SFPNA Sustainability Report 2012: Employees

SFPNA Sustainability Report 2012: Employees

Healthy, engaged, well-trained employees foster a productive work environment and tend to enjoy greater job satisfaction, result in lower turnover and create a corporate culture that attracts top talent to the company.

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SFPNA Sustainability Report, Employees

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CONTENT: Article

Sappi Fine Paper North America (SFPNA) wants employees to feel they have a bright future at a company that cares about their health and well-being.

Safety First

For SFPNA, identifying safety risks is an ongoing process and our three paper mills in Cloquet, Westbrook and Somerset are all certified for meeting the Occupational Health Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) standards.

Our Somerset Mill just completed its best safety record year in its 38-year history and our Westbrook Mill also achieved its best-ever safety record. SFPNA keeps safety “top-of-mind” for workers through ongoing programs, such as the annual Global Safety Awareness Day and the “Near Miss/Close Call” reporting system at the Westbrook Mill. Employees there are encouraged to report “near miss” hazards such as a blind spot when driving a forklift. The reporting process itself helps workers consciously note potential dangers and also alerts the mill to look proactively for solutions to potential problems.

Training and Education

Training and education for all employees is a value that SFPNA has always embraced, but this effort has been stepped up over the last several years with increased training in job-related skills as well as in-depth education in particular fields.

For many years, SFPNA has underwritten a tuition reimbursement program, enabling employees to enroll in college-level classes in pursuit of a degree or take specific classes to help them advance within the company. Our employees also share their expertise by teaching industry-related courses at local state universities and community colleges and serving as curriculum advisors. In turn, institutions offering pulp and paper degrees are allowed to use SFPNA facilities to hold classes for our employees. We also reimburses employees for attending business seminars and workshops that will improve job performance.

SFPNA recognizes the importance of building managerial skills at all levels and charges the Organizational Development Department with tailoring a curriculum for our salaried workforce. The group developed a unique two-year leadership program called LEADS (Leadership Excellence and Development at Sappi). The curriculum is tailored to meet the specific needs of mid-level SFPNA employees who receive in-depth training in everything from delegation and time management to how to effectively manage conflict in the decision-making process.

Another component of this training is feedback from colleagues. In recent years, over 300 employees have participated in a 360-degree feedback process, in which they received feedback on 67 different leadership competencies from their managers, peers, customers and direct reports. In turn, participants rated themselves on these same competencies to learn if they see themselves as their colleagues do. Such exercises are intended to build self-awareness and insights that will lead to professional and personal growth.

 Since SFPNA began tracking hours of employee training in 2008, we have met our original five-year goal of 60 hours of training per employee. Our next five-year goal is to sustain a rate of 75 hours per employee. An objective of this training is to elevate the skill level of everyone in the company and also to provide an equal opportunity for advancement to anyone with the talent and drive to excel. New employees entering the field see that SFPNA’s training program is designed to take them further in their career.

To read the full report, please download a PDF from our website link: 2012 Sustainability Report.