Quality responsibility and versatile career development

A great working community, opportunity for development and varied tasks are things that Nina Tahko from Mikkeli unit really appreciates. Career at HKFoods has taken Nina from Midsummer’s peak-time help to Quality and Environmental Coordinator.


Nina, describe HKFoods as an employer in three words.
There are many words that could be used to describe HKFoods, but if I have to sum it up in three words, I would say that HKFoods is a diverse, reliable and evolving employer.

What is it that you do at HKFoods?
I work as a Quality and Environmental Coordinator in Mikkeli unit. My daily tasks include, for example, quality, hygiene and environmental issues, handling and responding to consumer and customer feedback. I also work on hygiene sampling, in-house control system and guidelines in the Mikkeli unit.

What’s best about your job?
It’s nice to have different days at work. Another important thing is that I find myself constantly developing in my work by learning something new every day. The best thing is having great colleagues; you can talk to them about anything and everything.

What does your job require?
My job requires flexibility, problem solving skills, and above all, an interest in quality and hygiene issues. I get on with all kinds of people, which is also important in my job as I deal with people from different departments on a daily basis. The work experience in production has been very useful and important. It has helped me a lot in my current job.

What makes a good colleague?
I think a good colleague is always near, ready to help. You can talk to them about anything, not just work. When necessary, a good colleague listens to your concerns and worries and helps you move forward with challenging situations. A good colleague always has time, even if it's just for a few minutes when needed.

Why do you like it at HKFoods? And what makes you excited at work?
The variety of tasks and good colleagues are, in my opinion, the most important things in terms of job satisfaction. In Mikkeli, we have a strong, skilled and top-notch team with great sense of humour. This is one of the most important reasons why I enjoy working at HKFoods.

I think it’s great that HKFoods offers opportunity to learn new things and to move on to new positions within the company. I can clearly see how we in Mikkeli have made a lot of progress in many different areas over the past few years. I also appreciate that our people here in Mikkeli care about their work and that the work is done with feeling. These are the things that make me excited about my work.

What are your working days like?
Varied and busy. Every day is different, I can seldom plan the whole day in advance. I usually start my day at 8am and finish at 4pm. I walk to work in the winter and cycle in the summer.

How is responsibility reflected in your work?
Responsibility guides all choices I make and everything I do at work. The most important thing is that the daily choices and decisions we make in terms of quality, food safety and environment support the production of responsibly produced food for consumers. Responsibility is also about being proud of the work we do and being able to say with a clear conscience that we have always done our best.

How do you spend your free time?
I spend my free time with my family. With my son Jerry, just over three years old, time passes quickly as we play together and explore the world. On weekdays, of course, we don't have as much time together and the days are scheduled, but on weekends we enjoy taking our time, eating treats and sleeping.

What’s your favourite food?
I eat everything and I don't have a favourite dish. On weekdays, I make my family ordinary home food and on weekend, when I have more time, I make something a bit more special. I also like to try new recipes.

How has your career history been at HKFoods?
My career at HKFoods has gone through many phases. My parents work at HKFoods and through them I got a summer job as a peak-period help in the barbeque sausage packing department of the then Järvi-Suomen Portti factory; this was in 2004 and I was 15.

After comprehensive school and upper secondary school, I took a gap year, during which I returned to the barbeque sausage packing department and was thinking about where to study. With a gentle nudge from my mother, I decided to study laboratory science and graduated as a laboratory technician in 2008.

In 2011, I went on to study environmental engineering and after graduation I got an job in the slicing department in Mikkeli. From there, I moved to the ready meal packing department and on to the new hamburger department. In 2014, I got a permanent job in the hamburger packing department and a new position as a morning hygiene inspector.

I was on maternity leave between 2018 and 2020. I returned to work in February 2020, took on HR duties and didn’t continue in the production. In March last year, I took up a temporary position as HR and Quality Coordinator. I have worked as Quality and Environmental Coordinator since January 2022.