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    « While HR is Waiting for Fusion | Main | Google Sidewiki for HR »
    Wednesday
    Oct142009

    Employee Networking at Nokia

    The HR Technology Conference is now two weeks past, but I had one more conference related note to write, about the presentation on the internal use of Web 2.0 technologies at Nokia.

    The presentation given by Matthew Hanwell - Senior Director of Organizational Development and Change, covered the history of Nokia's engagement with Web 2.0 technologies for internal purposes, the current state of these technologies inside Nokia, and I think most importantly, offered some excellent insights and recommendations on how an organization might introduce these technologies in their environments.

    Some of the tools that Nokia has deployed internally:

    The Jazz Cafe - Essentially an anonymous forum, where employees could ask and respond to questions, carry on conversations, and at times, vent.  This was Nokia's first foray into Web 2.0 technology for internal use, and was extremely popular with the employees.  In time, other platforms and technologies have been implemented and grown in popularity, the Jazz Cafe forum still maintains a dedicated used base.

    Ask HR - another anonymous forum, similar in nature to the Jazz Cafe, but dedicated to HR topics.  Employees can ask questions and get feedback from corporate HR ,and it also provided a great way for HR to check the pulse of the organization based on the nature and tone of the questions.

    Blog Hub - Employees at Nokia are encouraged to blog, and the company aggregates the blogs into a 'hub' that serves as a kind of company wide repository and barometer of the organization.  Company management can monitor what blogs are popular, which ones generated the most comments, and what the overall trends are indicating about the mindset of the employees.

    Video Hub - Similar to the Blog Hub, the Video Hub aggregates video content that is created by Nokia employees.  The interesting aspect of the video hub is that Nokia has trained over 200 employees worldwide in the mechanics of short video creation.  Skills like shooting, editing, and narrating these videos to produce effective and interesting content.  Notably, the video creators are charged with finding and documenting examples of employees living the Nokia values and using video to communicate these ideas across the organization.

    News Hub - The Nokia News Hub is much like a classic corporate intranet news service, but with the added capability of employee comments, ratings, and discussion. It takes what could be a fairly standard and dull news feed and enhances the content and the experience.

    There were several interesting take-aways from the session.  Most notably:

    Inappropriate postings - Matthew reported that Nokia had never had to delete any postings on any of the various platforms that were deemed inappropriate.  The organization's members did effectively manage the policing of content.  Comments and ratings are extremely effective mechanisms whereby the community determines and enforces the company norms.  Matthew also pointed out the importance of allowing employees the freedom to use profile pictures of their choosing, rather than require everyone to use the more formal, 'official' company ID photo.

    The employees are already talking - Nokia became aware of an employee that was maintaining what became a very popular personal blog where he wrote about the company and its products in sometimes not so flattering ways. Partially from this realization Nokia started down the path of creating a space for employees to blog and participate in online conversations in a platform where the company did not control the conversation so much as support it and learn from it.  Particularly in a large organization, there are almost certainly blogs, Facebook groups, and other online conversations happening among employees in 'unofficial' forums.  Better from the company perspective to host and more effectively monitor, respond, and support these activities.

    Continuous innovation - Nokia started down the path of internal community building and support with the Jazz Cafe platform, and eventually migrated into other tools and technologies. While the Jazz Cafe was quite successful, Nokia did not stop there, but rather built on that foundation of success to expand into blogs and videos.  Technologies and the ways that employees will want to embrace new technologies to interact, discover, and collaborate are constantly evolving. Companies should understand and embrace this, and not get wed to a specific approach or technology as being the 'final' solution.

    It really was an excellent session that left the audience with many solid ideas and concepts to build from.  While most organizations are not as large, or have the resources of a Nokia, the approaches and strategies could be applied to any size organization really, and at certainly fairly low costs.

    Bottom line, the employees want to connect, share, and socialize, give them an opportunity to do all of these, and you will likely reap the benefits.

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      Wonderful Web-site, Carry on the very good job. Thanks for your time.
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    Reader Comments (8)

    Thansk Steve, good write-up. And great case study - I think Nokia are one of the best examples around of the intelligent use of social media.

    October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJon Ingham

    Thanks Jon, it was a very informative presentation that did much to describe the attitude and approach necessary for these tools to have value for the organization and employees. It was only partially about the tools themselves.

    October 19, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

    Firstly, thanks Steve for writting up the session, always good to read what you thought you have said during a presentaiton.

    I was trying to highlight the need for both attitudes and culture together with the enabling tools and technologies.....

    IMHO it's about Openness, Participation, and Interaction....I hope all the examples I gave supported this.

    October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

    @Matthew - Thanks very much for sharing your comments, I thought the presentation was outstanding and you did a great job emphasizing the importance of attitude and supportive culture along with the enabling technologies. I think you are correct that openness, participation, and interaction are the goals and your examples did certainly reflect those points. Thanks again for reading.

    October 20, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

    I just came across this post and was very pleased to see how far Nokia has come. I consulted for them on their intranet years ago and remember when the Jazz Cafe was just an idea. They've come a very long way since. I also remember how we ran an information architecture workshop from Helsinki with small groups of people in different locations around the world. There was a Nokia Communicator cell phone used in each location and the workshop involved lots of practical exercises. The people visibly had an excellent sense of how to work in a "virtual workshop" and I learned a lot from them. This was over 10 years ago.
    From the view of an external person during the time I worked with them, I perceived a culture of openness, ability to listen to others and a genuine desire to involve lots of people and to reach consensus. This type of culture is one in which social media can flourish and bring value to a business.

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    October 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterreplica watches

    Thanks for sharing excellent information about employee networking at Noika. nokia mobile phones had generated good market share at the global stage and launched number of mobile phones with the latest features as per users requirements and segmentation. Good work ...keep it updating...

    November 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshutosh Ranjan

    When you are presenting in front of an audience, you are performing as an actor is on stage. How you are being perceived is very important. Dress appropriately for the occasion. Be solemn if your topic is serious. Present the desired image to your audience.

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