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Positive change in workplaces is possible

The working life in Finland is better than its reputation might suggest. Many work communities are developing their practices amid major changes to the world of employment and are also ready to share their expertise.


This became apparent this spring when 99 excellent applicants applied for the Working Life Prize that is being awarded for the last time this year. Nine workplaces were chosen from among the applicants, and Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, presented the prizes at the award ceremony in Helsinki on 9 May.

Awards of 10,000 euros were received by Anninpirtti from Sastamala, Tupahoiva Oy from Sastamala and Mustijoen perusturva, offering child-protection services in Mäntsälä and Pornainen. Awards of 15,000 euros were received by Maustaja Oy from Pyhäntä, South Karelia rescue department, Järvi-Saimaan Palvelut Oy from Sulkava, Skanska Oy’s unit in Tampere, the University of Turku and the city of Joensuu.

The city of Joensuu was selected as the most inspiring applicant in a public vote, and they were also honoured at the ceremony. The most popular applicant in the public vote received an extra bonus of 10,000 euros. The good practices recommended by the Working Life Prize winners have been collected on this website and are available to all (in Finnish).

What the award-winning workplaces have in common is that they wanted to do things better than before. Their personnel have the permission and responsibility to act in the best way possible and to carry out their ideas, and the management has given their strong support to and shown trust in the development work. Together they made a change. The attitude taken to the development work has been “let’s do it” rather than “it won’t work anyway”.

This is the last time the Working Life Prize is being awarded, and all assets of the fixed-term fund have then been divided as recognitions to distinguished promoters of working life. The prize was awarded for the first time in 2008 and four times since then. It is funded by a grant from the Fund for the Working Life Prize, established by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Sitra. The Finnish Work Environment Fund also participates in selecting the workplaces to be honoured. The President of Finland is the patron of the prize.

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