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.