My existing organisation afforded me a privilege and opportunity to work amidst diversity of workforce, culture & nationalities in UK for little more than 2 years and it was indeed an amazing exposure. I also met some wonderful colleagues (as in above Photograph) who not only helped me settle in, however, added significantly to my experiential learning.
While this opportunity gave me a chance to deepen and broaden my domain skills (Human Resources), the stint also provided few learnings that I did not plan for. Some of the key learnings are as follows : -
Persuasive Communication is a key - In certain culture, top down approach is the way of life while in others, participative & inclusive Management plays a critical role.
It is important that instead of leveraging the Authority, we develop an ability to communicate in a persuasive manner. When you do so, buy in, is strong and that automatically helps in developing team bonding and also help improve overall morale of the workforce.
Watch out your own Unconscious Bias - Basis our exposure, we tend to form opinions and get used to certain ways of working. However, when we get exposed to a new workforce dynamics in a different country, it is important that we take cognisance of our own unconscious biases. Letting go of unconscious biases is not easy.
Having recognised the need to work on my own unconscious biases thanks to a persuasive nudge from the Leader with whom I was working with, it took roughly 6 to 9 months of constant practices and reminder to self before it got imbibed in the head and become an unconscious habit. This indeed helped me improve my ability to navigate through diversity of views & perspectives!
Seek to Understand before you seek to be understood : It is imperative to understand cultural nuances as work culture differ from country to country. Unless you understand workforce motivation dynamics & its nuances, it becomes extremely difficult to navigate through organisational interpersonal dynamics and hierarchical set up.
Socio-Political Understanding & its relationship with Business Economics: Business Economics and politics are inter-related. There is a significant shift in business & politics landscape in the VUCA world. While in the UK, I found the national dailies were all filled with deliberation on Brexit, its impact on businesses, Immigration crisis in Europe etc and that developed my interest in understanding the layers of global socio politics and its impact on business economics.While it took a great deal of time and efforts, however, building a broader overview of US, UK, Europe, Middle East politics through direct interface with respective nationals and broadly understanding its relationship with business economics has helped me not only expand my horizon however, has also helped in building multiplicity of perspective.
Developing understanding of Workforce Legal & Compliance framework is critical - In a foreign country, it is imperative that you get at least an overview of workforce legal & compliance framework, if not develop a mastery.
Knowing an additional language helps - Language learning is not just about learning a language, however, it exposes you to a new culture and its nuances. When you make a mental shift from one language to another, this automatically helps you build multiplicity of perspective over a period of time. If you are in Europe, knowing an additional language certainly goes a long way. Learning German helped me quite a bit during my travel in Europe, specifically, in France.