4 things Danish companies should do to make their expats stay longer

Unfortunately it’s a fact that expats have a hard time settling in when they relocate to Denmark. This is a huge problem for companies in Denmark that are often dependent on attracting and maintaining skilled employees from the rest of the world. In our experience a lot of companies could do a lot more to integrate their expats into Denmark successfully. As culture nerds, we have 4 suggestions.

Is Denmark that bad at making expats feel welcome? Unfortunately the answer is yes. According to the 2017 Internations report in the category “settling in”, Denmark ranks an embarrassing 63 out of 65. This category refers to the expat’s experience of the easiness of settling in into the new country. How welcome do you feel in your new country? Are you able to find local friends? Do you understand the new culture? According to the Internations report a high number of expats in Denmark find it very hard to settle in Denmark. And a lot of Danish companies experience their expats breaking their contracts and leaving before time because they – or their spouse – just don’t feel at home in Denmark.

https://di.dk/dibusiness/nyheder/pages/danmark-i-bunden-udlaendinge-har-svaert-ved-at-falde-til.aspx

In the above article DI recommends for companies to provide their expats with lessons in Danish language in order to ensure better integration. We believe that it is a step in the right direction, but we still believe more should also be done in order to secure longterm stays.

Based on our work with expats in Denmark, these are our recommendations:

1: Take care of the whole family

Often, expats come with a package of a whole family: spouse and kids. And often, expats end up leaving before the end of a contract because the spouse simply doesn’t feel happy in the new country. Therefore, it is just as important to ensure the settlement of the whole family. This should begin long time before the family arrives in Denmark. E.g. it would be a good idea to find the right school for the kids. Find a network for the spouse, and find out what qualifications and interrests the spouse has. In that way he or she might be able to find work or voluntary work in Denmark. These are all things that take time, but they will ensure a happier expat with a happier family in Denmark. Willing to stay longer.

2: Make initiatives that ensure a more “talkative” culture at work

Traditionally Danish work culture is not very talkative. This is probably because Danes generally stay shorter hours at work (because of the Danish work-life balance). Therefore Danes are very efficient in the hours they spend at work. This leaves less time for personal chit-chat. And knowing your colleagues on a more personal level is not a necessity for a good work relation. This very “professional” working culture makes it harder for expats to find friends among their colleagues. Often expats feel lonely at work because Danes have a tendency to speak Danish with their colleagues at lunch breaks, which can feel very excluding towards non-Danish-speakers.

Therefore we recommend that Danish companies make initiatives that make expats feel more welcome. This could e.g. be a voluntary programme of monthly dinner parties in private homes with a mix of native Danes and expats. Furthermore internal mentor or buddy programmes is also a great way to get expats settled better into the company.

3: Do courses on Danish culture and work culture

Understanding the Danish language is one thing. Understanding Danish culture is a whole different thing. In our opinion it is more important to understand the culture, than being able to speak the language, because, let’s face it, most Danes speak fluently English anyway. Compared to the rest of the world Danish culture is quite unique – especially our working culture. E.g. our organisation cultures tend to have very flat hierarchies compared to the organisations in the rest of the world. Navigating and communicating in Danish organisation cultures can be very confusing to a foreigner, so an introduction to Danish culture and work culture should always be a part of the expat’s (and the rest of the family’s) introduction programme.

4: More positive storytelling regarding expats

The contributions of the expat workforce is crucial to a lot of companies – even more so in the coming years. Furthermore expats also put large amounts of tax money into Danish treasury. Expats make Danish society more international, more diverse. This should be celebrated a lot more. Danish companies could do a lot more to tell the stories of the expats, who contribute to Danish society. Internally as well as externally.

So to sum up, Danish companies are currently not doing enough to integrate their expats successfully. But we can’t blame the companies alone. As a society, we as Danes could do a lot more to be more open towards people who are new to this country. All research show that you get smarter from being around people who are culturally different from yourself, so why not invite an expat family, an exchange student or an immigrant over for dinner – or maybe just a cup of coffee?

If you liked this article you can follow us here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/olskaerqvortrup/

Best,

Gitte & Nicoline, The Culture Nerds

Diversity talk with Camilla Kruse from Deloitte

We were at Deloitte to have a chat with Camilla Kruse, head of talent and development about their take on diversity and what initiatives they have focus on regarding attracting more diverse talents. For now they have a high focus on gender but every aspect of diversity is supported by internally networks, gatherings and events.

In the video she gives specific advise on how to change e.g. the recruitment process so it will attract more diverse talent. Thank you camilla for having us!

All the best from,

The Culture Nerds, Nicoline and Gitte

Expat talk with Kathy Siddiqui

Yesterday we talked to Kathy Borys Siddiqui about her personal story moving to Denmark from Poland. In this video she shares her ups and downs and she gives her best tips on what to prepare for, when you are about to become an international or expat. Kathy is a Cross Cultural Adult, a Re-pat and Expat. She is an Intercultural Expat trainer, the founder of Active Action and specializes in transitioning and adapting solutions for Expat Spouses/Partners.

Thank you so much Kathy for talking to us.

All the best,

The Culture Nerds, Nicoline and Gitte

Why even bother using the qualitative methods in business?

A really good question with a simple answer: “Where the quantitative methods show what the challenges are, the qualitative methods show why they are there”.By using the qualitative method you can tailor strategies, behavioral design and initiatives that actually work because you know the cause of the issue and not only the issue it self.

 

Before we go into explaining why the qualitative method is so great in business, let’s start by explaining what the qualitative method is all about. With qualitative method you examine something in-depth and detailed. Where the quantitative research methods is surveys, KPI and statistics the qualitative research methods is interviews, observations, focus groups and discourse analysis – doing interventions where you as a researcher come “close” to the people it’s all about.

Since the 1980s the qualitative method has become an integral part of the social science method, as it has previously been understood that scientific evidence can only be attributed to the scientific tradition of quantifiable facts. But since then humanities, anthropology and philosophy gain solid ground also in the industry of business because as Steinar Kvale and Svend Brinkmann points at in their book InterView from 2010: “If you wanna know how people understand their lives and world – why not ask them?”.    

Compared with the quantitative methods the qualitative is – admitted – more time consuming and difficult. So, frankly, why use SO many resources, time and money to understand why people act like they do? The answer is: there is money to save and gain – a lot actually. To illustrate our point we will begin a place little bit off. A place that might be a little distant to the more “ordinary” business, but it will make sense – we promise -, the detail industry.

Since the 50s they have used qualitative methods in the detail industry because it was found out through marketing how effective a behavioral design you can make when you know why the customers act and buy as they do. Have you ever considered why a grocery store is decorated with vegetables and fruits as the first thing to buy? It’s super annoying, because then the bananas will end up at the bottom of the basket or shopping cart. But the reason why is because of interviews, observations and discourse analysis done on customers shopping habits that showed the costumer as more likely to buy the chocolate bar or white bread on sale, if they first had their basket filled with vegetables and fruit. Because the mindset is that it’s ok: “Now I’ve bought a bunch of healthy food”. The grocery store have made behavioral design that works – we buy more of their offerings on “unhealthy” foods when they get us to buy all the healthy stuff first.

“Unethical and gross” some might think, but it works.

We want that – the things that works without the unethical and gross. Because you can use behavioral design to create all the good things – e.g. a better work environment to gain happier and more fulfilled employees. This is where qualitative research methods is a fundamental step to gain an understanding of human behavior.

If we look at it in the context of organisations we have to not only look at what the challenges are but why they are there. It is always easier to illustrate this by an example:

A Danish company with a HQ in Italy was experiencing a high level of stress among employees. Overall, the collaboration with Italy worked well, but for some reason the Danish employees continued to turn in sick due to stress on a level that was way above normal and acceptable. Acknowledging the problem the management team in Denmark tried a number of initiatives aiming to decrease the stress-levels of the department – e.g. new IT systems were implemented and flextime arrangements were made in order to promote a better work-life balance. But nothing seemed to work.

In the end a qualitative research process was established, where employees and managers were interviewed about their views on work and life in general. Here something interesting was discovered: The reason why the Danish employees felt so stressed was due to one “simple” thing: They felt obligated to be available for their Italian colleagues 24 hours a day – all year around. In Italy there is in general a different understanding of worklife vs. private life, and in Italy the two often mixes. In Denmark, there seem to be a more clear divide between the two. Hence, the Italians would call and email their Danish colleagues on at all hours and in the weekends, and they would expect a quick answer. This made the initiatives around work-life balance non-existent in real life. Understanding this the organisation was able to make initiatives that was actually targeting the roots of the issue, and this reduced stress-levels significantly. They had to do a cultural bridging of working styles and hours. E.g. a “after-hours-and-weekend-block” was put on the phones of the Danish employees, and hereby it was only emergency messages that would reach the Danes in their spare time. With full support from the Italien HQ after they understood the reason.

<Even if the way stores use behavioral design can seem unetic and distasteful, it is a great example of what the qualitative method can do in real life. By understanding why people do as they do, and why a problem is there, we are able to actually change things in a way that works.

Organisations consist of people. And to understand human actions, we must go out and talk to the people behind them in the context of their own world.

 

All the best from the Culture Nerds,

Nicoline og Gitte

4 things that are important to know about culture, when we talk about intercultural competence

Cultural intelligence, intercultural competence, diversity competence. They are all definitions of what the Danish Ministry of Education defines as “an individual’s knowledge about and ability to understand the cultural complexity of everyday life, as well as the ability to communicate unprejudiced with people from other cultures”.  But before we start talking about how you build up “intercultural competence”, it’s very important to define what understanding of culture that lies behind this concept.

 

1: Culture is imagined by people

Culture is not “real” per say. Culture is there because we as human beings believe it’s there, and because we act on it like it’s something of importance. Culture is a social construct, if we have to be really Bourdieu about it. Objects, things and people can of course be symbolic artefacts of a culture, but in this case the chicken came before the egg: Culture is created by humans.

 

2: Culture is relations

Culture is always created in the relations between people. In that way culture is “patterns of thinking and doing that are passed on within and between generations by learning”, as Anthropologist Donald Brown puts it so well. Groups of people create understandings of culture(s) that are somehow similar (but very importantly not completely similar) because they live in the same country or area and interact under the same set of rules, discourses and environments. This will make their understanding of the world somehow similar.

We come from a country not a culture and in that sense culture is not something we have, but something we do. And we “do culture” in collaboration with other people.

 

3: Culture is ever changing

Remember that we wrote that culture is something we do? That makes culture an ongoing negotiation between people. And in that way culture is potentially ever changing. In that way culture is also something that you as an individual negotiate with yourself and others every day, and that gives culture a major potential for development.

 

4: Culture is not only a matter of nationality

If we understand culture as a matter of relations and ongoing negotiations, then culture also becomes based on actions. In that way you can actually say that there are as many cultures, as there are interactions between people, who communicate successfully. Hence culture is not at all matter only of nationality. There is culture in everything: In the way you do things in your family. In your team or study group. Or at a Bruce Springsteen concert.

 

So to summer up culture can’t be seen as something static that we have, culture is so much more. It’s something that we choose and do in interaction and collaboration with each other – it’s ever changing.

 

Want to learn more? Then stay tuned when we next week elaborate on the meaning of intercultural competence.  

 

All the best from,

The Culture Nerds

 

Millennials want meaning at work. Is your organizational culture ready?

Being able to attract and retain the new generation of “millennials” has a lot to do with knowing the cultural DNA of your organization. And it’s not just a matter of remembering the value statements hanging on the wall.

Right now a new generation is on their way to becoming the main part of the global workforce. “Millennials” is a term used to define the generation of people who are born between 1980 and 2000. This generation is said to account for 75% of the global workforce by 2025.

 

Organizations have to become aware of how to crack the code of attracting and retaining millennials who are said to be a generation that change their jobs faster than other people change their undergarments. Some believe millennials to be spoiled brats who have low resilience to just the smallest amount of adversity or misfortune. Others think of millennials as a generation of very responsible young people who are raised with an awareness of ethics and have high moral standards – e.g. in relation to the environment and having a sustainable lifestyle. Most notable is it that research shows that 88% of millennials want to work for a company whose values reflect their own. Millennials are more than any generation before them driven by purpose in their work life. Even to the extent where they will choose a great purpose over a high salary.    

 

“Purpose” – is that not the values stated on every company’s website? Not exactly. Purpose goes deeper than company values. Purpose is at the core of every culture – it is what drives people to get up in the morning. In an organization with a strong and articulated purpose, the purpose will be a part of every activity done in the organization, and every employee will be able to tell how their exact contribution contributes to the overall purpose. A strong purpose goes hand in hand with a strong company culture.

 

If an organization wants to attract millennials it should be very aware of its purpose, but even more so about its cultural DNA. Cut to the chase, it’s about being clear on:

 

1: Why are we doing what we are doing?

2: How are we doing it?

3: What is the day-to-day behavior that takes us towards our purpose?

 

Being crystal clear on those points and the relation between them makes it a lot easier to attract and retain millennials, as it makes it clear whether the purpose of the organization matches the ideals of the millennial, but also if the working styles of the organization fits the working style of the millennial. As culture nerds, we are very aware that there is no easy way for an organization to become crystal clear on all parts of its culture. It will not work if the management team decide what they think identifies the culture of the organization without any employee involvement. To become aware of the cultural DNA of an organizational culture, the organization must first carry out anthropological fieldwork, and employees on all levels of the organization must be involved. Only when this happens will awareness of the culture be rooted in the hearts of all the people making up the organization.

 

Becoming clear on your cultural DNA is a process of making the unaware aware. The self-awareness that millennials are known to have must therefore be reflected in the organizations as well.

 

If you want to know more about how to find your cultural DNA, then we will be happy to help.

 

Please get in touch with us at: nicoline@olskaerqvortrup.com, or: gitte@olskaerqvortrup.com.

 

Kind regards,

Gitte & Nicoline, The Culture Nerds

 

EXPAT PROGRAM: MASTER OF DANISH CULTURE

This course will provide you with an overall ability to navigate and communicate more sufficiently in a Danish cultural setting.

 

“The Culture Nerds” now proudly introduce our new program for expats in Denmark. Through this program we will provide you with a deeper understanding of Danish culture, and you will address your own cultural biases and your current challenges in your specific situation. At the end of the program you’ll be able to navigate in Danish culture more effectively, and hereby you will be able to influence your future life in Denmark in a positive direction.

 

In our years of working with expats in Denmark, we have seen way too many expats struggle to get of grip of how Danish culture and the Danish mindset works. How do you find local friends? Why are people going home from work early in Denmark? How will it show if a Danish co-worker is unhappy with something? How do I come to a place where I feel at home in this cold country of vikings? These are some of the questions that expats, who work in Denmark might ask, and these are some of the questions that this program will help you answer.

 

The program consists of 4 x 2 hours of workshop, and they will cover:

1: Discover Danish culture and working culture

In this part we will give a thorough introduction to Danish history and cultural heritage. Having this understanding is an important foundation for understanding Danish values and behavior. We’ll also work with your own cultural background, and map differences and as well as similarities in relation to Danish tendencies, so you will be clear on where your specific challenges might be.

You’ll be given some assignments to continue your discovery of how Danish culture plays out in your everyday life.

 

2: Communication in Denmark

In this part we’ll dig a little deeper. What impact does history have on the way we communicate in Denmark? What are the codes behind what is actually being said? During this part we’ll work on how you as a person from abroad will be able to communicate in a way that gets your messages across, and to be understood without actually having to master the Danish language.

 

3: Being social in Denmark

Where are Danish people open to new friendships? What is social life like in Denmark? Depending on your individual status (e.g. single or married), we’ll map your specific needs and plan for your social life in Denmark. During this part you’ll learn that Danish people like to have deeper and more personal relations, and therefore it might take a little more work, and you have to be aware of sharing more of your personal self.

You’ll give yourself small challenges and make a to-do-plan for next time.

 

4: How do I become great at navigating Danish culture?

In this part we’ll focus on building up your personal intercultural competence: Your ability to navigate a culture different from you own. We’ll sum up on what we have learned so far and make a strategy for your continuous work going forward with your integration into Denmark. We’ll end the course with a party to celebrate our new intercultural competencies and life in general.

 

This course will provide you with an overall ability to navigate and communicate more sufficiently in a Danish cultural setting.

 

Would you like to understand Danish culture? Then sign up now:

info@olskaerqvortrup.com

Price: 1.875 DKK (incl. VAT)

Dates: 4 Wednesdays the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of November at 4.00-6.00 PM (16.00-18.00)

 Location: Enghavevej 82, 3rd floor, 2450 Copenhagen SV 

About Olskaer & Qvortrup

We, Nicoline Qvortrup and Gitte Olskaer, are true Culture Nerds – eager to bridge mindsets! Besides that we are a consultancy specialising in cross-cultural collaboration and anthropological research. We do presentations, workshops, and analytic research projects – all with culture at the core.  

 

We hope to see you!

 

All the best from

The Culture Nerds

FREE EVENT! FOR EXPATS AND COMPANIES

Unfortunately it’s a fact that expats have a hard time settling in when they relocate to Denmark. This is a huge problem for companies in Denmark that are often dependent on attracting and maintaining skilled employees from the rest of the world. In our experience a lot of companies could do a lot more to integrate their expats into Denmark successfully. This event is an introduction to our thoughts on how this can be done better.

The presentation will give an introduction to the issues, and we will also give an introduction to Danish culture and work culture – which we think is an important element in being succesful at work in Denmark.

The event is free, but we need to know hos many people will attend, so please sign up on: info@olskaerqvortrup, or through eventbrite: https://lnkd.in/dhUUKKi

See you there!

 

All the best from,

The Culture Nerds

4 THINGS DANISH COMPANIES SHOULD DO TO MAKE THEIR EXPATS STAY LONGER

Unfortunately, it’s a fact that expats have a hard time settling in when they relocate to Denmark. This is a huge problem for companies in Denmark, which are often dependent on attracting and maintaining skilled employees from the rest of the world. In our experience a lot of companies could do a lot more to integrate their expats into Denmark successfully. As culture nerds, we have 4 suggestions.

 

Is Denmark that bad at making expats feel welcome? Unfortunately the answer is yes, according to the 2017 Internations report. In the category “settling in” Denmark ranks an embarrassing 63 out of 65. This category refers to the expat’s experience of the easiness of settling in into the new country: How welcome do you feel in your new country? Are you able to find local friends? Do you understand the new culture? According to the Internations report, a high number of expats in Denmark find it very hard to settle in Denmark, and a lot of Danish companies experience their expats ending their contracts and leaving before time because they – or their spouse – just don’t feel at home in Denmark.

 

https://di.dk/dibusiness/nyheder/pages/danmark-i-bunden-udlaendinge-har-svaert-ved-at-falde-til.aspx

 

In the above article, DI recommends companies to provide their expats with lessons in Danish language in order to ensure better integration. We believe that it is a step in the right direction, but we still believe more should also be done in order to secure long-term stays.

Based on our work with expats in Denmark, these are our recommendations:

 

1: Take care of the whole family

Often, expats don’t come alone but with their whole family: spouse and kids. And often, expats end up leaving before the end of a contract because the spouse simply doesn’t feel happy in the new country. Therefore, it is just as important to ensure the settlement of the whole family. This should begin a long time before the family arrives in Denmark – e.g. it would be a good idea to find the right school for the kids, find a network for the spouse, and find out what qualifications and interests the spouse has so that he or she might be able to find work or voluntary work in Denmark. These are all things that take time, but they will ensure a happier expat with a happier family in Denmark, willing to stay longer.

 

2: Make initiatives that ensure a more “talkative” culture at work

Traditionally Danish work culture is not very talkative. This is probably because Danes generally stay shorter hours at work (because of the Danish work-life balance), and therefore Danes are very efficient in the hours they spend at work. This leaves less time for personal chit-chat, and knowing your colleagues on a more personal level is not a necessity for a good work relation. This very “professional” working culture makes it harder for expats to find friends among their colleagues, and often expats feel lonely at work because Danes have a tendency to speak Danish with their colleagues at lunch breaks, which can feel very excluding towards non-Danish-speakers. Therefore we recommend that Danish companies make initiatives so the expats feel more welcome – this could e.g. be a voluntary programme of monthly dinner parties in private homes with a mix of native Danes and expats. Furthermore, internal mentor or buddy programmes is also a great way to get expats settled better into the company.

 

3: Do courses on Danish culture and work culture

Understanding the Danish language is one thing. Understanding Danish culture is quite another. In our opinion it is more important to understand the culture, than being able to speak the language, because, let’s face it, most Danes speak fluent English anyway. Compared to the rest of the world Danish culture is quite unique – especially our working culture. E.g. our organizational cultures tend to have very flat hierarchies compared to the organizations in the rest of the world. Navigating and communicating in Danish organizational cultures can be very confusing to a foreigner, so an introduction to Danish culture and work culture should always be a part of the expat’s (and the rest of the family’s) introduction programme.

 

4: More positive storytelling regarding expats

The contributions of the expat workforce is crucial to a lot of companies – even more so in the coming years. Furthermore, expats also add large amounts of tax money to the Danish Treasury. Expats make Danish society more international, more diverse. This should be celebrated a lot more. Danish companies could do a lot more to tell the stories of the expats, who contribute to Danish society. Internally as well as externally.

So to sum up, Danish companies are currently not doing enough to integrate their expats successfully. But we can’t blame the companies alone. As a society, we as Danes could do a lot more to be more open towards people who are new to this country. All research show that you get smarter from being around people who are culturally different from yourself, so why not invite an expat family, an exchange student, or an immigrant over for dinner – or maybe just for a cup of coffee?

 

If you liked this article you can follow us here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/olskaerqvortrup/

 

Best,

Gitte & Nicoline, The Culture Nerds

Diversity talk part 2 with Graham Talbot

The difficult part of the diversity talk is how to measure the outcome in your business. In this part 2 of the interview Graham gives his take on how to measure the positive outcome of diversity.

We hope it will bring you some inspiration.

 

Best from

The Culture Nerds

 

Do you want to know how to build diversity competence in your organization? Then get in touch at: info@olskaerqvortrup.com

Invitation to all new expats

Are you just started your new job in Denmark, or do you have employees from abroad? Then join our introduction day for expats to Danish culture and working culture. Furthermore, at the workshop an expat working in Denmark will share his experiences. At the end of the day there will be time for networking.

Take a look at the programme here:

Et firkantet skilt med teksten merge right

Working across cultures in Scandinavia and Poland?

Here are 4 cultural differences you need to be aware of
Through experience and research we have found what you should be aware of to get the best and most efficient collaboration in a cross-cultural team of Scandinavians and Poles.

Maybe you might ask yourself, What’s the point of having this cultural focus in a collaboration? How different can we be? As cultural trainers our answer to that is that it’s very important due to the fact that there can be differences in working styles and processes and, furthermore, in mindsets. That’s why it’s crucial to acknowledge these differences, and to have a dialogue in the team about how you want to collaborate to minimise inefficiency, misunderstandings, long process lines and doing tasks twice.

We see that teams that succeed in their cross-cultural collaborations are teams that have discussions about differences and similarities and hereby gain an understanding and work out guidelines for the collaboration.

We have Identified 4 hotspots – the main cultural differences – you have to be aware of when you collaborate in a cross-cultural team with Poles and Scandinavians.

 

1. Trust
Danes and Scandinavians broadly speaking tend to have a general feeling of trust. Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have a long history of high degrees of trust in the state and government – e.g. Denmark is a country with almost no corruption. That gives people a certain amount of trust in the structures of the state, and also the people in it. It also means that Scandinavian people just trust other people. They don’t need to have a personal relation with the people they work with in order to trust them – they just do.

With the Poles it’s different. Trust is not something that you just have. It’s probably that way because there have been so many years of uncertainty in Poland.

This cultural difference can create some issues, because Scandinavians tend to underestimate the importance of building a personal relationship with Polish colleagues. That’s why it’s so important to remember the personal relations regarding building trust in the work-sphere.

 

3. Hierarchy
There tends to be a very flat hierarchy in Scandinavian organisations. And that’s quite unique, because in most countries globally you will find more hierarchy, and this is also the case in Poland.

This can of course vary quite a bit, but even though Poles and e.g. Danes love to have freedom at work, and in how they solve tasks, Poles still expect that the manager or leader will set the direction and make decisions. And they will not go into discussions with the leader as much as Danes would.

This can create issues because Poles might feel a lack of direction when working with e.g. Danes or Swedes and might feel that working processes are very long and confusing, because everyone has to “be asked” before a decision is made, and no one really seems to give direction.

Danes, for instance, might feel that the leading style in Poland is too much about  “micro-managing”, and they might feel that the Poles are not working proactively enough.

 

3. Communication styles
This links again a little to the hierarchy.

Poles will generally not like to confront their boss, and they will not feel a need to be involved in every decision made in the organisation.

Whereas in Denmark employees are actually expected to confront their boss with ideas or if they see a better way to do a task. Furthermore, in Denmark, Norway, and especially Sweden there is a tradition for dialogue in relation to making decisions, and Scandinavian employees are motivated by having a say in all decision-making.

In Poland this dialogue will be seen as a waste of time, and as a frustration. For a Pole a discussion is meant as leading to a decision, where in e.g. Sweden the discussion might just be an opportunity for everyone to be heard. Poles might also communicate very minimal with a focus on the task.

 

4. Working styles
In Poland you generally work longer hours than you do in Scandinavian countries. In e.g. Denmark there is a lot of focus on having work/life balance, where people tend to leave work earlier to pick up kids, and mothers in e.g. Sweden get longer maternity leave.

Furthermore, in both Denmark, Sweden, and Norway there is a tendency to work in groups, communicate a lot, and have slow decision processes which might feel very frustrating to a Pole. Poles tend to work to get things done, and they might be motivated more by seeing things move forward fast with a leader to set the direction.

 

A recap
To sum up, this difference in trust, hierarchy, communication, and working styles can be challenging if you don’t from the beginning agree on some ground rules for any upcoming collaboration. So don’t hesitate – have a great discussion and hopefully a more efficient collaboration.      

 

The very best from
The Culture Nerds