Happiness, ambitious professionals & joyful work – Get to know the work culture of Nokia Software Finland
What are Nokia Software’s core values? How does SAFe make the day-to-day work smoother? How to keep the competence up to date in the constant change? In this blog, you will get a sneak peek of the work culture of Nokia Software Finland as told by Eliina and Lauri.
“What has kept me here is without a doubt the best colleagues. I’ve been privileged to work with professionals that are dedicated to their work and have good social skills in teamwork. Many of the co-workers have also become personal friends in the spare time.”
This is how the R&D Leader Lauri Pietarinen sums up his respectable twenty and counting years as a tech professional at Nokia.
”We believe that the best possible work culture comes down to the right values. As a global company, values bring us together and sets the guidelines for our day-to-day work, even when we’re working with a colleague we’ve never met before.”
Let’s take a closer look at Nokia Software’s values with Lauri, who knows a thing or two about Nokia.
The culture of Nokia Software Finland – The four values to follow
The very core of Nokia’s work culture and rules to play by come down to the four values: achievement, challenge, renewal & respect.
“What makes our culture truly unique is the combination of these values. If you take away one, it’s not the best possible culture to work in”, Pietarinen says.
Let’s go through these values one by one with Lauri.
“Achievement means that we set our standards ambitiously high. This serves our aim to have high-performance teams and individuals.”
“We have to understand that the only way to stay relevant is to never be too comfortable. We are constantly improving ourselves and sparring colleagues.”
“Everything changes constantly. Our people spend remarkable time in competence development because relevant knowledge brings the success in the long run. This also means we have to critically estimate our products and be willing to change them if our customers’ needs are changing.”
“Respect is critical. When our standards of work are high, and we constantly aim to improve our skills, we have to do it with respect towards everyone involved. The team, the company and our customers always come first.”
The sum of these values for Lauri is an ideal workplace.
“Nokia is all about the right professional attitude and feeling of getting things done. The secret is that the culture builds upon a very people-friendly style.”
Freedom of work
Although Nokia Software is a large global company, they encourage their people to have an entrepreneurial mindset in the way people see their work.
“To me, this mindset means freedom to do your work the way you want. Teams are given the authority to make their own decisions, and if someone comes up with an idea, it can be put to the test right away”, Lauri sums things up.
Non-bureaucratic processes and linear working are essential in having a smooth experience in one’s day-to-day work. That is why people at Nokia always try to make the decisions on the lowest level possible.
“The specialists have the best knowledge of how things should be done. That is why people are free to make a lot of decisions inside teams at Nokia”, Pietarinen says.
”We want our teams, and people, to have the freedom that allows them to perform at the highest level possible. This kind of culture keeps our people happy at their work, and we believe it eventually leads to satisfied customers.”
SAFe brings visibility and communication
Nokia Software’s product development is often times done in multiple different locations – and countries. Nokia’s work is international, and most of the offices are doing co-operation on a daily basis.
To make communication fluid and maximise visibility, Nokia is going towards SAFe – Scale Agile Framework.
“Openness has most definitely increased since we started using SAFe”, says Senior Manager Eliina Vornanen.
Eliina has been a professional in the field of technology for the better part of three decades and has been a manager for several years. When it comes to the best workflows, Vornanen knows the tricks.
In Nokia’s case, the decision to use SAFe is communication.
“SAFe drives everyone a bit more out of their own areas and gets people and teams networking. Nowadays we have a much more comprehensive understanding of what kind of projects are going on in different groups and offices”, Vornanen explains.
“The most important success factor for this change was a good spirit and co-operation among Product Managers as well as in and between R&D teams.”
SAFe brings everyone more together
One of the most significant advantages of SAFe for Nokia’s culture is that it brings everyone more together. Silos and information gaps are much less likely to happen.
“Every ten weeks we have two days reserved for overall planning, briefing everyone and setting goals for the next ten weeks.”
As one could suppose in modern software development culture, the Nokia professionals sequence their work so that people don’t need to focus on complicated tasks for the unforeseeable future. Teams split their work so that you can focus on one subject for a couple of weeks at a time.
“Everyone has their preferences, but this also drives people proactively out of their comfort zone, because it is much easier to challenge yourself when you know it is not going to be an endless climb”, Eliina says and continues.
“People are free to say ‘hey, this is probably going to take a little longer as I’m no expert at this, but I’m willing to try to do this’. Nobody judges you for the fact you’re actually improving at something specific in the long run.”
Competence development in its purest possible form, we’d say.
Competence development 2.0
“It is very desirable that people are constantly seeking ways to broaden their know-how of things. This brings more versatility to teams and keeps the workload a lot more manageable”, Vornanen says.
The nature of Nokia’s expertise in cloud technologies drives everyone to keep their competence on the best level possible. People with up to date knowledge are made in a work culture that combines the competence development in the day-to-day work and allows individuals to reserve enough time for honing their skills.
The centre of the culture
“Competence development is truly at the centre of our culture. The change in cloud technologies demands new areas of expertise and brings in completely new technologies to work with. It is vital for us that we have the ways to offer our people the right information at the right time”, Vornanen explains the culture.
Nokia’s dedicated education-site allows people to seek the latest information when it best suits them. The site serves as a user-friendly database filled with online-courses and video training.
“We have training videos both on the company scale and ones with a focus on our own products also. It is quite often that we decide to shoot a brief tutorial video about new technology and how people can use it in their work.”
Competence comes down to knowledge being not only up to date but a few steps ahead of our customers’ hopes.
“It is exactly why I’m motivated and happy at my work. We are not only part of the change that is happening in the cloud technologies, but we are also actively driving the change in how things are done in the future”, Vornanen says.
Story and pictures: Timo Launonen
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