At the end of the year 2016 altogether 623 employees worked in Bittium in Finland, USA, Great Britain and Singapore. The amount of personnel increased by 106 from last year in Finland. Part of the increase in headcount was due to the business acquisition, when Bittium acquired the ownerships of Mega Electronics Ltd. and MegaKoto Ltd in November 2016. The average age of the personnel in Bittium was 41 years. R&D engineers and specialists constituted clearly the largest proportion of the personnel.
Bittiumīs core competences are strong and extensive know-how of radio technology, embedded software, electronics, and product integration. At Bittium the way of working is based on the implementation of Lean and Agile methods. The development of engineering competences has been further supported by virtual competence teams and trainings that are based on the current needs.
In 2016 the main focus of Bittiumīs personnelīs competence development has been in developing the software design process in all software levels and in utilizing the Open Source methods more efficiently. A new focus area has been the implementation of the DevOps operation models, where the aim is to improve the dialogue between R&D operations and to facilitate agile changes in the production phase of the software development. In relation to the digitalization, DevOps is a growing product development model. The development of the model also supports strongly the development of our own personnelīs competences and the adoption of new, fast and agile working methods. During fall 2016 we arranged own Hackathon events where the development of competence and productization were combined in a natural, inspiring way that facilitates innovation. Other important competence development areas were development of information security, especially in software development, utilization of 5G technology, and back- and front-end development.
During 2016 Bittium continued to participate in the DIMECC N4S (Need for Speed) program. In this program, the focus is on more rapid and regular version releases, continuous integration and development of test automation chains, as well as increasing transparency, real time feedback and collecting quality data throughout the whole chain from suppliers to customers. The program is widely utilized in product development and in managing the production chain, which increases productivity and fluency of the work. The results of our employee and customer satisfaction surveys have furthermore improved, which reflects the achievements of the program.
Accelerate, a program where the aim is at creating and maintaining a growth basis for innovations, also continued as a development model in 2016. In the program, the working models and tools for Bittiumīs innovation work were furthermore developed. Through the tool the personnel can share ideas in a transparent easy-to-use forum that enables discussion and co-development. The results of this program received good feedback e.g. at the EU EUREKA clusterīs ITEA Digital Masterclass benchmark forum.
In 2016 we continued to improve leadership skills and wellbeing also through the processes of supervisor work. A new Quarter Chat process was implemented to facilitate good coaching leadership. In this new model of supervisory work the supervisor meets the subordinates more frequently and informally. The enhanced interaction helps in building mutual trust, which enables better and more real time support to work fluency, competence development and wellbeing. The previously used more formal development discussion was removed from the annual clock, but employees can still reserve time for a development discussion with their supervisors whenever it is needed and topical from the competence development point of view. This reform was received well; in a survey carried out in early fall 2016, the general opinion of the persons who had “Quarter Chattedī with their supervisors, was that these discussion had been very useful.
Also the BES 2016 (Bittium Employee survey) result showed, that employees are more satisfied than before with the supervisor work and the companyīs operations in general. The results of the annual employee survey improved significantly already in 2015, and the increase in the scores of all parts of the survey continued moderately also in 2016. Especially the employees felt, that they were better informed of the operations and strategy of the company than before. The survey carried out in October set an all-time record in response rate, 77 percent.