In Pölkky’s organization, long careers within the same corporation are typical, and the longest ones have reached up to 47 years. Although the world around us is changing rapidly, such long and stable careers are still possible. Our employees enjoying their work is one of the most important things for us. In this article, our CEO Petteri Virranniemi talks about his own career development at Pölkky and ponders what keeps Pölkky employees committed to their work for decades.
25 years at Pölkky
My own path to becoming Pölkky’s CEO has been interesting, covering a wide range of Pölkky’s operations. I have been working permanently at Pölkky for 25 years, and as the CEO since 2018. Having grown up in a family business, I started working on production tasks at the age of 13 during school breaks and later besides my studies, so I have been able to follow Pölkky’s operations for more than 30 years. Over the past 25 years, Pölkky as a company has grown remarkably, from a turnover of just under 40 million euros to the current turnover of almost 200 million.
But what keeps the interest and passion for work going for such a long time? In a developing company, employees get to develop their own professional skills through their work, in which case the motivation for work remains high. I personally feel that coming to work always feels just as interesting every fall. In a developing company, there are constantly interesting phases, which keep the drive to work high. One must be able to develop in one’s own work. For this reason, we offer our employees versatile opportunities to develop their own skills, which support both employee motivation and the needs of the developing company for a skilled workforce.
From production foreman to CEO
I started a permanent job at Pölkky as a production foreman in 1997, at the same time as I was finishing my wood technology engineering studies at Kotka University of Applied Sciences. Later, I took on the role of a product manager, and over the years I also studied for a master’s degree in Social Sciences at the University of Lapland, majoring in management. After completing my master’s degree, my job changed to the role of a development manager, while at the same time I also worked as an HR director. Before taking on the role of CEO, I worked as Pölkky’s development director.
A broad scope for work develops when the role and responsibilities change and develop steadily. Furthermore, being responsible for personnel matters has significantly defined my perspective on CEO management. Thinking is fundamentally structured through managing people in this role as well.
Significant career stages – acquisitions, educating oneself, and generational change
Some of the most significant milestones in my career have been the acquisitions I have been involved in. In 2009, Pölkky bought Kitkawood and a few years later, in 2012, Kajaaniwood, where I worked as the CEO since its acquisition. Company acquisitions have always brought new ways of doing things and new kinds of projects, a new kind of culture, and new elements that growth brings with it, also in business management.
In addition, various training courses have been involved in bringing change to my work and the development of Pölkky as a whole. Sometimes the development of the company has led to the need for further education, while at other times the development of one’s own competence has led to ideas for the development of the company. Continuous education, e.g. the CBM (Certified Board Member) courses I’ve completed, serves as an excellent mirror for the development of my own work and the company.
I also think that the change that takes place over the years is an interesting factor related to work and management, when people change with different eras and generations, and one’s own management has to be reflected and developed accordingly. The generational change that took place in the family business has naturally changed the management, management conditions, requirements and understanding of the differences between generations – as a long-time member of the family business, I’ve been able to form an outlook about the people who work for us throughout these decades. Pölkky is a pioneer in its field, and we want to offer all our employees an interesting vantage point for modern wood processing.
Interesting, stimulating work is a central part of Pölkky’s values – entrepreneurship, partnership and responsibility – because the Roots for quality living are also derived from a motivating work career.
CEO, Pölkky Oy