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Finavia employees: A long journey with Finavia – change and variety for more than 30 years

Article published
30.8.2023 at 16:10
Finavian henkilöstöjohtaja Kaarina Soikkanen
People & Aviation
Fast-paced work in a constantly changing industry and with different people has added variety to the work of Personnel Director Kaarina Soikkanen over her long career at Finavia.

“I joined Finavia as a Counsel for negotiating collective agreements right after my parental leave for my second child, at the age of 28. It was 1988, and at that time Finavia was still the National Board of Aviation under the Ministry of Transport. In the early 1990s, it was turned into an unincorporated state enterprise.

My professional skills and field of work have developed hand in hand with Finavia. From the beginning, I negotiated many different collective agreements, because, already at that time, the National Board of Aviation agreed on many things locally. I was also involved in the organisation of our subsidiary Airpro from the beginning, supporting its personnel side and drafting its first collective agreement.

In the late 1990s, air traffic really began to increase. The Civil Aviation Administration had to be able to respond to airlines’ increased need for services through more flexible collective agreements. At that time, my role changed from a Counsel to a Senior Legal Adviser and my responsibilities increased.

In 2008, I was appointed Personnel Director. Two years after my appointment, Finavia was incorporated, which introduced the development needs and challenges of the corporate world to my work. The work also became even more interesting. The requirements related to supervisory work and personnel development increased, but Finavia was also required to react quickly to the financial situation and changes in the operating environment.

During Finavia’s time as a corporation, I have had to conduct several cooperation and change negotiations, of which there were significantly fewer during Finavia’s time as an unincorporated state enterprise. The situation was especially tough during the COVID-19 crisis. The collapse in air traffic was unprecedented. More than 90% of Finavia’s business disappeared in an instant, and we had to temporarily lay off people across our operations.

During the crisis, changes had to be made in many places and, at the same time, we had to ensure the personnel’s coping. People really struggled during this time. Despite the difficult times, most of our employees were truly committed to Finavia and bravely endured the bad times. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have noticed that people’s faith in the future has returned quickly.

Throughout my career, I have wanted to learn new things and adapt to changes in the industry. Work at Finavia has been varied, and the company has been developing continuously. The fast pace and the variety of tasks have kept my mind engaged. I haven’t had the time to get bored. The scope of HR tasks in other industries has seemed very narrow, so I haven’t wanted to leave Finavia to go anywhere else.

I have noticed that Finavia employs a lot of people like me who enjoy continuously facing special situations at work. In air traffic, situations change quickly, so you often can’t take your time when working on things. Quick responses are required.

In addition to the changing work environment, people are the most rewarding part of my work. I have a nice work community and great colleagues. I also get to interact with a wide range of people who work in different operations at airports. I value that.

Finavia has a lot of tasks that no other Finnish company has. I don’t think I would have enjoyed working this long in a less varied environment.

Even after 35 years, my everyday work still inspires me. Almost anything becomes interesting when I can delve into it. I even like reporting. I enjoy working under pressure, and I like that I have several things going on at the same time. Sometimes my working days are long, but I have never been into working around the clock. Nowadays, when all three of my children are adults, I can stretch my working day more freely, but I always take time for myself as well. I have always enjoyed my work and my life, even though there have also been difficult times.”

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Finavia employees