Forward for managers

Jun 21, 2023

Forward for Managers (FFM) is an interactive learning experience designed to deepen managerial skills through role play, peer learning and practical examples. FFM was renewed and launched in 2022 to re-engage the manager community and train the manager role. FFM is delivered as two intensive day-long sessions spaced at least 3 months apart. We aim to have all managers complete the training by the end of 2023.

The focus of the first session is on Valmet’s way forward, annual clock and manager role. The second session focuses on the skills needed to lead according to the 3 key areas of the manager role, driving performance, boosting engagement and supporting development. Example topics covered in the trainings include communicating strategy, communicating change, setting smart targets, recognition and rewarding, feedback, coaching, and engagement. Cases are an important part of the trainings and the cases used in each session are pre-selected by the local trainers for a more tailored and impactful learning experience. The case selection was updated in 2022 to include themes/topics emerging in recent years such as remote work, wellbeing and diversity and inclusion.

Active dialogue deepens the learning

The forward for managers training encourages active discussion between managers, which deepens the learning. 

FFM deepens knowledge of the manager’s role, gives new tools for better managerial work, and provides the opportunity to learn and practice with colleagues from different parts of the organization. By delivering the program in the same format across the world, we ensure all managers have the same understanding of the manager’s role and responsibilities. In the sessions, managers work in small teams using materials, which are designed to encourage involvement and engagement. By being actively engaged in meaningful dialogue with colleagues, participants gain confidence and understand how to successfully lead and engage with their teams. 

Good managers lead to more engaged teams

FFM strongly supports the strategic objectives set out in Valmet’s Winning Team Must-Win of Boosting engagement and performance and Continuing the globalization of our capabilities. Especially in today’s active talent market, it’s important to give managers the tools to better retain, develop and engage with their team members, to be able to serve customers in the best possible way. Better leadership leads to higher engagement, lower attrition, and higher overall performance – all of which have a direct impact on the business result.

FFM strengthens managerial skills consistently across Valmet. Although we’ve seen continued improvement in many managerial skills as measured in our latest OurVoice engagement surveys, the question related to managers as role models for our values is still behind the global industry norm and thus highlights the need for continuous development. 

The target is to reach all Valmet managers by the end of the year. By training the different parts of the manager role we aim to boost engagement, drive performance and support the develop of teams across the company.    

Measuring engagement means measuring success

The key metrics for the program are 1) % favorable scores for employee engagement as measured in our OurVoice survey 2) Exit survey results for manager-specific questions related to work-life balance, feedback, role fit. etc and 3) Manager engagement with people processes: target setting (% of employees had regular performance reviews) and evaluating potential (% of all white-collar employees had their potential evaluated by managers) 4) % managers completing the program.  


Participant takeaways

Everyone contributes to Valmet's way forward; engage the team and take time to plan the team's way forward.

Clear communication of Valmet values and role of manager when it comes to individual development is important.

Communicate strategy, mission, values and Must-Wins to the team so that they understand are able to translate and apply them to their work concretely.