In what appears to be a move to hold on to some of its most important staff,  troubled Nokia has today announced that it’s expanding its stock options program for 2012, targeting ”key senior level employees who are critical in carrying forward Nokia’s strategy.”

The ailing Finnish mobile firm is increasing the number of stock options to be granted under its Equity Program for this year from around 8.5 million to approximately 11.5 million.

None of the additional stock options will be taken by CEO Stephen Elop or his leadership team, instead they’re being granted to others near the top of the company. In today’s announcement, the company notes:

“We believe this is a prudent use of stock options, also designed to align the interests of these key employees with those of the shareholders. Any realization of the value from the stock option awards is dependent on successful execution of the strategy and a sustainable share price growth over the long term.”

The move follows additional slimming down of operations for the company in recent days, including the closure of its final Finnish mobile manufacturing plant and the reported abandoning of the Meltemi feature phone OS.

Earlier this month, Nokia announced its Q2 financial results, reporting a $1 billion (826 million euros) operating loss on $9.21 billion in net sales (7.5 billion euros). The company’s top brass clearly sees hanging on to the individuals targeted by today’s stock option program expansion as key to turning things around.

Image credit: Erkka Piirainen