Friday, October 6, 2017

Umbraco HQ - a multicultural workplace

A Slovakian, a Romanian, a Filipino and a Dane. This may sound like the start of a cheesy “walks into a bar” kind of joke, but it’s not 😉 It’s the 1st of July 2017 and these four people have entered Umbraco HQ for their first day at their new job. All of them have a smile on their face as they’re being guided around the office in Odense by their new work-buddy on the mandatory hand-shaking-tour. Two of them speak Danish, two of them don’t, but they all speak English and since that’s the official company language here at Umbraco HQ, communication isn’t a problem.

Umbraco NewbiesMikulas, Joachim, Eric and Robert on their first day at Umbraco HQ aka Unicorn Square.

“So, where are you from?” this question is inevitable during the lunch break amongst the new coworkers - both to the non-Danes as well as the Danes. Let’s face it, it’s an easy small-talk question but it’s also a question that opens up for an entire dialogue of who this new coworker is; where they grew up, where they’ve worked before, where they’ve studied, how they feel their culture differs from the Danish one and if they like beetroot (our caterer loves to explore dishes with beetroot 😁 ).

A conversation like this obviously highlights the diversity of the cultural backgrounds of the employees here at Umbraco HQ - cultural differences that can’t be ignored, and they shouldn’t. We don’t think so anyway. We think this diversity is part of what makes the work culture here at Umbraco HQ unique, fun and different. And by being open to this fact - and to each other - means that communication and teamwork doesn’t become a problem.

Teamwork at HQRobert and his work-buddy, Claus.

“What’s it like working at a multicultural workplace?”

I had four of my lovely coworkers - with four different nationalities - answer that question. Let’s hear what they said:

Kristina, The Scribbling Storyteller, Lithuania:

Mikkel, Umbraco Cloud Mastermind, Denmark:

Ilham, Friend Maker, Morocco:

Georgs, Umbraco Cloud Magician, Latvia:

14 different nationalities in total

In the intro I mentioned that 47% of the new employees have a different national background than Danish. After crunching some numbers and counting nationalities around the office I’ve come to the result that the total percentage of non-Danes at Umbraco HQ is currently at 43%. So where are we all from? 14 different countries in total:

  • Shannon - Born Canadian, now lives in Australia.
  • Warren - England
  • Stephan - France
  • Sebastiaan - The Netherlands
  • Gabriel & Robert - Romania
  • Kristina - Lithuania
  • Niklas - Germany
  • Ilham - Morocco
  • Georgs - Latvia
  • Zsolt - Hungary
  • Max - Russia
  • Mikulas - Slovakia
  • Eric - The Philippines
  • Niels, Rune, Per, Martin, Kim, me, Mikkel… and the rest - Denmark

After looking at this list of countries you might be sat thinking: “Wow, Umbraco HQ is in a lot of different countries.” Truth is that only 10% of all our employees work remotely, the rest come into the office in Odense, Denmark everyday, which is fantastic because that is what truly makes Umbraco HQ a multicultural workplace.

Can you feel a nationality ?

I’m going to let you in behind the scenes because asking about the nationality of my coworkers turned into quite an amusing yet interesting Slack conversation:

I for one didn’t know that Morten was feeling Brazilian - turns out he understands a lot of Portuguese and even talk some as well due to having married a Brazilian. And apparently Kim has a profound love for German history - he’s basically a walking Geschichtsbuch and then there’s me, having once lived, worked and studied in the South West of England making me a huge fan of British comedy, breakfast tea and constantly longing for scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam 😍

Although some sarcasm may have occurred in the above Slack conversation, it does bring up the fact that people are complex, thus, can not be entirely judged on facts like the nationality stated in their passport.

And what’s more, just like my coworkers mention in their short videos above, the fact that we’re different and come from different backgrounds is what brings different approaches, ideas and understandings to the things we do. Approaches we all learn a lot from. It of course also helps us understand our wide range of customers and as mentioned, make for a fun and different work environment.

So yes, Umbraco HQ is a multicultural workplace but we’re more what I’d call inclusive and open. And since the core of our business is maintaining a global open source software, the inclusiveness and openness inevitably becomes a big part of how we do what we do at Umbraco HQ.

Want to join us? 😃

Umbraco HQThe friendly Umbraco HQ team at our massive yearly Umbraco Conference, Codegarden.

The Slovakian, the Romanian, the Filipino and the Dane are all still here and even though it’s only been three months, they seem quite satisfied by having joined us: Eric, the Filipino, who also turned out to be a fantastic bartender even made us all cocktails one Friday, and Robert, the Romanian, brought us chocolate, cider and beer after visiting his home country during his summer break.

We’re definitely happy that they’ve all come onboard! And you know what - there might be room for you too. Right now we’re looking for some new friendly and talented people to join our different teams here at Umbraco HQ.

So why not have a peek at our job section and see if there might be the perfect job waiting for you. Perhaps it’s about time you tried something new?

We’d be happy to welcome you and after reading this blog post you already know a bit more about what to expect from our company culture 😉

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