Tag Archives: expats

1614536_868176393233507_360610002990611923_oOver the last twenty years in Human Resources I noticed that a lot of international talents were frustrated in the process of moving to another country for work. It was not only because their companies paid them another package than what they expected. It was also because a lot of international assignee underestimated the challenge of moving to another country.

For example expats moving to Switzerland often think it will be easier to find affordable childcare, high-quality apartments and a job for their “trailing” spouse. Most expats believe it will be easy to learn the local language (or they even think we speak English). Most expats believe that they are going to have a great career step after their repatriation.

I have seen a lot of anger when assignees went to another country and when they returned home and did not get that promotion or the role they were hoping for. Regularly, I have clients break out in tears because they feel overwhelmed by the international assignment experience. When I worked in India and when I moved to Switzerland I also shed tears. It was not all “Bollywood” or “Chocolat”.

When I started Global People Transitions GmbH in 2012 I was convinced that an international assignment does not have to be a painful experience. I believed that companies can improve their international assignments. I believed that you can have a great experience when you move to a new country. I believed that you can find work you care about – no matter where you are in the world.

So I wrote a vision statement

“We aspire peace and prosperity for all people! Through global mobility expertise, executive coaching and intercultural training our clients build sustainable relationships across the globe and act as responsible leaders.”

Angela Weinberger,
Global People Transitions – Our Vision 2012

And then I developed experience with coaching

In Global People Transitions we have three major goals.

1) We help international professionals to find work they care about.

2) We help global leaders to drive team performance.

3) We work with Global Mobility Professionals to improve their consulting and communication skills.

How do we do this?

We now have four established programs and can also customize workshops for your specific needs.

How much do we charge for these programs?

We have standard rates and are happy to send you our price list.

Who you get in touch with?

It’s time to introduce myself. In the typical German style I talk business first, then I tell you more about myself. My name is Angie Weinberger. I am the founder, owner and main contact at Global People Transitions GmbH.

Please email to angela@globalpeopletransitions.com for any queries or call me at +41797944896.

What is the Global People Club Sandwich?

We write a blog post about international assignments and expat life for the Global People “Club Sandwich” once a week. You will receive a monthly summary of all posts if sign up to our “Global People Club”.

What is the Global People Club?

The Global People Club is a community of international professionals and former clients of mine who wish to continue the discussion about all topics related to an international career and intercultural communication. You find our group on Facebook and you automatically become a member once you sign up to our Club Sandwich.

How you can write for us

If you would like to write for us please contact me directly.


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“Given the inordinate amount of cost pressure on mobility today, it is somewhat surprising that more companies do not seem to have basic cost management practices in place. Only 62% of respondents indicated that they track costs during an assignment, and even fewer noted that a cost benefit analysis is required at the outset of an assignment. With barely two-thirds of companies actually tracking the basic and most transparent part of their investment in assignments – their cost, it is not surprising that 95% of companies do not measure international assignment ROI.” 

See more at: http://globalmobilitytrends.brookfieldgrs.com/?q=5#/keytrends

Yes, Brookfield. Well researched. I just want to say though: Measuring international assignment ROI is easier said than done. There are a number of reasons.

1) International assignment targets are usually not that well defined.

Usually they are blurry, hard to measure or non-existent. In order to determine ROI a mix of operational indicators would need to be measured regularly (performance on assignment, repatriate retention, business volume driven by expats, savings and improvements through knowledge transfer run by expats, risk reduction through expats, staffing stability and culture transfer from HQ to other areas of the organization). Most of these indicators would need to be transformed into measurable KPIs first. They would need to part of management information systems and we would need to have a clear understanding of what is actually expected of our expats around the world.

2) An international assignment is not only an “investment” by the company.

There should be a business case behind it. BUT: Surprise…many companies have a hard time even differentiating between a developmental assignment and a strategic assignment. Often international assignments are not really thought through. Assignees are sent to “fill a gap”, “to accelerate a process”, “to drive more sales” and “to make them there do everything the way we do it here.” (Ever heard this before?)

3) Decision makers are not involving Global Mobility Professionals enough.

Most managers still think of HR as the troublemakers. Instead of asking Global Mobility Professionals for support in defining assignment targets and setting up a business case, they see this task as an “administrative burden”. So they involve the Global Mobility Professional as late as possible in the process. Just to be sure no one is challenging them. Here assignment sponsors, senior managers could just trust a bit more in the competency of the Global Mobility Professional and ask them for support in defining the international assignment business case.

If you need any help in setting up a structure for measuring ROI, defining the international assignment business case or Global Mobility in general do let us know.

 

Guest post by Martijn Roseboom

Let me start off with introducing myself, I am Martijn Roseboom, 39 years old, married to ‘Bee’, father of a 6 year old girl and 4 year old boy. Since moving to Switzerland I have been a full time stay-at-home dad.

These days most people meet and get married within their social circles. This is the case for us. We met during University where I was studying business economics and my Bee was studying Medicine. I recall discussing for the first time, who would be the breadwinner, as students having some drinks in a bar. When I found out what a doctor is expected to earn and compared this to my own financial prospects, I asked Bee what she planned to do with all of her money. It seemed an awful lot for shopping. The underlying and never questioned assumption underneath was that I would be the breadwinner of the family and take care of all the bills. Bee thought that this was absolutely ridiculous. For me this was one of the core beliefs of what was expected as being a man, and never had imagined otherwise. That was the start of an interesting evening full of (alcohol fueled) heated discussions.

Since leaving University and starting work, we always have been competitive (me mostly) about who would earn the most. In practice we agreed that we would both bring in 50% of the income. When moving abroad for our first international assignment, I had to give up my job and we agreed to combine all our income together. As the ‘trailing spouse’ in Singapore, without a job, I could not do anything without my wife’s signature. This led to the practical situation where I ‘adopted’ my wife’s last name and this was also clearly stated on my credit card and all other bills. This was the ultimate reversal of the concept that I had as a man and being the breadwinner. All of this changed again back to ‘normal’ when I found a job in Singapore. However now that we have moved to Switzerland, I find myself in the same situation, except that this time I at least can use my own last name and can prove this with my credit card.

Whilst it is more common to see that nowadays there are more female breadwinners out there, it is something that remains frowned upon. Whilst on a family level, this is clearly the best way forward for all of us, it is still sometimes challenging. The biggest challenge is the stereotype I have that the man needs to be the breadwinner of the house. This leads to not always appreciating the opportunities it brings. The best thing is being an integral part and see the kids growing up. The only thing I miss is more men in the same situation. It remains socially frowned upon for a married man to ask another woman out for a drink. Even if it is coffee and there are kids running around all over the place. Let’s hope this will be a normal way for dad’s to spend their mornings in the future.

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Martijn Roseboom, President Partner Committee International Dual Career Network (IDCN)

LinkedIn: Martijn Roseboom

By now you have noticed a change happening. You realize it’s not about you any longer. It’s about HR as a whole. What has been preached to us over the last 20 years is entirely wrong. We cannot be strategic business partners unless we re in a strategic function.

Where are these strategic functions?

They have to do with the talent life cycle, with recruiting, with moving talents into the right places at the right time and with developing our current and future leaders so that they are able to deal with the complexity of dealing with today’s world.

We are in the centre of this change but only a few of us have seen it coming.

So what now you might be asking yourself while slurping on your Sunday cappuccino. Should I leave Global Mobility or take on the challenge?

Take on the challenge.

Because you are not alone.

Because we know what will get you there.

Because we can help you.

Change in the assignee population

Many assignees have been burnt by the experiences of expat around the world. They heard horror stories of lack of social security, lower standards of living, marital breakdowns, children being traumatized and not able to study…and worst of all: No one promoted them when they repatriated. The stories are online. Ten years ago there was hardly any communication outside of the traditional “expat clubs”.

Now, experiences are shared. Companies have lost the trust of their employees. Employees of all ages and colors (especially the younger generations) are seeking transparency for their international careers, benefits and working hours.

More Dual Career Couples

Dual Career couples and their issues did not really raise any eyebrows twenty years ago. “Expat wife” was a career aspiration. Now women take the lead and are becoming a major assignee population. Trailing husbands form support groups. Did you read our latest post on dual career issues in international assignments?

And you as the GM Professional?

You still work with tools that are basically excel sheets. You still need to fill hundreds of forms, you still need to seek approval for every minor exception to the policy and you still stay up all night when an expat is in a dangerous country.

What should change for you?

We think your profile (and with that your salary) needs to be raised. We think you need to be a trendsetter, we think you need to be more up to speed on social media, have better tools and you need to be a self-guided learner.

In short: We think you need to be globally competent.

Why don’t you stop filling that visa form right now and start to think about the five most important projects you have to have accomplished until the end of the year so that you can start the year 2015 with more energy?

 

PS: If you missed the context of this post read this one too.

Dear colleague,

Since 1999 I have worked in the Global Mobility / international HR area and there is not one day where I do not learn anything new!

In the year 2000 I sat in the last row of a very expensive Global Mobility seminar in Berlin. I was about three months into a role that was at least one shoe size to big for my experience but I must have made a big impression in the interview (and my future boss was probably desperate) so I landed my dream job which was to be the “HR International Advisor for Asia Pacific responsible for around 80 assignees and representatives of a large global bank. The seminar was a waste of money on me. It was far too specific and detailed. The cases were more the exceptions than the general rule and I am happy that at least I remembered when to apply the “183-day-rule* in a case of double taxation and when not even to bother.

Globe

We are NOT relocation professionals even though we often engage them

Later in my Human Resources career I noticed that there is really not a lot of good advice out there for international HR professionals PLUS if you say you work in Global Mobility a lot of people think you are doing relocation. When talking to other HR Professionals and senior managers they often underestimate the complexity of Global Mobility and one of the remarks that still makes me angry is when Global Mobility Professionals are called “ADMIN” because what we do requires an enormous knowledge and skill set.

If you are one of my colleagues you probably share my view that Global Mobility Professional have to be

  • Highly analytical (you are a comp and cost expert).
  • Highly technical (you are an expert on tax, social security, immigration, employment law).
  • Highly experiential (you have to have moved 200 expats to know your job).
  • Highly sensitive (you work with talents and their families in a phase of high stress).
  • Highly intercultural (you speak at least four languages and deal with numerous cultures).

There is no formal Global Mobility education and profession.

We need to build up our own professional standard and education while we need to learn to work more in line with the businesses and clients we serve. We need to step up and become real consultants.

If you want to know how –>> sign up  for our updates on “The Global Mobility Workbook – A Step-by-Step Guide for managing international Assignments” in the pink box.

 

Kind regards

Angela Weinberger