Diversity as an Asset

Competence and innovation at Tau. Westcontrol´s headoffice is situated at Tau, outside Stavanger. The technical department employs more than 80 percent expats. According to the managers, the diversity represents many opportunities.

This multicultural environment offers an asset for our company, says Leif Petter Skaar, Managing Director at Westcontrol and Ingar Bergeland, the Technical Manager.

Tailoring technology

Westcontrol was established in 1994 and has two sites in Rogaland; 85 employees at Tau and another 50 in Egersund. The company has a total turnover of 190 million kroner. Rosenkilden visited the company at Tau, where they produce electronics and assemble everything from massproduced consumer electronics to products that are used in demanding environments.
Westcontrol is an electronic system house and machining centre, says Leif Petter Skaar.

Know-how and innovation

Q:What are your main strengths, and why is Westcontrol unique?
A: Our experience enables us to develop complete solutions from electronic design to finished, machined and varnished products, says the managing director. He adds that they rely on two essential strengths: Competence and innovative technology. As we compete with low-cost countries, we are completely dependent on efficient automation technology, and we have extremely competent employees, claims Ingar Bergeland. He says a local recruitment agency assists them in hiring international skilled workers. Furthermore he emphasizes the importance of finding employment for the companion in cases where the employee brings his or her family.
It´s important that the wife or husband - and children - establish a good life here. We are recruiting with a long term perspective, says Bergeland. Also making sure that the airlines continue to provide a variety of international flights is important in recruiting highly skilled personnel, emphasizes Skaar.

International work environment

In Bergeland´s department 11 out of 14 employees are expats. We have engineers from Portugal, Bulgaria, Poland, Scotland, the Netherlands and India, says Bergeland.
They both underline that the expats bring added-value to the business by bringing knowledge about foreign markets or experiences from their work in other industries, like for instance the medical- or automotive industry.

Q: Is managing a multicultural department more challenging than a more uniform department?
A: I think it works out very well. I´m aware of the differences that may occur. However, we do not have a hierarchical organization, something that enables us to face and exploit new possibilities, replies Bergeland. He underlines that his job is to provide the best work environment for his employees.

Q: How bright – or dark - is the future regarding business?
A: Currently all our employees are working, no one is on leave, and we see a cautious optimism in the market.
Skaar and Bergeland reiterate that they want to create an attractive work environment. Apparently they seem to succeed in this as they experience a very low turnover. We recruite in a long term perspective, says Ingar Bergeland. Our values are innovative, brave and precision. Even more important than knowing, is the ability to be willing, Leif Petter Skaar ends the interview with this wise remark.

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