“I value strong co-operation skills”

Hannu Tuulensuu works as Fennovoima’s Nuclear Safety Design Manager. In this interview he is talking about his team, management style and most important qualities for experts.

Hannu, can you tell me about the role of your unit at Fennovoima?

It’s the Plant Safety Unit in the Nuclear Safety and Licensing Department. Our main task is to ensure that nuclear safety is a priority in the plant design. To do it, we are making different evaluations and assessments of the design. We have about fifteen people working in three teams: Nuclear Safety Design, Deterministic Safety Analysis and Nuclear Fuel.

Sometimes you have open positions. What will you pay attention to when you get CVs of applicants?

There is no requirement of native Finnish as the company language is English. This means that foreigners are also welcome to apply. What’s important for our experts, is the deep knowledge of Finnish legislation and YVL guides and at least five years of technical expertise in the respective nuclear field. Also, my unit has a very close connection to the Supplier. So, what I really value in people is strong co-operation skills. We may have different opinions, but we need to be able to listen and understand another viewpoint. Then we may see the reasoning behind it. On the other hand, if a person sees a real problem, they should have the courage to say out loud that something is not good. Also, when we are evaluating documents, we can come across different issues. Then it’s important not just to highlight such problems, but participate actively in solving them. This “problem-solving” attitude is needed.

Let’s talk about you as a manager. How would you characterize your management style?

I try to be close to people so that it’s easy for them to come and speak with me. Also, I try to adjust my ways and check if people need more guidance and discussions or, on the contrary, they prefer to have a short chat and then work on their own. At personal development discussions I even ask if they want more or less involvement from me and then adjust.

How do you act if someone does not perform their tasks as you expected?

Then we meet and go through the tasks. It’s not my “comfort zone” to give critical feedback because in the Finnish working culture we don’t have that strict hierarchy. Still, sometimes I have to be strict. For instance, I urge everyone to follow deadlines. Also, I encourage people to speak openly when they see that there is too much workload, then I can redistribute the tasks if needed. Still, it’s not my style to sit behind reviewers controlling what they are doing.

I know that you have quite a workload… In general, what can you say about work-life balance in the company?

Well, despite the peaks in workload, I have no issues if people take longer lunch or coffee breaks as long as they perform their tasks well. We work in a project, and sometimes we may have a lot of work and sometimes less work. Everyone at Fennovoima can work flexible hours. In practice, people can work sometimes longer days, but then take some hours or days off when they want.

Still, I’d like to keep it so that people manage to do their tasks during the 7.5-hour working day. The way I see it, people need to get enough rest in order to be efficient.

Do you have any team-building activities?

Yes, once or twice a year. This year we did some wall-climbing, then visited Amos Rex museum and had a dinner together. Also, we take part at Fennovoima Sports Club and Culture club activities, Christmas party and other informal events. The company has a lot of benefits aimed at healthy lifestyle and well-being of people.

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Katarina Culham

Katarina Culham believes in shared expertise and learning from others