Luke has successfully attracted more and more talent from abroad and the number of international staff has rapidly grown. Luke aims at building a a strong and inclusive multicultural working community where people’s different cultural backgrounds enrich both professional and social aspects of daily worklife.
Already before Luke’s Intercultural Community was established a year ago, Luke was multicultural but needed to foster a more intercultural approach. The Intercultural Community works to support sharing, understanding, and acceptance of different cultural attitudes and approaches, both professional and social, for the benefit of Luke’s staff. This represents a shift from multiculturalism (multiple isolated communities) to interculturalism (a fully integrated workforce)
− The purpose of Luke’s Intercultural Community is to make international people feel at home and support them in their integration into Luke and life in Finland, Nick Walters explains.
Nick Walters works at Luke Viikki office. Besides his role as grant writer, helping researchers to write proposals, he is the chair to Luke´s Intercultural Community.
The activities within the Intercultural Community are open to all Luke employees
− We wish to emphasize that this community is not just for international staff but also open to anyone in Luke. It is impossible for international people to integrate if they are the only ones taking part in a conversation about integration, Nick underlines.
One of the main challenges for international people in everyday life situations concerns language barriers. The community´s ongoing discussions have highlighted this, and recently, the culture has changed, thanks to Intercultural Community’s initiative.
− As a result of the community’s discussions, the President’s virtual coffee briefings are now bilingual, so everyone may be part of the discussion, Nick rejoices.
Supporting professional development and social integration
− In LukePro we organize webinars on many professional topics. Recently we had a webinar about trade unions and pensions in Finland. The idea is to get general information to Luke employees, describes Nick.
− On the other hand, LukeSoc organizes social activities. Most recently, we had a joint lunch where everyone brought a dish from their home country. The aim of LukeMoves is to start hosting annual conferences for social and professional activities in different locations in Finland every year, Nick explains.
In the end, Nick wants to highlight the importance of the community.
− Many people find it difficult to integrate into the Finnish society in the first place, therefore, there needs to be a bit of a change in working practices. Finland can also learn from international people not only the other way around.
Supporting cultural exchange between different communities at Luke is a very new activity, and currently, internationalization is part of Luke’s strategy and a priority of the management.