Challenges & Advantages:
International Talents in Rapidly Growing Companies

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Stylight - Blog Post about international talents in rapidly growing companies - Interview with Anna Davydova - Featured

So, some of you might’ve already read Dr. Claas Triebel’s interview on how to manage fast growing companies and teams? Well this time we’re asking the question – What happens when a relatively new company (let’s say Stylight) is searching for fresh talent to join its team?

Having international talents in rapidly growing companies is considered one of the keys to success but it doesn’t come with its challenges and advantages.

McKinsey’s ‘Diversity Matters’ report highlighted that ‘Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.’ Which is pretty good right?

We asked Anna Davydova, Project Coordinator at GründerRegio M e.V. to tell us more on topic and share a few insights into her latest research involving several Bavarian companies who operate with international teams.

Stylight interview about international talents in rapidly growing companies - Anna Davydova

Nowadays ‘young companies’ often translates to international working environments. What’s changed over last couple of decades and why do new entrepreneurs have this mindset?
The world is changing – the ‘new business environment’ is becoming more globally, technically and socially innovative and these so called young companies have to act effectively towards the changing circumstances. On one side, they are somewhat forced to turn global and arrange their business models internationally. On the other, they’re trying to acquire the best minds from all over the world, in order to withstand the competition from others. Young entrepreneurs have grown up in this new multicultural society; for example Germany has changed immensely over the last few decades. In Munich, almost 50% of the population has a migration background and it’s becoming almost natural to think globally. Today’s youth are building up great life experiences from living abroad, and it’s now widely accepted for people to spend a considerable amount of time in another country – it’s this that’s creating incentives for an intercultural opening process.

Can you describe in just 3 words the results of your research?
Openness, flexibility and self-evidence – these were the three most used words throughout all of our research. New businesses everywhere employ these terms within their daily work activities, as well as within their HR management; take exploring new ways to find the very best young professionals, developing new strategies for selection procedures, creating a flexible work environment and openness towards other lifestyles. I’d also like to add a fourth point and that’s open error culture – companies who can take a step back and look at what they’re doing, accept every bit of feedback and react to it in the right way.

Which strategic tips for emerging companies can you identify from the results of your research?
Growing Start-Ups are extremely clever at identifying the right strategies to find potential employees, but they all have one thing in common – they’re presenting themselves as young, creative and international teams. And Stylight is no exception. Just look at Stylight’s website: ‘Over 200 lifestyle, engineer and fashion professionals from more than 22 nations are passionately working every day on Stylight’s mission to provide shoppable inspiration’. This global way of thinking has a positive effect on the company’s recruiting process. Young companies advertise their job postings on numerous international platforms, as well as on social media (Facebook) and on professional networking platforms (LinkedIn, XING and other professional forums). In a way, this means of advertising lowers costs, in another, it appeals to young, motivated professionals across the globe. Yet at the same time young companies are acting local; they cooperate with universities, local employment agencies, and take part in regional networking activities and events. They try to stay present everywhere and spread information about their business as far wide as possible, and that’s something every similar company should be doing.

What are the key strategies to dealing with an ‘overseas’ interview process?
Young companies want to make their recruitment process as cost effective as possible. It’s crucial to provide candidates with equal chances in order to choose the most suitable person. New businesses – unlike their elders – perform great spadework, and create a wide variety of tasks and selection tools, so that they can easily understand what a candidate is really capable of. Allowing that person to prove their professional skills, and to feel whether they suit the team before they end up making the move to a foreign country. Some selection processes last quite long and can include several steps; from online tasks through to Skype interviews, up to a personal interview at the company. This process is identical for both local German candidates and foreigners. Such structural unity can be flexible and quickly change according to the situation, but it is a successful strategy not to exclude some candidates just because they live far away,  have different cultural backgrounds, or have a qualification system in their countries unlike the one in which they are applying. Everybody has an equal value, every candidate is a self-reliant, valuable, professional personality. The best suitable candidate will complement the team – and the company doesn’t spare any means to objectively choose him or her.

“Now you are part of the team”: What are young companies doing to facilitate the international culture environment, as well as taking advantage of it?
The onboarding process is a very important part of the teamwork, that’s why young companies develop a big support infrastructure for their newcomers and aim to infect everybody with a creative and team-filled spirit, to motivate and feel at home within the new environment. Internationals might have trouble with integrating to their new country, trying to understand how this new culture works – and young companies should always try their best to support this process. Various guides, how to’s, relocation tips, but also providing an accommodation opportunity for a newcomers first time in the city (e.g. Stylight’s newcomers apartment), helps internationals to cope with common problems and issues, and shows just how valuable they are for the whole team. However it isn’t necessary to say that this appreciation greatly motivates and establishes a unique corporate culture, which is somehow more important than a personal cultural background.

If it wasn’t clear before, at Stylight, with team members coming in from all walks of life and with a myriad of cultural backgrounds, we take global affairs very seriously: read how we manage to improve the communication among virtual teams in our daily work life.

There’s always room to improve so share your inputs with us!

|By Ilenia Sarman – Senior PR & Communications Manager Italy|

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1 Comment

  1. Working abroad in a global environment requires additional soft skills that make adaptation an interesting challenge. Thanks for the article,

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