Every week one of our colleagues talks about his or her experiences at Capgemini. This week, Suryanshu Goswami, expert in Digital Transformation and Innovation at Capgemini tells his story on how important it is to support employees when the goal is to create diversity and inclusivity. Only one year ago Suryanshu moved from India to The Netherlands to spearhead Europe Innovation Drive which is a PAN Europe program and which requires him to be mobile across Europe. Along with him, his wife and daughter moved here too. His understanding of cultural differences is tremendous and so is his knowledge on how to support colleagues to be as diverse and inclusive as Capgemini aspires. Read the interview and get inspired by Suryanshu!
My name is Suryanshu Goswami, I work at Capgemini for over eight years and I moved to The Netherlands about a year ago. I’m part of Capgemini’s Europe Global Sales Office and I work in close collaboration with Europe Chief Technology Officer. We assimilate all kinds of new innovations into our company culture and partner with startups and technologies. We help customers to embed these new innovations and technologies into their cultures, which drives their business and their organizations.
I have a global role that requires me to be present in Europe and to travel all across Continental Europe and the Nordics. The Netherlands is centrally located, so I’m living in The Netherlands now with my wife and my eight-year-old daughter. She goes to an international school and my wife is settling down also very well.
The Capgemini Netherlands office has a very active “Diversity & Inclusion Community”. We discuss things around diversity and ethnicity, to create an optimal environment for a diverse workforce. Facilitating people such as myself and many others, coming from different cultures and different religions is very important. By creating awareness around this topic, we can make people feel safe and included, a part of the group and equally empowered to do their jobs.
Within the Capgemini Netherlands office, we have people from different religions and different cultures. Culture in terms of different geographical location, food habits, dress habits, different ways of talking, working and introducing. Maybe in one culture something could be very normal. And in the other culture that same thing could be rude or impolite. There are big differences in cultural habits, and it helps everybody if we can cope with differences and benefit from them.
In a transnational company such as Capgemini, spreading awareness about these topics is much more important than it is for other large companies that operate in our field of business. The individual entities within Capgemini operate with relative independence compared to many other centrally controlled monolithic large organizations. In our organization unilaterally pushing any new concept is a difficult job, you need to get buy-in of the individual entities. Considering the structure and nature of the organization, Capgemini is doing a really good job.
When I joined Capgemini 8 years ago, the inclusiveness topic was not a very highlighted one. Today, this topic is at the forefront of many of the corporation’s priority agenda. In Capgemini, there is an open invitation to everybody to join the “inclusiveness community”. I chose for the culture and diversity stream, but you can also choose gender, lgbt+, or another stream. At an organizational level, I see a lot of effort to recruit diverse people from different parts of the world.
As a member of the community I would like to contribute in creating awareness about the different aspects of geography and religion. India is a very diverse country. I come from the North-Eastern part of India. My hometown is close to Indian borders with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. So, my food habits and culture is a mix of all these diverse cultures from multiple nations. I have lived and worked in all parts of India and have been living in other continents like US and Europe as well. This helps me look at people using diverse lenses.
Sharing experiences and learning from each other is a very important part of this community and this stream. The objective is to create an understanding environment for everybody where people feel included. Making people feel positive about settling down in a new place is another ambition.
Yes, absolutely. I have observed that people move to a new country or continent for work and settle down in that new place relatively early in their career (mostly between age of 25 to 35). In the early life the adjustability factor is high and your opinions about different aspects and topics of life are less rigid. I have moved to the Netherlands along with my family after spending quite some time in the IT industry. But still I have settled down here with relative ease. This was only possible because of tremendous understanding and support from my colleagues and HR team of Capgemini Netherlands. I am given a free hand to work within various parts of Capgemini, such as different teams and countries.
In my opinion there should be more cultural awareness within the organization. Also, at the customer sight. The more we understand and know about each other’s cultural habits and differences and the more we create awareness; we can smoothen out a lot of problems and develop a more productive workplace. In the future more initiatives and campaigns would be planned both internally and externally to position Capgemini as an inclusive employer. We will follow-up on our first event, which was a webinar where three of our colleagues shared their unique experiences at the workplace. The dynamics of that meeting were good and interactive. We will create more of these moments in the future.