Supporting People are featured in the latest Dialoogle Newsletter
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Below is a direct translation in English.
Translate new common knowledge to individual action
Many Danish companies need to attract highly skilled foreign workers. It can be difficult for several reasons. So when it finally succeeds it is extremely important that the foreign employees and particularly their spouses settle well in Denmark. Otherwise, they may leave Denmark again soon.
Mette Rønning Steffensen and her company, SupportingPeople in Lyngby, specializes in helping foreign workers and their spouses to get a meaningful life in Denmark. In her work, Mette often uses Dialoogle as a tool. She has done a course where she trained a group of Danish middle managers in becoming better at getting cross-cultural collaborations to work well in their workplace.
Mette explains some of the typical barriers she meets: "For some, it comes quite naturally to talk to people from other cultures and try to understand them. For others, it is really difficult. What the individual knows about foreign cultures is usually very different; also there are indeed many who have not thought about what Danish culture really is, "says Mette. We as Danes have to get over these barriers, if not it will end up effecting growth and welfare in Denmark. "It can be really hard to change the way you are accustomed to act, without it seeming awkward. A prerequisite for the success is that you reach a personal understanding of how to use his knowledge in a natural way, in this case how we can get a multicultural team to work well together. To achieve this goal, Dialoogle’s images are a unique in the way they help people recognise their personal insights. The photos help people to become aware of things, particularly things they were not aware of before. "
Mette's trick is to give people a relatively short time to select images. "When I ask participants to choose a picture of how they personally can use the new knowledge about cultural differences that they have just gained I encourage them to choose quickly and completely from their immediate impulse. This means they choose instinctively and only afterwards do they reflect on what the image means to them. Hence, we get hold of the most important issues for each individual,” says Mette, who because of this reason usually stops the exercise here without going on to a common summary of experiences.
The excellent evaluations from Mette’s courses confirm that this method works.
“Many companies find it difficult to integrate foreign employees, especially if they arrive with spouses and children”
Morten Revsbeck, HR manager at Terma, taken from www.ing.dk, 16/01/09: Network is needed for foreign workers to settle down