What Are You Reading: “Mind Over Matter”

Mind Over Matter

Adopting a global mindset is vital in today’s world, where conflicting interpretations of culture and values are inevitable.

This encompasses a wide spectrum of dimensions and factors that can influence employee engagement, even boiling down to ethnicities, religion, history and geographical locations..

…What I thought was a huge step for the company towards championing workplace diversity took a surprising turn on the very first day, when the first batch of 40 trainees arrived at the Head Office for a familiarisation tour.

…the unusual sight of 40 men seated on the floor performing their prayers. Feeling baffled and somewhat angry, I decided to confront the leader of the group, who then explained that our HR Manager was unreasonably persistent in demanding they follow her into the lift, up to the Penthouse Boardroom, even after the group had adamantly refused.

“We didn’t come to Singapore to die, but to learn,” he pointed out while looking genuinely anxious.

…I later learnt that ascending 55 storeys up carried a whole different meaning to the men; it was tantamount to soaring to heaven to meet their ancestors—to the point of no return. This made more sense to me after I learned that buildings were mostly 1 or 2-storeys high where they lived. The concept of skyscrapers, much less being alone in a lift, were in fact alien to them.

…being in the playing field of the global economy requires heightened territorial awareness and intercultural competence.

…This is especially so for those from the third world or poor, less developed countries. More importantly, be prepared to embrace and assimilate the cultural norms of countries other than your own to achieve an all-inclusive work environment.

Excerpted from “Nothing Surprise Me, I work in HR : A Personal Journey” by Tommy Ng, Asia’s leading HR Advisor, Entrepreneur & Author.

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This article is part of a series of accounts of The Chief Guru Chronicles, a monthly column which recounts our Founder & Chief Guru Tommy Ng’s experience and encounters in HR management across various countries and industries. The purpose of this column is to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed, and to educate readers through challenges experienced. It should not be perceived and used as a professional advice. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, races, ethnic group, organisation, company, individual or country. In addition, we do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of the information. As a disclosure, some names, information and situations were intentionally concealed or edited in order to protect the identity of the involved parties. Except as expressly consented, the contents may not be reproduced, transmitted, or distributed without HR Guru Pte Ltd permission.
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