Annual Report 2018
Sustainability at Bittium in 2018
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Innovative and Developing People

Healthy and innovative professionals are key to our success. Ensuring the well-being and ability to work of our employees, developing professional skills and recruiting future professionals are our key focus areas.

At the end of 2018, Bittium had 674 employees in Finland, the United States, Mexico, the UK, Singapore and Germany. 99 percent of our employees are based in Finland. Most of the personnel work as R&D engineers.

Company Culture and Innovation

Since its foundation, Bittium has been strongly based on its values, which are part of our everyday work and culture. Our corporate culture is defined by low organisation, low hierarchy, flexibility and transparency. Bittium´s employees share a passion for technology and learning.

We believe in a culture of participation, discussion and debate, which leaves space for continuous development. This way, we can also lay the foundations of innovation, which is one of our values.

Supported by our encouraging and diverse corporate culture, operating methods and facility solutions, innovation is, to a large degree, an integral part of our operations. Ultimately, our innovative approach is reflected on our R&D and work with customers. As an example, Bittium has developed the world´s first mobile phone that uses both terrestrial and satellite networks.

Employee Survey and Experience

The prerequisites of innovation are motivated and happy employees, encouraging management and a sense of community. The annual Bittium Employee Survey (BES) is an important tool for developing well-being at work and job satisfaction and to reinforce the employee experience. The survey responses are discussed at all levels of the organisation, from the Board of Directors and Management Group to the individual teams.

67 percent of our employees took part in the employee survey completed at the end of 2018. Compared to the previous year the result was approximately at the same level, following several years of improvement. Our strengths, as revealed by the survey, include supervisory work, which showed improvement from the previous years measured by several indicators, as well as our open and respectful community spirit. On the other hand, the areas of development identified in the survey include competence development as well as the rush and situational changes evident in projects.

Competence development is one of the focus areas chosen for 2019. In addition, we continue developing our organization and way of working by using the principles of self-directing, agility and coaching leadership.

Competence Development and Development Discussions

We revised our development discussion model back in 2016. According to the new model, subordinates and supervisors have an informal quarterly chat (Quarter Chat). In addition to this, the employees have the option to agree to have a separate longer conversation, especially with regard to a long-term competence development plan. This actual development discussion is held when it is topical from the aspect of competence development.

A key objective of the switch to more frequent, regular discussions has been to take into consideration individuality and build trust in the relationships between supervisors and subordinates.

Coaching leadership is an important tool that promotes the development of individual skills. During 2019, we will be organising training sessions focused on improving the supervising and coaching skills of supervisors. The six-part coaching programme extensively covers the different areas of supervisor work, such as improving the employer image in recruitment, early-stage support, the management of different teams and individuals as well as self-management. The training is implemented in cooperation with the employee pension insurance company Varma.

In recent years, Bittium has focused its competence development measures on the development of flexible and efficient operating models, for example, software life-cycle processes and on the enhanced utilisation of open-source methods. Furthermore, Bittium takes an active part in the development of new technology skills, for example, in the areas of 5G, wireless communications technologies, machine learning and AI. 

Various methods that enable learning are included in our daily operations, such as learning on the job, internal and external courses, the sharing of expertise and individual studying alongside work. In 2018, the average number of training days was 3.3 per employee. That figure comprises both internal and external training, including orientation and independent studies.


Well-Being and Occupational Safety

The vast majority of work at a high-tech expert organisation is R&D, software development in particular, which means that the risks associated with manufacture and manual work are a relatively small concern. Hence, in our field, the most typical risks to an employee´s ability to work include musculoskeletal diseases, coping at work and mental well-being. Project-based work is prevalent at Bittium, and the schedules and workload may vary greatly depending on the situation.

Our employees´ well-being is widely supported by occupational healthcare services and other employee benefits. In the design of our facilities, we have placed a great emphasis on good ergonomics and a good working environment that encourages direct interaction and mutual innovation.

The Bittium OHS Committee holds regular meetings, and it has representatives from each of our offices in Finland. The operations are geared towards preserving the occupational health and ability to work of our employees and improving the quality of their working life.

All Bittium offices have appropriate safety plans in place. Some of our employees perform duties in which it is of particular importance to ensure electrical safety. The ‘Close Call´ reporting channel on our intranet enables our employees to report potential safety and ‘Close Call´ concerns.

Bittium´s HR management and OHS function analyse occupational accidents at regular intervals and always in relation to any special risks that may occur. In 2018, there were ten incidents of occupational accidents at Bittium´s companies in Finland, the majority of which happened on the way to or from work. Only two of the incidents took place in the work place. None of the accidents resulted in incapacity to work.

Human Rights, Equality and Diversity

We treat all of our employees and applicants equally regardless of their gender, age, ethnic background, political views or other similar background. Our equality plan is based on the Finnish Act on Equality Between Men and Women. We assess the implementation of equality at work from the point of view of employee surveys and studies, salaries, career development and recruitment.

From the aspect of managing and developing diversity, it is important to take into account different backgrounds and skills and to put them to good use. Participatory and coaching supervisor work plays an important role in this.

The principles regarding the diversity of the Board of Directors are defined in the Corporate Governance Statement.

The countries where Bittium´s employees mainly work have advanced human rights laws. At Bittium, the monitoring of the implementation of human rights is mainly linked to the operations of subcontractors and suppliers, and Bittium has issued framework agreements and Supplier Requirements guidelines that serve as guidance in human rights questions. Bittium´s main partners are assessed through self-assessments and audits in accordance with the annual plan. In 2018, no violations or significant deficiencies related to the use of child labour, forced labour, inappropriate disciplinary action, physical punishment or health-related discriminatory practices were observed in Bittium´s or its subcontractors´ operations.

Enhancing Employer Image

The competition for top talent in the technology sector is fierce, and Bittium is involved in the competition. Bittium´s strengths as an employer include versatile tasks and development opportunities, working with different technologies, products and projects.

The meaningfulness of work is highlighted equally among our current and prospective employees, and we pay special attention to this by trying to be better at taking into consideration individual expectations and experiences regarding the factors that give work meaning.

In the future, we will concentrate even more on enhancing our image as an employer, improving the application experience and clarifying our employer promise to land the best people.

Active Interaction

In addition to the development discussion and employee surveys, our internal interaction channels include conversational orientations and team meeting, events for the whole staff as well as our social intranet. We place a particular emphasis on our mutual staff events. We support our employees´ community spirit and activities also outside working hours in the form of various clubs, physical exercise, activities, etc.

We engage in active collaboration with educational institutions. We are keen to showcase the fascinating opportunities that our sector provides for young people as early as possible. Collaboration with schools is an important recruitment channel for future professionals. Visits to the company offer a good way for young people to get a concrete idea of the content and nature of the work. In 2018, we took part for the first time in the "Bring your kids to work" event. Our employees´ children visited us in the morning to see where their parents work and explore things like our exciting test labs.