Absences due to illness decreased and job satisfaction rose in 2023

Publication date 15.3.2024 9.17
Press release

The Emergency Response Centre Agency’s financial statements for 2023 are complete. Last year, the number of employee absences due to illness fell, new ERC operators were recruited, and employee satisfaction increased.

At the end of 2023, the Emergency Response Centre Agency had 621 employees, accruing 608 person-workyears due to part-time contracts. The staffing situation improved from the previous year, when 588 person-workyears were done. The increase in staffing was particularly visible in operations rooms, where 60 new ERC operators were recruited during the year.

“One of our goals last year was to increase human resources. We succeeded in this, and I am very happy that we were able to increase the number of personnel in operations rooms in particular,” says Antti Koskela, Human Resources Manager.

Despite a successful recruitment drive, Taito Vainio, Director General of the Emergency Response Centre Agency, adds that there is a constant need for emergency response professionals. Last year, the rate of outgoing permanent staff was 6.4% (2022: 11.1%).

“The number of ERC operators trained annually has not been sufficient to cover the agency’s recruitment needs in recent years. Due to our age structure, we must expand the course size for ERC operator training to safeguard a good standard of service in the future. In addition, we are actively investing in maintaining our employee appeal and retention, as stated in the Government Programme. I am really happy that our outgoing employee rate was only 6.4% last year,” says Vainio.

Absences due to illness decreased

In 2023, the number of working days missed due to illness was 15.6 per employee compared with 19.0 in the previous year. Among operators, absences due to illness came to 17.7 working days per person (2022: 22.2), and the figure for administrative personnel was 7.0 working days per person (2022: 6.2). The slight rise in absences due to illness among administrative personnel was due to some long individual absences.

According to Koskela, several factors and measures contributed to the decrease in absences due to illness. Over the past year, the Emergency Response Centre Agency has invested in occupational wellbeing, coping with work, and recovering from work.

“Last year, we made further efforts to help our personnel cope with their work. We ran various experiments to improve occupational wellbeing, such as closer development between the Emergency Response Centre Agency and the occupational health service. We also introduced a proactive working capacity management approach,” says Koskela.

Proactive working capacity management seeks to enhance employees’ occupational wellbeing. The key is to identify employees’ strengths and working capacity risks and support their working capacity at an early stage.

Satisfied personnel

Each individual operator took as many emergency calls as in the previous year, although the agency’s total number of emergency calls increased by 4 percentage points compared with 2022. The workload was balanced by recruiting new operators and developing networked emergency traffic operations.

Work management among ERC operators also improved last year when semi-automatic answering and hiding the queue view became possible. Work recovery and defusing activities were also developed. The ability of new ERC operators to cope with their work was monitored more closely in collaboration with the occupational health service.

These actions were reflected in satisfied personnel. The results of last year’s job satisfaction survey were significantly better than those of the previous survey. The agency’s overall average score was 3.43, up from 3.25 in 2021. Improvement occurred in every area of the survey, but interaction, communication, work content and opportunities to make a difference saw the biggest improvements.

Aiming for inclusive leadership

The Emergency Response Centre Agency prepared a reform of its management system last year. The agency adopted a new management system on 1 January 2024.

“Our operations are founded on our knowledgeable and healthy personnel. The main target of the new management system is to enable better people management and thus achieve a more interactive agency through employee engagement. I hope that this will reflect positively on our occupational wellbeing and thus also on our 112 service,” says Vainio.

View a summary of the 2023 financial statements (only in finnish).