Why does UPM encourage its employees to relocate, and how have they benefited from relocation services? In our interview, UPM’s Marju Luoma and Iiris Lukiini share their experiences of employee mobility in an international company from an HR perspective.
International HR work
Marju Luoma is VP HR in the UPM Biorefining business area. As HR Director for such a large and international business area, she is responsible for, for example, long-term planning and personnel development. According to her, internationality is an inspiring and motivating part of HR work. “Here you are constantly learning new things. HR work is very diverse, especially in an international environment.”
Iiris Lukiini is a Senior HR Specialist in UPM Biorefining’s business area. She supports employees coming to and leaving Finland and, for example, is in contact with FRS consultants who help with relocation. “International HR work has its twists when dealing with legislation of other countries, and the pandemic has also brought new challenges. It is also interesting to be in contact with HR in other countries.”
Both Marju and Iiris also have personal experience of international mobility: Marju has lived in France and the United States, and Iris in Poland and Germany.
Global mobility benefits both the company and the employee
UPM is a global company with operations and staff in 46 countries. Employees relocate especially in connection with large projects, such as the construction of a large pulp mill in Uruguay. In addition, individual employees relocate for both shorter and longer periods. Employees relocate to many different countries, depending on the business area; Uruguay in particular is an important destination and country of origin for the biorefining business. International mobility is present in a wide variety of jobs; especially in large projects, employees are needed for example in construction, management, and sales.
At UPM, talent is encouraged to move internationally, as it benefits both the company and its employees. “We recruit internationally because we always want to get the best experts for each position. Diversity and inclusion are also hugely important. Working with a wide variety of people in a community means a wide range of perspectives, which increases creativity and leads to better results. It is also important for the individual employee to be able to do different tasks and get to know different countries and perspectives”, says Marju.
Relocation services are important for the employee experience
UPM provides very comprehensive support to its relocating employees. For example, as part of UPM Biorefining’s Uruguay development project in Paso de los Toros, a separate Finnish school line has been set up for a local school for the children of Finnish employees in cooperation with EduCluster for the duration of the project. During the Uruguay development project, Finland Relocation Services experts have taken care of the immigration and settling in of employees who come to Finland from Uruguay and the acquisition of documents from Finland for relocations to Uruguay. Supporting the relocation of employees is important because it can influence the decision to move. Iiris says that employees want to know before the departure decision how, for example, schools and other practical matters are organized and what kind of support they will receive.
“Employee experience is important alongside customer experience and is reflected in the success of the company. Relocating an employee abroad and returning from there are Moments that matter and a good employee experience is really important. Employee relocations between countries are surprisingly time-consuming for the employee or HR, while an experienced relocation company has processes in place for these. Relocation services save time and make the employee’s experience smoother”, says Marju.
“FRS’s support has been important when employees move between Finland and Uruguay. We can trust that they have expertise in immigration issues in Finland and what documents need to be filled etc. Support has also been important in practical matters. Relocation services help the employer and allow us to make the move as smooth as possible for employees. It is also important to carry out the employer’s obligations properly, in which relocation services help too”, says Iiris.
According to Marju, the most important things in relocation services are good local knowledge, smooth processes, and professionalism. Iiris says all aspects of relocation services are important: “Home search and official registrations are important, of course, but children’s schools, for example, can also be important for a family, as well as other tips for a person’s life situation. The most important thing is that all steps are done smoothly and that the whole package works.”
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