Cultural diversity – a competitive advantage
Behind the fast-paced working environment, ZEISS prides itself on its people-oriented approach to staff management. Suki has always been interested in how people with different backgrounds, experiences and knowledge exchange their ideas. During her career she has often wondered how a diverse and inclusive culture could be mutually beneficial for employees and employers. Seeing many Western companies coming to China made her wonder what challenges they would face when trying to implement a global strategy with a local mindset. At ZEISS, these questions turned into her daily challenges.
Suki started her career in a multinational company. Born into a globalized world, she loves taking on new challenges. She quickly developed a passion for the dental industry, opted to pursue this professional avenue. However, at some point, she felt something was missing. She wanted to grow, change and improve - but how? She spent a long time thinking about her next steps. One day, she approached by the ZEISS Dental Medical team. It was then that she realized she needed to take on a new challenge. Suki started learned German from a young age, and she developed a deep understanding for the German culture and way of thinking, i.e. "Quality is king". She knew that German companies pride themselves on technical perfection and provide high-quality products to customers all over the world. She also heard that German companies attach a great deal of importance to the welfare of employees from different backgrounds and help staff to devise their own career development plan. So, it was an easy decision for Suki: She joined ZEISS and a new adventure began.
It is essential that I coordinate with each department and employee. I need to see things from their perspective and try to convince them. It's a big challenge, to be honest.
Understanding others to achieve a common goal
From day one, Suki knew that this new role was a game changer for her: “ZEISS has a clear career development system. It focuses not only on the development of the company, but also on career planning for each and every employee. I have never seen this in any of the other companies I previously worked for.” Suki was selected to participate in the Global Graduate Program (GGP). The program lasts 15 months, during which she has to move between the cross-departmental, cross-sectoral and cross-regional rotations. She has already worked on the Marketing team in China, and is now a member of the Marketing team at the headquaters in Germany. Next she will join the Sales team in the US to gain experiences and skills by taking on new responsibilities. "Cross-regional and cross-functional tasks fascinate me and provide me with a valuable opportunity to understand how other sectors in the Group achieve our common goals on a global scale." Suki's responsibility was to mobilize other departments to form a joint endeavor with the aim of advancing a project.
Teamwork helps to bring out the best in me.
In March 2019, Suki participated in the International Dental Show (IDS) in Cologne, Germany for the first time. Every morning she met her colleagues to set goals and discuss the best way to implement their tasks. This taught her the importance of teamwork. “Previously I paid more attention to my own work. Now I am learning to support my colleagues and trying to strike a balance between working on my own and working as a team.”
Understanding the market to make a meaningful difference
For Suki, it was always clear that her work should be meaningful. Contributing to the success of her company and her customers is what drives her. In the GGP she realized that this goal comes with new challenges.
I think the biggest challenge for me is to understand the market as a whole. Professional technical knowledge is not hard to acquire, but understanding a market has never been easy. I was quite familiar with the Chinese market, but when I joined the team in Germany I realized that I didn't know much about the global market.
Without that knowledge, it's difficult for Suki to develop local strategies from a global perspective. The good news is that she is never alone. Colleagues from various departments regularly provide her with help and advice, inspiring her to perform better in her projects.
Without these mentors, it might have taken me two to three years to understand the requirements of my role. Now, with the help of my mentors and the global team, I can quickly gain experience and insight in three to four months. I can’t wait to apply my new skills and insights in my future marketing work and see what difference I can make.
Thanks to the diverse and inclusive environment at ZEISS, Suki has acquired new skills and learned how to communicate effectively with her team. She knows that by striving to understand each other, you can form a powerful team. No matter how difficult a task may be, with the help of your team members it is always possible to succeed.