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The Wellbeing Map project run jointly by the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences (JAMK), Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia and Central Finland Entrepreneurs creates new skills for managing the wellbeing and work abilities of individuals and organizations. About 500 entrepreneurs and companies from Central Finland have already been involved in the development project.

The Wellbeing Map is made up of five different program modules: wellbeing mapping and wellbeing dates, personal wellbeing coaching for entrepreneurs, group coaching for sole operators, group coaching for work ability management and the productization of the Wellbeing Map service. At the heart of development is the creation of practices that maintain work ability.

– For example, the center of many entrepreneurs’ work is their own personalities – which is why taking care of their own wellbeing should be part of their business strategy, says Essi Määttä, the Wellbeing Specialist of Central Finland Entrepreneurs.

Demand for work ability management coaching

Ms. Määttä is involved not only in the wellbeing coaching module for entrepreneurs but also in work ability management coaching for larger companies. The latter has had about 15 participant companies in two different coaching groups.

Essi Määttä, the Wellbeing Specialist at Central Finland Entrepreneurs.

– The first pilot group of work ability management gave us a magnificent start to the project. Among participants were companies that had won awards in wellbeing and work ability issues that shared their know-how and good practices with other companies. At the same time, they provided a good basis for the development of work ability management and new practices, Määttä says.

– The feedback from the participants has been very good. Everyone across the board has gained new knowledge and perspectives on work ability management. Not just theory, but also peer learning from other organizations.

At the moment, every participant is implementing their chosen practices in their everyday work.

Networks and tools the best takeaways

Paytrail from Jyväskylä is one of the companies that participated in group coaching for work ability management. Nina Laurila, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, says the expansion of her network is the most important contribution from the Wellbeing Map project.

– In the Central Finland region, many HR experts do their work alone. Through the project, I made new sparring friends in my network, and between us, we can share experiences and learn from each other. The support of the project leaders was also a golden opportunity, Laurila says.

Laurila is also satisfied with the concrete work ability management tools.

– Working to plan and being systematic are important elements in HR work. We got ready-made templates to start building a work ability management plan all the way to a practical level.

Partners contribute to work ability management

One of Laurila’s tasks at Paytrail is to build smooth HR processes for the company. Technology and external expertise are also used in work ability management.

– In most companies, work ability is managed and measured in close cooperation with occupational health. However, occupational health is not always able to solve all problems, so it is a good idea to create more comprehensive HR processes and build a wider network that helps take into account different situations, Laurila says.

– For example, we introduced the Firstbeat Life service for everyone who wants to monitor their own workload and recovery. Our long-term partner Kaisa Wallinheimo from Lewell interprets both individual and team-specific results with us. As an experienced expert, she knows when the results might require stronger interference.

Nina Laurila, Head of HR at Paytrail.

If the challenges are related to mental wellbeing, the employee can be referred to a short therapy program called Auntie with five psychologist appointments.

– Since we humans are entities, the employer should also support the wellbeing of their employees holistically. Auntie helps through conversation therapy if, for example, a loved one gets sick or there are problems in the domestic relationship. We have been really satisfied with the service, Laurila says.

In addition to well-functioning processes, Laurila emphasizes listening to people as well as the importance of support from the work community and the role of the manager-employee relationship.

– Companies should invest in building community in the workplace. People feel better when they don’t have to be perfect all the time but can rely on a genuinely caring manager and work community, even if they are experiencing challenging times in their private lives. The strength and support of the community is the most important thing.

The Wellbeing Map is an ESF-funded project to be implemented in Central Finland, on the basis of which a new model for developing the wellbeing at work of entrepreneurs and companies will be commercialized. This joint project of JAMK, Gradia and Central Finland Entrepreneurs will be completed in October 2022.