This post is also available in: German
It has already been a little more than one year since my first blog entry in this blog. I cannot believe how time flies and it almost feels like yesterday since I became part of the Corporate HR Graduate Program (I know that is one of those standard phrases, but hey – that’s how it really is!).
After 6 months in my home location/ headquarter of the Division Chassis & Safety in Frankfurt (Germany), 6 months in the Corporate Headquarter in Hanover and another 6 months in Lindau, location of the Business Unit Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, I am now in my final rotation. In my case, the 4th rotation is the international one: I am currently spending the last 6 months of my trainee program working in Yokohama and living in Tokyo, at Continental Japan.
One thing that is quite unique about Continental Japan is its diversity: You can find all Divisions of Continental and most of its Business Units as well as people from 26 different countries here. This makes work (not only in HR) very interesting, full of good times and sometimes also challenging, but most of all: It bears so much potential!
During my time in our office in Yokohama, I am assigned to a project that focuses on Diversity & Inclusion. Together with my Chinese colleague Cherry, I am working on organizing both a series of Culture Days and a regular Language Lunch, which we just recently kicked-off.
But first things first: In June, we had our first Culture Day @Continental Japan, CHINA DAY!! As we have quite a big community of Chinese colleagues at Continental Japan, Cherry and I had a big support team to make this event a success!
The event took place in 2 of the newly renovated pantries of our Continental Engineering Center. Those pantries are meant to be areas of getting together for colleagues, they are equipped with comfy chairs and sofas, a television and bar style kitchen. Perfect for the event we had planned. We wanted the Culture Day China to be a fun event in a relaxed atmosphere. We had some Chinese music playing in the background, finger food and drinks served, as well as activities for people to enhance conversations: We listed some “Chinese stereotypes” for the colleagues to choose which ones they think are true. Also we asked them to compare the work styles of China and Japan and of course, we had Chinese colleagues introducing themselves and their story as well as answering any questions about China. Last but not least, one of our Japanese colleagues shared his work experience in China – with lots of fun stories that made the audience laugh.
The second activity, Language Lunch, was kicked-off one week after the Culture Day. The idea behind the Language Lunch is: We have so many different native language speakers at Continental Japan – why not have colleagues share their knowledge with other colleagues interested? For those Language Lunch sessions, colleagues participating will all bring their own lunch and meet at the pantries, where native speakers teach some basic phrases of the respective language. It is no proper language training, but meant to get colleagues together, exchange experience and, even though handouts are created for each session, it is more about teaching the audience what they want.
With Continental being a company with German origin, we decided to go with German for the pilot and see if colleagues would like the overall idea or not. And yes, they did like it! Only a few hours after sending out the invitation, we had received more than 20 registrations. In the end, for the first session we had almost 30 participants from whom we collected feedback after – which was super positive and encouraging! Therefore, we decided to continue not only the German Language Lunch, but will also start sessions for further languages in the future.
So all in all both activities were a great success and from my perspective they are a great approach to make most of the divers work environment at Continental Japan!!
PS: And guess what? Remember how at the end of my last article I said I sure will be back to Shanghai one day? Being so close (compared to the distance between Germany and China at least), of course I went back to Shanghai to visit my trainee colleague & friend Summer again in May!
You are interested in becoming part of the HR graduate program? Find more information here.