Responsible Employer 2013
The Dream Employer competition is primarily meant for companies and organizations whose internal work organisation and culture make them a role model for others; this should set them apart in a positive way from many other employers. A total of 25 organizations took part in the competition including Elisa Eesti AS, Ericsson Eesti AS, Playtech Estonia OÜ, Saku Õlletehase AS, Tele2 Eesti AS and many others.
The title of a Dream Employer went to the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences. However, Timbeco Woodhouse OÜ received a special prize from the Responsible Business Forum who recognized Timbeco’s efforts in creating a sustainable work environment. Angelica Leis, Timbeco’s HR Manager commented: “This is a huge honour for a manufacturing enterprise. We want our team to include top specialists and therefore try to improve our work environment every day. An environmentally friendly and family-centred attitude is the main principle behind the creation of our work environment. This prize shows that we are moving in the right direction.”
Interview with HR Manager of Timbeco Woodhouse Angelica Leis conducted by the Responsible Business Forum.
What kind of (financial) benefits do you see in investing in your employees to a greater extent than required by law? In other words, why are you doing this?
Our goal is to be the best in our field; the greatest asset of a company is its employees – if the employees are happy then all else will fall into place.
How would you describe yourself as an employer – what do you value, allow and consider important?
We consider ourselves a responsible company; we care about our employees, pay great attention to our work environment and maintaining good relationships between our people as well as taking care of their health. We acknowledge that each employee is not only responsible to his or her employer but also to his or her spouse and children, in other words, to their families.
We value long-term employment relationships; one of our employees has been with us for 18 years whereas the company itself is 20 years old, and many people have worked with us for 10–12 years. We have created motivating development systems, orientation and training systems and a motivating wage system for our employees. We are all working to make our employees proud and happy about our contemporary working conditions, our incredible team and our team spirit.
Do the national regulations and tax system encourage investing in employees or being a responsible employer? Could you comment on that? What could be done differently?
The system could always be made more beneficial but a part of being a responsible business is respecting the law and paying taxes honestly. One thing that could be taxed less on state level in our opinion is everything related to the benefits that employers offer to their workers. At the moment, fringe benefit tax applies to fitness, birth or educational benefits that a company offers to its employees which makes such benefits extremely costly for businesses. We believe that if these fringe benefits were not taxed, many enterprises would consider offering these benefits to their employees.
Do your goals for the work environment match your views on the social responsibility of a company in a wider sense and how? What are the other social responsibility / responsible business issues important to you and how is this expressed?
In our case, social responsibility is related to the manufacture of environmentally friendly log houses. Our specialty is definitely the production of Thermolog eco houses. We developed the Thermolog eco houses to offer our clients a solution for a house constructed of natural materials for providing a healthy living environment.
Timbeco’s production process is environmentally friendly and sustainable and we value healthy and clean environment. We consider it important to keep our activities from disturbing the surrounding nature and from creating too much pollution. For example, we use leftover wood and sawdust to heat our production facilities. We also use sawdust to produce wood briquette. By observing the principle of leaving a small ecological footprint, we optimize all production processes to ensure that the processes are environmentally friendly. The quality of a manufactured log house, the microclimate of its rooms and the well-being of residents depend on the quality of materials used for the production and construction of the house. We only use high quality and certified materials for our log houses.
The main raw material for producing our houses is Estonian pine; products are not treated with chemicals and the timber that is used comes from a responsibly managed forest which is proved by the FSC Certificate of our suppliers.