In an increasingly integrated world, cultural diversity is more than a matter of fact: it is a powerful force that shapes societies, workplaces, and day-to-day human experiences. To mark International Day for Tolerance on November 16th, we spoke with members of Lenovo EMEA’s champions of cultural diversity and tolerance, the MOSAIC Employee Resource Group (ERG), about the importance of embracing differences.
ERGs at Lenovo cater to different focus areas and are designed to play an instrumental role in advancing the employee experience as well as creating communities of shared identity. But despite the Lenovo EMEA employee workforce spanning over 100 nationalities, it was lacking a group looking at cultural diversity. This is where MOSAIC comes in, launched a year ago by executive sponsor Shashank Sharma, General Manager for Lenovo Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.
“With the world now being so integrated, there has to be an understanding of different cultures,” says Shashank. “MOSAIC works to create different forums where people can appreciate and learn about those different cultures.”
Shashank’s experience across culturally diverse markets has significantly influenced his approach to promoting tolerance and diversity as a leader and has allowed him to watch and see talents of different kinds firsthand.
“All the credit goes to the people I’ve met and the places I’ve worked,” he adds. “They made me evolve. Working closely with people from diverse backgrounds allowed me to break stereotypes and take people as they actually are.”
The influence of Shashank and MOSAIC can be seen throughout the organization, as members Darina Kortis and Gamze Erdogan recall their personal highlights from the group’s first year.
“I particularly enjoyed the sessions where colleagues from around the world showcased their ‘human’ sides,” says Darina. “In the midst of daily tasks, we often lack the time to connect on a deeper level due to work, and it was great seeing people I interact with on the job in a different light.”
“The MOSAIC ERG has stirred up some interesting conversations between teams and colleagues on topics that may not have otherwise come up in day-to-day interactions, which has in turn caused people to connect differently.”
Gamze, meanwhile, speaks about the experience of working for a global company and how MOSAIC helped in understanding the richness of diversity.
“MOSAIC has allowed me to recognize that not only do people come from different countries, but their cultural backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, methods of working, physical and mental characteristics are all different too.
“I think it has had a direct impact on increasing productivity. A diverse workplace allows for more ideas and processes.”
The team says that their main goal moving forward is to keep focus, ensuring that relatable stories of diversity continue to be told. While also making sure a range of internal and external speakers are heard so that members and colleagues develop a better understanding of diversity, as well as appropriate ways to be sensitive towards it.
Lenovo’s commitment to cultural diversity and the formal structures which measure tolerance and diversity are evident through the development of the MOSAIC ERG. And this is just the beginning.
As Shashank concludes: “We are currently still operating with less than a thousand members so our long-term aim will be to expand to 30 % of EMEA.”