The Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Education Fund have merged to form the Employment Fund. The objective of this merger is to create an even more pleasant service experience for both individual and employer customers.
The proposal to merge the two funds originally came from labour market organisations. It was only natural that these organisations, whose values, background and funding were very similar, would merge under one name and organisation. However, this merger required a legislative amendment, which was adopted in June 2018. The new fund began operations at the beginning of 2019.
The purpose of this joining of forces was to create a strong and secure fund to take care of the funding of earnings-based unemployment security and the provision of adult education benefits. The fund’s objective is to provide even better service to all its customers – wage earners and employers paying premiums, and the students receiving adult education benefits.
The funds used to have many shared activities, but as one operator, the fund is better able to meet the changes in its operating environment.
All the personnel were invited to take part in the building of the Employment Fund, which was of crucial importance for the smooth implementation of the merger. The personnel of both funds were involved in the merger process right from the start, including the formulation of our new strategy. For example, we organised strategy workshops that were open to everyone, and all ideas were welcomed. These workshops gave us the opportunity to rethink our entire operation.
The idea behind this openness was that we were building a new, shared fund, and our thinking should also be genuinely new. Our personnel were also heard in the forming of our values and visual appearance.
We will be investing in our personnel and the development of our expertise. The recognition and management of expertise will become increasingly important success factors for us. A working community that is larger than previously also provides more opportunities for work rotation and diversification of skills, among other things.
We believe that if our personnel are happy and feel well, they will also provide better customer service. We want our customers to find interaction with us delightful. Doing business with us is also made easier by our investment in digitalisation and online services. Our new strategy states that we want to be a pioneer in the development of customer-driven services. This development naturally requires the input of the entire personnel.
The foundation has now been laid, but the building work for the new fund continues.
Persons applying for a scholarship for qualified employee and adult education allowance will have access to the renewed online customer service from 2 January onwards. At the same time, we will gain access to salary information in the Incomes Register to use in granting adult education allowance.
Lifelong learning and adult education are topical issues not only in Finland but also elsewhere in Europe.