Digitization and globalization are closely linked. The internet connects the world. With online platforms, products can be distributed across the globe. Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Xing virtually connect people with each other – spatial distances become almost meaningless. The days of costly long distance telephone conversations are long gone – friends on the other side of the world are simply phoned via Skype or WhatsApp. And in the age of low budget airlines, flying is no longer reserved for the rich and famous, but is an integral part of vacation planning for many people. That’s how the world grows together. International crises, military coups or scandalous speeches are no longer found in the paper the next day, but streamed as real-time live video clips that people spread through social media. The world is changing massively.

InterkulturellIntercultural Competence

It is part of the agenda that German cars are produced on all continents, that the business traveler not only flies from Munich to Dusseldorf, but also to London, Beijing or Detroit – several times a month. And in many departments of German companies English is the first working language today. The young generation grew up in a European single market with no internal borders. EU citizens are free to choose their place of residence and work, to pay their pensions in Paris, Warsaw or Copenhagen. Political movements seeking isolation may scream as loud as they want to – the ship has long sailed. Globalization is here and has been for quite a while. Societies – and thus also companies – are becoming ever more colorful.

An essential component of the new working world is intercultural competence. This goes far beyond mere language skills. We need tact, empathy, understanding, respect and appreciation for other perspectives. I personally had the opportunity to experience what intercultural competence means when I lived and worked abroad for several years. And even if I lived „only“ in European  – people who spend enough time deep in another culture, suddenly understand, what cultural imprint means.

KAOS Coaching & Development supports companies, their employees and teams in anchoring intercultural competencies in the organization. This works through intercultural training, coaching and team development. A truly sustainable anchorage is achieved if the openness for different cultures and the competent handling of them becomes part of the corporate culture.

integrationRefugees in the labor market

International crises and wars have led to a large number of people fleeing to Europe in recent years. This has shaken Germany and other European  societies. There are opponents and advocates, envious and patrons, supporters and blockers. Fact is: the people are here. And fact is: They have arrived in a country that is facing demographic change and a shortage of skilled workers that will be exacerbated in the future.

Far-sighted and pragmatic companies now see the opportunity to employ immigrants. This is unfortunately much more difficult than you think:

The legal situation continues to be fatal. In the meantime, people with asylum status are finally allowed to work (an initiative that has been debated since the refugee flows of the Yugoslav wars in the 90s and was blocked at the European level, above all by various German federal governments). However, the mills are working slowly. And so it takes some years until refugees get a residence permit. Of course, if they are issued on a short notice, it is difficult to get a job. Businesses are not interested in training people who might be deported six months later. A vicious circle.

Nevertheless, there are already experiences of integrating refugees into the labor market. Among them are many encouraging success stories and unfortunately also frustrating negative examples. The workers themselves are of course a crucial factor – and that has nothing to do with their origin. Who does not fit, does not fit – no matter where he was born. However, the success stories happen precisely in those companies that specifically and jointly adjust to the situation. There are entire companies that take turns to help the immigrant with his homework. There are mentoring programs to provide contacts and support. And on the other hand, there are companies that are completely overwhelmed. This creates envy and resentment because migrants get additional courses, spend more time with their superiors, or receive the same pay for less experience. Then it gets bad.

Integration is a question of culture. What is needed are intercultural trainings, which prepare the employees – the old ones and the newly arrived! – for the situation and strengthen them for the common challenge.

KAOS Coaching & Development cooperates with the non-profit company BrückenBauen. We train  committed refugees to become cultural facilitators. They can then act as co-trainers in our intercultural trainings for companies. more…