Creating a feedback-rich culture at Outokumpu Business Area Americas

November 8, 2023

Americas team

Creating a feedback-rich culture at Outokumpu Business Area Americas

For the past three years, Outokumpu’s Business Area Americas has been undergoing some intentional changes. Not only has the company made a positive turnaround with its profitability, but it also improved the team member experience, thanks to their own input. By using third-party, confidential employee engagement surveys, Outokumpu used their feedback to help shape a positive workplace experience in the Americas.

Wellness in the Workplace

Outokumpu’s business area Americas employs 1,800 people, most of whom work in our stainless steel mills in Calvert, Alabama, and San Luis Potosí, Mexico. After the 2020 Covid pandemic and the feeling of isolation that resulted from the shutdown, Outokumpu began offering small workshops and contracted with an outside agency to provide on-site counseling services for the team members in Calvert, US and San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

Additionally, Outokumpu offers locally an employee assistance program where team members can get advice on anything from child rearing, financial difficulties, after-life planning, just to name a few.

Inclusion, Equality and Fairness

Outokumpu values that everyone (regardless of gender, race, or age) should be afforded the same level playing field for workplace opportunities and benefits. We are very pleased to see a clear increase in the number of women working in operations in our business area Americas.

In Calvert, there are 85 women that work in areas that include the melt shop, cold rolling works, environmental services, and manufacturing excellence. They hold positions such as directors, administrators, engineers, electricians, inspectors, operators, managers, and the list goes on. Just three years ago, our mill in Mexico had only three women working in operations. Today, that number is at 52.

To adjust to the increase of women in the workplace, Outokumpu put in locker rooms and lactation stations to accommodate women with families so they could still be able to work and take care of their personal needs.

Male team members are also considered when it comes to equality in the workplace. They are afforded time to spend with their family after the arrival of their newborn child. In the Americas, Outokumpu offers 10 days paid parental leave for fathers. We also doubled the maternity leave in 2021 to 12 weeks.

Team member networking groups (TNG) have also been helpful for leadership to understand the needs of employees. Business area Americas became Outokumpu’s pilot group to create space for minority (African Americans, women, Latino/Hispanic) team members to share ideas with peers who have similar values.

Longevity, Competitive Wages and Overtime

Currently, Outokumpu has a low 3% employee turnover rate in the Americas. This equates to team members staying with the company and not seeking employment elsewhere. In Mexico, Outokumpu is one of the top leading employers in San Luis Potosí. The turnover rate is next to nothing. The longevity of employment is attributed to the open-door policy, family-like atmosphere and dedicated people.

The competitive wages and benefits are also an added incentive into why employees find their forever job with Outokumpu in the region.

The voices of the mill workers in Calvert were heard loud and clear when it came to overtime. At one time, there was no limit on overtime and there was no provision on being scheduled overtime on days off before or after scheduled vacation. Based on team member feedback, overtime will not be required on the scheduled off days before and after approved vacation days. To ensure the safety and health of all team members, no one team member should be permitted to work more than 7-12 hour days in a row without an exemption approved by their director.

At Outokumpu, team members hold the power of the company in their voice. Sharing their thoughts helps the company improve the employee experience and improve processes to become successful. After three years of making this culture shift, Outokumpu’s business area Americas has really demonstrated that it is a great place to work.

Read more about Outokumpu’s Americas business area

Published Nov 08, 2023