Finland Under Dev-Elop-ment

The world’s mobile telephony pioneer, Nokia, sold its mobile unit to Microsoft in April, 2014. Nokia was a technology flagship, a crown jewel and one of the main companies to build Finnish economy following the deep recession in the early 1990’s. It’s no wonder that many people in Finland perceive Nokia as a national treasure that Microsoft heinously took from us. However, looking at the results for Q2/2014, it was not such a bad thing after all.

Nokia’s Employee Development

I started my career at Nokia in 1995, and left the company in 1999. My years at Nokia were very enlightening in terms of organizational development. At Nokia we took pride in our work and products, and high levels of customer satisfaction were our main goal. External organizational consultants conducted team building events, while recruiters had their hands full searching for more talented individuals to fill the growing number of openings at the company. They wanted to develop individuals to support the team, the teams to support the unit, the units to support the division and the divisions to support the organization as a whole.

Nokia was Dev-Elop-ed

Nokia was Dev-Elop-edIn 2010, Canadian Stephen Elop replaced Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Many people at Nokia were suspicious about Elop coming from Microsoft to lead the organization. Under his “dev-Elop-ment,” many employees were laid off, both in Finland and abroad. By then, employee morale was bad; a foreigner came to our country and dismissed our people. In less than six months as CEO he stated that Nokia would discontinue the development of Symbian and Meego (mobile phone operation systems developed by Nokia), and would instead use Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. Subsequently, the market value of Nokia fell from 29 Billion to 17 Billion Euros.

I do not blame Mr. Elop; he showed us what was eventually going to happen anyway. Nokia lost focus. We Finns relied excessively on Nokia’s success, so much so that we forgot to continue to develop and innovate. Mr. Elop led the struggling company through an extremely hard time for three years. As the mobile telephony business sold to Microsoft, Mr. Elop became the Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Devices & Services unit, making the situation look as if it was pre-planned. Maybe, maybe not. It is not important at this time.

Finland Under Dev-Elop-mentA few months before Mr. Elop joined Nokia, Nokia sold its wireless modem business unit, which was based in northern Finland, to Japanese Renesas Electronics. Renesas sold the business to the American company Broadcom. Broadcom then announced in July, 2014 that it would close the unit in Finland. After the following week, Microsoft announced they would cut 14% of their staff. The plan meant that 50% of ex-Nokians would have to go, totaling 12,500 employees to be laid off.

Summing this up, we are in the early stages of re-development globally, and especially in Finland. If you happen to know Finnish history, we have always survived. Now we will have to look forward and learn from the past. We have to develop the economy on a larger scale. It all starts with the development of individuals to support the team, unit, division and so on. With the help of employment experts from companies like Career Partners International, we can say that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Career Partners International provides top quality talent management services to organizations of all sizes. Their offices around the world help assessengagedevelop, and transition talent in any industry. To find out more about Career Partners International and how you can maximize your organizational performance, reach out to an office near you or contact us today!

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  1. Melinda Brown's avatar
    Melinda Brown
    | Permalink
    Thanks for the interesting insight into Nokia! A good reminder that change is inevitable, whether it's perceived to be positive or negative at the time it happened. While we have limited control over it, what we CAN control is HOW we deal with the change.

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