Integrating sixty cultures to build a nuclear reactor
A Finland-based nuclear project, commissioned by the Finnish government, strives to create an inclusive culture for its new workforce recruited from around the world.
Finland was building a new nuclear reactor, employing the latest clean, safe, and green technology. Initially, the project had been launched as a French-German joint venture, but soon ended up being a French, partially government-owned project that was being closely observed by the EU (European Union) community.
Given that Finland is a relatively small country, there was not enough local professional talent to bring the project to fruition. Therefore, experts were recruited from more than 60 countries around the world. Many of these experts were relocated from warm countries like India, the Philippines, and the UAE (United Arab Emirates), so moving to snow-covered and dark Finland in the winter required much adjustment. The receiving human resources team conducted information sessions on topics such as, “How to dress, live, and drive in Finland,” and “How to deal with the winter blues.” These were soon followed by business-focused Working Globally learning sessions, delivered by Aperian Global, to instill cultural awareness and foster an inclusive team spirit.
These open-enrollment learning sessions created a platform of exchange not only for the expatriates from around the world, but also for their spouses. What started out as informational sessions on “daily living in Finland” evolved into collaborative team-building events across all divisions. This created enthusiasm among the participants in discovering each other’s cultures. The inhabitants of the local village, who at the beginning had been leery about welcoming “foreigners,” soon felt the positive economic effects of the project. They began being curious and more welcoming to the people of the various foreign nationalities.