Labour Practices and Decent Work

As a community of highly educated professionals, it is important for us to ensure that employees are committed to Orion as an employer and that they are satisfied with their work. We want our employees to feel motivated to develop themselves professionally and to feel that they are doing inspiring and meaningful work that corresponds to their skills in a well-managed and safe working environment in which people are treated equally and fairly.


Success by working together, with common values and harmonised practices

Orion is Finland’s largest pharmaceutical employer and an international work environment for multi-talented people. Our workforce is made up of many nationalities and cultural backgrounds, but is unified by the common Orion business culture of succeeding together and our shared values and practices. We offer the opportunity to work in an international environment and provide varied and challenging career opportunities for experts in different fields. We are a responsible employer and constantly develop well-being at work and motivate our employees to continually develop their competences. We offer our employees a healthy and safe working environment and a smooth-operating working community. We also make sure that our employees have the necessary skills and mindset to implement the Group’s strategy. We want every Orion employee to share our attitude of continuous renewal and to feel that his or her work is meaningful. Healthy and competent staff is a key factor in our success and the foundation of our corporate responsibility, which enables us to bring value to our customers and to meet the strict requirements of the pharmaceutical industry.

To our staff, our “Building well-being” mission means purposeful and responsible work, whereby we succeed by working together and which we are proud of together. Our staff are building Orion’s future as a team, in the spirit of the Group’s values and by implementing the Group strategy.


  Succeeding Together!
  • Our work is valuable and significant for the customer.
  • We are a responsible employer.
  • We want to be an excellent place to work and an attractive employer.
  • We take responsibility for the continuous development of our occupational well-being and competence.


In human resources management, we operate according to effective legislation, collective agreements, security regulations and other obligations. We ensure responsible operations in relation to our employees and their working conditions by adhering to the Group's shared values, the procedures and responsibilities specified in our Corporate Governance Manual as well as the joint ethical principles and policies.

The core principles in human resources are outlined in the Human Resources Policy, which leans on our Group values. The ethical principles concerning our working community are outlined in the Code of Conduct of the Orion Group. The Code of Conduct applies to all our employees and businesses, and every individual employee is expected to follow it. All employees are also obliged to abide by the topic-specific corporate policies, which determine our main principles for ensuring responsible operations.

Our leadership principles, Working together the Orion way, outline the Orion way of leading people and acting as a member of a working community. The following four themes are the most important: Leader as a Coach, Skills of Working Together and Personal Leadership, Customer-Focused Leadership, and Leadership in Collaborative Partnership.  

Working together with staff, we are building a value-based corporate culture of succeeding together, which is characterised by open and constructive interaction and continual renewal. Interaction between employees and management is respectful, transparent and unobstructed. Issues are handled quickly and constructively. Collaboration is forthright and takes place as part of the normal daily work and at meetings based on labour-related legislation.

Management responsibilities in human resources affairs and services

Human resources affairs and services are managed and coordinated by the Human Resources Department, which belongs to the Corporate Functions organisation. The Vice President, Human Resources, reports to the Senior Vice President, Corporate Functions, who is a member of the Orion Group Executive Management Board. The core tasks of the Human Resources Department include employment affairs and collaboration, payroll systems and rewarding, talent and competence management, recruitment and organisational renewal, and occupational well-being and healthcare. 

Human Resources Policy emphasises equality and fairness

Our Code of Conduct emphasises respectful and courteous behaviour at the workplace. As it is outlined in our Code of Conduct, every Orion employee is entitled to good, courteous and respectful treatment by his or her supervisors, subordinates and fellow employees.

Each employee in the Orion Group shall have equal possibilities to succeed and develop in his/her own work. Age, sex, sexual orientation, religion or ethnic background may never, at any stage of the employment relationship, be considered a discriminating factor.

Members of our working community are responsible for treating everyone equally and fairly in daily operations and decision-making. This concerns everybody, not only persons in supervisory positions. Everyone is responsible for maintaining and promoting a good working atmosphere, behaving appropriately and respecting others.

The Human Resources Policy provides the framework for establishing equal opportunities plans in all countries where we have operations, observing the local country-specific legislation. Our sites in Finland follow an Equality Plan drawn up to broadly support and promote equality at the workplace in recruitment, payroll systems, in adapting people’s working and private lives, and in educational opportunities. By equality, we also mean equality of the sexes. When developing working conditions and operational practices, we observe the aspects of equality. The working group for the development of equality at our Finnish sites consists of representatives of all employee groups and the employer. Both the supervisors and the employee representatives are obliged to react to recognised problems.

Gender does not play a role in determining salaries at Orion. In the Finnish operations, salary equality is assessed using a salary mapping method as specified in the Finnish Act on Equality between Women and Men. The outcome of the mapping is reviewed and assessed by Orion’s management and employee representatives and, when necessary, corrective measures are agreed upon.

All our Finnish employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements

Orion adheres to current employment legislation and the applicable collective bargaining agreements valid in the country the employee works in. Collective bargaining agreements cover both blue collar and white collar employees at the Group’s Finnish locations, about 59% of the workforce in Finland in 2017.

A so-called common pay record concerning exempts in the chemical industry is applied to our exempts. In addition to salary increases, the pay record covers several other terms, such as more extensive sick pay than that specified in the Employment Contracts Act, and paid maternity or paternity leave.

Ensuring human resources. Recruitment:
We recruit people with potential, the right experience and attitude

The Orion Group offers tasks for a wide range of specialists in the fields of natural sciences, business, mathematics, technology, IT and the humanities. The educational background of persons recruited into production tasks varies widely depending on the requirements of the task, from comprehensive school to bachelor’s and master’s degrees from universities of applied sciences. Vocational study programmes in pharmaceuticals provide a good basic readiness for a variety of jobs at Orion. Independently of their level of education, all our new employees receive a high-standard and comprehensive introduction into their work.

We invest in procedures, which enhance the image of our company as an excellent place to work and an attractive employer. Our success depends on our ability to employ and recruit the correct kind of professional people, our ability to identify persons and talents suitable for different development paths in order to further allow and support them to develop and train their skills, and to support and act for their well-being at work.

By means of resource planning, we ensure that the organisation has the required capabilities for the goals derived from our strategy and objectives, that the organisations are resourced purposefully and that the required deputy and back-up arrangements are in place to ensure uninterrupted operations.

In recruitment, we aim to find the best and motivated people and take both our current and future capability needs into consideration. Successful recruitment supports us in achieving our strategic business goals. Recruitment occasions also offer us opportunities to renew the competence of our organisation. To ensure that our recruitment is successful, we continuously develop the capabilities of our recruitment organisation and the quality of the recruitment process, applying up-to-date methods such as social media, case-by-case tailored recruitment channels and video interviews, for example. 

When looking for people to fill new or open positions, Orionees with a suitable background are considered first. As a rule, the job is first announced on the Group’s intranet for at least a week for our existing employees to apply. If no appropriate candidates can be found within the Group, the job is advertised in public channels. Job rotation is seen as a means for driving change and as an opportunity for professional development.



Summer jobs for the young

Every year, we offer summer job opportunities to over one hundred school boys and   girls in different parts of the Group. In summer jobs and on-the-job training placements, they have an oppor­tunity to become acquainted with our industry and our company. In return, they provide us with an opportunity to motivate and attract young people to educate themselves into vocations of our industry and to find their ways into our service. To us, summer jobs and on-the-job training also involve an opportunity to identify attractive talents who could make career in our service.


In addition to summer jobs, Orion has developed the Phase 1 summer job programme, which offers possibilities to dozens of students approaching the completion of their studies to gain hands-on experience in the fields of natural, pharmaceutical, technical or economical sciences.

Introduction into work

Supervisors are responsible for organising an adequate induction process for new employees, those starting in new roles and those returning from extended absences. Some organisations have particular employees trained to provide the necessary orientation. A set of documents help to make sure that that all the necessary items are discussed. In the onboarding process we also use Orion eOnboarding, an interactive web-based training programme which offers a comprehensive package of information about the Orion Group’s strategy, products, operations and functions, organisation and people, operational codes and practices and the business environment. The service is accessible for all employees, offering them the chance to update their knowledge and understanding of the company and the working environment.

Ensuring competences. Talent management:
We develop professional and leadership skills

Our aim is for the Group’s employees to have the skills and the competencies required for the implementation of our strategy. Supervisors are also responsible for ensuring that everyone in their organisation is familiar with Orion’s strategy and objectives, the department-level objectives derived from them as well as personal objectives. They also play a key role in the competence development of the organisation and the staff, which is why we continually invest in the quality and skills of our supervisors. Certainly, we also expect every individual employee to take responsibility for his or her own professional development.

Corporate level competence requirements derived from the strategy are determined annually in the People Day meeting of senior managers. The corresponding requirements of operational units and functions are determined by their management teams, and the requirements for departments and individual tasks are determined at departments and in the Succeeding together! discussions (generally known as Appraisal Discussions). In these occasions, the level of know-how is also assessed and the development needs are defined.   

Competence development starts from our strategy and goals and the task-specific requirements derived from them. The planning starts from the Group’s strategy and goals: what kind of skills and competence do we need for both short-term and long-term success. The strategic focus is on leadership and management skills, partnership management, business and financial skills and continuous improvement.

Means of developing supervisory skills include a Group-level training programme, As a leader in Orion, in which supervisors receive comprehensive training on their personal management skills and which also helps to assure that the Group’s values and the Orion way of management is adopted. Supervisory training is provided to all supervisors in all countries. This is how the Orion management culture, policies and principles are equally implemented in all locations throughout the Group. Training is organised both in Finnish and in English, and it is mandatory for all managers in the Orion Group in all countries.

In addition to their ordinary professional skills, persons working in specialist positions also need many kinds of general abilities, such as an understanding of business, communication, collaboration, interaction and networking skills. To enhance these assets, among others, the As a Specialist in Orion training programme has been developed and is organised on an annual basis.

Persons in supervisory and specialist positions also receive Orion-tailored training in thematic issues which relate to the key competencies identified as strategic, such as leadership, business understanding, partnership management and continuous management or LEAN.

In addition to the training sessions aimed at all supervisors and specialists, we arrange high-quality supple­mentary training in business and leadership to middle and top management. 

Most of our training is aimed at professional development on a wide scale, for which purpose we provide a wide range of development opportunities, from one-day seminars to long-term training programmes and supplementary training periods. Some of our training courses are compulsory, like for instance the internal supervisor training and many GMP and EHS-related courses.



Database helps us manage our employees' competence and training history

The employees’ professional skills are a key element in securing the quality and safety of the products, as is the regulatory com­pliance of the manufacturing process. The regulatory requirement provides that all those employees whose performance directly or indirectly affects the quality or the safety of a medicine shall receive regular GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) training and that conclusively traceable documen­tation is   available on their compe­tence, training history and familiari­sation with the guidance concerning required operational practices. Our training data system helps us manage the compe­tence require­ments of individual tasks in our Supply Chain and Quality operations as well as information on the employees’ qualifications and training history, with precise documentation.  


We also encourage our employees to develop their skills using the various methods of professional development. Our toolbox for the development of skills and competence includes, for example, job rotation, 360 and 180-degree evaluations and the annexed feedback discussions, mentoring, learning at work and coaching.

In addition to the many internal training offerings, our employees are encouraged to study alongside work independently. Sponsorship from Orion can be awarded for such studies when, e.g., the education supports the employee in his/her current work or the changing requirements of the job. Subject to certain conditions, an employee can receive sponsorship from Orion for longer educational training, such as an MBA or academic post-graduate studies.       

We apply 360 and 180-degree evaluations in Orion across the board as tools for developing competences. In the 360-degree evaluation, supervisors receive personal feedback from their subordinates, colleagues and their own supervisor. In addition, representatives of our external partners can be asked to give feedback with the purpose of supporting the development of strategic partner collaboration. Employees in expert positions receive 180-degree feedback from their supervisors and colleagues. Team leaders acting with no formal supervisory position are also evaluated using a questionnaire. 

The purpose of our Talent Management process is to promote every employee’s career opportunities and development possibilities and to ensure that we have enough people with the ability to renew and change. Personal career and development wishes shall be discussed with the supervisor in the Succeeding together! discussion, for example. The management teams in the operational units and functions shall discuss the wishes of the respective organisations on an annual basis, and furthermore shall identify persons capable of supporting the company’s success and renewal. At the annual People Day event senior management shall assess Orion’s renewability and generally discuss the job rotation and career opportunities offered by the company.

Performance is reviewed and targets are set in the Succeeding Together! Discussions

Performance reviews are conducted as a standard in the Orion Group, and the entire workforce is subject to them. The supervisors shall conduct personal performance reviews with their subordinates at least once a year as part of the “Succeeding Together!” discussions. In certain cases, the Discussion can take place in the form of a group discussion. As a general rule, white-collar employees and exempts hold the discussion in private with their supervisor.

In the Succeeding Together! discussions we emphasise equality and good interaction with others. In the discussions, goals are agreed upon and monitored and the employee’s achievements in the past period are discussed as are the aspects where improvement is needed, and the skills necessary for successful performance are also considered. Concrete actions to promote skills and/or well-being at work are also agreed upon. In evaluating the past period, we also discuss how the Group’s values and management principles have been met at work and in the working community as a whole. In addition to this, we create a culture of continuous feedback, which we regard as an important tool for operational development and a learning organisation.

The performance review sessions of the exempts include an assessment of the employee’s performance in relation to the objectives set for the year in the previous review for the purpose of the performance-based bonus, and new personal and department or project-specific targets are agreed upon together with the supervisor.

We reward good performance

We encourage our employees to achieve good results and commit to the company for the long term using various means of rewarding them. Rewarding shall be fair and in line with the Group-level principles. Salaries and employee benefits are country-specific and vary depending on national legislation, collective agreements, industry, location and the salary levels and remuneration structures of each country.

Monetary incentives and other employee benefits shall be of a sufficient level and scope to be competitive in comparison with the market salary of each position. Personal salary is determined based on the complexity of the duties and the individual’s performance. Productivity, expertise, multiple talents, ambition to develop, initiative and cooperation skills are considered when assessing an employee’s individual performance.

Occupational health, safety and well-being:
We promote health & safety and well-being at work

By taking care of the occupational health, safety and well-being of staff at work, we aim to ensure that each employee is fit for work and is not exposed to occupational diseases by minimising and managing health risks. We want to provide our employees with a healthy and safe working environment and a smoothly functioning working community, which is characterised by an inspiring working atmosphere, good management and motivating colleagues.

We are committed to continuously improving our performance in sustainability, and have set two key performance indicators (KPIs) related to occupational health, safety and well-being to monitor the progress and the fulfilment of our Group-level strategic objectives.

  • One of them is LTI 1 (lost time incident rate 1), which measures the workplace injury rate as the proportion of working hours lost due to injuries leading to an absence of 1 or more days of the total actual working hours. Our target for 2017 was set at “less than 4”. Naturally, the aim is to work towards a year with no incidents at all, since no one should get hurt in the workplace.
  • The other metric indicates our ability to enhance our employees’ working ability, measuring it as the proportion of the total hours of absenteeism due to illness of the total theoretical number of working hours. 

Accordingly, our occupational safety and well-being activities focus on the prevention of hazardous situations and occupational diseases and injuries. Well-being actions at work also aim to promote and support the working and functioning capacities of each Orionee.

In accordance with our EHS Policy, our occupational health and safety activities are managed with the guiding principle of continuous improvement. The practices applied in the management and development of occupational health and safety are determined in the Group’s EHS Management System. The EHS Management System is built upon the principles set out in the ISO standards and that, in addition to occupational health and safety comprises also the environmental affairs. In the EHS Management System, procedures are determined for predicting, preventing and identifying nonconformities and exceptional situations potentially hazardous to environment, occupational health or safety, and corrective actions to be taken. Emergency response procedures are featured in the description of environmental management approach.

In 2017, a Group-wide occupational safety network was set up and we have been working on several programmes especially to enhance the Group's safety culture. Systematic assessments of the workplace, processes, working conditions and methods and the associated risks are carried out by the occupational health and work safety organisations in order to continuously develop working conditions and safety. In addition, we also develop our own practices and models to improve our risk management processes. Training sessions are a part of an active safety culture and play an important role in the prevention of accidents. In 2017, we have made a better and more efficient use of online training and short digital occupational safety sessions. These have been well accepted and are considered an effective way of communicating.

Our aim is to help our employees to maintain their working ability, be healthy at work and avoid occupational illnesses. We offer our employees more comprehensive occupational health services than those required by law. Employees are given health check-ups depending on their age group to evaluate their fitness for work and to determine any need for measures to enhance it.

The operational models for Early support, Treatment practices for the occupational healthcare for musculo-skeletal and mental disorders as well as for the management of ageing employees are examples of the ways via which we promote well-being at work and enable the risks of disability to be better managed. Managing difficult situations is our model for facilitating and accelerating the analysis and resolution of conflict situations in the working community, as well as for following up the success of the solution. 

Preventive occupational health activities include guidance, consultation and support, both to individual employees and working communities, to maintain their ability to work and function and to manage everyday life, as well as workplace surveys relating to health and safety.

We also encourage our employees to take care of their personal well-being. Employees can, e.g., take part in numerous recreational activities put on by staff clubs supported by the Company, participate in company-sponsored gyms and exercise in the Company’s fitness facilities. Sponsored culture vouchers can be used for sports and cultural activities. We also have a recreation area and cottages in Finland, where employees and their families can spend their free time. As an important factor of daily well-being, we consider high-quality workplace catering as one of our priorities.

In addition to the two KPIs monitoring the fulfilment of our Group-level strategic objectives, we monitor our progress towards our health and well-being objectives with the help of a variety of other indicators, such as the response received from employee surveys. Particular attention is paid to absences due to musculo-skeletal problems.

Well-being at work is a sum of many factors

The well-being actions at work are versatile measures to develop the working communities and promote the capabilities of individuals to work and function. We are developing measures for well-being at work to meet the varied needs of working life. We have defined what we mean by employee well-being at Orion as follows:

  • Well-being at Orion means that employees are able to do work matching their competences, with a feeling of doing valuable, rewarding, inspiring and meaningful work in a well-managed, safe and coequal working community and environment.
  • Well-being at work is carried out and enhanced with co-operation from the management, superiors and every Orionee

  • Under the principles of well-being, an employee feels comfortable, is active, has stamina and is energetic both at work and at home, and can deal with both change and misfortune.



Management responsibilities in Environmental, Health and Safety

In the Orion Group, the conformity of operations with the EHS System is coordinated by the Director for EHS and Facility Management, and the EHS organisation with its EHS Specialists reporting to him. He reports to the Senior Vice President, Supply Chain, who is a member of the Group’s Executive Management Board. A safety manager who reports to the President of Fermion coordinates EHS activities in Fermion. EHS activities in Orion Diagnostica are also coordinated by a safety manager. Both Fermion and Orion Diagnostica’s safety managers are members of the Group-wide safety network. Some of the core tasks of the EHS organisation in promoting occupational health and safety include, among other things, participating in the preparation of continuous improvement programmes, external and internal EHS audits, guidelines and training, following up on safety observations and subsequent corrective actions, risk assessments, investigating incidents causing injury, EHS reporting and internal communications about EHS affairs.

Occupational Health Services belongs to the HR services organisation headed by the Vice President, Human Resources, who reports to the Senior Vice President, Corporate Functions, the latter being a member of the Group’s Executive Management Board. 

Occupational Health and Safety Delegates supervise and monitor occupational safety at our operational sites. They report to Production Managers.   

The local site managers are responsible for arranging operations at the operational site in accordance with the EHS Management System.

Supervisors shall take care of the safety of their subordinates as well as occupational safety guidelines and the necessary safety training. Supervisors shall also make sure that shortcomings in safety at the workplace are fixed.

As mandated by Finnish legislation, our Finnish units have so-called occupational health and safety committees in which all blue-collar and white-collar workers, i.e. approximately 59% of the total Finnish workforce, are represented.

Environmental, health and safety guidance and training

The general guidelines and principles concerning corporate safety and safe working are provided in the Group’s Corporate Governance Manual, the Orion Management Guide and the Orion Security Guide as well as in more detailed function and location-specific guidelines. Task-specific aspects of safety are observed in the SOPs (standard operating procedure) defined in detail for individual tasks and work phases. All EHS guidelines are maintained in our internal information systems, which are accessible to all employees in the Group.

Training is part of active EHS culture and plays an important role. We emphasise the importance of each employee being aware of the health and safety risks that are involved in their duties, as well as how to avoid them. All employees are required to follow the safety instructions and act without posing a risk to either their own safety and/or that of other employees, and without causing damage to the company’s property. We also encourage employees to report their observations of hazards to help manage potential risks. To ensure that staff act correctly and appropriately, we arrange regular training sessions as part of our good safety and security practices to avoid and prevent hazardous events, not only on the job but also anywhere else in the workplace.

Employee-employer relations and staff empowerment

Orion takes the opinions of employees into consideration in the decision-making process regarding human resources and imple­menting decisions related to human resources. Employee representatives mainly take part in preparing new practices or implementing changes to existing ones. In addition to mandatory employer-employee forums, our supervisors and HR department have regular informal meetings with employees and employee representatives. A good example of successful collaboration was the decision to make Orion a completely smoke-free workplace by 2018 which was successfully accomplished and which was initiated by the employee representatives. 

Employee representation in the Group management is as a general rule agreed upon with employees. There is one employee representative on Orion’s Executive Management Board, who is nominated by the staff groups. The representative however is not a member of the Executive Management Board. There are also employee representatives in the management teams of operational units and functions.

The Group appreciates the work and purpose of trade unions and employee representatives and collaborates with them with respect and openness.

Staff surveys help us identify the need for further development

With the help of regular staff surveys, we identify our strengths and need for development in terms of the implementation of our strategy. The staff survey is conducted Group-wide in every country in which we employ staff. The survey is an important tool for the development of working communities and for the collaboration between employees and management. Orion’s executive management is strongly committed to not only conducting the survey but also to implementing measures for improvement which have been agreed upon based on the results. The high response rates show that the employees also consider the survey to be important. Our staff survey is called Succeeding together! – the survey was conducted in spring 2017 and the response rate across the entire Orion Group was 85%.

In addition to the employee surveys, we occasionally conduct more limited enquiries, surveys and mappings of topics where it is important to learn more or hear the employees’ opinions in order to include them in the decision-making. We also follow the results of certain regular employer image surveys conducted by external research companies.  

Complementary references in the Sustainability section of our corporate website:

Human Resources Policy

EHS Policy

Code of Conduct

Expectations towards suppliers

Our practices in approving suppliers

Anti-corruption Policy