Nokia’s internal communication driven by social media

By Kelly Kass

In a technologically savvy company like Nokia, it’s no surprise that they’ve been successfully implementing social media into their internal communications. The company’s motto is connecting people and exploring ways to enhance communication. To realize that vision, Nokia uses a number of different vehicles for two-way and push/pull communications; social media plays a big part with fitting into that strategy.Nokia utilizes social media in many of its divisions.

Nokia’s Social Media Communications team was established in early 2008 with the aim of improving inter-company communications and engaging employees. The objective of the Nokia Social Media Communications team is to: encourage the use of social media internally to bring out the company’s unique authentic voice and to engage in social media externally on behalf of Nokia, and contributing to product and service announcements by opening up a dialogue and driving online engagement.
 
Knowledge sharing
 
With each of its social media tools, Nokia seeks to foster knowledge sharing among its 125,000 employees around the world.

Three of the more popular tools include:

•    BlogHub
•    VideoHub
•    Infopedia

BlogHub

According to Molly Schonthal who worked on the company's Social Media team in North America, the BlogHub is Nokia’s most powerful and effective social media tool that is used internally.

What makes it so effective? Schonthal explains:

“The BlogHub lowers barriers for employees to find conversations relevant to them.

Rather than the company dictating a corporate culture and controlling how the line of internal comms should flow, the BlogHub allows employees to better understand messaging by communicating with people whose opinions matter. Everyone has a voice.”

As a result, employees can communicate laterally and not be limited to traditional top-down communication. The BlogHub offers a “dynamic community that is ruled by members, not executives,” Schonthal points out.

Interactivity

By commenting on blog posts, BlogHub members can share ideas and knowledge on issues that are relevant to them and the company. It is also an effective collaborative tool and helps to raise awareness of what employees are working on.

“In a massive company like Nokia, people can find out who inside this large organization is doing something beneficial to them to make their jobs easier, and likewise, which colleagues can benefit from their own knowledge and experience,” Schonthal explains.

To facilitate the people finder, the BlogHub contains a useful search engine where employees can seek out information relevant to them.

From a management perspective, the BlogHub is an effective way to gather employee feedback on various issues and track the conversations that are happening inside the company. One of the primary ways that is accomplished is via a voting mechanism, enabling employees to rate blog posts, with the most popular entries rising to the top.

 

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Externally, the Nokia Conversations blog is also a useful tool to get employees in-the-know about the latest Nokia product news.  “We track the number of readers who read the blog at work and there is a substantial amount of people who are reading it," says Phil Schwarzmann, Editor-in-Chief of Nokia Conversations. "To see what’s going on in company, there is no better way than to read the blog. What we do is give a big overview of all the topics going on at Nokia."

Internally, Schwarzmann works with Nokia's employee communications team to gather subjects to interview - those who have particularly interesting aspects about their job or an intriguing story to tell:

"We're doing a story now on a 6'11 guy who played basketball for Notre Dame who's now playing in a Finnish league while working for Nokia." 

Other interviews people can expect to see on Nokia Conversations is an interview with the CEO's speechwriter shedding light on his daily job responsibilities. According to Schwarzmann, this type of feature "gives a human aspect about the company" to people, offering a transparency that gets a leg up on Nokia's competitors. 

Schwarzmann also works with HR to obtain employee interviews showing what a great place Nokia is to work. "We work with all areas of the company to help them achieve their goals. Every company has its champions. Consumers see there are humans in the company - a lot of times, people forget that. We are not just a giant machine, we are a collection of individuals."  

In addition to Nokia Conversations, Schwarzmann also looks to YouTube and Twitter to raise awareness about the Nokia brand.

Internally, the company has introduced a useful resource called the VideoHub which has grown increasingly popular with employees allowing for postings to be updated on a daily basis. In addition, Nokia's Infopedia wiki also allows for easy collaboration and knowledge sharing among employees inside the company.

Quicker accessibility

To satiate employees’ needs for fast accessibility, Nokia is relying more and more on instant messaging (IM) as an effective IC channel.

“IM is a wonderful communications tool. If someone needs to quickly check a piece of information, it’s an easy way to communicate with out taking up too much time or disrupting fellow colleagues who might be on a conference call or in a meeting. It also removes the barrier of more formalized communication where you need to set up a time to call someone,” Schonthal points out.

Leadership communications

From a buy-in perspective, Leadership at Nokia are big advocates of using social media to communicate with their employees. According to Schonthal, executives pay constant attention to employee feedback and encourage staff to share ideas and insights via the aforementioned social media tools.

Nokia also uses Live Meeting so employees can direct questions to speakers online during their presentations. At the same time, Nokia also provides a mobile number for employees to send text messages if they cannot be online during the time of the presentation.

In addition, the company provides email addresses to field questions before the meeting to better manage the volume of questions during the presentation. At Nokia North America, leadership also encourages employees to speak directly with their line managers to better understand organizational strategy and what role they can play in that strategy.

For all of Nokia’s Web 2.0 tools, Schonthal is quick to point out that “social media is never a replacement for high touch engagement.” Instead, it can contribute to various company events and other in-person initiatives. “Social media complements  these things but doesn’t take away from the ability to internally engage and share ideas,” she explains.

When it comes to product launches, the company continues to hold road shows to educate their employees about Nokia products. Regionally, mini product launches – aka “mobility happy hours” are also held so employees can ask questions and become familiar with Nokia devices.

Video conferencing is another tool used by the company, allowing for real time communication between its global HQ in Finland to various regional offices. Their annual Communications meeting is also made accessible in this manner, allowing the company to cut down on travel costs for large events.
 
So long to print

It’s no surprise that the rise in electronic media has led to a decline in print communication at Nokia. While Schonthal explains that “people just don’t check their mailboxes as much,” employees have simply come to “expect” digital communications much like in their every day lives.

Nokia has also cut down in the amount of print publications they distribute in an effort to become more environmentally aware. Nokia North America has completely done away with their print publications.

Newsletters are kept to an electronic HTML format which, thanks to email, can be more easily distributed. Frequency varies for each publication but distribution is typically daily, weekly or monthly. The online global news hub runs 4 to 5 new stories a day on any relevant topics concerning Nokia businesses or initiatives.  

Intranet communications

Employees use the intranet to varying degrees inside of Nokia and they tend to log onto it on a daily basis. It is the center of where people go to get information on benefits or org charts. There are also links to the BlogHub and VideoHub.

In keeping up the way employees are used to connecting outside the office, Nokia is currently in the process of making their employee directory more social. Among the offerings expected is the ability to reach out to colleagues via IM, SMS or email directly on someone’s profile.

To reach employees who have limited or no access to the intranet (e.g. factory and field workers), Nokia regularly posts pertinent company announcements on plasma screens around regional offices (usually in cafeterias and breakout rooms). This can include information about flu shots to what’s being served in the cafeteria.

Also found on breakout screens: Nokia’s Twitter policy – something that the company is paying more attention to.

“We do have social media guidelines that we put together – it is not to restrict people, it is to engage them to act responsibly. With so many identities merged over social media with employees conveying who they are in and out of work, we need to be extra cognizant to make sure what’s said is appropriate,” Schonthal explains.

Measuring the effectiveness of communication channels

Success is typically measured on the amount of participation in company activities and social media endeavors.

“The company keeps track of metrics like number of attendees to meeting, number of article views and comments, as well as the nature of the comments in order to measure success and progress at the company,” Schonthal points out.

Among some of the other measurement initiatives are Nokia’s annual 'Listening to You Survey' as well as its periodic 'Pulse Survey'. “This ensures that every employee has a voice and a forum to share their opinions and give feedback,” Schonthal says.