Why Bosch is a bit like the United Nations

HRD chats with the HR manager of Bosch about the strategies she uses to manage a workforce that spans multiple nationalities

Why Bosch is a bit like the United Nations
“Working in Bosch is like working in the United Nations. In Singapore at least, we have 30 nationalities,” said Jennifer Ong, HR manager for Southeast Asia in Bosch.
Ong sat down with HRD to talk about the company’s diverse workforce and its corresponding HR policies.
Part of the way in which Bosch celebrates this diversity is by hosting a ‘Diversity Day’ – a celebration of culture that happens once a year, she said.
“We combine Diversity Day with CSR activities like fundraising. It’s a very well-received event on a yearly basis.”
“The company is closed for a few hours. We run shows and people come dressed in different attire. They have games, maps, food – it’s essentially awareness of the different cultures.”
“Of course on Diversity Day, we are not just celebrating nationalities but we are also celebrating gender, age and so on.”
Within a diverse organisation such as Bosch, the focus for the future is always on developing leadership and middle management to create a proper succession plan, Ong said.
The breadth of diversity creates challenges though, especially since Bosch is an organisation with people across multiple countries.
“A lot of managers are sitting here in Singapore and they are managing via web apps or Skype,” Ong said. “Managing people in a diverse organisation culture is already difficult face-to-face.”
To handle interactions across the virtual domain, Bosch uses its leadership training to develop this particular skillset. Stepping up to this challenge also brings certain personal benefits to those in management roles, Ong said.
“People bring different practices, different cultures, different experiences, and so on. With these viewpoints, you can develop yourself and your core performance skills to adapt to the diversity in the organisation.”
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