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Diversity & Inclusion at Umicore in Poland

Regional website Poland

Diversity & inclusion are ingrained in Umicore’s values. So how do we join forces to draw on the knowledge and expertise of others and exchange views? By providing space to realize one's potential and widen perspectives through international cooperation and cross-cultural training with colleagues from different parts of the world.

We learn from each other. Two of our employees share their first-hand experience and confirm that when people share the same values, neither language nor nationality is a barrier to effective cooperation! Find out their stories about working with colleagues from around the world.

Culture is an element of our identity

Piotr O. is Manager from the newly established plant in Nysa, and has spent a year gaining experience and preparing for his role alongside colleagues from South Korea. 

How has this trip affected your work and development?

“The fact that at Umicore we travel and work with people from different parts of the world is of great value to me. My stay in Korea enriched my knowledge and prepared me for my work, but above all, it showed me how our culture impacts the way we perceive the world. My Korean colleagues welcomed me with openness and made me feel that at every step,  I was part of a team.”

What was the funniest part of your time there? 

“I found out from a friend, with whom I used to go to work every day, that he likes mountain biking. So one day we agreed to go on a trip together. We met in the morning, and I assumed it would be such a casual, leisurely ride – especially since I had a regular bike. It turned out that my friends are real enthusiasts, they have very professional equipment and do not spare themselves on the road, and I had to pedal hard to catch up with them. After the second ride, they helped me buy more professional equipment. The finale of the story was a film of  my first mountain trip on the new bike ended with my spectacular fall”

What have you learned while working in Korea?

“The trip taught me to be flexible and open to different work styles – some people are very straightforward, others are conservative, some need a structured working environment, others value creativity. Lots of different voices, personalities, approaches that resonate with each other – all this encourages thinking outside the box and a sense that together we can do more, we are constantly growing, respecting each other and accepting our differences.”

Vibrant values

Piotr Ryszawy, Maintenance Manager at the Nowa Ruda plant, has participated in many training courses since the beginning of his career at Umicore, among others in Germany and Canada, where he has acquired both 'soft' skills and specialist engineering knowledge.

How has this experience affected your perception of Umicore as a whole?

“Diversity drives us to pursue a common vision – to create materials for a better life. Regardless of which part of the world we are in and despite our differences, Umicore's values unite us;  real and vibrant and not just written down on paper. . It is evidenced by the fact that there was never a situation of someone arguing or shouting during my trips. For me, communication is about being straightforward and open to arguments and discussions.”

What have you learned from your colleagues in Canada and Germany?

“Canadians use the expressions "please" and "thank you" very often. They are very positive people, selfless and helpful. If they can, they will help without expecting anything in return. My German colleagues are extremely organized; there are no combinations or cutting corners. I have learned these good working patterns, and now I try to be a better manager and instill these values in my team.”

What are the advantages of working in such a diverse environment? 

“Communicating and collaborating with people from different cultures is a truly enriching experience that continually allows me to learn about other perspectives and traditions from around the world. It is also a great opportunity to get to know myself better. I've met a lot of amazing people through the trips, and I keep in constant touch with them – it's like an international network of relationships where we can count on each other.”

At Umicore, we are constantly learning to share and embrace – ideas, experiences, knowledge, skills, and much more. We believe that diversity & inclusion is not an obstacle for us – on the contrary, it enriches us as an organization and ourselves as people.

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