Tag Archives: Global Mobility

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.

by @angieweinberger

In Germany there is rumor and evidence that Generation Y is not willing to work abroad. Now obviously, it is not the most important topic on German news considering we have a humanitarian crisis in Europe and refugee camps being attacked. BUT if you are a Global Mobility Professional or a global line manager who needs internationally-minded and experienced team members you might start to worry about this Gen Y. 

The underlying tenor of the SPIEGEL article is that work-life balance seem to be more . Raising a family is a value again and men and women want to share the load of educating children and careers alike. Good news for women’s careers, bad news for Global Mobility.

Is this really a global phenomenon though?

If you check out the study “Talent Mobility 2020” by @pwc you will read (and maybe tweet)

“The millennial generation will view overseas assignments as a rite of passage, an outlook that will change the way workers and organisations approach overseas opportunities in the future.”

An experience

I don’t think that Gen Y is not willing to move abroad. For me Gen Y might be over-saturated. Gen Y professionals grew up with the option of studying and working abroad before they entered the workforce. In my days having studied and worked in another country was an achievement. Now it seems very normal.

I still believe though that the experience of a long-term assignment (minimum two years) is not replaceable with working in your home region only. It’s also a different experience moving abroad for studying or an internship when you are 25 and single compared to when you are 35, married and with two children.  Believe me: You still need the experience in today’s globalized world. Also, the world has more countries than Germany. A lot of Indians, Chinese and Brazilians will love to go on an international assignment if you ask them.

 

If you want to be an effective global professional you have to have had exposure to people from other cultures and you have to have FELT the difference between working for example for a manager with a hierarchical approach who might be French versus the participatory approach of a Swedish manager. It is not enough to read about this difference. You have to experience it.  When you feel the difference you can also pick the style that suits you best once you are leader.

When you never lived in a country where people have a different skin colour than you, you might have never been exposed to cultural dominance or the opposite. You might have never understood cultural bias or you cannot even differentiate faces of people with a different racial background…let alone pronounce their names correctly.

It’s all good and well to prioritize family over work but who says you cannot have family while you are on an international assignment. Who says you cannot bring your husband to Bangladesh if you are a successful career woman? I know a gay couple who moved to India and a father of four who worked in Thailand and I’ve spoken to Western career women who worked successfully in Abu Dhabi. It’s all possible with the right attitude, global competency and the right package. It also works when you have an international assignment business case with a repatriation plan.

This is where we might find the real issue. A lot of companies have decided that Gen Y “needs talent development”. So they have sent the young talents abroad without a real business case. Obviously then your experience might be flawed. When I was sent to India almost ten years ago it was an eye-opener for me and I worked really hard. We had a staff shortage and we needed to pull ourselves together in order to build a BPO from scratch. I learnt a ton about Indian culture and even more about myself in stressful projects. Maybe it is worthwhile checking what your assignment business case really is.

While we currently have a tendency of cultural regionalism we should not forget that the market growth is not happening in Switzerland and Germany but for example in Turkey, Malaysia, China and India or in the countries that had wars for the last decades such as Iraq. If you want to be successful you might not even have a choice other than moving around for your career.

Please share your view on moving to other countries on international assignments (no matter which generation you belong to).

 

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If you are a Global Mobility Professional, intercultural coach or a line manager you probably already sense that out colleagues in Human Resources are often overwhelmed with international assignments, business trips and expats in general.

They need your expertise and it’s great to be in expert. Expertise does not develop in one year though. It takes a life-time.

We believe in taking one step at the time and learning to do stuff yourself. That’s why I have written “The Global Mobility Workbook -A step by step Guide to Managing International Assignments”.

GM Workbook Cover High Res
#GMWORKBOOK

Because I know your struggles and I want you to shine. AND I like to build from scratch. You can break down the complexity of international assignments when you look at the parts, pieces and process.

After reading the book you should be able

  • to run your international assignments in a strategic way,
  • develop a metric for international assignment success,
  • sort out or develop your assignment policy and be more compliant,
  • have a clear structure on how you can support international assignees and their spouses through the assignment process by providing a worthwhile experience to them
  • develop your competencies according to a career plan as a Global Mobility Professionals
  • know where to go with further questions.

It’s a bit like IKEA. You break it all down into it’s part and learn to build it from scratch.

You can start by checking out all blog posts in the category “global mobility” on our blog.

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

If you like those posts please become a member of our “Global People Club” now. For all of you who join us before the year end the membership will be free for your lifetime.

It’s best if you use a personal email ID as you might be moving jobs and countries a few times in your life.

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

 

How did you experience your stint in a high-growth market?As it is in the modern world, changes in the global economy happen everyday and their impact is felt far and wide. Many of these changes have caused increased demand for international assignments in high-growth markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, or China – and not always with a glamorous expat package to go with it. In fact it’s recently been reported that growth in these locations is actually slowing, creating yet another dimension for the market. If you find yourself being assigned to a high-growth market (or even “slow-growth” market) on a local package, you will likely confront these challenges.

1) Decreased purchasing power

Cost of living in high-growth markets is rising faster than income can keep-up with. This means that your purchasing power and disposable income will be lower in your new location. Get familiar with your new economy and budget before making any big purchases.

2) Costly housing

Housing is often more expensive than other costs. If you are earning a local market salary, ask your company to pay or supplement your accommodations to help make-up for lost income.

3) Maintaining social security at home

Depending on the social security agreement between your home country and new location, you might be able to maintain home social security while on assignment even if you have a local package and pay local tax.

4) New bureaucratic processes and workloads

Don’t underestimate the bureaucratic processes (especially immigration) and cultural differences in high-growth markets! Your counterparts’ workloads are often significantly higher than stable-growth markets. Realizing what they deal with on a day-to-day basis will help in knowing how to work with them. In relationship-oriented and hierarchical cultures such as India, you have to know whom to contact to get things done. It is critical that you build a good relationship upfront.

5) Limitations to spouse employment

Depending on the location and type of work permit issued, your spouse might not be able to find employment . If your spouse is allowed to work, finding employment can be challenging. Find out if your host company offers support.

6) Personal security and health

In many of the locations mentioned you need to be prepared for the worse including mugging, terrorist attacks, health issues, and natural catastrophes just to name a few. Ensure that your company equips you with an emergency service, such as “International SOS”, and that your security needs are met.

7) Being blinded by idealism

The idea of being given an international assignment may seem like the ideal opportunity to advance your career, but beware! Surviving high-growth markets means you need to be able to deal with ambiguity and stress. Life functions at a different speed and the economy is often volatile. Processes often get stuck, attention can shift very fast, and several projects run at the same time. Be prepared for change!

8) Slowing markets

This is a challenge no matter where in the world you are, but it’s particularly tough when you are sent to a thriving market only to see it slow. This could result in not being able to achieve targets or being sent home earlier than expected. Plan for the unpredictable.

What is your experience with working in high-growth markets, especially on a local package?

BTW: For me working in India was an eye-opener in an early stage of my career. The experience taught me that many of our “Western” assumptions can be completely ineffective in a fast growing market.