Innovative and Developing People

Innovative people are the company’s most valuable resource, with the well-being of employees being the foundation of its success.

Innovative and Developing People

Focus Area #1

Innovative people are the company’s most valuable resource, with the well-being of employees being the foundation of its success. At Bittium, we invest in the continuous development of competence and supervisory skills. Every day, we strive to act in accordance with our values – trust, courage, and innovation.

The most important resources of Bittium’s business are highly competent people, a diverse work community free of discrimination, and ensuring employee well-being and competence. Bittium provides its employees with challenging and motivating jobs and is committed to supporting their development and investing in their well-being.

The year 2023 was a period of changes for Bittium. The company updated its strategy and adopted a segment-based organizational model. Giving the businesses more autonomy enhances Bittium’s ability to serve its customers on a more customer-driven basis, and improves the speed of decision-making in each business. At the practical level, our strategic review covered both processes and the operating practices that ultimately influence our entire corporate culture. We commenced change negotiations in August, which led to 61 dismissals and 8 employees being temporarily laid off until further notice. In 2023, we focused heavily on implementing and supporting these changes, which meant that certain other considerations, such as strengthening the employer image, were assigned a lower priority.

Objectives and Sustainable Development 2023

Bittium measures its development in the Innovative and Developing People focus area with regard to the following objectives: employee satisfaction, maintenance of employee competence and ensuring special competence, strong employer image, and diversity, inclusivity, equality and equal treatment. The objectives and their achievement are described in the following sections.

Employee Well-being and Engagement

Bittium’s target for the employee commitment index for the period 2023–2025 is 4.0 (on a scale of 1–5), but this target was not achieved in 2023. The Bittium Employee Survey (BES) on the year 2023 was carried out right at the beginning of January 2024. As expected, the change negotiations conducted in the latter part of 2023 had an effect on the results of the survey. Of the employees, 80% responded to the employee survey (77% at the end of 2022). The average score for the quantitative questions was 3.7 (3.8 at the end of 2022). The score for the survey section on supervisory work remained excellent with an average of 4.2. The employee commitment index came to 3.5, but the figures are not fully comparable with the scores for 2022 due to differences in the content of the survey.

The content of the survey was redesigned to some degree. The statements and questions took the business segment perspective more into account than previously. New statements were also added on sustainability and environmental perspectives, for example. In the section on supervisory work, the new perspectives introduced in the revised survey included looking after the atmosphere of the workplace community and taking individual differences into consideration in a positive manner.

The BES survey section on project work was not included in the survey conducted in January 2024 because the most recent project survey was carried out in spring 2023. In the survey, we collected team-specific feedback from employees who work in customer and product development projects, with project managers being a particular target group. The results developed favorably on the whole, and we received positive feedback for improved communication in particular.

We continued to work under the hybrid model introduced in 2022, with employees having two in-office days per week. At the same time, the recommendation throughout the company has been to increase in-office work, especially in light of the changes in the organization, and because meeting colleagues and spending time at the office are perceived to be important. The teams have been empowered to decide on their practices concerning in-office work. Due to the nature of the work, some employees cannot work remotely at all. This includes people working in production and laboratories as well as employees whose job requires working in security-classified areas.

In addition to the employee satisfaction survey, we conducted one pulse survey in 2023 with a focus on assessing work-related mood and workload.


Personnel Development and Training

Bittium’s objective is to maintain the competence of its employees and ensure special competence. Bittium’s position as a pioneer of technology requires that the personnel actively maintain and develop their own expertise, both in terms of basic skills and the related common ways of doing things, as well as the latest technologies, tools, legislation and other regulations of the rapidly changing operating environment, and that they have insight into the trends in the development of technology and the operating environment. In the development of skills, the goal is continuous development and learning while working.

The Bittium Leader training, which began in 2021, continued in the first half of 2023 with two groups that started the program in 2022. The groups participated in two training modules focused on work ability management and the participants’ role as a leader. Bittium’s principles of good leadership were drafted in connection with the training program. A total of approximately 110 Bittium employees have participated in the training program, which is aimed at supervisors, project managers, and team leaders.

Online training activities are an important part of the maintenance of the Group’s common basic skills, and online training activities targeted at all employees are available in relation to processes, methods of operation, systems and tools, among other things. The company continued to use the Pluralsight learning platform, where employees can participate in high-quality mini webinars, for instance. In the development of skills, examples of the current themes include topics related to information security, quality systems, programming languages, working in a cloud environment, and embedded systems.

In 2023, the average number of training days was 5.2 per employee. This includes both internal and external training as well as orientation training and independent study. Internal training may also involve on-the-job learning and the sharing of expertise, and external training may involve independent study. Approximately 70% of the personnel participated in training in 2023.

Bittium as an Employer

Bittium is perceived as a reliable Finnish company that is is known especially for the products it provides to the Finnish Defence Forces. Awareness of the company’s health care technology business has improved, and the company is seen as a competent specialist company in this sector.

Bittium canvasses the satisfaction of new employees regarding the orientation training and company image before and after the start of work through surveys. In 2023, the company image score prior to starting work was 7.7 (2022: 7.6), but the score decreased after starting work and was 7.3 (2022: 8.1). The results reflect the fact that project starts were delayed in the case of some new employees, and exceptionally low scores from a small number of respondents significantly reduced the average. The company has sought to remedy the issues concerning the employees in question.

Diversity, Inclusivity, Equality and Equal Treatment

Bittium wants to provide its employees with equal working conditions regardless of backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, age, and other factors. In addition, Bittium maintains and promotes an interactive and participative working culture.

All employees and job applicants are treated equally regardless of their gender, age, ethnic background, political views, or other background factors. Bittium’s equality plan is based on the Finnish Non-discrimination Act and the Act on Equality Between Men and Women. The equality plan was updated in 2023. The key measures under the updated equality plan are still focused on equal pay and career opportunities, the openness of recruitment, and systematically supporting the careers of ageing employees.

The actual situation concerning equality at work is assessed in employee surveys from the perspectives of pay, career development, and recruitment. In 2023, Bittium conducted an equality survey that was responded to by 53% of Bittium’s personnel in Finland. Based on the results of the survey, equality and non-discrimination are generally well-realized at Bittium. The score for each theme in the survey was at least 5.0 on a scale of 1–6.

At Bittium, non-discrimination means equal treatment and ensuring a working culture that is free of discrimination. The company respects its employees’ right to organize and it has zero tolerance of discrimination or harassment in any form. No discrimination cases emerged in 2023.

The principles concerning the diversity of Bittium’s Board of Directors are defined in the Corporate Governance Statement. Bittium also wants to present the technology industry as an attractive option for women, who are still underrepresented in this field, and to non-binary persons. For the second consecutive year, Bittium participated in the Shaking Up Tech event, where Bittium’s female employees talked to young people in general upper secondary education about their work as a product developer, test engineer or UI/UX designer, for example. Participating in the event supported Bittium’s goal of staying on the minds of young people as an interesting employer and to increase awareness of the diverse nature of the technology industry. Several visits to educational institutions were organized.

Managerial Work and Performance Reviews

Bittium has organized monthly Leadership Coffee Sessions for supervisors. These sessions have been continued as one method to support managerial work. In the latter part of the year, the practice was changed to support the ongoing changes in the company so that Managers’ Meeting events were held in approximately two-week intervals, and the invitees included not only supervisors but also project managers and other individuals in leadership positions.

In 2023, team members and their supervisors had quarterly discussions (Quarter Chat) in accordance with the performance review model. A key objective in supervisory work has been to give due consideration to individuality, support well-being at work, and build trust in the relationships between managers and employees. The employees have also been offered the opportunity to agree on having separate longer conversations, especially with regard to a long-term competence development plan. From the beginning of 2024, the company is transitioning to annual performance reviews. In addition to these reviews, supervisors and team members can meet one-on-one during the year whenever necessary.

Well-being and Occupational Safety

At Bittium, the majority of work involves R&D and product (software) development. Therefore, the most significant disability risks include musculoskeletal diseases, coping at work and mental well-being. Project-based work is prevalent, and the schedules and workload may vary greatly depending on the situation.

Bittium uses an early support model. The model is considered to involve the entire work community, and it helps increase openness. From the perspective of work-related stress, it is important that one is allowed and able to talk about coping, as this enables a change towards a healthier corporate culture. The topics of HR coffee break events have included well-being through nutrition, insomnia, diversity in the workplace community, individual resilience and the resilience of the workplace community. A total of seven coffee break events were held in 2023, and they attracted a lot of interest among the personnel: over a hundred Bittium employees participated in each event.

Psychosocial stress and static work postures were highlighted as issues in a workplace survey carried out by the occupational health care provider. In response to the results, attention was paid to ergonomics in remote work and the rules of working in an open-plan office, among other considerations.

Employee well-being is supported by occupational health care services, which are more extensive than required by law, as well as by other employee benefits. The occupational health care services also include a digital clinic and the opportunities for remote consultations. Employees also have access to the services of an occupational physiotherapist. Bittium supports its employees’ community spirit and activities also outside working hours in the form of various clubs, physical exercise and activities.

All Bittium offices have appropriate safety plans in place. Some of the employees perform duties in which it is of particular importance to ensure electrical safety. The risks associated with manufacturing and manual work are a relatively small concern. The Close Call reporting channel in Bittium’s intranet enables employees to report potential safety and ‘close call’ concerns. No observations of close calls were reported via the channel in 2023.

Bittium’s HR management and OHS function analyze occupational accidents at regular intervals and whenever particular risks emerge. A total of 11 occupational accidents were reported in Bittium’s Finnish companies in 2023. Nine of the reported incidents were categorized as occupational accidents, with one of them causing temporary disability. Most of the reported accidents occurred during commuting or travel.

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals by the UN

The measures related to the occupational well-being and promotion of the work ability of Bittium’s employees, safety and equality plans, and the offered employee benefits promote sustainable development goal no. 8 (decent work and economic growth). The company’s investments in R&D activities and the competence development of its employees promote sustainable development goal no. 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).


Personnel in 2023

At the end of 2023, Bittium had 526 employees in Finland, the United States, and Germany. Of the employees, 99 percent work in Finland. Most of the employees are R&D engineers.