The Working Life Prize was awarded for the last time this year. The theme of 2017’s open call was willpower. The experiences of the nine finalists have been collected to form a series of examples for reforming working life.


What's going on?


The Finnish Working Life Prize aims to rouse work communities into looking at and developing their operations through inspiring examples. Persistent efforts to improve well-being at work increases productivity, improves the quality of products and services, and reduces the number of sickness-related absences in workplaces.

In 2017, the prize will be awarded to workplaces that have the willpower to promote well-being at work and in which people enjoy their work and problems are solved in a constructive manner. The award-winning workplaces will promote, for example, lifelong learning, the development of skills, ways of coping at work and thus longer working careers – whatever the age range of the staff. They may be recognised for a procedure, a best practice or a social innovation that the work community has managed to implement successfully in practice.

What do we do?

The Working Life Prize was be awarded for the last time 9 May 2017. The theme of the open call was willpower. Nine workplaces were presented with an award. The general public could also vote for the most inspiring work community. Each prize is worth a 10,000-15,000 euros.

Following the opinion of the Finnish Work Environment Fund, the decision on who received the prize was be made by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Sitra, the founders of the Fund for the Working Life Prize. The President of Finland is the patron of the prize.

Where are we now?

The theme in 2017 was willpower. We were looking for examples of how people can successfully adjust to the changing world through their own action.

The criteria for the prize are as follows.

  • We seek effectiveness
    The benefits of the activities are clear and have been proven (for example, increased competence, a positive atmosphere, finding employment or activities that promote work ability).
  • We encourage innovative approaches
    Award-winning stories about a procedure, a best practice or a social innovation encourage other people to be innovative and strive for a future that is better financially and in terms of quality. Attitude and examples may inspire others, even if the way to do things in practice cannot be directly transferred to another organisation.
  • We look for enthusiastic spokespersons
    The representatives of the work community are enthusiastic about telling their story openly to other people and spreading the message actively.


  • The call opened for Finnish work communities between 2 January and 15 February 2017.
  • A working group consisting of specialists from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Sitra interviewed some of the applicants based on their applications.
  • Based on the applications and interviews, the working group gave its proposal to the Board of the Fund for the Working Life Prize (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Sitra and the Finnish Work Environment Fund), which chose the finalists.
  • The stories and experiences of the 9 finalists were crystallised for a public vote.
  • Which example will inspire others to develop working life? The general public had opportunity to vote for the most inspiring work community, between 20 April and 5 May.
  • The prizes were be presented at an event related to work well-being on 9 May 2017.

Who participates?

The Fund for the Working Life Prize was established by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Sitra. The initial capital was 300,000 euros. Sitra and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have increased it in equal shares, and the Ministry allocated the amount of 150,000 euros, a grant to Finland by the Carl Bertelsmann foundation, to this prize. The funds are administrated by Sitra. The intention is to use the funds by the end of 2017.

What have we achieved?

Since 2008, the prize has been awarded four times to a work community or a person who has increased well-being at work among ageing employees and promoted longer working careers. The previous award-winning workplaces managed to sustain jobs and support ageing employees to continue working.

The previous recipients of the Working Life Prize are:

  • 2008 Professor Juhani Ilmarinen
  • 2010 Ruoka-Saarioinen Oy’s Sahalahti factory and jointly the Technology Industries of Finland and the Finnish Metalworkers Union
  • 2013 Berner Oy
  • 2015 Pipelife Finland Oy and the city of Kankaanpää
  • 2017
    Anninpirtti from Sastamala
    Tupahoiva Oy from Sastamala
    Mustijoen perusturva, offering child-protection services in Mäntsälä and Pornainen
    Maustaja Oy from Pyhäntä
    South Karelia rescue department
    Järvi-Saimaan Palvelut Oy from Sulkava
    Skanska Oy’s unit in Tampere
    The University of Turku
    The city of Joensuu.


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