Tag Archives: globalmobility

Have you ever wondered what you are doing there in Shanghai, Pune or Moscow? Is this international assignment really a career step for you or do you feel that the tasks you have are less challenging than in your previous role? Have you felt a bit downgraded even though you might earn more money than ever?

It could be that you are a victim of a corporate strategy that does not really work out the international assignment business case but just sends “talents” abroad to give them “international exposure” or you were sent abroad to fill a gap, to replace a critical key person on a short notice. It was easier to send an assignee than to hire from the local market. Maybe your knowledge, skills and experience also justify that you were selected for the role but still…

You feel you are not working up to your full potential.

Here are five tips how you can improve such a situation:

  • Draft your international assignment business case by showing the business value of your assignment. Show facts and figures about how you can improve sales, research or processes in the new location. Discuss quarterly targets with your host sponsor. Ensure that these are filed and reported back to your home location.
  • Address the issue with your home sponsor on your next home leave. Discuss what you think is lacking for your career development. Make sure that the sponsor sees your development as a responsibility and regularly connect with her or him.
  • Journal your experience as it might be a perception error due to culture shock. Speak with an intercultural career advisor about critical incidents in the host location that give you the feeling that you are “an outsider” or “off track” or “performing badly”.
  • Ensure that your training and development history is updated in your home location regularly and that you keep your profile updated on any skill sites (internally and externally). Update LinkedIn at least every three months.
  • Build your professional network in the host location by attending business networks, industry group events and seminars. You will profit from your connections even when you move to another location.Reizigers 4

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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.

 

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