the performance culture

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. Clarity concerning objectives and performance expectations, as well as feedback, are key enablers to effectively manage our change journey and to achieve results. In annual performance dialogs, all employees and managers follow up on results, provide mutual feedback, discuss the workplace atmosphere and 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.

Employee engagement

SSAB conducts employee engagement surveys to give employees an equal opportunity to voice their views on a number of important topics.

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Employee engagement

SSAB conducts employee engagement surveys to give employees an opportunity to voice their views on topics related to their working situation. 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. During 2016, we utilized the survey results to improve the annual performance process. Many production teams have improved how they discuss and manage intra-team conflict based on their own results and continually challenge the way we work. Each manager is responsible for improvement planning, executing and following up with his or her team based on the results of the survey. The results are published in the GRI report.



Diversity provides opportunities

SSAB is a knowledge company; our success depends heavily on the competence of our employees.

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Leveraging the potential of diversity

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. However, working with diversity in terms of having a diverse workforce will not automatically improve our employee engagement or financial performance. 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 with 19% of our employees being women, SSAB is no exception. We believe that improving gender balance will positively contribute to our performance culture and be more responsive to customer needs.  In order to increase the number of women in top management, SSAB launched a diversity target in 2015, aiming to have women in 30% of the top management positions in the company by the end of 2019. 

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. To further accelerate this process, in 2016, we initiated a high-level in-house mentoring program, which proved successful and will be re-launched during 2017. The process is a mutual learning experience for both mentors and mentees, through challenging each other, exchanging experiences, broadening perspectives and building networks across the organization. 

SSAB has a number of initiatives and tools to raise awareness and promote diversity and inclusion in the company:

  • Internal workshops and sessions focusing on diversity and inclusion with high-level managers
  • Global management planning 
  • Global employee survey
  • Consortium programs for management and leadership development
  • Networks and internal mentoring programs  
  • Our management philosophy, SSAB One, an one important tool for how we can incorporate and work with inclusion in our everyday work
  • Collaboration with other companies and authorities: In several locations across Sweden, SSAB partners with local municipalities to create internships for people with diverse backgrounds, including those from outside the country. This provides participants an opportunity to be part of a workplace, learn another language and learn about the labor market in Sweden
  • To ensure that the various initiatives in this area are carried out as planned, SSAB has appointed a coordinator for the diversity work at Group level 
Read more about our work within diversity and SSAB as an employer

A global process for management planning

A strong managerial pipeline is not only a requirement for a high-performing organization, but also a strategic choice for SSAB.

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The company applies a global process for management planning and annual review to ensure we retain a firm grip on and understanding of our leadership capability.

SSAB works to ensure that internal leadership talents are identified and systematically developed. The objective is to have suitable internal candidates for managerial positions. In the process, all SSAB managers are assessed against the company’s manager criteria, and succession plans are established. The results of management planning are used actively in divisions and at the Group level throughout the year for targeted activities involving competence development, appointments, and as support in organizational development.