By Gloria Lombardi

A culture of transparency, freedom of expression, and innovation lives and breathes within Rovio, the Finnish entertainment company. It is also the key force that drives their globally successful Angry Birds creations, one of the most known brand and downloaded games around the world.

Rovio is a relatively young company with an average age of just 32, who encourages friendliness among each other. This is reflected also in internal communications, which is truly ‘social’.

“It is just something residing within our culture. We are an entertainment company with a brand that engages people globally. Within that framework, our behaviours and attitudes model the elements of playing and having fun. People spontaneously feel free to have talks and conversations in a very relaxed environment,” says Internal Communications Manager Susanna Aittokoski (pictured right).

This informal culture is what sparks creativity at Rovio. Their passion for people, games, fun and playing all come together and boost innovation.

“We are always on the move, things move very fast in our industry. We compensate that with a relaxed way to have fun at work.

“People can feel empowered and put all of their efforts and energy on the Angry Birds’ animations and related activities.

Rovio’s Google Plus internal Community

Globally, the Finnish company employs around 800 staff, with the HQ in Espoo, and offices in China, Japan, Korea, Sweden, USA and the UK.

To communicate internally across the world, the Google+ internal social media plays a vital role. It was set up in 2011 and employees have named it as the ‘Feather Channel’. “It comes down to everything we do, basically.”

The social platform is integrated into the Google intranet and it was immediately available to staff when the intranet itself was implemented in 2011. This is one reason why employees “got used to it from the very beginning and see it as useful tool for both formal and informal communication.

In fact, the community is very active and the uses of the platform vary depending on the business needs. As it happens for many enterprise social networks, on the platform there are different groups, which structure different types of conversations and dialogues.

For example “we use the social media site to share fun content, internal announcements and explore future projects. People talk, converse, share their ideas and insights. It is also a very good channel for quick questions and getting answers to them.” We want to keep it as a more informal channel addition to our official intranet.

Another active use of the platform is about strengthening the brand internally. “We constantly share concrete stories from all around the world which show the relationships and interactions between our brand and the fan community.

“To see how the fans engage with our brand is very powerful in fostering a sense of community, unity as well as pride for what we do.”

Enterprise Videos

An important means of communicating internally at Rovio is through their monthly internal videos, called “Rovio Insiders”. Shared on the platform, these are very well received – perhaps not surprising considering that Rovio is an animation company!

The Insider videos are produced in-house by Rovio’s highly creative people. Because of their special skills they are able to provide the right balance between audio, images and texts depending on the colleagues’ preferences. “Our videos are kept very compact and short so it is easy to watch them during the busy work days. Employees are featured explaining their role at Rovio, who they are, sharing their aspirations and projects they are working on.

“For us these videos are important. We can see our people, their faces, their expressions, motions and emotions, understand how they work, the creations they care of. There is so much you can convey on a screen and it is a great way of sharing the passion and spirit in Rovio’s different units.”

Training on social media and more

On-going learning is in the agenda on every innovative company. Rovio is no exception.

New employees always participate in introductory events and receive newcomer’s materials with relevant guidelines and information on the internal communication channels. “Nevertheless, our prevailing culture encourages freedom and experimentalism. People are very comfortable with using the tool and the environment is relaxed rather than restrictive.”

Important to staff’s development is also the e-learning tool, Rovio Campus. This is the virtual space on the company’s intranet where employees can learn everything from Rovio’s brand to IT and security issues. The tool delivers classes on regular basis and if employees complete their studies they gain a diploma.

To help promote future modules, Rovio is currently planning internal campaigns involving employees who have finished their courses successfully. They share their stories with colleagues on the different channels and become advocates of Rovio Campus. “We love doing internal campaigns for the Flock (that’s what we call ourselves), whether it is around wellbeing of employees, strategy or learning.”

Community Management and active listening

“How can I help colleagues to work better?” As the community manager of the platform Aittokoski sees her primary role to provide employees with what they need to make their work better. “I try to listen actively to the channels, always making notes and taking feedback for future development.

It is also about caring for relationships, understanding colleagues’ motivations and expectations for the tool. This understanding comes from being aware of the discussions happening on the social tool “where you are all ears and eyes. It is a great opportunity to approach people and take lessons from there. Then, it is about acting on the things that people are talking about. You have to come back to them always, and feedback their views upward.”

Social analytics play a crucial role too. “They are a vital part in helping me to understand how well the communication channels work. For example, I look at which content staff access from mobiles, which articles are most read, where they go to find information.

It helps me to understand people’s behaviours, and how to link in a more systematic way the social media activities with other communications initiatives.”

When IC and IT are very good friends

“I love working with our IT!” This is not a common sentence we often hear from internal communicators. But at Rovio IT and IC have a very positive relationship.

Susanna is already thinking on how future technological developments can bring new possibilities to internal communications activities at Rovio. “I would like to see the social platform and the intranet working together even more jointly. I have just had an interesting conversation with IT and we are planning to make new implementations. From a technical point of view that will bring new and meaningful ways of communicating internally.”

Susanna works very closely with IT as she does with other business functions such as HR and the management. “That allows me to get the big picture and do my job better. The same is true for my colleagues. I’m not the only one doing internal communications at Rovio, it is something all employees and my colleagues do as well.

Again, this element of friendliness and cooperation comes from within the organisation, it is embedded in the culture.

“We are all here together at Rovio. It is a common effort. It makes human sense and business sense to collaborate.”


This article originally appeared on simply-communicate