Saying No for an Answer. A perspective on Why Indians don’t say No!

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The world is becoming a smaller place due to globalization. Organisations are expanding their footprints across the globe. Business is finding it easier to make things happen by bringing in talent across international borders. Indian engineers are a significant part of this picture.

Understanding the cultural difference helps quickly build a productive environment.

When it comes to Indians, one of the challenges that workplaces (in Sweden among other countries in the west) notice, in popular terms, is “Indians hesitate to say no”.

While the statement is accurate, the more accurate perspective is “Indians are keen to say yes”.

Saying no may come more naturally to Swedes if they are not comfortable with an idea. However, not to Indians, and the answer lies in India’s culture and environment.

  • Social

There is a strong social factor in Indian culture and individuals are usually keen to help out somebody than not. The takeaway is usually the satisfaction of making a difference, however small it may be. Not saying yes to help somebody is thought of as a lost opportunity to help somebody or denying making a difference. This thinking extends to other aspects of life including work.

  • Competitive environment

The academic and professional environments in India are very competitive. Opportunities show up but also leave quickly in such environments. Being part of the right opportunities makes a big difference. One way to do it is by saying yes to as many opportunities as feasible.

  • Challenges and Opportunities at work

Owing to the relatively-more-competitive-environment-than-the-west, professionals are used to taking up challenges and opportunities aggressively. Turning them down is either a not-so-bright-idea or a very delicate task. Individuals choose based on their comfort and skills.

These are some of the strong reasons why Indian are keen to say yes.

Education on cultural differences usually helps people to adapt to new environments. In addition, a company can take cultural factors into account during the hiring and identify the more adaptive people.

Choosing people who can adapt

The competitive environment in India also grooms adaptability skills. Indians who have closely seen or worked with a different culture or geography tend to open up their minds to cultural differences and sensitivities more quickly. They tend to adapt and integrate with the lesser learning curve in the new environment and are usually a good bet.

At Siri AB, a significant part of the hiring process is about cultural fitment and we have seen that it benefited our employees and customers. On top of this, education and support on cultural differences and sensitivities have built more confidence in our employees. Employees are able to fit into work and social environments smoothly and our customers find the team easy to work with.

The next time you find Indians saying yes to a request, you now know why and you know a few ways to help them adapt to your environment!

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