Meet Hanan Dor, a Customer Support Manager who relocated to Taiwan three and a half years ago. He shared with us everything you need to know about relocation, the best tips on how to prepare- and how Nova Taiwan made him feel right at home.
Hanan, tell us about you.
First and foremost, I’m the father of two girls and 1 boy, and I’ve been married since 2007. I’m an electronics engineer, and I joined Nova right after earning my degree. I’ve been with Nova for eleven exciting years. The first seven were in Israel, and now I’m in Taiwan. A few months ago, I was promoted to Customer Support Manager.
Relocation seems like it can be a challenge with a family. How was that for you?
Yes, relocation can be a challenge. For my family the issues were mostly about the kids, making sure that they have a smooth acclimation process, and taking care of their emotional well-being. When we first got to Taiwan, my youngest daughter was three months old, and my other two were five and seven. My seven-year-old just started second grade here, and there were multiple challenges of moving to a new place, a new school, a new language and a new culture.
To make the kids feel at home, my wife began cooking the foods we were used to from home and traditional Israeli foods on holidays. Since moving, we began to use food to keep the connection to Israel and to feel more at home.
How did the folks at Nova Taiwan welcome you?
The truth is, that from the moment we got here, everyone was amazing; Maggie, Mandy, and everyone who helped us. They were very helpful with any problem or things we didn’t know, like how can we receive packages from home, or where to buy food, and they would constantly ask me if we were okay, if we need anything, and if there’s anything they can do for us. They really went out of their way to help me with everything from the kids, schools, medical issues and even things related to the Jewish holidays.
And while I could never repay them for their kindness, I tried very hard to show them my gratitude. So on Channukah, my wife made sufganiyot (Jewish doughnuts), and I brought them to the office. On other holidays, I did my best to share experiences from my culture with them.
That’s heartwarming. Do you think this type of culture is why people stay at Nova for so many years?
Nova is very welcoming and supportive. Throughout my years at Nova, my managers have always been attentive to my needs. I have had many meetings with managers who are two or three levels above me on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, and they’ve always done their best to help me with everything.
It’s very clear that at Nova, managers are going above and beyond to retain talent. You’re given the feeling that you matter.
Today, as a manager, I do the same. I will do my best to give valuable feedback. If something is not working for my team member, I will do my best to help them shine, like changing their role to something more suitable. And if I can’t keep them in my group, I’ll look for another group, but always within Nova. It almost never happens that we can’t retain someone.
Israeli culture is so distinct. How did you deal with the cultural differences?
On a professional level, there was definitely a challenge, and I knew there would be; that’s how it is whenever you conduct business in a different country and there’s a culture gap.
In Taiwan, people are hard workers with high work ethics and are very polite. Israelis are very open and sometimes their communication style can be blunt, while in Taiwan they don’t always tell you the harsh truth, out of politeness. I learned to ask a lot of questions if there was something I needed to understand.
In that respect it’s challenging. But I managed to break through with small daily efforts. I did my best to help my new colleagues with all sorts of things that were important to them. And when you show up like that, you end up growing on them and gaining trust and even friendship.
Did you feel like you finally got “in” with them?
When you relocate, it’s important to remember that you’ll always be a foreigner. Because even though you live and work with the locals, and maybe even speak their language, they will always be cultural nuances, and it’s important to keep it in mind. Having said that, once I managed to gain the team’s trust, it made it easier for us to connect and I hope it will also make it easy for the people who will relocate to Taiwan after me.
What helped you gain the trust and friendship of the team at Nova Taiwan?
Apart from being helpful where I could, supporting the team members in their requests, I also created relationships all over the levels -;. it’s important to be connected to the local day-to-day activities as well as culture. At the same time, I tried to connect with them as well thru my holidays. I feel that when you share your personal life it helps gain trust and make authentic friendships with your Colleagues.
It took me about a year and a half to build these relationships, yet the effort was worth it.
What characterizes your management style?
I let everyone run ahead with what they’re doing. I don’t micromanage. I personally have no time for it, but I also believe that there is nothing good in managing people that way because it can drive them crazy. I speak to people in terms of our processes and our products, and then make sure they know that I trust them and their judgment.
I tend to delegate a lot. This helps me take a lot off the load, but it also helps my team members grow to become the next generation of managers and team leaders. By delegating authority I’m able to build Nova’s future generation of managers.