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Jun 12 2019

The trust equation

We have all seen first-hand the erosion of trust in institutions that have long served as cornerstones of free and open societies – the media, corporations, and freely-elected governments to name a few. From “fake news” to Brexit to yellow vest protests, it can feel as if the fabric that binds us together is stretched to the breaking point. Pessimism abounds. But the latest results from an annual survey on trust[1] reveal something surprising: trust has become “localized,” with the majority of respondents now naming “my employer” as their most trusted institution or relationship, far outpacing NGOs, business and media. But it can’t be one way; employees expect something in return. In exchange for their trust, employees expect their companies to act as agents of change, working to improve the lives of employees and for the overall betterment of society. The payoff for employers who can meet these expectations is significant: employers who have earned the trust of their employees reap the benefits of a workforce that is engaged, loyal, and committed.

As one noted management consultant has observed, “the secret to getting people engaged isn’t about showing them why it’s good for them. It’s the exact opposite. It’s about providing people with a purpose that’s bigger than they are.[2]

At Nokia, we understand the importance of trust, engagement, and a greater purpose. As a trusted employer, we know our success is based not only on providing cutting edge technology but equally on a dedicated, happy, productive workforce that trusts the company to do the right thing for them, for the business, and for the communities in which we work. As employees we appreciate an inclusive, stable work environment where our leadership is committed to not only driving growth in an ethical way but also providing employees with fair pay and benefits, multi-dimensional growth opportunities, and the opportunity to make a difference. Our customers, suppliers, shareholders, and partners likewise want to work and invest with us because of our commitment to these ideals.

In the Legal & Compliance organization, the trust equation is central to what we do. We support our business partners in complex commercial negotiations, dispute resolution, protection of our intellectual property and much more. And as guardians of Nokia’s hard-earned and longstanding reputation as a company that leads with integrity and serves as a model of corporate ethics, we strive to raise the bar on transparency and compliance everywhere we do business. We work diligently to ensure that the actions and behaviors of our partners, affiliates, suppliers and others with whom we do business follow the same principles and values we expect of our employees. We also work hard to improve our communities and the lives of others; Nokia has been recognized for its commitment to pro bono work, ranging from improving the delivery of health care services in rural Africa, to education in remote parts of India, to groundbreaking work supporting employment opportunities for asylum-seekers across southeast Asia.

We don’t shy away from doing business in tough places where transparency is lacking and the rule of law is weak. After all, the need for advanced communication technologies is at least as great in such places as in more developed nations. Instead, recognizing the vital nature of our products and services, we go in with clear eyes, recognizing the challenges and partnering with our business leaders to craft effective and creative solutions to address these risks, never compromising on our values and our commitment to integrity. This is how Nokia’s Legal & Compliance team furthers the trust equation: by partnering to achieve business objectives, enabling the provision of communications and technology solutions to millions, setting an example for ethical business practices globally, and never straying from our values and our unyielding commitment to integrity.

[1] 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual survey carried out by Edelman, a global communications firm.

[2] Lisa Earle McLeod, author of Leading with Noble Purpose (2016) and other leading works.

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About Jeffrey Eglash

Jeff is Nokia’s Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, responsible for overseeing Nokia’s global compliance program.  Jeff joined Nokia in March 2016 after 11 years with General Electric.  Jeff previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, California, and as the Inspector General of the LA Police Department.

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