Tag Archives: globalmobility

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.

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

by Maria GorskiMariaMaria 2013_21-2-1 (1)Maria

We are still unpacking the remains of our container, which arrived from Zurich last week. This is our third international move and we have arrived back in Denver, Colorado after almost 7 years abroad. When we decided to move back to the US, I was prepared for a bit of “reverse culture shock”. My initial mixed feelings are slowly waning as life returns to some level of normality.

Reflecting my experiences

As I adjust, I am reflecting back on my experiences of new cultures from Sydney and Zurich. Both have taught me so much. Sometimes I have a tough time pin pointing exactly what I am feeling because the changes in my perceptions are so subtle. For instance, the first time I spoke to my sons’ elementary school principal, I was shocked that he had referred himself as “Chris” and not “Mr. Goydin”.

Of course, he called me by my first name as well. It took me a few minutes to figure out why this seemed so odd. I had to get used to talking to someone with this level of informality, which wouldn’t necessarily happen in Switzerland. After that experience, I really began to appreciate a certain level of casual friendliness amongst people here. It just makes the daily chores and errands less stressful.

Kai
my son in the boxes

Finding Patience and Kindness for oneself and others

Emotionally, I think the key to adjusting is patience. Finding patience and kindness for oneself and others, especially those closest to you can make all the difference. Unexpected problems will inevitably come up. When multiple “little problems” keep cropping up day after day, the point might come when you are pushed into a rage over a relatively minor thing, like the garage door opener not working. It is times like these when humor can save the day.

Keeping a sense of Humor

Looking for the positive in situations and keeping a sense of humor also goes a long way to ease the stress of starting anew. As the cliché goes, “every cloud has a silver lining”. Lots of rain makes for lush green scenery and lots of rules make for a predictable, well-functioning society. After it’s all said and done, I have to say “it is good to be back”. It has been great to slip back into old friendships, feel free to chat with strangers, and enjoy my new community. Though we are still finding our way around the area, as the place has changed.

Child psychologist

This is Clara. She moved to Basel in 2012 from the UK. Her husband had received a very good job offer and they both decided to move here together. Clara was not aware that her degree in child psychology would be less known in Switzerland plus she had to learn the German language before she could function here. After one year she felt rather useless and depressed.  In one moment she focused on your job search, the next moment she was playing with children. In another minute she opens her email account only to find that she was rejected for all the jobs she applied for the previous week.

Sounds familiar?

  • You feel disappointed and angry.
  • You blame Switzerland.
  • You blame the fact that your German is not fluent
  • You hate your partner for exposing you to this situation.
  • You might even feel like you do not know who you are anymore.
  • You stand in the line at Migros and a person barks at you and you stop to care.
  • You do not get that the cashier asks for your “Migros Card” because of his or her funny foreign and Swiss accent.
  • Maybe this is the day you called the handyman to fix a light bulb only to discover that you cannot communicate with him or her.

You are exhausted, tired, emotional and you just wish to pack up and go home. You certainly do not want to meet another Swiss person tonight. Then your wife calls to cancel the dinner you had planned for both of you.

This is the typical expat spouse experience. What often happens is that you have a “culture shock” a bit later than your (working) partner as in the beginning of the international assignment you are too busy to organize the home and settle in everyone. You are too busy supporting your children and your partner. One day, you notice that you have your own needs too. Some expat spouses therefore only have a “culture shock”  late in the first year of assignment or even the second year.

What can you do to overcome “culture shock” and focus on your job search again?

1) Develop a regular routine.

2) Go for a short walk of 15 to 20 minutes per day.

3) Practice a relaxation method such as progressive muscle relaxation.

4) Write a diary or blog to digest your experience.

5) Go on a weekend trip with your family.

6) Reconnect with friends and family.

7) Build up a social circle.

8) Meet professionals through structured networking groups.

9) Watch your eating and drinking habits.

10) Invite one person you do not know well for a coffee per week and get to know this person better.

What happened to Clara?

Clara took a course and rebranded herself. She also built up her network in Basel and continued to study in her field. Today she is working as a freelance teacher working with global children at the International School in Basel.