“On the other hand, it means something for the organization as well. It’s kind of an enriching experience to be part of a workplace where there is cultural diversity. It’s fun to speak to others like Ali or Jeff or someone else who is from a different cultural background, and I think that makes for an interesting workplace sometimes. It’s rewarding also to see that people can work together regardless of where they’re from. We kind of work under the same umbrella and understand how to work together, and that’s super cool to me. There’s a guy from New Zealand; there’s a guy from the US; there’s a guy from Iran. So, there are people here who come from countries that cannot work together, but these people from these countries can work together in this small company. This says a lot of positive things, I think, about the human race, right?”
Nordic Computer Celebrates European Day of Languages 2022
The European Day of Languages is celebrated on the 26th of September. This year, it is the 21st anniversary of the day, which fosters linguistic diversity and the ability to speak other languages. As Nordic Computer is an international company having international employees and serving customers from all over the world, we decided that this day is an excellent opportunity to talk about language and cultural diversity within our company.
In this blog post, we will reflect upon the relevance of the European Day of Languages and its connection to the cultural and linguistic diversity in Nordic Computer. When it comes to diversity in our company, there are many people, especially in leading roles, who are dedicated to the co-creation of a diverse workplace. This time we have chosen our CEO, Lars Juhl Frandsen, for a short interview where we talked about linguistic and cultural diversity at Nordic Computer.
What is European Day of Languages and Why Is It Celebrated?
The European Day of Languages was celebrated for the first time in 2001. The year 2001 was actually pronounced the European Year of Languages by the Council of Europe, the European Union and UNESCO. After the success of this campaign which promoted the significance of language learning for personal development, it was decided that the European Day of Languages will be celebrated each year on the 26th of September. According to the Council of Europe, millions of people within Europe, but also elsewhere, celebrate this day by organizing different activities for the promotion of linguistic diversity and foreign language competencies. As the Council of Europe states, learning foreign languages improves tolerance and comprehension among people with distinct linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
Interview About Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Nordic Computer with Lars Juhl Frandsen, CEO of Nordic Computer
Nordic Computer’s employees currently speak 15 languages and have 13 different nationalities. That is why we asked the CEO of Nordic Computer four crucial questions that can help us understand how he perceives such a rich linguistic capital and diverse cultural backgrounds present in Nordic Computer.
What does linguistic and cultural diversity mean for Nordic Computer and why do you find it important?
“Well, it means something on multiple levels. From a commercial perspective, it means that we have easier access to foreign markets. I believe it’s important if you want to do business with someone that you understand their cultural background and you’re able to speak their language. Because we do business to business, it’s vastly different from doing B2C, and when it’s B2B, people deal with other people. They don’t necessarily deal with the company. Nobody usually cares what the name, logo or website looks like. But what they care about is the feeling that they are dealing with someone they can relate to. And that might be on multiple levels. Some people tend to think that it’s more important that they speak to someone who knows all about the product or service. Other people might think it’s nicer to deal with someone who listens to the problems and provides solutions. That’s different from person to person. So, from a commercial perspective, it gives us access to be a kind of a key into a specific market.”
How do you promote linguistic and cultural diversity in the workplace?
“I’m not really a firm believer of affirmative action, and by that, I mean treating someone from a minority in a specific way. I try to treat everyone in the same way because we’re all the same. I usually say I don’t care, but people misunderstand this. So, to be more precise, I don’t put any special importance on where you’re from or what language you can speak because we’re all the same. Then somebody just happens to be able to speak Hungarian or other languages. The more of those people with diverse backgrounds we can bring together, the stronger the team will be. It’s hard to promote diversity in a different way than just treating everybody in the same way. I think when someone tries to treat people in different ways, I think they have misunderstood what the purpose of diversity is.”
“Besides, if we have a common goal to strive towards, the more diverse backgrounds you have, that goes for language and culture but also for gender, education or experience, age and so on, the stronger the organization will be. If we all looked like me, we wouldn’t be able to go where we’ve taken the company.”
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? What steps have you taken to meet this challenge?
“In connection to the challenges connected to a diverse working environment, I believe that the less work you put into the beginning of the hiring process, the more work you have to do later. Thus, it is very important for us to use a great deal of time in the initial interviews talking about this notion we have at Nordic Computer, that the diversity of the company is its biggest strength and for that diversity to persist, you must be able to cooperate, and you must have mutual respect.”
“If people do not buy into this, they are not going to get a job here. We believe there is no one above the collective, and it is teamwork that sets the top bar. So, because we spent a lot of time talking about that initially, we hope people will come to work with an open mind.”
“So, the most challenging aspect is setting the expectations straight at the beginning. You have to set the parameter straight from the beginning of what you expect from each other, and we always try to do that with the same level of ambition.”
What is your outlook for the future in connection to diversity and internationalization in Nordic Computer?
“Well, I hope that if we can continue to follow this trajectory of growth we have, then we can become increasingly international, have even more international employees, and thus have more diversity and offices in multiple countries. The test then will be how to transfer what we have here and what we have succeeded in doing here to other offices. Because we, of course, want to ensure people are heard.”
“People should feel a part of a team and have some kind of purpose. So, I guess when we become more international, we will keep focusing on diversity. Not just for the sake of diversity, but because it makes our company stronger.”
At Nordic Computer, we find it important to foster diversity and build an environment that respects and values individual differences and varied experiences. We decided to promote today’s European Day of Languages since we understand that linguistic and cultural diversity is vital for a better understanding of the intercultural environment. It also helps us resonate with our customers and foreign markets through the creation of deeper and more personal connections.
Thanks to having such a diverse linguistic and cultural team at Nordic Computer, we can speak our customers’ language and add greater value to their business. We would like to thank the whole Nordic Computer team for their dedication to our common goal and their ability to create the most amicable yet highly professional working environment.
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