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FINN goes "FINNglish"

In January 2021 FINN.no made a big internal change: we changed our working language from Norwegian to English. “Why?” you say. It’s all about inclusion. And cooperation.

Publisert 29. mars 2021 kl. 14.15

Outwardly, FINN is a Norwegian company and brand, and this will not change (but we figured to write this specific article in English due to the subject). We still speak Norwegian when we can, and we want our employees to manage Norwegian to a certain extend. But as the labor market changes, our population of employees changes as well, and no one should feel excluded in their workplace due to their language. In addition, FINN is part of Schibsted Nordic Marketplaces that includes Schibsted’s marketplaces in the Nordic, and we need to set the frames and facilitate to be able to cooperate in the best possible way.

Norwegians are generally considered to be above average when it comes to English. But that does not mean that such a change is perceived as unproblematic or non-challenging for everyone. We wanted to make the change as smooth as possible, and in addition to offering English courses to everyone, we invited all employees to an inspirational day in March, where the goal was to remove potential barriers connected to the change.

In real FINN-spirit we wanted to arrange a half-day filled with engagement and fun stuff, and we invited everyone to a digital event which we chose to call “FINNglish day”.

We kicked off the day with some easy-peasy cooking. We wanted to support our beloved and highly missed canteen Dugurd, and we engaged their chef to prepare a good old American burger menu and cooking class.

We also engaged two keynote speakers: adventurer Josh Stinton and cross-cultural expert and motivator Pellegrino Riccardi to motivate our people in their own special way. Josh shared his experience of growing a healthy relationship with fear and "uncomfortability" and how we can use these to our advantage. Pellegrino focused on the struggles we might experience when having to speak a language that isn't ours, and helped us remember that what people really want is connection, not perfection.

Furthermore, humorist and comedy-man Morten Ramm interviewed our CEO, Christian Printzell Halvorsen, and Director of Communication and Organization, Kristin Sætevik, in the chair of his former show: The Talk American Show!

Finally, we arranged a FINNglish Kahoot-quiz with Quizmaster Helge for everyone who wanted to bring their competitive instinct back to life. We also engaged our own in-house DJ, Prashast Mehra, to close it all off with some funky tunes and digital After Work.

To sow it all together, the management team did an excellent job in presenting the various elements during the day with small talks, limericks, and reflections. “The dot over the i” as we say in Norwegian (thank you!).

Our conclusion is that it was a successful day, and we hope it contributed to reducing potential insecurity some might be experiencing in connection with the change.