“What I’m working on myself at the moment is to be more patient and see people beyond their words. Where they are coming from, especially in the working environment, that’s important.“ – highlights Karan, a trainee in our Fall semester of the Digital Transformation Intensive Programme, when we talk on the topic of diversity. She joined the traineeship in September, together with other 37 talented individuals from all around the world, and is now in the process of working on a challenge in a team of 5.
Consisting of different nationalities, age groups, educational backgrounds and levels of expertise, this mix of young professionals creates a unique multidisciplinary and multicultural setting. In fact, this is exactly what makes the programme so special. It guarantees that the problems presented by our partners are looked at from various perspectives and contributes to developing truly inclusive solutions for the future.
In light of Diversity Week 2023, we decided to sit down with some trainees from the DTIP and explore with them their experiences of working in such a multicultural environment like DSS and their vision of diversity and inclusivity in more detail.
Could you tell me a bit about your background and where you come from?
My name is Karan, and my background is in data analytics and finance. I have experience in the Netherlands since I have been here for 5,5 years now. I am from Iran, and moved to the Netherlands because I wanted to be in a country where they have more open people. Also, since my intention was to follow my career, I wanted to go to a country in Europe with a good economy.
And why did you decide to join DSS?
I always wanted to have my own business and for that, I needed to explore the culture and the working style in the Netherlands more. In my previous jobs, I worked mostly independently: I defined the project, and all the timelines, and everything was on me. Here [at DSS] there is a setup you call SCREAM, and I work with people I never met – with different backgrounds, not only in their professional background but also in places of origin. So for me, I thought it was good to learn more about working with other people. I liked the challenge that comes with it, like conflict management etc. Sometimes, I have to place myself forward and sometimes I have to step back a bit to be in line with everyone. In the business world, it happens quite often, and for me to sell my ideas to people and be a successful business owner, I definitely needed this experience.
You have already touched a bit upon your teamwork. What could you highlight when you think of the advantages of working in such a diverse team and the challenges that come with it?
For me to be more understanding of where people come from and be more patient. Give them time and space to talk about things. For example, if I know a topic, I just keep questioning and the conversation. I noticed that in our first meeting with our partners – I started the first question and I was going with them through the conversation, and at some point, I was like “wait a minute, you have to stop. You have to give the floor to other people”. So this is what I’m working on. And also if there is a language barrier in a team, in my role as a scrum master, I have to take that into account. The language barrier can create conflicts and some people may think they are left out of the team.
Now it’s a little bit more abstract question. How can we all make our society, more inclusive? How can we as individuals ensure that the society we live in is more inclusive through our own practices?
We shouldn’t interpret people by their words or their feelings at that moment but try to understand them more. In our team, we learned this from experience. Some people in our team were quite silent, but when they had to do something for the team, they were really good presenters. And yeah, it shocked us a bit. Some people might open up under different conditions and you have to be flexible to do that.