Nokia gets it backwards

The news that my former employer is just now seeking a 1000-head voluntary reduction in its workforce after releasing hundreds of us in late 2008 has me just a bit irritated to put it mildly.  I’ve danced around the subject of my job loss because of an inclination to be professional, but this news rubs salt in a still-healing wound.

The original explanation I was given for my release was that my role would be better relocated to company headquarters in Finland— despite the fact that it was mostly virtual and did not require anything more than an internet connection and a power source for my laptop.  To be fair, I was told I could reapply for the position once it was freed up (unfortunately I am unable to relocate) along with any other openings available.  However, instead of being relocated the role was completely eliminated.  I’m hearing plenty of complaints from current employees about that particular decision but that’s a lament for another time.  It’s nice to be missed, though, if nothing else!

The main thing I’m focused on today is how Nokia did this in reverse of reason.  The better move would have been to put forth the voluntary reduction first, thus encouraging those who wanted to leave anyway to do so.  Wouldn’t the default preference be to lose people thus inclined, and keep those who wanted to continue with the company?

The fact was I enjoyed my work and I occasionally encountered some in the company who did not.  Many complained about the hours, the travel, the frequent reorganizations, the high expectations… all things that I saw as educational challenges and opportunities.

Companies are much better served by the willing than the unwilling… but this is a lesson that seems to be lost on the decision makers so disconnected from those impacted.

Overall Nokia is a great company and I wish everyone there success.  I just also wish there was more thought put into the “rightsizing” process.  Hopefully this latest move demonstrates that it’s now being done.

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