The Northern Karelia Cooperative Society (in Finnish: Pohjois-Karjalan Osuuskauppa or PKO) is a cooperative owned by its over 100,000 members. As their strategy’s mission they have chosen to increase the vitality of the province and meets their members’ needs.
The operations of PKO are wide ranged. Tourism and catering trade forms its own entity of restaurants, night clubs, meeting services and holiday destinations. In Northern Karelia, Tourism and catering trade (In Finnish: Matkailu- ja ravitsemiskauppa or MaRa) employs almost 500 people, who provide experiences to 10,000 customers daily.
In MaRa, there has been a shortage of labour, which was only made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was also reflected in the voluntary turnover rate, which rose to over 45 percent.
The traditional recruiting made by S-group was not enough, especially when according to the strategy, the staffing requirements will increase with investments of more than 60 million euros in the coming years.
It was decided to invest in improving the employer image – in terms of retention and internal development, recruitment and need of talents. In spring 2022, the project launched with building employee understanding through surveys, workshops and interviews.
The key questions to think were the following: experiencing the meaningfulness of work, crystallizing the employer promise, and a real understanding of what development actions can have the greatest positive impact. The main point was to involve the whole work community and test ideas extensively, actively and at different stages.
AT THE CENTER OF THE WORK WAS TO “THROW ONESELF IN”, WHICH WAS DESCRIBED IN THE FOLLOWING WAY:
“Close your eyes and think, when was the last time you threw yourself into your work. According to a survey, over half of our employees do it daily. We work in a field, where to “throw oneself in” is the key to an unforgettable service experience. The center of our community is formed by ambitious, different and their vulnerability accepting people, whose input cannot be replaced by robots. Through appreciation and open discussion, we create a safe environment where employees feel comfortable taking on work challenges. As the world is changing, we believe that we need other humans even more. We are needed now and in the future.”
ANTTI VARIS, HEAD OF TOURISM AND CATERING TRADE (MaRa)
A constantly developed and public Culture Handbook, which can be used while managing the operation culture and promoting recruitments
An employer’s promise, which is based on the goals of business strategy and the real competitive advantages of the employer
A recruitment concept for MaRa, which we got to test in 2022 – already more applications to open spots and with a better quality
The success of Koli’s recruitment – over 50 new employees were hired quickly to a new hotel opening in summer 2023
An internal coaching program, which specifies to the identified areas of development. The first measured results will be available in a year
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Communication Strategist, Partner