Women's fans held Taiwan's first "Diversity and Inclusion Vision Award", inviting Jian Lifeng, former general manager of Google Taiwan branch, to share his DEI views and experience, why diversity and inclusion is a necessary foundation for digital transformation? Why will this be the key to Taiwan's national strength?
"Taiwan is the node of East Asia's modernization and the central point connecting Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia. Extending our experience outward, to the Pacific, we have an unprecedented opportunity."
When the global media shines on the Taiwan Strait, some people see the crisis, and some people see the turnaround. Between the dialogue between China and the United States, "Taiwan's visibility in the international community has increased a lot, and many forces and information have converged here, which is a rare opportunity." Jian Lifeng, former general manager of Google's Taiwan branch, said so.
How to use the window of opportunity to drive Taiwan to the Pacific Ocean, DEI is the key in Jian Lifeng's eyes.
In recent years, DEI has attracted attention, and diversity, equity, and inclusion have become a globally advocated workplace culture and the new generation of corporate resilience DNA.
As early as 2006, as the first employee of Google's Taiwan branch, Jian Lifeng led the team from one person to 3,000 people, interacting with colleagues from different countries and cultures, and he deeply rooted his belief in DEI.
Women's fans held Taiwan's first "Diversity for Better Tomorrow Awards", inviting Jian Lifeng to share his DEI views and experience, why diversity and inclusion is a necessary foundation for digital transformation? Why will this be the key to Taiwan's national strength?
Taiwan's digital territory needs to be larger than its actual territory
Jian Lifeng mentioned that outside the actual territory, a country's digital territory is also very important, which is the real boundary of national influence.
"The digital economy itself is a network economy, and the network has no borders, but when your diversification is insufficient, you set boundaries for yourself."
Coming from an information major, Jian Lifeng has always known that the digital economy is a world trend, but in addition to the improvement of technology, he has always been concerned: Is our cultural environment rich in soil that allows diversity to grow naturally?
In the case of Chinese Traditional used in Taiwan, the number of people who can contact and communicate is small, and English can approach 3 billion people. He once proposed the concept of "digital homeland" to President Tsai Ing-wen, pointing out that the Internet allows us to transcend geographical boundaries and reach people across nationalities and cultures.
"If our culture is not open enough and closed-minded, then we are still an island on the Internet."
Not only digital startups, but also the manufacturing industry needs to embrace diversity and inclusion
Jian Lifeng opened the timeline of Taiwan's industrial development, like unfolding a map to the future: "In the past manufacturing era, the production line was operated by people with machines, and people were required to become single, inorganic individuals; Today, in the digital economy, innovation is the way around, so 'human diversity' has become very important."
"If Taiwan's start-up industry cannot practice diversity and inclusion, we will not be able to connect with talents from the rest of the world, and we will face the problem of low birthrate, and there will be less and less talent to drive the industry."
Jian Lifeng also mentioned that not only digital, new industries, but also the DEI of manufacturing is necessary.
In the 1990s, Taiwan's manufacturing industry made a big move westward Chinese mainland, because the language and culture were close, and the work and management methods remained largely single; However, since 2018, the international situation has changed, as the Sino-US trade war heats up, many factories have moved out of China and begun to move to Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States, "everyone has begun to communicate across languages and cultures, so DEI has become very important."
As if foreseeing the captain on the other side, Jian Lifeng pointed out the challenges facing Taiwan - the key to success in the expansion of overseas territory by enterprises and the expansion of several territories by countries lies in diversity and inclusion.
DEI diversity and inclusion is the necessary foundation for the country's digital transformation, which not only solves the problem of enterprise recruitment and employment, but also solves the problem of Taiwan!
"But I think everyone hasn't started yet, Taiwan is really slow, I have to say it so seriously." Jian Lifeng did not wrap in sugar coating and directly broke it.
Taiwan's experience of cultural diversity is still insufficient. For example, standing on the corner of London, Jian Lifeng can see people from all over the world passing by, and can easily "see" diversity. But Taiwan's diversity, unlike London and New York, has a large number of visible differences such as skin color and race, and those who are invisible, people's identity, identity, background, etc., include a lot of diversity, and need to take the initiative to see.
"To embrace the world outside Taiwan, to acknowledge that Taiwan's current diversity is insufficient. Just seeing diversity requires professional training."
Only by opening up multiple dimensions can we truly achieve fairness and inclusion
From the experience of Google services in the past fifteen years, Jian Lifeng deeply felt that the practice of DEI is actually secondary: "The dimension of diversity (D) must be opened before we can truly achieve fairness (E) and inclusion (I)."
Taking the enviable Google employee restaurant as an example, when designing the menu, the team faced a big challenge: there are employees from the United States, Japan, South Korea, India and other countries and cultures in the office, how to make people from most backgrounds on the earth eat in this restaurant?
For example, Indians do not like the smell of fish, vegetarians are also divided into ovo-lacto-vegetarian and five-octane vegetarian, the job of the restaurant chef is not only to cook, but also to learn from people from all over the world, what is the food culture he can eat."
Once a pluralistic environment is established, practicing equity becomes the next step. For example, programming, in the past the factory was a physical production line, now the entire program production process, is in a person's head, so a person's motivation is very important.
"When 'fairness' doesn't happen, why should capable people do things for others? Why should an engineer share his talent with you?"
Jian Lifeng said that many Google products were proposed and built by employees, not by the order of the boss, and the employees helped him complete. The top-down management approach that used to be top-down has become bottom-up proactive, which is a fair show.
When it comes to communion, Jian Lifeng said with a smile: "This is what you need to face when you swallow the pain and kick the iron plate."
For example, Google's female engineers are few, and they find that some products are not easy to use from a women's point of view. Or at an outdoor meeting, an engineer from the West discovered that many parts of the event were not designed for women. "He wrote to engineers around the world to point out the shortcomings of this matter, and we found that no matter what you do, you have to consider the issue of 'inclusion'."
Pluralistic and fair inclusion, like a ladder up the ladder, when you are willing to open the first step of communion, you can deeply think about how to make the distribution of resources more equitable? How do you make your partner feel truly integrated?
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Employees are no longer just workers, but business partners
Of course, enterprises may face challenges and difficulties when they start to promote DEI.
Just like when women fans provided DEI internal training for enterprises in recent years, they heard the voices of many managers: "The communication habits that I took for granted in the past may hide hidden prejudices, but I don't know what to do next?" "I wanted to recruit underrepresented groups, but other employees felt they were all added points and didn't recognize their abilities."
Jian Lifeng believes that these labor pains are normal, and frankly said: "When you start doing DEI, you will definitely hit the wall first, but you still have to start with diversity and openness." For example, he himself also found out that there were so many LGBTQ+ colleagues in Google's office after the passage of same-sex marriage in Taiwan, and they were willing to come out to reveal their true selves.
Start with the unconscious bias training of supervisors, PMs
Jian Lifeng proposed that we can start with the role training of PM, because PM is an important role in connecting products or projects to factories and teams, and needs to see their "unconscious bias".
For example, there was a riot of employees in the Taiwan factory in Vietnam before, because the manager demanded that employees not bring mobile phones to work, and workers felt deprived of their freedom. "The manager's mindset needs to change, workers are no longer just numbers, they have their own names, and with the automation of production lines, the remaining workers will become more professional and see them as 'masters', not just employees."
"Think of each other as a "business partner," not just a "worker," but treat your employees the way you treat your customers. The way factories were managed in China twenty years ago, in other countries, it can no longer work."
From the island range, to the world distance mode
In recent years, due to the epidemic, the system of distance work and flexible working hours has become familiar to everyone, and Jian Lifeng believes that the next step will be DEI.
"DEI will soon become a trend, especially when community forces allow new ideas to be built quickly, and you should prepare for it instead of running away from it."
At present, Taiwan's remote work model is still not in place in Jian Lifeng's eyes: "There are very few companies that can recruit talents from other countries and work together remotely." At the same time, Taiwan is facing the challenge of declining birthrate, and when the domestic population decreases in the future, it will inevitably have to compete for talents from other countries.
"In fact, you can start the experiment from the island of Taiwan, don't look at the world from Taipei, for example, you can find employees in Tainan and Kaohsiung to work remotely." Through remote work, learn how to communicate from distance and respect each other. Accumulating successful experience in Taiwan, let's go further."
Solemnly pointed out the shortcomings, Jian Lifeng also gently guided the way forward, hoping that each stage of departure could move forward to the world well and steadily.
Although Taiwan's DEI started slowly, Jian Lifeng is still optimistic: "Taiwan's lack of diversity in the past is the biggest advantage, because you can make a big difference just by making a little difference." For example, Taiwan's strong information and semiconductor industries, as long as they are willing to open up, will definitely attract more talents to join.
Jian Lifeng finally shared that he recently learned the difference between "cooperation" and "collaboration": "The result that tolerance can achieve is "cooperation", everyone has different goals, but they still find ways to work together. But if you can achieve communion, you can elevate it to 'collaboration', where everyone works together for a common goal."
The future guided by Jian Lifeng always makes people feel full of expectations. When we build big ships in the spirit of DEI's diversity and inclusion, invite more people to board and travel together, perhaps we will open the next era of great navigation.