Customer stories

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How Fingrid helped their experts become influencers

By Hanna Liimatainen on Oct 23, 2018 8:21:00 AM

If you'd like to read this post in Finnish, please click here.

Fingrid, Finland’s national power transmission company, wanted to train its experts to become influencers. The process is managed by Miltton Sparks, a consulting firm specializing in executive coaching and change processes. The program, called Leap, is being implemented on the Howspace digital facilitation platform, which is tailored to the customer’s needs and is now known as Launchpad within Fingrid.

Fingrid maintains the national grid in Finland, secures the electricity supply for its customers and society, and participates in developing the electricity market. Because the sector is changing rapidly and its challenges are increasing, Fingrid decided to establish Leap, a coaching program designed to develop its experts into influencers in their field.

“Technical knowledge and expertise alone are no longer enough,” says one of the participants, electrical grid designer Tuukka Huikari. “We must also know how to communicate and influence effectively—to listen to the customer and convey our message clearly and engagingly—so that we can build the electric system of the future together.”

The goals also include self-management: each expert should know themself and know how to make use of their strengths and to become their own boss.

“Our corporate culture encourages people to experiment boldly and be open to new things. Even though we are a monopoly, we seek to strengthen our customer focus,” says Huikari.

Participants in the Leap program include a total of 28 experts from Fingrid units around the country. Each participant will then serve as an ambassador, helping to implement the new culture in their unit. The six-month program, launched in spring 2018, includes 6.5 days of classroom training in addition to the digital program.

Reading tips, feedback and saved time

According to Huikari, the Howspace digital platform—or Launchpad, as it is known within Fingrid—is an excellent way to keep in touch between in-person meetings.

“It has lowered the threshold for interaction. It’s easy to talk about everything on a digital platform. Howspace is the glue that keeps the group together,” says Huikari.

Howspace has also added new dimensions to the participants’ work. Before the group met for the first time, members introduced themselves in Launchpad, each sharing a photo and brief information—about their personality traits and hobbies, for example. After the first meeting, each participant made a video about their personal goals for the program. The others commented on their goals and also used them as a source of inspiration.

The participants have also been sharing reading tips on the digital platform. Feedback on the classroom training days, as well as the learning materials and guest speakers’ presentation materials, are stored in Launchpad.

For Huikari, self-reflection is an important aspect of the process. “When one participant is too hard on themself, others, who can see their progress, have offered encouragement and positive feedback. It’s great to have this Howspace capability, as there is not necessarily time for such interactions in our day-to-day work.” 

No need for user training

At Miltton Sparks, the Leap program is coordinated by Raiku Korhonen, who has been responsible for ensuring that the coaches’ ideas are implemented. A six-month coaching program involves an abundance of modules, exercises, reports and materials.

Korhonen is enthusiastic about the selection of Howspace as the digital platform for Leap.

“We had been waiting for an opportunity to use Howspace. We had heard only good things about it, so we were delighted to find out that Fingrid was interested in using the new way of working.”

Howspace was tailored to Fingrid’s needs. According to Korhonen, although Howspace user training is offered, they found that none was needed. The digital platform was easy to learn intuitively.

“This is a match made in heaven, as I’m definitely no technology expert. The drag-and-drop function is absolutely perfect for people like me!” says Korhonen.

She loves the way in which the digital platform is being further developed: customers are invited to participate.

“We have received an answer every time we have requested a new feature or customization. We have been informed about an alternative solution we can use until the issue has been resolved or the required new feature has been developed. And the Howspace experts respond very quickly when we have problems.”

A convenient platform for administrators

Korhonen says Howspace is convenient to use for everyone, even administrators. It is easy to upload modules, exercises, reading tips, text boxes, images and feedback surveys to the platform. Users can also upload videos and images to chats 

The platform makes it easy to check what has been said and agreed to. Materials can be modified conveniently, with no need to send separate messages about the changes to everyone. The digital platform has reduced back-and-forth e-mails.

“Howspace also makes it easy for facilitators to keep up: we can see what our customers have liked and what their concerns are. In other words, it also lowers the threshold for us to participate in discussions,” says Korhonen.

Korhonen likes how the digital platform gives everyone a voice. Not everyone likes to respond instantaneously—some people like to take their time to express their opinion.

“Some participants only like to follow the discussions, but they can also contribute to the dialogue at any point if they want to. Everyone benefits from this.”

“After implementing the Leap program, we are so enthusiastic about Howspace that we would also like to use it in our other projects.” 

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