Sustainability at Bittium in 2017

Innovative and Developing Personnel

Bittiumīs vision is to become a global enabler of secure and reliable connectivity for people and things. Innovations and competence development play an important role in Bittiumīs business operations.

At the end of 2017, Bittium had 619 employees in Finland, the United States, Mexico, the UK and Singapore. The vast majority (99 percent) of Bittiumīs employees work in Finland.  Strong, extensive knowledge of radio technologies, embedded software, electronics and product integrations is at the core of Bittiumīs expertise. Most of the groupīs personnel work as R&D engineers.

At the end of 2017, the average age of our employees was 42 years and average service years 9. Out of Bittiumīs employees 12 percent are women. Two employees retired from Bittium during 2017.



Importance of Innovations and Innovative Achievements

Motivated personnel, encouranging management and a working environment that supports job satisfaction and diversity in operations are the starting points for innovations. Bittiumīs premises are designed to promote easy interaction and sharing  ideas with colleagues.

Procedures and methods can also support innovations. The aim of a lean organizational structure is to enable dialogue and encourage employees to share their ideas, for example, to responsible officers. Bittium uses its own idea tool to collect ideas related to products and procedures from personnel. The tool also supports giving comments on the ideas. Bittium also holds Ideas of Ideas events where selected products and solutions are developed by sharing ideas.

The innovative approach is reflected in Bittiumīs R&D and customer work. The Company has developed the worldīs first mobile phone that uses both terrestrial and satellite networks. Bittiumīs  products are unique in many ways: for example, Bittium Tough Mobile is the worldīs first smartphone based solution to have received official Confidential level encryption product classification. The solution can be used for creating and processing classified information and transferring data between the smartphone and back-end systems.

Developing internal expertise and well-being at work is essential part of creating innovations. Bittium supports the development of its personnelīs expertise by offering different training and self-learning options. Bittium has allocated part of the extended working hours required under the Finnish competitiveness pact to the development of its personnelīs expertise and well-being.

Corporate Culture and Job Satisfaction

The cornerstones of the Bittium culture are talented and innovative employees, communality and an open and interactive atmosphere. Bittium employees share an endless passion for technology and learning. Bittium organizes regular internal events for the entire personnel for discussing the group strategy, targets and business. The management events are intended for sharing information to supervisors, project managers and persons in charge of different areas.  The Bittium management meets employees regularly to discuss topical themes and answer their questions.

Supervisory work is based on the coaching leadership framework. Bittium uses the Quarter Chat process to support interaction between employees and supervisors. In the process, supervisors and employees meet often for an informal discussion on work-related matters. Regular interaction promotes the building of mutual trust, which enables supporting performance, competence development and well-being at work effectively and timely. Formal development discussions are not tied to the annual clock but held when necessary and appropriate for the employeeīs professional development.

The annual Bittium Employee Survey (BES) is a good way of identifying development needs and targets at a larger scale and ensuring the right track. The employee survey is anonymous, and the feedback collected with it helps in the development of supervisory work. The survey responses are discussed at all levels of the organization, from the Board of Directors and Management Group to individual teams. The results also help to assess equality in terms of gender, age and service years. In 2017, the statements concerning the helping of others, appreciation, team spirit and trust between employees and supervisors were rated the highest.

Work and Well-being

Occupational well-being is based on smooth, productive and meaningful work. Most of the work at Bittium takes place in project organizations, and Bittium uses agile and lean methods (e.g. Scrum, DevOps). The principles and tools of continuous improvement also make working in a high-tech specialist organization feel more meaningful.

Bittium has chosen employee benefits that support an active lifestyle and smooth everyday life, are suited to a large number of people and support a communal corporate culture and team spirit. Each employee receives the benefits based on the same criteria. The extensive occupational health services are one of the most important and appreciated benefits, and Bittium cooperates closely with the occupational health provider to develop the health and well-being of its employees. In addition to the standard benefits in the field—sport, culture and lunch vouchers—the employees receive dental benefits, access to massage, joint clubs and sports event sponsorship. Thanks to flexible working hours, the employees can use the benefits smoothly even during workdays.

Competition for the best talents is tough in the technology industry, and Bittium is also facing challenges with attracting and retaining employees. Bittiumīs strengths as an employer include its status as a Finnish company with local offices, interesting job possibilities and a good atmosphere.

Competence Development

Continuous competence development is important for Bittiumīs business and the professional growth of its employees. Curiosity, the willingness to learn and an innovative mindset are the most important characteristics of a technology pioneer, which is why Bittium wants to encourage its employees and give them the opportunity to develop their expertise and reach new goals.

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 recent years, Bittium has focused its competence development measures on the development of agile and efficient operating models, for example, software lifecycle processes, and on the enhanced utilization of open-source methods. Furthermore, Bittium participates actively in the development of new technology skills, for example, in the areas of wireless 5G, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. In 2017, the average number of training days per employee was four. The number includes both external and internal training, such as orientation and independent studies.

Safety at Work

Bittium prides themselves on providing their employees with a healthy and safe working environment. A good working environment improves the quality of products and services, makes operations smoother and increases employee satisfaction. Bittium complies with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition in its operations. Our occupational health and safety instructions follow local legislation and standards and practices such as OHSAS 18001.

The Bittium Industrial Safety Committee holds regular meetings, and it has representatives from each location in Finland. The committeeīs key duties include securing the employeesī health and working capacity with regard to occupational activities and improving the quality of working life by ensuring that the working environment, methods and the work community atmosphere promote health, safety and working capacity.

The Industrial Safety Committee maintains a list of the applicable safety regulations. Employee exposure to work-related hazards (such as electricity and other energy sources, chemicals, fire, vehicles and slipping, falling and tripping) is prevented through careful planning, technical and administrative inspections and safe work practices. Where necessary, the employees are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment. All Bittium offices have appropriate safety plans in place. Any emergencies are identified and assessed and their effects minimized with the help of emergency plans and procedures regarding, for example, employee evacuation and communication.  Bittium has prepared business continuity plans to secure its business operations.

Travel-related hazards, such as terrorism, natural disasters and infections, have become more pronounced in recent years. Bittium provides training to its travelling employees and offers guidelines on safe travel. Training is organized in cooperation with the occupational health services, as necessary.

Bittium also has procedures for preventing, controlling, monitoring and reporting occupational accidents and diseases. Bittiumīs HR management and Industrial Safety function analyze occupational accidents at regular intervals and in relation to any special risks. In 2017, there were three occupational accidents at Bittium in Finland. One of these took place at work, one in the workplace yard and one during commuting. The accidents did not result in incapacity for work.

Management of Workload

The vast majority of work at Bittium is R&D, software development in particular, which means risks associated with manufacture and manual work are a relatively small concern. Employee exposure to physically demanding tasks is identified, assessed and monitored by supervisors and the Industrial Safety Committee.

Typical sources of physical harm in our industry are ergonomic issues and static working postures. Bittium uses office furniture that meets current standards, and almost all our offices have electronically controlled tables that enable employees to change their working position throughout the day. Bittium cooperates closely with the occupational health provider to assess any special ergonomic needs. Bittium offers an extensive occupational health scheme that includes regular check-ups, ergonomics analyses, physiotherapy and consultation.

Project-based work is prevalent at Bittium, and the schedules and workload may vary greatly depending on the situation. The supervisors and the HR department monitor the working hours, overtime and travelling times of employees regularly. The workload and stress questions are frequently brought up at Quarter Chats. Bittium has made a local agreement on flexible working hours and compensation for travel time in Finland.

Labor Market Relations

Bittium respects its employeesī right of association, follows the global and local laws and regulations and applies the relevant collective agreements. The management and the employee representatives cooperate and meet regularly in order to maintain a transparent discussion on the status of Bittiumīs business and matters related to employees. The employee representative is informed of any changes that affect employees, and the effects of such changes are discussed together. Any negotiations that concern personnel are held in accordance with local legislation, collective agreements and other contractual procedures.

Human Rights, Equality and Diversity

The countries where Bittium employees work have advanced human rights laws and efficient human rights monitoring. Human rights monitoring is mainly concerned with Bittiumīs subcontractors and suppliers, and Bittium has issued framework agreements and Supplier Requirements that serve as guidance in human rights questions. Bittiumīs main partners are assessed through self-assessments and audits, in accordance with the annual plan.

In 2017, no violations or significant deficiencies related to the use of child labor, forced labor, inappropriate disciplinary action, physical punishment, or health-related discriminatory practices were observed in Bittiumīs or its subcontractorsī operations.

Bittium is committed to preventing harassment and discrimination. Our equality plan is based on the Finnish Act on Equality Between Men and Women. The Industrial Safety Committee assesses equality at work from the point of view of salaries, career development and recruitment, using methods such as the employee survey and equality survey. The surveys are also used for detecting cases of discrimination, sexual harassment or threats thereof. All Bittium employees are required to promote equality. However, supervisors play a particularly important role in promoting equality at the workplace. This requirement is based on good governance, the Act on Equality Between Men and Women and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Equality must be the principle that drives everything we do. In general, our employees rate equality and the work atmosphere at Bittium highly.

Bittium regards diversity as an asset and an integral part of responsible business. The diverse backgrounds of our employees guarantee a complementary mix of expertise, educational background, personal characteristics and experiences in different professions, sectors, business statuses and leadership. However, recruitment decisions are always based on the skills required in the job. The principles regarding the diversity of the Board of Directors are defined in the Corporate Governance Statement.

Promoting equality and combatting discrimination and sexual harassment require active measures from the employer in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Bittium uses the early support model and provides instructions on how to solve conflicts. Possible problems are analyzed in cooperation with relevant parties, such as supervisors, the HR department, the Industrial Safety Committee and the occupational health organization.