In the beginning of May, exactly when the most of Europe was at a lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus, International House North Denmark has arranged a virtual company visit with LBN Medical, a local company who specielises in selling used medical imaging equipment to the whole world. This was a new initiative, especially during these pandemic times. This was the first ever virtual opportunity to meet a company and learn about its structure and how do they work with international students and graduates from Aalborg University and University College Norther Denmark. In the past, we have developed in-person meetings at companies where our international students and graduates have the possibility of seeing first-hand the companies’ headquarters, meet their staff, and engage in face-to-face discussions with the company managers and employees. This time it was different – in order to develop a virtual company visit, we needed to address a broad range of challenges; How can we support the company from a distance when it comes to this new setup process? What tool / software should we use for this online meeting? How will the attendees react to this new medium while meeting a company?
LBN Medical A/S, in collaboration with the International House North Denmark , Northern Denmark’ Chamber of Commerce, Aalborg University and University College Northern Denmark, invited international students for a virtual company visit.
For the past 5 years, International house North Denmark’s secretariat has been arranging several company visits at local businesses with the goal to introduce the international students and graduates to relevant companies and industries, as well as inspiring them with concepts such as the Danish culture and the labor market. Companies also benefit from these visits since they can meet their new potential employees and enlarge their talent pool. These visits can become quite important and successful for both the companies and participants because as we saw in previous cases, we were able to find matches and guarantee that companies find the right profiles for academic internships, or by hiring student employees who become full-time employees after their studies. During these pandemic times, we know that it is more important than ever to give the opportunity for companies and international talents to meet each other – especially when we know that many student and recently-employed graduates were laid-off after companies were hit by the different Covid-19 challenges that were brought into play.
“Normally, these type of company visits will be arranged in person and our international talens have the opportunity to have a guided tour at the company, but during this ‘corona-times’ that is unfortunately not possible.” explains Lasse Friman Jensen from International House North Denmark.
After identifying a potential software that could allow us to put through this online company visit, we made sure to closely plan the webinar’s agenda and practicalities with the company. We made sure to run several tests based on different scenarios. At the day of the webinar we had learned what was worked well, and what should we focus for the future. In short, we found out that the way the company repræsentants as well as the participants interacted in a different way than usual. Engaging discussions with follow up questions were changed to short written questions in the chat. Eye-to-eye contact between the company speaker and the students was no longer a thing. Some of the participants had internet connection issues and therefore could not be a part of the entire webinar.
Nevertheless, there were more than 60 international students as well as about 10 companies participating in this online company visit, that focused on how the collaboration between the company and these international talents can be a success. The participants got an introduction to how it is working in a international company with many professionals from all over the world and the opportunties for our talents to contribute to the North Danish small and medium companies.
Lars Braun Nielsen, LBN Medical director says that: “Thanks to the international talent in our company, we are able to better understand our customers and their cultural background. I think that having employees from different nationalities and cultures allow us to create many synergies and give us the opportunity to learn with each other while we work together towards our common goals.”
The Northern Danish Chamber of Commerce was also excited for the opportunity given by LBN Medical to inspire many of their companies that also participated in the webinar. ‘Erhverv NordDanmark’ is glad to co-host this initiative together with the International House North Denmark, that gives other companies a better understanding on the opportunities and benefits on hiring international talents, and what cultural differences need to be taken in account” says the director Kurt Bennetsen.