08/02/2024

Mats Forsius, expert in labour market and change situations, joins Castrén & Snellman as counsel

Mats Forsius joined our Employment service in the beginning of February, strengthening our firm’s position as Finland’s leading expert in employment law. Mats returned to Castrén & Snellman from VR Group, where he had worked as the Head of Employee Relations and HR Legal for the past few years.

‘I feel like I’m coming home – I am very excited to be back in C&S’s employment law team! Four years as an in-house lawyer in a large company provided me with new expertise in employment matters and fresh insights on the modern working life. I’m sure it will be an asset in client work as well as in developing our services,’ Mats says.

Outi Tähtinen and Tomi Kemppainen, co-heads of our Employment service, are happy to see Mats back at Castrén & Snellman. ‘Mats brings with him solid expertise in employment law and the labour market system as well as a deep knowledge of the logistics industry. He has versatile experience in mergers and acquisitions and other change situations, among other things. He also has strong international networks, particularly in the Nordic countries. This makes him an excellent advisor for our clients as working life is changing,’ Outi and Tomi summarise.

Upheavals in the labour market system

The geopolitical situation, inflation and higher interest rates have put companies to the test in recent years. Although it seems that interest rates are stabilising, many companies do not have a clear long-term view of the future. At the same time, the Finnish labour market is undergoing significant changes: artificial intelligence is transforming the way we work, the number of working-age people is decreasing and the shortage of skilled employees is hindering growth in many fields.

‘Societal changes are inevitably reflected in the labour market system, which should support the growth and internationalisation of companies. How will we succeed in international competition? How can we retain sufficient expertise and labour force in the future?’ Mats ponders.

The Government is also planning changes to the labour market system during its term in office: among other things, it intends to expand local bargaining of employment conditions and amend the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings.

‘Major systemic changes always impact the operations of companies as old practices give way to new ones. It is advisable to familiarise yourself with the coming changes and prepare for them in advance, and also analyse what the changes mean for your organisation. If necessary, find a partner that knows the labour market system to support you during the change,’ Mats says.

Communication is key when a company undergoes changes

While change situations in companies can be challenging, they offer an opportunity to view the business operations and the company’s future as a whole. During his career, Mats had been involved in many change situations – both in mergers and acquisitions and in internal change processes.

‘Successful change requires good planning, transparent communication and consistency. It is important to include the personnel in the change process as soon as possible. The schedule should be planned in a way that leaves sufficient time for engaging the personnel,’ Mats advises.

According to Mats, having a transparent dialogue in the work community supports the change, whether it concerns rearranging the organisation or a corporate transaction. ‘It always takes time to adjust to change. It should be kept in mind that although the company’s management knows the background and objectives of the change, the personnel might be hearing about it for the first time. Having candid conversations can lead to a shared view on the positive aspects of the change. It’s worth using those extra coffee breaks to talk with the personnel.’ 

Mats Forsius graduated as Master of Laws from the University of Helsinki in 2013 and has a LL.M. Degree from the University of Wisconsin. Before joining Castrén & Snellman as counsel, Mats worked at VR Group and other Finnish law firms.

Welcome back to Castrén & Snellman, Mats!