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Global Mobility Interview
10/28/2022 |News

ROSEN Means to Me Multiculturalism, Challenges and Creativity

As a global company, ROSEN not only sends employees to foreign locations; international colleagues regularly come to work in Germany for periods of time. At our German sites, they are assisted by Tobias in the Human Ressources department. As a "People Integration & Mobility Specialist", his daily work revolves around the topic of "Global Mobility", and he is also the contact person for the international onboarding process.


Hello Tobias, would you like to introduce yourself?

With pleasure! I am Tobias, 29 years old and have been working at ROSEN since January 2021. I grew up in a rural region in Bavaria and then moved to Heilbronn for my bachelor studies in international business and cultural area studies. This study strengthened in me the wish to work with many cultures, languages and especially people. Therefore, it was obvious for me to go into international human resources management. However, before I started working at ROSEN, I didn't even know where Lingen was.


What drew you to the Emsland region then?

Clearly the job advertised, it was exactly what I had in mind. It is divided into two areas: "People Integration" is the integration of new employees into our company and the environment. In the "Mobility" area, I take care of temporary stays abroad but also permanent transfers to a German location. Of course, we also support our German colleagues with planned stays abroad and various processes.


What communication challenges do you regularly encounter in your day-to-day work?

The focus is usually placed on language first. We use a lot of idioms in our everyday lives, such as "let's keep the church in the village" (english example: "It`s raining cats and dogs"), which are difficult for learners of German to understand. Although I myself have regular contact with international colleagues, I also have to remind myself from time to time to communicate as directly and clearly as possible. Body language is also important and culture-dependent: for example, the distance that people keep from each other during conversations or eye contact. Finding a middle ground here that is comfortable for everyone is always a challenge.


Are there communication challenges in more rural regions, like the Emsland region, that might not exist in a big city?

English is unfortunately not as common as in big cities. Instead, it is often expected that German language skills are already existent upon arrival. This is especially difficult when dealing with authorities, because although the target group hardly speaks German, many forms are only available in German. Some landlords and many doctors are also unable to communicate in English. This often causes uncertainty among international colleagues. In our company, on the other hand, everything works in English. Therefore, we try to make the transition between the ROSEN world and the surroundings as fluent as possible.


And how do you do that?  

As paradoxical as it may sound, communication problems are best solved with communication. Nobody knows everything about all cultures and countries in the world. It helps to take off your own "cultural glasses" and question what is normal for you and what something can mean in other cultural contexts. If you then try to understand why something is handled differently, you can avoid many intercultural conflicts from the outset.


Are there concrete measures that support when settling in Lingen?

Yes, there are a few. For example, we have intensively expanded our language courses and offer German courses for different language levels. Our German colleagues can also improve their language skills in English courses. In addition, we have just started intercultural trainings for managers and employees, through which we aim to create understanding for cultural differences. Additionally, we have established a buddy program for international employees as well as a language tandem program and RO-Speak programs and create a monthly newsletter about relevant topics. But we also work externally with the city of Lingen a lot. Most recently, we lobbied hard for a welcome office to be set up in Lingen, which will be a point of contact specifically for people from around the world but also for returnees to the Emsland region.


Do you experience the collaboration in an international context more as challenging or rewarding?

From the very beginning, our recruiting team makes sure that new colleagues fit in with the ROSEN culture. Our cultural initiatives, such as the ROSEN Fingerprint or Cultural Journey Day, also help to keep our ROSEN spirit alive. Most international colleagues are very grateful for this, which makes it much easier for me. However, there are also colleagues who find it difficult to cope with their new environment. Whether more intensive support and assistance is needed, however, is often more a matter of personality than culture. At the same time, though, I regularly use it to expand my knowledge and think about issues from perspectives I'd never considered before.


What qualities do you need for your work or in mediating between different cultures?

The most important quality is empathy. This means that I enter into conversations openly, without judgment, and say "Tell me about your experiences or from your perspective. This helps me to put myself in the other person's shoes. Patience is also very important, as integration is a fluid process that doesn't happen immediately. And of course, everyone in my line of work should have an openness to foreign cultures and an interest in other languages.


What aspects of your work bring you the most joy?

My highlight is successful integration. I regularly get to accompany people from the very beginning of a life-changing process. As soon as we know that they will start with us, I provide a kind of intercultural onboarding. This covers essential aspects like the visa process or immigration. But we also talk about topics that Germans take for granted, such as radio license fees or waste separation. When my colleagues then proudly report that they have asked for milk in German at the supermarket or that I suddenly receive German team messages from them, I am always amazed at how quickly they make progress. As time goes by, I receive fewer and fewer inquiries, and I even notice that my colleagues know their way around Lingen better than I do. (laughs) It gives me a good feeling that we have been able to contribute to this, after all, that is the goal of the whole venture.  


Have you been abroad yourself and experienced the situation from the other perspective?

During my school years, I spent half a year in France and was able to gather my first intercultural experiences there. However, my one-year stay in Thailand was much more formative. There, I first completed an internship and then went on to study. Especially my arrival has remained in my memory: After landing, I got off the plane and first ran into a wall of heat. Since I couldn't read the Thai characters, orientation was also incredibly difficult. At that moment, I felt like an illiterate person for the first time in my life. For this very reason, I can empathize very well with the people who give up their entire lives in their home country, come to Lingen and are confronted with completely different circumstances here.


Thank you very much for the interview, Tobias!


Do you also want to gain insight into an internationally operating company and experience in intercultural cooperation? Then apply now for one of our open positions:|Karlsruhe|Lingen|Osnabr%C3%BCck|Bremen|Dresden|Frankenthal

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Behind the Scenes: Insights Into the Field of "Global Mobility"