FINternational 2019: Full steam ahead.
The year 2019 has started, so I wanted to write this blog post about FINternational in the way we want to see it when looking the future. We have now been existing for a bit over a month and things are taking more concrete shapes in the direction we want. There are two main themes which cut through all of our actions, both around the context of work life: supporting internationalisation and emphasising the strength in diversity.
Most importantly, FINternational is a community of people sharing a like-minded attitude and willingness to help and support each other. This community operates both online and offline. Online because this is an efficient way to share information and connect people across multiple locations. Offline because the most meaningful encounters still happen face to face and enable people to learn from each other and build trust in real time. The combination of both strengthens a person’s network since about 75 % of job opportunities are given via networks. We coordinate our actions centrally from Tampere but planning to find local activators/brand ambassadors in different locations.
Let’s first take a look at the online part. I want to point out that FINternational will not be just “another” LinkedIn or Facebook group, but more like a large alumni community for people who are connected with Finland and share our mission and vision. It will be built by using a specific software designed for this purpose, already in use at various corporations and universities, allowing combine information from various sources and users to interact with each other. The online community is sustained by interest groups under three main verticals: educational institutions, industries and professional fields giving each person a chance to belong groups based on their own interests and avoid irrelevant information. As an example, there will be an interest group in the field of health for people and businesses to connect sharing a same industry experience.
Once people have a chance to connect online, the real networking face to face can begin. Depending on your interests, you can get notifications of events or training workshops nearby, and suggestions of community members open to meet up. This helps to ensure that everyone part of FINternational gets access to mentors that will support their professional growth and will not feel left isolated.
Most of our actions are targeted to individuals, but we can’t avoid the fact that while talking about work life, different businesses are also involved as stakeholders. We listen and react to different needs they might have and provide materials such as handbooks and cultural training to encourage diversity in workplaces. Via the community of international professionals, organizations have access to new contacts and find the help they need. To summarize: we operate as a bridge between businesses and individuals.
As it may sound like something already existing on the market, it’s important to understand that our intentions are not to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we focus on help to strengthen existing relationships, unite different actors together, and learn and improve models and actions which already function well. The key is to break down the silos that keep us stuck in closed environments.
I personally believe that we will have a very exciting year ahead to establish FINternational as the place to be for international professionals and shift existing attitudes to be more open to different cultures and skills at workplaces. But our success depends on you. If you want to solve the problem of diversity in Finnish workplaces, this is your chance to crack it together. When you give to a community, you will also receive.
It’s simple: create, use your voice and get involved.