"Jobilla has opened up a whole new world for us. We've met candidates we didn't even know existed."
Ponsse makes the world's best forest machines for the world's best customers, says the introduction. The pompous opening is not just a figure of speech: the international giant, which has grown from a family business, is the winner of the Finnish reputation survey for the fourth year in a row.
Ponsse's human resources specialist Arto Oksman's key job is to secure machine manufacturing by being involved in recruitment and supporting the managers in their challenges to find new skilled workers for Ponsse.
"We had used several others" – says Arto, listing all the most used services in Finland – "We had Oikotie, Duunitori, Monster, even print media, our Facebook and Instagram - you name it! But with that kind of implementation, nothing before."
The cooperation between Ponsse and Jobilla was outlined over time. "Building trust is important, for example, in a relationship, but also in business.", Arto explains. He was impressed that Jobilla's salesperson did not push too hard for solutions, but was genuinely interested in the customer's needs, the business and how Jobilla could help Ponsse.
A Variety of Approaches Had Been Tried
Arto saw something in Jobilla's way of working that could be of real benefit to Ponsse. They had never used a similar service before. "We had used several others" – says Arto, listing all the most used services in Finland – "We had Oikotie, Duunitori, Monster, even print media, our Facebook and Instagram - you name it! But with that kind of implementation, nothing before."
Arto saw a niche in the service and tried to sell the idea in-house - "repeatedly failing", Arto laughs. At the same time, however, recruitment challenges were growing.
The Problem That Needed a Solution
Ponsse's customer service centres in the provinces and their service operations had proved to be hard recruitments to hire. They provide services such as maintenance, sales, spare parts sales and, in some cases, support activities. Arto explains that it was discovered that although Ponsse is very well known in their main region during the recruitment process, the same level of recognition and branding can't be taken for granted elsewhere. "We don't meet the people who are connected to our work and expertise. An employee may not realise that we are also in their neighbourhood, or if they do, they may not see it as a relevant option to work there."
Typically, if you were looking for workers outside the Savo region to become fitters using Ponsse's own way of recruitment, you would receive between four and eight applicants. "So, in practice, the shed was pretty much empty every time we left," Arto says. A Savoese twinkle in his eye and apt metaphors pop out every now and then in his easygoing speech. "These recruitments rarely lead to a hire. At the same time, we also used recruitment agencies, which helped us with recruitment and perhaps got us some people. But then, of course, the level of costs was bad for us. They were not cheap solutions."
Good Experience Made the Difference
As the situation became more complex, the impetus to try a new recruitment approach finally came from an unexpected source: someone with previous experience of using Jobilla came to work for Ponse. "She told me that they had achieved great results with Jobilla in the care sector", says Arto. As a result, they decided to try the new service with a three-campaign package.
We got not only quantity but also quality. Quantity is not of value if it doesn't correlate with quality, but in this case, we got both.
The Jobilla trial started with recruitment in the service centres. "In the first recruitment, we were blown away!" says Arto. "We were wondering, how could we get so easily dozens of applicants during a campaign when our own recruitment had actually got half a dozen. And we got not only quantity but also quality. Quantity is not of value if it doesn't correlate with quality, but in this case, we got both."
The New Way of Recruiting is Reflected in a Change of Approach
Jobilla is now used for recruitments where the in-house recruitment does not produce candidates. The new way of recruiting has led to changes in internal practices. Arto reflects on the changes he has observed and the reasons behind them: "Jobilla makes the recruiting manager responsible for recruitment, compared to our own recruitment, which is a strongly HR-driven process. Jobilla's way of recruiting is strongly both a manager and HR-driven process. The manager has to find the time to manage the recruitment process. Some of the managers are really enthusiastic about this and think it is great that they too can be genuinely involved in the recruitment process. Of course, HR is driving the process, but the managers have an even bigger role to play in using Jobilla."
Now the managers follow applications even during the application period and actively interview candidates along the way.
The enthusiasm of managers for recruitment is reflected in the changed practices. Whereas in the past, applications were only followed after the closing date – partly due to the low number of applicants – now the managers follow applications even during the application period and actively interview candidates along the way.
If we get 50 applicants with Jobilla's recruitment and 5 with our own recruitment, there is bound to be someone with potential in those 50 people.
From the first campaign, Ponsse immediately took responsibility for improving the in-house process to make the new software as a part of the recruitment system. Since both Ponsse's own recruitment system and Jobilla's system are in use, Arto takes care of entering the data into the necessary software on behalf of the selected person. This makes recruitment easier and more applicant-friendly for candidates.
Reasonable Costs And a Unique Value-Adding Product
Arto sees that Jobilla's strengths are a great product and reasonable costs. The partnership is not too expensive, and from a financial and performance perspective, the choice is easy to justify in-house: "If we get 50 applicants with Jobilla's recruitment and 5 with our own recruitment, there is bound to be someone with potential in those 50 people," says Arto. In addition, the software is free for everyone.
He also sees advertising and measurability as a strong area in the service. Jobilla is very transparent, and the managers can easily monitor how the different aspects of recruitment are working. Jobilla's software also helps the employer to follow how Ponsse is perceived and experienced by people. The different aspects of measurability are therefore followed with great interest at Ponsse. A good employer image is one of Ponsse's most cherished prides and joys.
Working with a Big Success Story Is an Achievement
Arto is offered dozens of different services every week. He sees that working with Ponsse is a privilege of the few. It takes something that genuinely delivers value to the partner. Reasonable costs make long-term cooperation possible.
The results are the only thing that matters.
Cooperation between Ponsse and Jobilla means mutual listening and dialogue. Problem areas are discussed, and solutions are considered in an open and confidential atmosphere. The way of thinking about recruitment has changed at Ponsse with Jobilla. "The worst thing you can do is get stuck in the present," Arto points out. "You can always try something new, and if it is seen to work and be good, then you use it. If it doesn't add value, then you should quickly get rid of it. The results are the only thing that matters. I'm sure others will want to copy your approach and perhaps offer a slightly similar concept," Arto says in a business-wise tone, hiding subtle praise for the unique product. At the same time, he highlights the strength of authenticity: "If the product offered by someone else is the same, the threshold to change the product is quite high." He uses the Ponsse machine as an example: "If someone came along and tried to sell a copy of a Ponsse machine, the buyer would very likely think twice about buying it, because it's only a copy."
Currently, three campaigns are waiting to be launched. They will be used when the need arises. Arto would also like to express his appreciation for one aspect of Jobilla, the billing principle. The product purchased is only paid for when it is used. "So, you sell, and you commit to buy, but you only pay when the campaign is done. That's the way it should be."
Comment from Jobilla
It is a privilege to work with a big player and a well-known brand. With Ponsse, it has been natural and easy, and the way things are done is guided by mutual listening and responsiveness and a willingness to respond to challenges in the best possible way. It has been a pleasure to help and support a Finnish company and work in the area we do best so that Ponsse can focus on doing what they do best.