Promoting Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (ID&E) is essential to our performance, dynamism and capacity for innovation. To celebrate The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on 21 May, employees give their personal tips on how to best embrace the different nationalities and cultures that shape CGG as a company and make it more successful.
As a worldwide company operating out of offices in 20 different countries on five continents, our employees have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with a global community. To find out what they do every day to bridge the cultural diversity gap at work, we spoke to ten colleagues who had broadened their horizons by moving to different countries to live and work. Their answers had some common themes as well as some simple but rewarding personal suggestions.
Being open and understanding
Sharon Macallan, an environmental scientist from Germany who works in the Crawley, UK office, recommends taking the time to learn about other cultures: “As I’ve moved around often, my way of bridging the cultural diversity gap is by being open-minded, asking colleagues about their cultural background, if they feel comfortable sharing, and not judging their language ability.”
EVP Group General Counsel, Eduardo Coutinho, from Brazil and currently based in CGG’s Massy office in France, agrees: “My guiding principles are to be patient and always keep an open mind. I constantly observe the attitudes and behaviors of colleagues to try to understand the underlying logic and set of values that shape their actions and behaviors. I truly believe such awareness can enhance communication, productivity, and unity in the workplace.”
Laura Vigee from France, a senior sales geoscientist in the Crawley office, recommends being proud of your own culture while reaching out to others: “The most important thing for me is to keep embracing my Caribbean and French cultures every day, basically be myself, while understanding and being curious about others. Curiosity and an open mindset are definitely the keys to create a caring environment for everyone.”
Thierry Crozat, also from France and a senior developer in the same Crawley team as Sharon, adopts a similar approach: “Whenever I speak with colleagues I try to listen with an open mind and to remember that I have personal biases I might need to overcome.”
Tacita Lewars from Canada, CGG’s global people development and talent management director currently based in the Houston office, also recognizes the potential barriers that biases can create: “I believe most of us have the tendency to relate best to the culture(s) we’re most familiar with – it’s natural and easy. On the other hand, it takes mental energy and real intention to understand cultures different from your own. For me, this is work in progress. It’s regular effort to build relationships globally, recognize potential biases, challenge my own assumptions, and be open to adapt.”
Not judging others
Not judging others is a recurring piece of advice. Chunlin Wu from China, a software developer in CGG’s Houston Subsurface Imaging group, is clear: “Stop judging and try to understand.” Daniela Donno, from Italy and research advisor at CGG’s Oman dedicated center, concurs: “Listen and learn about other people’s cultures to avoid judgment, and to accept that differences are beneficial and not detrimental.”
Talking and listening
Angélique Berthelot from France, and a senior geophysicist in CGG’s Oslo Subsurface Imaging group, also sees the value of listening to what colleagues say: “I engage in conversation with people that talk the least and listen to them. Conversing with diverse people gives me each time new angles to see my own culture and I enjoy the idea that there are many ways to see something as there are many angles, many ways to climb the same hill.”
Ibrahim Zoukaneri from Benin, a geophysical project leader in CGG’s Abu Dhabi Subsurface Imaging center, is enthusiastic about the environment CGG offers for meeting people from all over the world: “I like to learn from my colleagues, about their countries and their stories and share mine as well. I like to know the present situation in their countries as cultures evolve.”
Sharing good food!
Ibrahim also tries to learn more about the traditional dishes of each country and learn some words from their languages: “It is really fun to come into the Abu Dhabi office in the morning and say Suprabhat to Indian colleagues, Salamat paki to Indonesian colleagues, Buenos dias to Spanish-speaking colleagues, Bonjour in French, Bom dia to Brazilians and Alsalam aleikum to Arabic-speaking colleagues!”
Adel Khalil, from Egypt and manager of CGG’s Rio geophysical center, also likes to try food from other cultures: “It’s a great way to learn about one another and helps us embrace our diversity as well as our unity in humanity. It’s amazing to see how sometimes a very similar human concept is perceived around the world by different cultures. This has a direct impact on our business as diversity is the key to creativity.”
Thanks to all for sharing their thoughtful insights.
Click here to watch a clip summarizing ways to bridge the cultural diversity gap at work.