Diversity and inclusion are the pillars upon which successful organizations are built. Oftentimes, when discussing the topics of D&I, we tend to focus on one involved party or the other: either the candidate, who embodies that diversity, unique skill set, and different perspective; or the organization, who champions diversity and recognizes the value in creating an inclusive workspace - including the organization who still has some work to do in getting there. In this article, we’ll explore both sides of the story, by sharing the success story of one of our most recent Skillhus candidates, Teddie. We’ll also dive a bit deeper into the mindset of Karen, the CEO & Co-founder of No Isolation - the company that hired Teddie as their new Global Talent Manager.
Teddie, who is originally from the U.S., began her career in HR based on her passion for psychology. When she and her Norwegian husband decided to make the move to Oslo in late 2020 to be closer to family, Teddie didn’t have anything specific lined up - professionally speaking. In fact, due to the challenges associated with crossing borders due to COVID-19, it was difficult to make plans of any certainty, and she struggled with overcoming the obstacles of constantly shifting regulations. After finally successfully arriving in Norway, Teddie shares that she was a bit nervous about what lay ahead on her journey to find work in a country where it can be difficult for highly skilled international talent to integrate career-wise. Her original plan of action was to focus on learning Norwegian prior to jumping into the job search, as she felt that her beginner-level grasp of the language would be a professional disadvantage. However, the course she enrolled in was postponed several times due to the pandemic, and in early March of this year, she began to browse for HR-related roles.
At approximately the same time as Teddie began her search for a role relevant to her skill set and experience in Oslo, Karen - the CEO and Cofounder of No Isolation - reached out to Skillhus regarding a new role that had recently been created in the company: Global Talent Manager. After searching through our database, we quickly recognized that Teddie was a strong candidate and were thrilled when she completed the interview process with a job offer!
Teddie joining Karen and the rest of the team at No Isolation is the perfect example of hiring for culture add as opposed to culture fit and we have recognized that, while they may originate from very different backgrounds and experiences, both Teddie and Karen place a high value on the importance of diverse, inclusive workspaces with special attention paid to psychological safety. We asked them both the same three questions:
Why do diversity and inclusion in the workplace matter?
What does psychological safety in the workplace mean to you?
Did they have any advice - both for international job seekers and for Norwegian companies that are considering hiring international talent?
In response to the first question, Teddie shared her view that “Having a workforce that has a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds is hugely beneficial. A diverse workforce can result in improved productivity, creativity, innovation, and company culture. Additionally, it is equally important to create an inclusive working environment that embraces these diverse perspectives and sets the stage for all employees to feel comfortable enough to contribute. When diversity and inclusion are taken into account and utilized properly, the workplace thrives, and individuals are set up for success.”
Karen elaborated on the question by saying that “No one delivers at their best if they don't feel safe and "at home". So if only a select few experience inclusion you, as an employer, will miss out on the brilliance of everyone else.”
Regarding psychological safety, Karen feels that “to be psychologically safe means several things. Knowing that you can be yourself and speak out without anyone making fun of you or being condescending. That you can wear what you feel good in without being objectified or laughed at. That you know that you are respected and treated equally by everyone around you.”
Teddie also places a large importance on the notion, stating that “this concept is hugely important to create an inclusive work environment. Psychological safety in the workplace means employees feel comfortable being themselves. There is mutual respect and trust held by all employees that enables this. As such, they feel safe speaking up in different capacities without fear of retaliation or negative consequences.”
And finally, Teddie shares her advice for international job seekers: “Don’t set limitations on yourself. I was certain my Norwegian language skills would hold me back in finding a job but this was not the case. My second piece of advice is to not hesitate to reach out to recruitment agencies that work with international talent like Skillhus. I am very grateful for the help and guidance I received while working with them.”
And Karen’s message as CEO and Co-founder to other Norwegian companies that might be considering hiring international talent? “For us, the most difficult part of recruiting international candidates has been to make sure our candidate pool has been good enough. Working with Skillhus makes that part of the job much easier. Secondly, you need to be aware of your own bias towards other cultures, and truly check yourself now and then during the interview processes. Studying and reading up on cultural differences will make it easier to see the strengths in all the different candidates, and it will make it easier to cooperate after the hire is made. So be open, push yourself, and ask for help.”
Do you need help finding the right international candidates for your organization, or navigating the job market in Norway? Reach out to us!