Customer Success, Employee Engagement

Nokia’s Head of Diversity: How We Leveled The Playing Field For Women in STEM

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Top global telecommunications giant, Nokia, takes workplace diversity extremely seriously. Their purpose is to create technology that is connecting the world, but what you don’t know is how they are connecting employees and giving them a platform in which to speak up, be heard and become role models within the company.

Their Glassdoor ratings stacks up pretty well too. Nokia’s overall rating of 4.0 is well above the average site rating at 3.4/5. Their CEO, Rajeev Suri, has an approval rating of 90 percent (at time of writing) which is, again, well above the site average of 68 percent.

To find out more, we managed to gain an exclusive interview with Pascale Thorre, Nokia’s Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion to discuss game-changing diversity strategies, caring about employees and how they want to extend that duty of care to family members.

Glassdoor: In terms of gender balance, you say you are short of your long-term aspiration. What is that?

Pascale Thorre: Whereas some companies talk about wanting 30 percent of their employees to be women, we talk about reflecting the world we live in, which ultimately is approximately 50 percent men and 50 percent women. Unfortunately, that is not something that we can make happen tomorrow, but it remains our long-term vision.

Pascale Thorre Officielle 1Glassdoor: ‘Respecting People’ is an important pillar of your business. What initiatives have you launched around this?

Pascale Thorre: Respect for people is one of Nokia’s core values and it is built in the DNA of who we are and what we do: Nokia’s purpose is to create the technology to connect the world. This means that we keep a constant eye towards how our technology impacts people.

Respecting People is also built into the environment we create for our employees where they can speak up. We have deployed an internal social network where every employee can create communities, join existing communities, participate in worldwide exchanges and conversations. We also encourage an open environment in town hall meetings, staff calls. We arrange what we call the Coffee & Connect Sessions at Nokia locations for the employees to voice out their ideas and questions about Nokia Values and Culture.

The Nokia values are the foundation of the Nokia Culture. These values work together with our Nokia Way which encourages specific ‘Drive, Dare and Care’ behaviors which make Nokia a great place to work and achieve our strategic objectives. Caring for the teams, employees and even their families are closely linked to Nokia’s view of ‘Respecting People’.

Glassdoor: You’re seen as one of the tech powerhouses with a globally renowned name. However, do you still feel as if you struggle to fill certain roles with women? Why is that?

Pascale Thorre: We face the reality of the talent market where the available female tech talent represents, globally, between 20 percent and 30 percent of the total tech talent pool. Therefore, our tech jobs reflect that mix. According to UNESCO data mining, the tech gender balance is increasing in several geographies. The pace of this increase is slow and it will take time before the new market entrants will be at gender parity.

We are committed to playing our part, and Nokia is globally working with greenlight for girls (g4g) and other local organizations and schools to inspire the future generation of young women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

Glassdoor: How do you change perceptions in order to attract more talented women into certain roles?

Pascale Thorre: The World Economic Forum identifies the following as main barriers to hiring and promoting women across industries: work-life balance, unconscious bias among managers, and women’s perceived readiness for leadership roles. In Nokia, we are working holistically on each of these three barriers, notably by helping to make sure that our managers, whatever their gender, are equipped to manage and grow diverse teams.

Nokia’s employees are also engaged and acting towards greater gender balance: they created a game-changing approach to diversity, the StrongHer network, an inclusive, worldwide, award-winning, employee-driven program contributing to women’s empowerment, helping them unleash their potential and magnify their business contribution.

In 2016 and 2017, we celebrated our Nokia Role Models, as a source of inspiration for all, through International Women’s Day, the Girls in ICT Day, and Ada Lovelace Day and will keep on doing so.

Glassdoor: What is Nokia committing to in 2018 to really make a difference in this space?

Pascale Thorre: Nokia is executing on a 5-year strategy on gender balance, empowered by our leaders’ conviction and actions. Awareness is a first major step we have been taking very seriously, training our leaders, managers, and employees on gender balance best practices. Also, we are leveling the playfield for women in leadership development, and we are making sure that our leaders/experts/employees, whatever their gender, whatever their gender identity and/or sexual orientation, whatever their cultural background, have a voice in our company, and are representing Nokia.

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