We asked Benedikt Schonlau, CEO at SILICONALLY, about interculturalism in your company and how he believes diversity and cultural differences can contribute to a more dynamic and innovative working environment.
Your team is very international. How has this diversity developed over the years?
SILICONALLY is an independent IP technology provider based in Dresden, Germany. One of our core competencies is secure communication technology for connected systems. Our engineers developed our SafeIP™ for this purpose. This is unique in its form and we own the patent rights for it. The technology can be used in the automotive and aerospace sectors, among others. Employees with special knowledge and skills are needed to further develop and advance this technology. Limiting ourselves to just one applicant country would restrict our development too much. Our team grows together and with each new customer and project.
How do you manage to involve new employees from abroad and allow them to participate?
We live an agile corporate culture. It is important to us to work together as quickly and easily as possible. We dispense with steep hierarchies and provide our employees with an appropriate system landscape that allows them to work at any time and from anywhere. A basic prerequisite for working at SILICONALLY is that every employee actively contributes their specialist knowledge. In addition, an All-hands meeting is held once a quarter, at which all SILICONALLY employees come together.
Have you implemented specific measures or programs to achieve this?
We use cloud computing, work with various Microsoft applications and run our own SILICONALLY Confluence. This always gives our employees access to the systems and data relevant to them. What’s more, as a company we are certified to ISO 9001, the standard for quality management systems. Everything we do is subject to the highest possible standard. In addition to the digital world, the personal level is also very important to us, which is why we insist on attending all-hands meetings.
To what extent has international diversity helped to increase creativity and innovation within the company? Are there specific examples of projects or initiatives that have benefited from this diversity?
We learn from each other and thus strengthen our intercultural competence. Each of our employees brings their own experience and knowledge to our company. In our company, we combine the skills of “newcomers” through to “experts”. This mix and exchange has a positive effect on product and company development. The different language skills of our employees help us at trade fairs, for example, as it gives us the opportunity to interact with our customers in their language.
Our advice to companies that want to strengthen internationality and diversity in their organization:
A uniform corporate language in which everyone can find their way around, as well as demanding and promoting an open corporate culture.
Dear Benedikt, thank you for the interview!