I want to develop the skills and wellbeing of my staff

A capable and prosperous work community is a prerequisite for organisational success. Learn how to improve the skills and wellbeing of your work community.

The expertise of personnel affects the functioning and success of an organisation. Developing the knowledge and skills of your employees will benefit the entire work community and you as an employer.

There are many ways to broaden the competence of your employees. As an employer, you can offer your employees various courses or training and coaching sessions. You can also support employees' own studies. Job rotation also offers an opportunity to develop the expertise of your staff. It means that the employee is transferred to work on other tasks within the organisation for a fixed period. In addition to learning new tasks, the employee's knowledge of the organisation's activities is expanded.

For your organization to succeed, it is essential that you encourage your employees to learn new things. Encouraging your employees to have discussions together and share their experiences improves their sense of belonging there and they can learn from each other as well. As an employer, you can create an atmosphere that encourages everyone to learn new things.

Joint purchase training

You can get help with improving your staff’s expertise from the TE Services. Joint purchase training enables you to train your current or new employees in cooperation with TE Services. TE Services provide help in organising training, and as an employer, you participate in funding the training and student admissions. New or current entrepreneurs as well as temporary agency workers working in the company can also participate in the training.

Read more about joint purchase training on the ELY Centre’s website.

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Finnish and Swedish at the workplace

Workplace Finnish Training and Workplace Swedish Training are training programmes aimed at promoting the ability of staff with a foreign background to cope with their everyday tasks in either Finnish or Swedish. The trainings will be tailored to the needs of your organisation and the trainees, and they can be implemented in the form of TäsmäKoulutus (Targeted Training), RekryKoulutus (Recruitment Training) and MuutosKoulutus (Change Training).

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The responsibility for work wellbeing is shared between everyone in the workplace. Having healthy, capable and motivated personnel is also very beneficial for the employer.

Are people feeling well in your work community? The values and operating environment of the organisation and its management affect the wellbeing of the work community and individual employees.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to take care of occupational safety. To ensure employee wellbeing at your workplace, anticipate potential problems, set clear goals, and build trust. Also make sure that management works, and that you treat employees equally. When you manage them fairly, openly, and with encouragement, you improve the wellbeing of your work community, and your employees can succeed better in their work.

What can you do as an employer?

  • Be flexible whenever possible.   
  • Make clear agreements with your employees on objectives and roles.  
  • Provide your employees opportunities for developing their expertise, and encourage them to learn new things.
  • Make sure that your work community follows the instructions and that it is easy and safe for your employees to report faults and deficiencies.
  • Treat each of your employees equally.

You can ask the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for advice and instructions on matters related to health, safety, and terms of employment in the workplace. In addition to this, you must notify occupational health and safety of certain dangerous jobs, confirmed occupational diseases and serious work accidents.

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Maintaining work ability at the workplace

Taking care of your employees' working ability is a prerequisite for ensuring wellbeing in your work community. There are different methods and practices for maintaining working ability. As an employer, you also have an obligation to take assigned measures.

If you notice that your employee's work ability has deteriorated or the sick leave limit (more than 90 days) is exceeded, it is your responsibility to raise the issue and discuss it with your employee.

Sairauspoissaolokäytännöt työkyvyn tukena (ttl.fi, in Finnish)⁠

You can have an early support conversation with your employee to find solutions to support their work ability. It is a good idea to continue discussing the situation in the occupational health discussions, which will be carried out together with occupational health care. If you notice reductions in work performance that you cannot fix by your own means at the workplace, you can guide your employee not only to the occupational health discussions but also to an assessment of their ability to work.

As an employer, you are obliged to provide at least preventive occupational health care services for each employee in an employment or public service relationship. You can purchase these services from a public or private service provider or arrange them yourself. It is also recommended that you get occupational health care when you are an entrepreneur, even if it is not compulsory.

Occupational health care works in cooperation with your organisation to promote the health and work ability of your employees at all stages of their careers. Support for work ability is based on the practices agreed upon in your work community. The practices agreed between management, HR management, employees and occupational health care services are recorded in the workplace's work ability support model.

Työkyvyn tuki (ttl.fi, in Finnish)⁠

If your employee's illness or disability prevents them from working, you can make adjustments at your workplace. Adjustments refer to changes at work in which the job description is modified to better correspond to and support your employee's expertise and work ability.

Ways of adapting work for the employer

If your new or current employee has a disability or illness and coping with work tasks requires, for example, the purchase of tools or changes made at the workplace, you can apply for a subsidy for arranging working conditions from the TE Office or the local government employment pilot.

Subsidy for arranging working conditions

Rehabilitation may help your employee when the disability or illness complicates their work or coping at different stages of life.

From working life to family leave and back

‘From working life to family leave and back – family leave guide for employers’ contains information that you can use as an employer to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family in your work community and to promote the wellbeing of the entire work community.

The guide summarizes the key issues regarding family leave, the law regarding which was renewed on August 1, 2022. It tells you what you should consider before the employee's family leave, during it, and when the employee returns to work from the leave.

Do you have a job on offer that requires rare or otherwise special skills?

When you are looking for special skills for your organisation, finding the right employee can be difficult. Take your time to think about what kind of skills are necessary for success at work and what skills you can be flexible about if necessary. Make a job posting carefully to ensure the best possible recruitment. Be prepared to not find a suitable employee in an instant. Instead of ready-made expertise, you can emphasise a readiness to learn and acquire new skills in the recruitment.

The following tips may be useful when recruiting people with special skills:

  • Keep the list of requirements at an appropriate length. Too long a list can drive away good applicants. In a large group of candidates, you are most likely to find a skilled and committed employee.
  • Ensure that the recruitment process is a smooth and pleasant experience for the candidates. A lengthy process can deter good applicants. Currently, in some sectors, there is a labour shortage, which has made the recruitment process speedier in general.
  • Also see the potential in younger job seekers. You may find an employee among them who is willing to develop their professional skills.

You can search for a specialist in a particular field when you log in to Job Market Finland. You can create a job posting or browse the profiles published by job seekers by using different search criteria.

If you cannot find a suitable employee, you can, for example, train a specialist to meet the needs of your organisation, commission work from an entrepreneur, or look for a suitable person abroad.

Conflicts may arise in the work community. As an employer, you must identify the challenges in the work community and try to solve problems.

Your employees will certainly have different views on how to do their work. If different opinions cannot be discussed in the work community, disagreements may arise. Listen to and consider your employees' thoughts to help you improve your organization's performance. Try to make your work community a place where everyone can have a natural and constructive discussion.

Conflicts may also be based on discrimination or other inappropriateness. Create an atmosphere in the work community so that your employees can easily report bullying at the workplace, for example. As an employer, you must intervene in discrimination or bullying.

  • Encourage your employees to be open and tell you if they encounter discrimination, bullying, or violence at the workplace.
  • When resolving conflicts, listen to all parties.
  • Try to find a solution that is acceptable to everyone together with your work community.
  • Find out where the conflict arose. Consider what changes you can make to prevent the problem from recurring.
  • Together with your work community, establish an operating model for conflict situations, if one does not already exist.

The Centre for Occupational Safety offers comprehensive guidelines for dealing with conflicts in a work community. You should familiarise yourself with them so that you know how to act in difficult situations.

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If your employee’s illness or disability prevents them from working, you can make adjustments at the workplace. Adjustments refer to changes at work in which your employee’s job description is modified to better correspond to and support their expertise and work ability.

If you notice that your employee’s work ability has deteriorated or the amount of their sickness absence exceeds the sickness absence limit (more than 90 days), it is your responsibility to raise the matter with your employee. Your employee may also raise the matter if they cannot perform their current tasks in the same way as before.

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Early support discussions, occupational health discussions and assessment of work ability

You can have an early support conversation with your employee to find solutions to support their work ability. It is a good idea to continue discussing the situation in the occupational health discussions carried out as part of occupational health care.

The Occupational Health Discussion – Solutions for Work learning programme at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has sections for employees, supervisors and occupational health care providers which provide support for conducting occupational health discussions. Please also refer to the Occupational Health Discussion Guide of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, which contains instructions for preparing for an occupational health discussion, information on livelihoods, and examples of work adaptation.

In addition to occupational health discussions, you can refer your employee for an assessment of work ability if they experience difficulties in their work performance that you cannot resolve by your own means at the workplace. This involves assessing their ability to perform their current tasks, the development of their functional and work abilities, and their capacity to function in working life. Your occupational health physician is often the best expert for assessing work ability, as they have information about the conditions in the workplace.

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Plan the adjustments

Agree with your employee on the necessary job changes and adjustments. You should also make a written agreement on them. In addition, agree when the situation will be re-evaluated together with the employee and occupational health care provider.

When you agree on working time arrangements with your employee, they gain flexibility for their daily work.

You can agree on flexible working hours with your employees as long as the arrangement complies with the Working Hours Act and your sectoral collective agreement. Your employees are therefore able to decide, within certain limits, on the start and end times of their workday.

Your employees can also work part-time. Possible alternatives include part-time pension, partial disability pension, discretionary part-time work and part-time parental leave as part of family leave.

Remote work is work that your employee does either at home or in another agreed location outside the actual workplace. Remote work can be either full-time or part-time. In the latter case, the employee works part of the week remotely and part of the week as normal at the workplace. Your employee can also work remotely on a one-off basis for a separately agreed period of time.

Adjusting work tasks and work processes to fit an employee’s work ability gives them more capacity to work better at different stages of life.

You can reorganise your employees’ work tasks within the workplace or adjust their working hours and forms of work. You can together make either temporary or permanent changes to the division of labour. Seek to agree on the changes together with the entire work community.

You can also use tools such as work analysis to customise the work tasks.

Job rotation, on the other hand, involves moving your employee to other activities or units at the workplace for a fixed period of time, after which they return to their previous assignment. The aim of job rotation may be to increase an employee’s well-being at work or to boost their motivation.

You can use the Ratko method to format and organise work. The method allows you to reorganise tasks in your work community. You’ll break down the work tasks of everyone involved. From the tasks that fall outside your employees’ core competence and ones they are used to performing alongside their own core tasks, you’ll create a completely new set of tasks. You can formulate this new set of tasks in a way that for example matches the work ability of an employee with partial work ability.

You can use the Ratko method for new hires and existing employees. You can also get expert help in implementing the method.

Sopivat tehtävät (esteetonrekrytointi.fi, in Finnish)⁠

The target working environment is one which values equality and approachability and which feels comfortable for all your employees.

If an employee’s functional ability is impaired due to injury or illness, they can be supported with assistive devices, for example. Introducing the use of such devices is a personalised part of the rehabilitation or treatment process. Primary health care can provide your employee with the most common aids that support mobility, daily activities and sensory functions. A number of actors are involved in arranging the use of these aids, however, and each of these has different responsibilities.

If your employee is unable to cope with certain activities due to injury or illness, they may need personal help. It is the responsibility of the municipality to arrange such assistance, but this process also takes into account the employee’s own opinions, wishes, life situation and particular need for assistance.

If your employee needs interpretation due to hearing loss or a sight or speech disability and they live in Finland and have access to some method of communication, they can use Kela’s interpreter service for the disabled.

You as an employer must develop working conditions and ways of working that promote equality. If you regularly employ at least 30 people, you must have a plan of measures for promoting equality. You must address the promotion measures and their effectiveness with your staff or their representatives.

If a new or current employee of yours has a disability or illness and coping with work tasks requires, for example, purchasing tools or making changes at the workplace, you can apply for a subsidy for arranging working conditions from the TE Office or the local government pilot.

Subsidy for arranging working conditions

As an employer, you are tasked with supporting your diverse work community and different employees.

There is diversity in every work community, so treat your staff equally. Make diversity an asset and a competitive advantage for your organisation. Fair and equal treatment affects your employees' motivation and well-being at work.

Remember equality in all situations. You must treat everyone equally when you recruit, provide orientation, distribute tasks, and promote or terminate employees.

Ensure that your employees treat each other with respect as well. If conflicts arise, intervene as early as possible. Discuss equality and possible discrimination with your work community. Make sure that your entire work community is aware of the prohibited grounds for discrimination under the Equality Act and the Non-Discrimination Act. In one-to-one development discussions, you have a good opportunity to find out if there are any equality-related problems in the work community.

If you have at least 30 employees, you must draw up an equality plan at least once every two years with representatives appointed by the staff. They must have a genuine opportunity to influence the content of the plan. Among other things, the equality plan should address recruitment, pay, performance assessment, influencing opportunities, and well-being at work. A plan alone is not enough; as an employer, you must ensure that the issues presented in the equality plan become part of the work community's practices. Also remember to update the plan and make sure that your employees familiarise themselves with it.

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Job alternation leave is an arrangement in which you agree on a longer leave with your employee. As an employer, you undertake hiring an unemployed job seeker who has registered with the TE Office for the duration of the leave.

Agree on job alternation leave with your employee. You must hire an unemployed job seeker to replace the employee on leave, but the tasks do not have to be the same. Those taking job alternation leave can use the leave as they wish. Remember to check if their employment history is sufficient for taking job alternation leave with your unemployment fund or Kela well in advance of the planned job alternation leave.

Job alternation leave benefits both you as an employer, your employee, and the unemployed job seeker who becomes a substitute, as

  • the employee taking job alternation leave will cope better,
  • an unemployed job seeker is given an opportunity to gain work experience in a fixed-term employment relationship, and
  • as an employer, you can obtain new competence for the work community.

The maximum age for an employee taking job alternation leave is three years before their old age pension can start at the earliest. However, the maximum age does not apply to persons born before 1957. 

Job alternation leave lasts for a minimum of 100 days and a maximum of 180 days.

Those taking job alternation leave must have a work history of at least 20 years and must have worked for the same employer continuously for at least 13 months. This period can include an unpaid period of absence of a maximum of 30 days. The work history will be reviewed by the payer of the job alternation allowance, i.e., an unemployment fund or Kela.

The person recruited as a substitute for the job alternation leave must be registered as an unemployed job seeker in the TE Services. The substitute recruited for the position shall be a person who

  • has been registered as an unemployed jobseeker in the TE Services for a minimum of 90 days during the 14 months preceding the substitution,
  • is under the age of 30 and has graduated with a vocational or higher education degree less than a year ago, or
  • is under the age of 25 or over the age of 55 at the start of the job alternation period.
Aiheesta muualla

By showing your appreciation to your personnel, you can create a positive employer image.

One way you as an employer can tell your staff that their contribution is important is to remember them on different important days. For example, birthdays, Christmas or important milestones of service are good opportunities to commemorate an employee with a gift.

Offer gifts or benefits equally to all employees, regardless of their position or performance. A gift can be an object, an entry ticket, a service or an individualised gift card.

Make sure to find out how gifts and employee benefits should be considered in taxation.

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