Hiring a cosmopolitan team is great way of ensuring that you have sufficiently diverse knowledge on board to understand new markets and expand your business.
This can be a very difficult objective to pull off successfully. If you are hiring someone in from abroad it is imperative that this person, and their family if they have one, find their bearings in their new home. Often enough candidates give migration a go only to find that their new home is not what they expected it to be. This can then lead to employees leaving prematurely and can end up costing, both the company and the employee, dearly.
In a recent interview with Anna Fredrixon, Chief HR Officer of the Swedish tech company Truecaller, we looked into how they ensure that they bring in the best talent and keep them interested and engaged in their work. “Diversity has been a mission for us from the beginning” stated Anna “Our founders were both the children of immigrants and they value the possibility of including people from different backgrounds very highly”. Anna emphasised the importance of understanding that bringing in the talent is only half of the job. Sustainable growth is just as important when ensuring employees integrate into the company and local culture.
She shared a story about a colleague who unlocked a whole new market, in Sri Lanka, allowing the business to expand and enter previously unexplored territory. This all occurred because the colleague “knew the market very well and felt empowered enough to make the suggestion to look into focusing efforts in Sri Lanka as well” which could only happen once this colleague was comfortable in her role. This is of course one of the main benefits of being a smaller and more agile organisation.
“We decided to grow at a controlled pace, in order to invest in people we bring onboard” explained Anna. By investing in employees she of course referred to onboarding new hires to ensure they find their way in their new environment. It is, according to Anna, also imperative that employees feel welcome and empowered enough to take full ownership of their new role and this can only happen when everything else, outside of the office, is going smoothly as well. It of course helps that the company is based in Sweden, a country known for its free education, stable environment and friendly and accepting locals. Anna believes that it is the obligation of the company to ensure that foreigners feel as welcome as possible as it is in their interest as well.
Anna reaffirmed her belief that including a HR officer, in the early stages of the company, was a good decision. “The founders wanted to make sure that those in charge of creating the product would focus fully on that” and, by bringing in someone to help on the HR side of things early on, this became much easier. This ensures that Truecaller has a strong presence on social media channels and strong partnerships with universities so they can introduce the engineering that goes into their solution to the next generation. “We tend to hire more senior engineers, which is hard to find when speaking to university students, but we like to begin building relationships and employer brand awareness early on” Anna stated in order to justify their investment in brand awareness among college students.
If you’re interested in how your company could benefit from greater diversity in your IT team, or you feel like sharing your story on how diversity plays an important role in your company, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.