International Business Travelers can face many issues. As a Consultant, I would tell you about all the compliance issues and the option of being held in detention if you get caught with the wrong visa or work permit. This is my tale of trying to book a ticket that involved three countries called Switzerland, Germany and France.

Once upon a time in a land far away, locked inside a few mountains, a middle-aged lady, Mrs. W. tried to live in a more environmentally friendly way. So she sent her carriage to Africa. It was the age of mass transportation, the neo-romanticism movement had just begun and a few freaks committed to train travel as a way of life.

Our middle-aged lady, Mrs. W. did consider a horse carriage but the train was the transportation of choice. It promised to offer safety, a view, the potential for a class of wine in the restaurant carriage and most importantly, it was supposedly reliable. Our lady had a commitment in the beautiful city of mustard: Dijon, France.

After two days in this beautiful little town she planned to liaise with her old-time university friend TK and his new, soon-to-be fiancée that she had not met yet. Mrs. W. needed to take a train to Frankfurt in Germany. Then she planned to return home, too late to see off her lover who was going to go on a long adventure in the lands, formerly known as Hindustan.

Mrs. W. tried to book her tickets. Her handmaiden was off on vacation so Mrs. W. so to the task herself. She also could not send her delivery boy, because she had let all the staff go due to urgent renovations happening in her castle (or cottage or mini city apartment).

The first part of the trip, from Zurich to Dijon went fine. The second part seemed more complicated. She first consulted with the train company in Switzerland. It seemed to be difficult for them to issue a ticket where none of the train station was in their territory. Then the train company in Germany told her it would take several days to process a ticket.

She hoped for a faster solution and asked locals in France for help. One of her assigned supporters from the university, gave her the hint to work with the French train company. When she finally managed to obtain a ticket, the confirmation letter told her that the ticket would arrive in four days with the mail. This was the day she would already be gone. Despite the potential of using the telephone, Mrs. W. was not sure if her French was up to the standard for such a complicated conversation.

So Mrs. W tried to contact the French train company again via the common mail exchange.

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How innovative she thought. She first received an answer from a machine.

Bonjour Angie ! Tu l’as sans doute remarqué, j’ai changé … Désormais, je m’appelle OUIbot pour que la seule réponse à tes envies de voyage soit « OUI » !

T’aider à réserver des voyages en train, c’est ma spécialité ! Mais ce n’est pas la seule corde à mon arc… NOUVEAU Maintenant réserve avec moi des trains TGVmax en ajoutant “en TGVmax” à ta recherche !

Mrs. W responded: I don’t speak French

The Machine said:

Désolé, je ne suis pas encore polyglotte… Mais je travaille dur pour y arriver!

The machine told her that he is not “polyglotte” but was working hard to get there. He tried to be funny. Even used emoticons to express his feelings. Mrs. W. was not amused.

She pressed the button “Talk to a Human”. Then she left the scene for a walk in the cold and icy city. She ended up in a bar where she met a friend and was at ease when she returned home. After dinner, she returned to her desk. A human seemed to take of her matter.

Un conseiller va prendre le relais. Pour qu’il soit le plus efficace possible, peux-tu me préciser ta demande ?

Mrs. W. tried to explain the issue in French and English.

Oui, je voudrais changer le ticket pour un ticket en ligne, pas de papier. (I don’t speak French so well but I need to have an online ticket, not a ticket sent by mail. I did not see that the ticket would be sent by mail. I assumed it was always a pdf or online ticket). Can you help me please?

Several hours passed. Nothing happened.

She got the same response. She would have to get a new ticket on the counter and claim the cost back via registered mail.

Mrs. W. gave in. She went to the counter and explained the issue. The lady at SNCF was efficient and helpful and showed her how to claim the ticket costs back. She typed a letter in French. The registered mail cost her CHF 8.60 and she had to go to the post office in person, because her handmaid and the butler had taken the day off again.

The SNCF tickets came a week after she had ordered them. In good time and they looked perfectly like back in the last century. “Handwritten tickets, that’s what’s missing” she thought to herself. The nostalgia that overcame her when she held the tickets in her hand was priceless. Yes, another adventure in the digital age. So Downton Abbey.

Angie

PS: Here is more on International Business Travelers (IBT) and if you need a more serious discussion about the topic please make an appointment with me.

Here are my tips on security measures for international business travelers and expats.

We are more sensitive to security issues after an attack such as the Paris attacks of 13 NOV 2015. The precautions you can take are limited but will be helpful in an emergency situation be it a health issue, the death of one of your close relatives, a natural disaster or a terror attack.

  • Only travel when it is a necessity. Check if meetings can be held via video conferencing technology instead.
  • Update your personal information on Social Media.
  • Log in and register on the website of the security provider your company works with. If you don’t know the security provider ask your travel manager, HR manager, and Global Mobility Team. If none of them knows, ask Risk Management or Corporate Security. This information should be published on your company intranet site. Many companies work with International SOS ISOS and my experience with their support for expats is excellent.
  • Have a business card size overview of emergency numbers in your wallet AND your phone. Carry this card with you at all times. Have your passport, ID, work, and residence permit on you.
  • Carry a card with your blood type and allergies or other medical conditions in your wallet.
  • Stay connected to your spouse/life partner and agree regular times for calls when you are traveling.
  • Read the emergency travel alerts provided by ISOS and your Embassy.
  • In an emergency stay connected to other families in the host location. Contact International SOS ISOS or your security provider immediately when you feel you need to leave the country for health or safety reasons.
  • Have an emergency medical kit with you when you go on a business trip. Most company doctors provide such a kit when you go there to get necessary vaccinations and travel advice. Watch out for health issues after your journey.
  • If you have been in a traumatic situation seek psychological support for yourself and your family members. Your company will provide a contact.
  • As a single female business traveler prioritize safety and request safety rooms in hotels. Travel with recognized taxis and keep away from bars. In male-dominated cultures hire a driver or ask your host to ensure your personal safety.
  • Learn emergency phone numbers in the host country by heart.
  • If you manage a global team establish a call tree in your team and devise a backup structure for emergencies. Have an emergency data system for a day where you all have to work from home.

We all don’t want to think about emergencies but when we are in such a situation it is important that we can fall back on a program we have learned. It is important that we know already whom to call and where to find the number. If this is helpful for you please share.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/question-judgement-personal-reflection-nicolas-stramilos

 

Ego can be a blocker of your personal development. Nothing happens when you are passive. You can wait for your life to happen and you will never see any fundamental change. Fundamental changes only occur from within. When you encounter your dark side and confront your fears. Others say that “life starts outside of your comfort zone”. That’s not true. You need your comfort zone.

You must not jump and do a complete makeover. In my experience, little steps are a lot more helpful to build a more fulfilled and happier life. Little steps could be to focus more on what is happening in the here and now, to appreciate more what you have and to continue on your journey to make a more significant contribution to this world. A little step could be to help a staff member be more productive, support an elderly citizen with their day-to-day routines or even being a better partner.

Entitlement is the Path to the Dark Side

What makes me cringe these days is the entitlement. I wonder why we believe that we are entitled to status, prosperity, and lifestyle. Why some of us feel entitled to rule the world, exploit our planet and dominate others?

Who allows you to feel better than others? What is the underlying assumption? Who do you serve? We often do not realize how privileged we are until we meet others who are less privileged. It’s a good practice to put yourself in the shoes of another human once in a while. One you might not be able to relate to so easily: A beggar or homeless, a refugee or a maid. Here is what I have learned by now: You and I we were lucky. We were lucky that we were born to our parents, that we had access to education and that we never knew what hunger means.

If you feel a little bit ashamed now, I would like to welcome you to the club. Once in a while, I try to check on my attitude, especially when I dramatize or when I drown in a sea of self-pity. In these (now rather rare) moments when we look at everything we have not done, not achieved, not had as kids or young adults. The moments when we wish we had had more guidance from our parents, more support from our teachers and mentors, more money and more energy.

The Ego-Cave

This is the ego trying to pull you back into its cave. A hungry animal that yearns for recognition, the badge of honor, the Pulitzer-Prize, one million EUROs in the bank and a youthful look. The ego is a monster and it is dangerous.

You wonder, how you can balance it? If I understand the philosophers and psychiatrists correctly only by selfless acts. By losing yourself in acts of kindness and support without expectation, without reward. You will ask me next if then you are not exposing yourself to abuse and being used by others. I say maybe. You still have to know where your limits are. I would suggest though that small acts of kindness do have a place and need a place in our modern world.

We cannot continue to behave as if everything we need from others is a business transaction. If we do that our relationships become transactional in nature and this is not working for friendships. It’s also not working for business relationships. If we only think in quid pro quo (or in the Matcher style as Adam M. Grant would call it) we are not growing up. We remain children of our society on pocket money. We demand nourishment but we are not prepared to nourish ourselves.

What could you do?

As a first step, I would like to encourage you to log your attitude and write about situations where you may feel privileged or entitled. As a second step, you could consider volunteering for while.

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: Check out this post too: The dark force in us – From Darth Vader to Jedi 

This video about C.G. Jung’s concepts is also a good addition to this post.

HireMe! Group Coaching 2018

  • Have you been looking for a job for more than six months?
  • Do you feel you are wasting your energy doing the wrong things for too long?
  • Are you qualified to Bachelor or Master level but lack significant experience in the field you are aiming at?
  • Are you introverted and have a hard time with networking?
  • Do you feel you spend too much time making too little progress?

Then act now and join the next HireMe! Group Coaching Program that begins 3 APRIL 2018 and runs for 5 consecutive weeks.  Kickstart and re-energize your job search in Switzerland with guidance from experienced career coach Angela Weinberger and the support of a group of like-minded professionals.

Angela Weinberger, career coach and author of “The Global Career Workbook”, will lead you on a focused group journey (4-8 participants) through the following key steps, amongst others, to landing a job that you want in Switzerland.

  • Building your personal brand and pitching yourself
  • Deepen your understanding of your personal values
  • Improve your professional presence online
  • Swiss style job applications
  • Write effective Letters of Motivation
  • Learn the art of storytelling in interviews
  • Build professional networks in Switzerland (or elsewhere)
  • Set weekly targets at a healthy realistic pace
  • Structure your job search

After completing the program you will be better prepared for tackling the Swiss job market, feel more self-confident in your job search and understand finally why networking is the key success factor.

Want to know more?  Find the full program details here: http://globalpeopletransitions.com/hireme-group-coaching/


Hiring your employees from other countries will give your company the chance to find a motivated and skilled workforce, particularly if your country is suffering from a shortage of skilled labor on a national scale in certain job sectors. But sourcing your workforce from another country is difficult if you have never done it before.

Here are eight tips that you should think about before you consider hiring from abroad:

  1. Traditional and Online Marketing

Every country has its own set of laws that dictate how marketing and advertising are to be conducted. These set of laws are also applicable to online advertising and traditional recruitment marketing so make sure that you as a global employer follow all the laws of the country where you are sourcing and recruiting your workforce from.

Other than abiding by the country’s regulation when recruiting employees, you also need to ensure that your advertising and recruitment campaigns are non-discriminatory and follow the employment-related quota requirements required in multinational markets. Maintain clarity by mentioning the language requirements for the job postings, so nothing is lost in translation.

  1. Job Applications Should Comply with the Local Laws

All written job applications have to abide by the laws of the country where you are recruiting from, which may vary from country to country. This indicates that you should be sensitive to asking certain questions that may be prohibited according to a country’s laws.

Another factor that you as a global employer should bear in mind is whether your job application complies with the law as well as whether you need to draft it in multiple languages before using it in your global recruiting process. You can hire an interpreter to help you with your recruitment process if your recruiting managers are not fluent in the same language as the job applicants.

  1. Study the Compensation Packages

Ensure that the total compensation package that you are offering is enough to challenge the competition in the local market to attract the right candidates.

Make sure that the perks and benefits that your company offers other than the basic salary should also meet or exceed the candidate’s expectations in each country. You can set up a compensation baseline on a global scale.

Consider the following factors when deciding on compensation:

  • The labor market demand
  • Specific range of salary according to post
  • Cost of living
  • Exchange rates of foreign currency
  • Your benefits package should be in the same range as the ones offered by local companies
  1. Conduct Your Research Using Online Recruitment Software

It is important that you understand what overseas job boards can target your potential candidates in the most effective way possible. You can then streamline your recruiting process by implementing an applicant tracking software to advertise job availability to your overseas job applicants.

  1. Structure Your Interview Process

You need to be careful about how you go about structuring your interview processes as it may include adjusting to the different time zones, making travel arrangements for candidates for in-person interviews as well as seeking the help of an interpreter.

You can also make use of technology such as video calling or conferencing if you want to conduct an interview if you and the applicant are not in the same location.

  1. Conduct Pre-Employment Screenings

Recruiting on a global scale requires a vigilant approach to pre-employment screenings with the help of applicant tracking software which can help you navigate through the recruiting process with ease. Before attempting to screen your job applicants, make sure that you check with the local labor laws to know what measures are permitted in that country.

  1. Verify the Work Permit Requirements in Your Labor Market

Make sure that you verify and abide by the work permit requirements of the country where you are recruiting your labor force from as the work permit restrictions tend to vary from country to country. These work permit restrictions can limit your employee’s mobility and as well as further hindering the employment of your employee’s spouses as not all countries issue work permits to the spouses of employees.

  1. Support Global Mobility Policies

Support global mobility when you are globally recruiting your employees. Try to meet dual-career issues for your employee’s spouses while hiring your employees in a country. Ensure that your employees are aware of the global mobility policies that may or may not permit their spouses to follow them to international locations should the need arise. Ensure that your company’s mobility policies are updated and in tandem with the host country’s mobility policies to provide spouse support services for your employees.

 

Kelly Barcelos

Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she is busy creating content and preparing PR topics. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.

 

 

 

PS: Check out “Eight Major Barriers to Expat Spouse Employment” too.

I recently came across this article “Learning to say no” and since a lot of my clients seem to struggle with saying no in a polite way I thought I would write a post about it. I think the issue is not that we all want to say yes all the time but to understand better why you say yes in the first place. Maybe networking is a good example.

When you network with purpose you give people a reason to contact you again. You provide advice and you invite people to get in touch with you. You promise them knowledge, education, and access to your professional network. You could help them save time on meaningless research and formatting tasks. You could even offer them your administrative support for free. Believe me, no one will believe that you are doing this without intention and an agenda. This is different. It will stick. You cannot make one key mistake though: You cannot expect reward or even gratitude from your counterpart. You need to believe in the “networking karma” as I like to call it.

You keep the relationship alive, even if the background of the other person doesn’t match yours or even if the person might be a competitor. You might also feel the tendency to continue giving to certain contacts without getting anything back and you might think this is a bad thing.

I don’t think so, but I think we all have to be careful that we are not abused by takers.

You never know when a contact will play a role later in life. I learned yesterday it takes between 5 and 7 years in Switzerland until a newbie is a fully accepted member of a “Zunfthaus”. You can learn more about this Swiss tradition when you speak to an expert. (I’m no Zunftexpert at all). I think this is a good time frame for your networking effort too. If you have not messed up the trust you are building in five to seven years you might be allowed to ask for a small favor.

What could happen if you invest in your professional network without an agenda and without immediate expectations is that you suddenly have too many balls in the air. You juggle your network of contacts and you are a sought-after expert in your field.

I get at least one request for a scientific research project a month. It usually means that I spend about an hour preparing for an interview and another hour with the interviewer. Sometimes I dig out literature or I promise to send a link or literature list afterward. Most students don’t see how much time it took me to prepare all that knowledge but I usually get their thesis as a gift, which is great because I have a very specific library now. So, I continue to say “yes” to students because it helps me to keep up to speed with the academic research in my field. I work with an intention but not based on immediate gratification. In my view that is a different mindset.

You need to know when you say yes and when you say no

My own coach and mentor recently explained that we all need to learn to say no in a polite way. We need to be professional “Nein, danke” sayers. And for a giver that’s not so easy. What I recommend to do is to set yourself some principles and guidelines. This is how I came up with the ten professional networking principles initially. I used them to help me in my efforts to be less strategic but still network according to my purpose and values.

You could collage a thank you-wall or have a box of thank you cards

We forget sometimes how grateful people are when you help them achieve what they would like to achieve. One idea I have is that you could put together a wall with all the emails, notes and postcards you receive from people who just say “thank you”. Or you could keep them in a box or nice folder.

Learn to say “NEIN, DANKE!”

Instead of saying plain “No.”, you could consider a “yes, if…” or “no, thank you.”. You could say yes if certain conditions are met and if you are declining you have a few good arguments to decline. For example, you could say: I’m happy to meet you if we meet during lunchtime in a restaurant close to where I work.” or “I’m happy to give you advice if you prepare five questions and send them to me 24 hours before the meeting.” or “I’m happy to support your refugee program if you show my logo on your website.”

What will you decline politely this week?

Angie

Read more

Give and Take by Adam M. Grant

On Perfectionism
http://www.vanschneider.com/perfectionism-is-killing-your-creativity

 

„Mobility is finally making the shift from an international benefit provider to an appreciated strategic partner to the business.“

Chris Debner

 

Like ever so often in Holland events start with a slight delay because of traffic. The Swiss in me rebels but I tell her to enjoy the tropical atmosphere of the Royal Tropical Institute. I check out the remainders of colonialism: masks, spears and painted world maps in white marbled halls. The smell of adventure still hangs in the air. Here we meet the pioneers of Global Mobility, the seafarers, discoverers, and conquerors. At the time with weapons and bribes, now with the promise of prosperity. The UN Global Goals are printed on the beer coasters as if to remind us that we have moved on, that we are now looking for „peace and prosperity for all people.“

Inge Nitsche, CEO of Expatise Academy welcomes the Global Mobility folks to the New Year, launches the brand new Expatise Global Mobility Online Certification Course of the Expatise Academy.

Inge then kicks off the day by setting the scene. Inge poses the question if we are in transformation or being transformed. She asks if we are under siege. Before we get our seat at the table we need to check if we are still on the right track.

Do we still fly up or are we going down or do we have to do a restart in the air to land in a better place?

Key Note

Chris Debner opens the session explaining what a Global Mobility Strategy is made of. The elements of policies, processes and operating model. He shows us the building blocks from business objectives, stakeholder needs, assignment types, talent management & workforce planning, competence and capacity, culture to competitiveness, trends and external influencers.

Chris summarizes the paradigm shift in Global Mobility leading us from a compliance focus to a purpose-driven mobility, improved employee experience and increased outsourcing of transactional tasks and dedicated compliance functions.

Then he continues to explain how the needs of Gen Y (instant gratification, clarity, flexible approaches) will change mobility policies to customized packages for everyone. I also predict that this will happen. What I like about Chris’s presentation is that he is realistic. He knows where GM Teams currently struggle and proposes three key challenges:

  1. Skillset
  2. Time & Resources
  3. Engaging with the business.

As suggestions to work on these challenges Chris sees three points

  1. Invest in your training, education and work with a flexible workforce.
  2. Build the business case for change
  3. Collaborate with other areas outside of HR, invest in change and meet the business line managers to find out how you can provide values.

 

Open Discussion

I get up to facilitate a peer consulting exercise. This exercise helps with listening skills, ideally solves one current issue of a participant and helps participants to build trust amongst each other. Afterwards, we have coffee. I listen in on conversations. I understand that we face similar challenges in Global Mobility here and in Switzerland.

One difference might be the European Union context. It also seems that Brexit is more prevalent in Amsterdam. Companies shift their presence to Amsterdam, rents increase, „knowledge migrants“ flock the city, the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) directive is leading to more migrants and the city seems diverse. What I immediately notice in comparison to events in Switzerland is that I do not feel so old. I am sort of middle-aged here. I see grey, and white hair. I like it.

After the break, we split up into two discussion groups and look at Concerns, Challenges, and Opportunities.

 

Lunch is a standing lunch with sandwiches. What I find interesting is the different types of industries that are present. We see different challenges and different views on GM.

Afternoon Sessions

In the afternoon Bettina Tang presents a tangible step-by-step approach on how GM Leaders can learn to engage with their stakeholders. Bettina brings in the perspective that alignment between legal requirements and managing expectations of the assignee and family.

She also explains that the organizational structure matters. The closer you are to the CEO the better. It important to understand the persons you are dealing with and to know how to build relationships with them. As mentioned she introduced a tangible model, easy to follow.

Bettina also urges us to get the basics right because assignees that are constantly complaining are not helping your credibility. I also took away that if you would like to be invited to the party, you don’t wait for the invite. You find a burning platform, address and solve it and then you claim your seat at the table.

Next on stage is Michael Joyce from AIRINC. He, first of all, apologizes for all the Brits coming to Amsterdam on a weekly basis. Not sure what they are doing but I assume they come to the party. Michael shares data. He claims that the pathway to the seat at the table is hard figures. It seems fine at times of fake news.

He brings examples of clients where either an internal perspective based on data (on housing cost, security, and education)  or an external perspective (a benchmarking that revealed that only 2% of companies in the survey applied negative COLA fully) gave the GM Leader the right to be invited to the table. This means that we all must upgrade our metrics (46% of their clients are doing that just now – you feel the pressure?). He also mentioned that 59% of all companies measure some aspects of assignment success.

A new trend in data is predictive metrics such as the retention rate after assignment, assignee satisfaction after assignment, job promotions and job performance rating after assignment. In an example case, AIRINC was helping the client to show the correlation of these metrics with performance.

And while these correlation factors might not fall within your remit, they are helpful data for management. I would include repatriate retention here.

Finally, Chris Debner concluded with showing that change does not always have to be transformational. There is also incremental change, where you target a specific aspect of your program and optimize that.

The room is full of mobility professionals. When I take my eyes of my notebook, I see eager faces. A few a bit drained of energy but most of us engaged as we want to understand how we can provide value to the business, how we can help the business with its transformation programs and where to start. A few suggestions include

  • Cost reduction
  • Easier administration
  • Improved employee experience
  • Fewer exceptions and conflicts
  • Lower risk exposure and
  • Reaching organizational objectives.

It’s almost 4 pm and I have not connected to WiFi yet. The temptation was there but I am trying to keep fully present. The next group exercise is a marketplace where the workshop on International Business Traveler compliance joins us. I speak to Maarten from PwC about the tax news and he tells me about a risk framework he is taking to customers. I ask him if he is willing to share it.

I smile as I am reminded of the early days in a role I took on in 2007 when I had to develop such a risk framework myself because I did not know where to find it online. Maybe it also did not exist then. Now, it’s just a matter of a short conversation.

The voices in the room with now around 50 professionals do not want to die down. We chat, we like this. Inge Nitsche decides to clink her water bottle and the birthday boy Ernst Steltenpoehl commands our attention. She closes the event on a positive note and invites us to drinks in the restaurant of the Royal Tropical Institute.

And while I order a glass of wine I look at the people of different cultural backgrounds in the room from India, South America, Europe and the Middle East and I’m hopeful that we Global Mobility folks may set an example and that we can help our businesses succeed in any country in the world.

If you are interested in having a conversation about the topic mentioned please let me know.

Kind regards

Angie Weinberger

PS: If you are looking to move into a new role this year, I would like to invite you to an exploratory session of HireMe!