Good working conditions – thriving personnel

In August 2016. S Group hired its first well-being at work director, serving the entire Group. The new hire Sanna-Mari Myllynen aims to make work for S Group employees smooth and meaningful.

"The key to improving well-being at work is being proactive. Changes in the business operations almost always impact how people act and, therefore, their well-being at work," Myllynen says.

Another essential factor is involving employees.

"It is important to listen to what ideas employees have concerning developing their work and making it smoother. For example, how should we design stores so that moving around and working in them would be convenient?"

According to Sanna-Mari Myllynen, absences due to illness are all too often the measuring stick for well-being. In her opinion, the discussion focus should shift from damage control to applying a proactive approach and developing work.

Therefore, one of the great challenges currently concerning well-being at work involves the deregulated store hours.

"Working in two or three shifts this extensively is unprecedented in retail. It is a particularly important matter in terms of well-being at work. Influencing the working ability of young people is also very important. Young people think nothing can happen to them, and it may be challenging to have them take care of their working ability in physical tasks, maybe even in shift work."

Sanna-Mari Myllynen considers young people as an important target group for developing well-being at work in S Group. That is why S Group will launch the ‘Nuori mieli työssä' (‘Young minds at work') programme this year, with a focus on young employees' expectations concerning working life and their workplace skills.

"Approximately a quarter of all S Group employees are under 25 years of age. We are the largest employer in Finland providing first jobs for young people, and this, in a way, bestows on us the responsibility to educate them on workplace skills. It is important for young people's entire work careers that their first experience of working life is positive. Supervisors play the most important role in making this happen," Myllynen emphasises.

Photo: Anssi Vuohelainen