We live diversity
Cultural diversity in the company – a change that affects us all
Globalization, immigration, migration, refugee movements, and also expatriates contribute, among other things, to the fact that our society is changing and becoming more and more culturally diverse. This reality places diverse and new demands on all areas of activity for companies, but at the same time harbors the enormous potential for innovation and growth.
At Workflow, we too can hardly imagine everyday work without our IT specialists from all over the world, since the Austrian market does not have enough specialists to offer and, on the other hand, the existing specialists are passed on by “headhunters” within the industry.
Thanks to the cooperation with IAESTE and their international student exchange program, we have had more than 10 years of experience with people from all over the world working together. Shortly after we “onboarded” the first interns, we recognized the added value of cultural diversity. A respectful, appreciative approach is a prerequisite for trust and motivation on the part of the trainees, but also for “openness to new things” on the part of the “long-established” workforce.
Former interns have been part of the “permanent staff” for 7 years now and thanks to these positive experiences, we no longer had any concerns about recruiting on the international market in general.
Despite everything, the company and HR must be aware that cultural diversity also means new challenges to be overcome:
The first step is to internationalize the corporate language, the English language will become the standard. Existing employees should have the opportunity to take language courses so that there are no barriers to working together.
The values of the company regarding acceptance, appreciation, and tolerance towards people of different origins, religions, and cultures should be clearly communicated to EVERYONE.
Even before getting to know each other for the first time, be it online or in person, as an employer, you should find out about your country of origin and the customs, e.g. when greeting, in order to avoid unpleasant situations in advance. The first impression can often determine whether applicants feel valued.
So that the new colleagues quickly feel integrated, they are provided with a “buddy”. If possible, the buddy should be familiar with the culture of the “newcomers” and ideally also speak their mother tongue.
In order to be generally well integrated in Austria, the company should promote learning the German language and also provide financial support.
HR would do well to support its international employees in matters such as finding accommodation, doctor recommendations, official channels, and the like. People value this support very much and may stay longer with the company as a result.
In order to feel comfortable at company events, it goes without saying that all cultures must be taken into account when selecting food and drinks.
We have found that people who work in an international environment over a long period of time change. They develop more flexible, open, understanding, and respectful behaviors.
A completely new corporate culture is emerging, paired with increased performance, new innovations, and the development of potential.
At Workflow, we love diversity!