It’s easy to use the marketing buzzword “international company,” but it’s much harder to work with such an approach and make a company open-minded. Why’s it so crucial for a modern company, especially an IT company? How did Divante evolve from a local to an international company? And why do foreign employees love working at Divante?
Diversity is the key
It’s essential to have diversity within the modern workplace. If you only have the same type of people building software, the software will be a clone of those people.
For example, there’s a big problem within artificial intelligence (AI). When they first built AI engines, they didn’t have women and older people providing their perspective. The AI was programmed with a built-in bias because it’s programmed from the point of view of a 30-35 year-old white male. In this case, the results the AI provides are not valuable because it lacks diversity.
“AI researchers are primarily people who are male, who come from certain racial demographics, who grew up in high socioeconomic areas, primarily people without disabilities. We’re a fairly homogeneous population, so it’s a challenge to think broadly about world issues. There are a lot of opportunities to diversify this pool, and as diversity grows, the AI systems themselves will become less biased.” – Olga Russakovsky, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University for The New York Times.
For modern companies, especially IT companies, it’s essential to have diversity. By diversity, I mean not only foreigners but, generally, people with different perspectives. Whether young or old, with experience or freshmen straight from the university, and men and women, it’s critical to have the right balance. It’s even more important in a software company than somewhere else like, for example, in manufacturing. Diversity finds its way into the code. It is very subtle, but it does matter.
Flexibility is one of the most critical factors for people working from abroad and for foreigners living locally who need to travel home from time to time.
“We’re not the kind of company that operates from 9 to 5. We’re flexible. You can work during the times you want. If I can’t be in the city or the office, there’s no problem at all. I can work from any place in the world. So, it’s perfect for me. I’m from Portugal, so you can imagine I need to travel to my country from time to time. It helps me a lot.” – Bruno Ramalho, Team Leader at Divante.
On the other hand, flexibility helps with travel when still working.
“During my first year, when I was living in Wrocław, I traveled from time to time. I spent a few weeks in Jamaica, Jordan, Morocco, and many other places. This wouldn’t be possible to do on just holidays. Divante was very flexible and helped me a lot.” – Sviatlana Havaka, Senior Product Designer at Divante.
Sviatlana Havaka, from Belarus, worked in the Divante office for a year, but she’s the type of person who can’t stay in one place for much longer. She decided to make a change, move, and work remotely while traveling.
“I started fully working remotely in June 2019. This change allowed me to travel to many countries in Asia. I spent a few months in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. We had an eight-hour difference back then, so I tried to work during regular hours for at least some part of my day. This allowed me to stay in touch with my team and communicate well. As a Product Designer, I’m doing designs alone with my computer mostly, so it was all right.” – Sviatlana Havaka.
Sviatlana, currently in Belarus, where is getting a driver’s license in order to travel by car around Europe, explore the suburbs of Europe, and come back to Asia later. It’s all possible because Divante is an open and flexible company.
Polish your English every day
Jay Rajkumar, Outreach Specialist at Divante, came to Wrocław more than 10 years ago from India’s southern region. Although he works mostly from the office, he communicates with clients and partners worldwide, focusing on Europe and the U.K.
“I feel very comfortable at Divante because we all speak English here. I appreciate that a lot because I had to speak the Polish language at my previous company. Even though I do speak Polish, the English language is much more natural and comfortable for me. Speaking English is also good for Divante. Most of our clients are from outside of Poland. We should be polishing our English every day to communicate well and build more natural relationships. Without fluent English, it’s not possible. It also helps in many other ways. For example, it’s better for thought processes when you don’t have to switch between two languages. You communicate differently in the Polish and English languages. If I think and speak in only one of them, then my thoughts and words are more transparent.” – Jay Rajkumar.
Raymond Wojtala, Partnership Manager at Vue Storefront and the new Business Developer at Divante, grew up in Detroit, Michigan in the U.S. He graduated with a Master’s in International Relations in Poland and has worked in Wrocław for three years. He believes that international, diverse companies need to be open. Open not only for foreigners but also to new ideas, new ways of solving issues, and good communication.
“I was probably one of the first foreigners at Divante. Since I joined, the cooperation has been very smooth. Many IT companies try to be open and international, but Divante excels in that area. There is no real pressure for everybody to speak perfect English at meetings. I enjoy the flat hierarchy and being able to discuss many issues. Anyone can talk to anyone about any problem they are having. The openness of the people working here is excellent. You don’t feel any pressure. Divante gives that comfort, good atmosphere, and openness that is essential if you want to be a diverse, international company. The barriers were minimal initially, but Divante has made a significant jump to eliminate any cultural or language barriers that may cause small divisions.” – Raymond Wojtala.
It’s easy to use popular buzzwords about diversity or having an international approach. Still, some companies struggle to deal with small but significant barriers that can ruin the atmosphere and workflow. What are they? Daily activities, like translating emails to employees or internal systems into the English language, are some of them. Divante already began to eliminate those instances a few years ago.
“In the beginning, some emails or elements of the system were in Polish, but as soon I entered the team, it changed very quickly. Divante’s general approach changed from Polish to international, and it was visible. Before, some parts were only in Polish. Now, all elements of the system, like Toggle, Adventure, or emails, are in English. There’s no barrier to foreigners.” – Sviatlana Havaka.
The wrap up
When Divante started to grow significantly and change from a local to an international software house, the company’s approach toward foreigners also evolved.
“I never felt like Divante was a Polish company. It’s international. Even though there are not many foreigners yet, it’s truly a global environment. The important thing is to have the right credentials and knowledge for a particular position. Ethnicity doesn’t play a role here because I see people from multiple nationalities working here.” – Jay Rajkumar.
Divante is a great place for talented people, no matter where you are from, how old you are, or what your beliefs are. It always was an open company that allowed employees to work remotely, but the COVID-19 pandemic only enhanced this approach. Read about our employees’ success stories, check how we work remotely, and drop us a message if you want to know more about working at Divante.