Listening is not a one-way street – it is much more about leadership

Focus Interview with Annika Parkkonen, Chief Human Resources & Sustainability Officer

Annika joined Accelleron in September 2022 as the head of the Human Resources department. She sees the launch of the independent company as a welcome challenge and a great opportunity to achieve better collaboration and improved productivity with simplified processes.


Annika, Accelleron has only been operating as an independent company for a few months. It must be a big challenge, but do you see opportunities there as well?

It is a very welcome challenge and opportunity at the same time. The launch of the independent company is an opportunity to bring our collaboration as well as our productivity to new levels. We are reviewing and simplifying processes and aligning them more closely with employee needs. We are embracing this opportunity. 

What is the atmosphere like among the employees?

I sense a very positive spirit across the company. We conducted an employee engagement survey in November 2022 to explore the needs of our employees, and the results are now being discussed within the organization.

What are the initial findings?

Our strengths are related to learning opportunities, good relations among peers, and our employees’ belief that our strategy is taking us in the right direction. The survey also highlighted Accelleron’s strong safety culture, which people greatly appreciate. Employees were similarly positive about the new company values, which were created through an inclusive process. The survey also provided a market comparison with similar type of companies.

What was the outcome?

We identified potential areas for improvement. We are now addressing these issues across the company. Our agenda has three specific areas in which we scored lower than other companies and which we now want to focus on: the workload, the sense of achievement in work, and support for mental health. This isn’t so surprising – we transformed ourselves into a new company, so of course the workload has been high. We want to use this as a starting point to address these three areas. In 2023, the line managers have started discussing them with their employees. We also ask them to listen very carefully to employees’ ideas about where processes can be simplified and improved.

Does Accelleron face a shortage of skilled workers and if so, how are you addressing it?

In some markets, it is a challenge attracting highly skilled engineers. In certain territories we are recruiting cross-border employees. In general, the best way to find employees is through networks. And the shortage goes beyond skilled workers.

What do you mean by that?

People who want to work with their hands, craftsmen, they are rare, and that is what our service engineers are; they repair and maintain turbochargers. People tend to choose other careers. One solution is to promote this career path in countries that still offer traditional apprenticeships.

How do you attract women to work for Accelleron?

We are in close contact with schools and universities, because the challenge is the limited number of female students in technology. We try to reach out to women at student fairs by considering this target group and their needs when we put together our messages and representation at the fairs. It is important that our diverse workforce is represented whenever we approach schools.

Innovation is crucial for our future success and sustainability. How do you ensure you get the best team members to deliver on this innovation promise?

When we hire people, we’re not just choosing an individual, we’re also thinking about how to influence the team dynamics. How will the new addition contribute to diversity, broaden our perspectives, or act as an important driver for innovation? This gives us an opportunity to consciously build teams with a diversity of backgrounds and ways of thinking to drive innovation and create new solutions.



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