The Finnish group Management Events began to recruit internationally while aiming to expand its operations abroad. The group currently operates in eight countries. The roughly one hundred employees in the headquarters in Finland represent eleven different nationalities, and about twenty international interns are hired every year.
International employees have played a key role in the internationalization process of Management Events. Expanding abroad requires personnel who are familiar with the local language and culture, says Siria Ahlholm. “We receive a lot of valuable information from foreign employees and interns about their home countries. Some of our expansions would not have taken place had we not first hired local experts to work for us in Finland.”
Cooperation between the Finnish headquarters of Management Events and local organizations in different countries runs smoothly, thanks to personnel with good language skills. But a multicultural environment is likewise an asset to Finnish personnel. “The best thing about an international work environment is definitely the fact that you see many different cultures on a daily basis. The business culture is constantly enriched.”
Management Events continues to expand its operations to new markets. Inspired by the positive experiences, Ahlholm encourages others to invest in international personnel. “I challenge companies to try it out and see what amazing international experts we have here in Finland. Finland is internationalizing one individual and one company at a time,” Ahlholm summarizes.
Manuela Ludewig works in Finland on behalf of the national organization of Management Events in Austria. Her language skills and cultural knowledge come in handy at work on a daily basis as Ludewig contacts important corporate decision-makers in different fields in Austria by phone. Native language skills and competence as well as an international background are certainly useful when persuading these clients.
Successful projects and the feedback received from them motivate Ludewig at work. The international work community also serves as a source of energy. “It is great to share experiences with teams from different countries and compare, for instance, the dominating trends in the market,” says Ludewig.
When asked about her personal strengths, Ludewig mentions her ability to get excited and inspire the people around her – perhaps this is precisely why her fellow workers appointed her Colleague of the Year. “I see my work as extremely rewarding, so I wish to give something back to my work community and facilitate its progress.” In the future, Ludewig sees herself staying in Finland if her career development continues in the positive direction it has started. “I feel at home in Finland and, as long as I have a good job, I plan to stay here.”