Through summer jobs to quality control

A variety of tasks and learning opportunities have led Emma Kaajakari from a summer job to a Quality Coordinator in HKFoods' quality department. Different workdays ensure that there are no dull moments.


Describe HKFoods briefly as an employer, for example in three words:
By Finnish standards, HKFoods is a large food company that offers a wide range of job and development opportunities. As an employee, I see our change towards a versatile food company and for our Zero Carbon projects, for example, as a reflection of the company's desire to act responsibly.

What is it that you do?  
My job primarily involves overseeing and developing self-monitoring measures in production and supporting the monitoring process. In addition, I have a number of other tasks in our Vantaa unit, such as investigating and resolving various incidents, tasks related to the document management system, hygiene and product safety training, etc.

What do you like most about your job or what is the best thing about your job?
I enjoy the variety of my working days at HKFoods, each day is different. This means that there is never a dull moment at work and that I am challenged and developed every day. I like working with people and I am constantly dealing with a wide range of stakeholders in my role. But the best part is the people I work with, especially the amazing team in the quality department.

What does your job require?
The job requires resilience to change and stress, cooperation skills and expertise in food safety. Keeping calm is one of my strengths. At work, I’m involved in the resolution of various emergency incidents. It’s important to be able to investigate and resolve the causes of these incidents in a calm manner. A touch of courage is also needed in everyday work; the ability to deal with malfunctions in working practices is important.

What makes a good colleague?
A good colleague is reliable and friendly. They are pleasant to work with, there is no unnecessary tension. A good colleague also gives you appropriate feedback when necessary and compliments you on your good performance.

What makes you enjoy working at HKFoods and get excited about your job?
The variety of tasks, learning opportunities and work rotation have helped me to enjoy my time here. It’s easier to help others and deal with different situations when you can see potential problems from someone else’s perspective.

What are you working days like?
On the morning bus to work, I read work-related reports from the previous evening. In the production team's morning meetings, we go over the previous and upcoming day's work. In fact, this is the only daily routine I have at work. The rest of the day varies quite a lot; I regularly go to our production departments and attend meetings with colleagues and partners. I may also work on training materials or other guidelines, for example.

How is responsibility reflected in your work?
Responsibility is reflected in my work, for example, in managing and limiting potential incidents precisely so that production losses are minimised, but without compromising product safety or quality. To me, responsibility also means taking the wishes, concerns and development ideas of staff seriously. Personally, I always try to pass on what is brought to my attention wherever possible.

How would you briefly describe your career path at HKFoods?
I started my career at HKFoods as a summer worker in the production of ready-to-eat food in the Vantaa unit in 2015. I worked in the same role for three summers. Then I got a summer internship in the quality department and after that as a substitute for the production supervisor. I have also worked in the purchasing department. In March 2020, I moved to my current position as Quality Coordinator in the quality department.

What is your favourite food?
With food, I'm quite selective, unlike perhaps many people. The texture, smell, taste and appearance of food have a huge influence on what I like. Generally speaking, I like fresh and strong flavours and seasonal foods are particularly close to my heart. For example, in the citrus season, blood orange risotto is number one on my list of favourites.

What do you do in your spare time?
I’m finally at the point where I don't have to spend my evenings studying anymore. It feels like a luxury. I like to go to museums and I also go to pilates and ballet regularly and meet friends.