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Diversity as a key strength: From unique experiences to a unified culture

Frosmo 2019

There is an increasing demand for international experience and a need for world-class talent amongst the workforce as more companies aspire to expand to overseas markets. A study shows that the more diverse the team is, the more productive it is.

As more companies continue to expand across borders, multinational and cross-cultural teams are becoming more common. More businesses are slowly heading towards this path resulting in an increase in diverse knowledge. Diversity, when properly led, can become an unbeatable advantage for international business growth.

But along with the benefits of more insights and expertise also come the barriers that global organizations face to keep the corporate culture intact. How should diversity be managed? How does it affect the company culture? How should a company culture be changed in order to support diversity? I’d rather say not at all. Why? The corporate culture should be developed at the very beginning to recognize diversity and individuals as they are, which are key elements to reach equality and integrity. 

At Frosmo, we believe that diversity is key to unlocking innovation and more brilliant ideas in the workplace. Knowing other cultures opens vast opportunities for international growth.

Although Frosmo is based in Finland, we operate on a global basis, and our customers and employees come from around the world. Currently, around 50% of our employees working in the HQ office in Finland are originally from other countries. We came from different backgrounds but we work together as one team. We believe that having different cultural backgrounds is a great asset to any company. Since we are a growing software company, Frosmo is under constant change. This makes the company dynamic, but this also requires everyone to be more flexible in adapting to changing circumstances. 

With the company growing to hundreds and people dynamics constantly changing, the challenge is to create a strong and solid foundation that will enable the culture and the company to scale at the same time. Challenges come all the time and there’s no greater force than united company culture.


Building a solid foundation is key

As we know, culture makes the difference between average and great companies. Because a company culture co-exists with how the company is perceived, it’s something that should be considered as an early priority in any organization.

Corporate culture is often overlooked. The company culture is not something that can be built overnight. There seems to be a lot of talk around the importance of the culture but not sure if there’s a real touch on it and if it’s authenticated in everyday life. Where to start in strengthening the culture? If you have the chance, start from the very bottom and from the very basics questions such as the concept of humanity in the company. Focus not only on defining them but also on measuring how strong the impact is on the daily operations. 

If the culture and trust are not deeply rooted, then you will most likely fail in the long run. After building the base for trust with the right amount of respect, follow the values to be implemented in action. How are your company values and should they be visible in the daily working life? What do values mean in practice and action? How to measure values and why is it important to make sure there’s proper integration?

Because as the great John Wooden once said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching”. We are truly defined by the things we do, in what seems to be trivial things or smallest details, when no one is looking.


Diversity is not part of a process – it is who we are

At Frosmo, one of our values is ‘Be yourself together’ –  A united team that respects diversity and each other. We measure employee satisfaction in an annual survey and the next one is just about to start.

Based on the results of our last employee satisfaction survey in 2018, we’ve managed to build a strong solid base for our culture and growth. We can be especially proud that we work with Frosmo values in mind. Over 90% think that we speak to each other with respect (agree or completely agree) and over 80% feel that problems in our work community are solved without much intervention. In practice, this means how people confront each other.

LifeatFrosmo survey 2018

Why is this measurement important? We all want to be recognized as we are, right? How people confront others in your workplace tells tons about corporate culture and values. We all have the natural need to be confronted with respect, otherwise, we feel that we don’t exist or that our presence isn’t meaningful enough. Positive recognition gives us wings, a purpose for being, and a sense of belongingness. 

Meaningfulness seems to be currently on top of the business leadership trends along with company culture and diversity. Feeling significant or having the purpose at work is regarded as critical in employee satisfaction, in his overall condition at work, and in his drive to stay in the company. If we feel that our work has a meaning, we are most likely to perform better and become more committed to the company. But it doesn’t only come from clearly understanding your targets and their connection to company goals. It also relies on your sense of belongingness and if you feel that as an individual, you are appreciated and valued in your community.

How do people see you or how do you see others in your workplace? Do you feel valued despite different cultural backgrounds? When everyone shares a common cultural background, it can be easy to forget how different we all are from one another. Incorporating connectivity and empathy in everyday roles opens the possibility of accepting different cultural needs.

Stronger together as ONE Frosmo!


About the writer: 

Marjo Kivistö is the Chief People Officer at Frosmo. She is a passionate and experienced leader who sees people as the most important part of a company. As a big believer of good leadership seen through strong company values, she advocates for open culture and drives a clear business direction to give people wings to achieve success and do amazing things.

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