Students developed internal communications for Sokos and Emotion chains
A business project carried out by Aalto University students Sini Olkanen, Iina Taskinen and Liisa Yli-Ojanperä examined the state of internal communications for S Group department stores and speciality stores from the perspective of the stores. They also implemented a concrete action plan to develop internal communications.
S Group’s goal for the project was to find methods to ensure that communications better meets the needs of the stores. Like many other large organisations, Sokos and Emotion chain management felt that information sharing was based too much on the producers’ organisation structure even though the needs of stores and their staff should be the priority. This meant that communications were seen as not reaching the recipients in the optimal manner.
The project group used in-store interviews and questionnaires to survey the views and needs of the stores regarding internal communications. Once the challenges and most important communications development targets had been determined, the group organised a workshop that focused on considering how to implement the development proposals in practice. The outcome was a five-point action plan to ensure that internal communications would be more effective in terms of supporting the hectic daily work in the stores.
S Group and students were both very satisfied with the end result
The project succeeded in finding short and long-term development targets: improvements that could be implemented immediately and larger changes.
‘It was refreshing to be able to implement such a practical project, where we actually got to use the skills that we’ve gained during our studies. It was also interesting to learn more about the challenges of retail operations – all of us have experience of working in cashier and customer service work’, said the students.
‘Sini, Iina and Liisa implemented a customised business project for us, the results of which we can use directly to develop communications in the chain. Their open and enthusiastic attitude and committed approach to the work allowed the project to progress on schedule and achieve the targets set for it. It was great to work with strong communications experts. A business project was a natural way to gain new perspective to support our own strengths’, explained Development Manager Anne Silvennoinen from Sokos and Emotion chain management.
‘A business project provides students with an outstanding opportunity to use what they’ve learned to solve a real problem. The activity level and good cooperation of both students and the company made this project a success. It’s important to learn these skills and it’s also rewarding to teach them’, said Mia Leppälä, the academic advisor for the project.
More information: Customized business projects