hiremeexpress

 

How was your week? Are you starting to feel the cheery holiday atmosphere? That nice blanket of snow I found Friday morning sure did jumpstart that magical feeling for me! Christmas lights and snow always bring an enchanted mood to Zurich, and after a week away at our RockMeRetreat, I feel even more present than usual and less anxious about the daily tasks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still concerned about the state of the world, the health of my loved ones, and all the fatigue I hear from clients and colleagues. However, in this state of presence, with renewed energy and this joyous state of mind, it is a lot easier to focus my energy on what is really important.

Presence is important as we are constantly pulled in so many directions, and “energy flows where our attention goes” (Robbins, T n.d., para. 2).

I would like to share with you a small confession: Before I launched my business and when I started to blog I had a tendency to spend a lot of time on social media. There was a time when my family was concerned that I was getting addicted to Facebook or Twitter. Luckily, I got over this by developing healthy ways of interacting with social media. However, last week during our RockMeRetreat I enjoyed not engaging for a few days and now I feel ready for the online world again.


If you are like me you can hardly survive a day without your smartphones anymore, let alone access your bank account, google account, or any account for that matter.
When we are offline or have low batteries, it creates feelings of anxiety. I have an ongoing experiment where I am trying to increase my productivity and get more done by using less and fewer resources (money, paper, time, people). I would like to summarize the learning for you and you might want to follow me in this experiment. In my Mastermind Group, we are all considering getting a paper planner again because we feel that our digital tools are just not doing all the tricks. I also feel that often paper gives me a higher sense of security than an app. Obviously, I am trying to reduce paper where it is not needed but there are areas where paper just beats digital tools.

1 – Start with an Inbox List


To write this I started an inbox list I am regularly checking. The list became very long. I am not even sure I finished it yet. I’m not surprised that I am occasionally concerned about inbox anxiety. Once you have completed your inbox list, review my simplification principles and check which ones apply to you. Once you have completed your list review my simplification principles and check which ones apply to you. 

2 – Develop Your Simplification Principles


Here are examples of your simplification principles.

  • People over Robots! Any personal message is better than an automated response.
  • Move from DIGITAL to ANALOGUE on purpose. Use paper strategically.
  • Delete unused apps from your smartphone.
  • Turn your phone off from 9 PM to 6 AM. Give it a space for the night outside of the bedroom. (You will still hear the alarm!)
  • Use Post-it for visualizing what is important to you. The idea is One thought, one post-it.
  • Say “No, thank you…” or “yes, if…” to any proposal for meetings, work, and tasks right away. Commit fast and decline fast. Don’t ponder on decisions forever.
  • When asked for meetings give two time-slot options only.
  • Always set a deadline by when another person should come back to you.
  • Wear black most of the time. On Wednesdays add a color. Stop ironing during a pandemic.
  • If you don’t know what to wear because you don’t know if the occasion is formal or not, wear a black suit.
  • Choose your social media channels wisely. You probably have more than necessary.

3 – Write your 2021 Accomplishment List


Go through the RockMeApp archive and review all that you have accomplished in 2021. For those who are not on our RockMeApp, go through your daily planner or your journal: I’m sure you have accomplished more than you realize in your professional, as well as in your personal life. Check if there are open items that you wish to close within the next two workweeks.

4 – Participate in our Online Workshops


I bet you’re wondering how participating in our online workshop is going to simplify your life? HireMeExpress is not just a course, it’s a group of people wanting to evolve on the Swiss job market. Global People Transitions is a community of people with connections always willing to give a helping hand.
There are many advantages to joining our online workshops: this group offers the opportunity to meet others who are in a similar situation, looking for a job. Together, you will acquire and exchange knowledge, practice networking techniques, give each other feedback. The shared journey offers you peer support, fresh points of view, encouragement through collaborative work. Personal and professional development is not always easy, but these online workshops will help you grow confident, are motivating, make the journey less lonely, and give you the keys to make it easier. Who knows! you might even meet people who can introduce you to someone who knows someone… You might even make long-term friendships!
To simplify your life in 2022, start right away with a few simple changes like getting rid of the apps you are not using (or shouldn’t use), go back to analog, where it’s relevant, think of your achievements and reflect on what you want to achieve in the upcoming year, and think of the HireMeExpress program if one of your goals for next year is looking for a new job in Switzerland! You won’t regret it!

Please join us and celebrate your accomplishments and let’s practice what we preach. Let’s build even more personal connections this December, make friends, work on our fame and improve our finances. I look forward to seeing you on 1 December in our first free workshop.

Workshop 1: Partnering Masters – Building Effective Relationships (FRIENDS)

Wednesday, 1 December from 17:00 PM CET till 18:00 PM CET

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Workshop 2: Powerful Missions – Having a Voice in a Sea of Noise (FAME)

Thursday, 9 December from 17:00 PM CET till 18:00 PM CET

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Workshop 3: Persisting Mindsets – Designing Work to Support a Global Lifestyle  (& Gluehweinparty)(FINANCES)

Wednesday, 15 December from 17:00 PM CET till 18:30 PM CET

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All dates and updates will be shared if you sign up on our #HireMeExpress list. Please sign up here by SATURDAY to get further updates and our 19 FRESH RESUME CHECKPOINTS.

Attention through Roses

What beautiful sunny weather, we have had the chance to enjoy these last few days! You might, as I do,  make a point of benefiting from the last golden rays of the sun to soak up as much vitamin D as possible before the days become even shorter. Who doesn’t need that energy to accomplish everything that needs to be done, everything you want to do?  You might be in a position right now where either you are worried about losing your job, or you are already looking for a new job (or any kind of work). Maybe you have even been looking for a while already. Perhaps you feel it’s time to update your resume and your job searching skills, just in case. Anyhow, I thought you could use this reminder from my older publication, “The Global Career Workbook,” on how to get a Swiss recruiter’s attention.

What beautiful sunny weather, we have had the chance to enjoy these last few days! You might, as I do,  make a point of benefiting from the last golden rays of the sun to soak up as much vitamin D as possible before the days become even shorter. Who doesn’t need that energy to accomplish everything that needs to be done, everything you want to do?  You might be in a position right now where either you are worried about losing your job, or you are already looking for a new job (or any kind of work). Maybe you have even been looking for a while already. Perhaps you feel it’s time to update your resume and your job searching skills, just in case. Anyhow, I thought you could use this reminder from my older publication, “The Global Career Workbook,” on how to get a Swiss recruiter’s attention.

Getting a Swiss recruiter’s attention is almost like asking her out on a date. 

When you write a cover letter, you want the other person to like you and find you attractive enough to read your resumé. The cover letter is your appetizer, and the resumé is your main course. If you get to the interview stage, then that’s like having dessert on the first date. And after three interviews, you might get kissed. I mean, you might get the job offer you are longing for.

Don’t spoil the Swiss recruiter’s appetite by presenting the main course in the cover letter.

Imagine you are on your first date, and your counterpart tells you for half an hour how great they are. Rather boring, right? You zoom out of the conversation and wish to run away. The same is true if a recruiter reads your whole resumé already in the cover letter.

What could you do to make the conversation more interesting?

Cover letter writing is an art. With modern technology, applicants often do not see the need to write a cover letter these days, but in my opinion, it is the most artistic part of a good application. Emphatically,  in Switzerland, IT’S A MUST.

Many recruiters want to read it. They would like to see that you made an effort to get that interview. I receive considerable amounts of cover letters, and most of them sound like they were copied from a textbook. Nobody gets excited reading some sort of ‘copy and paste’ write-ups, void of personal touch.  Only the more personal ones gain my attention. They have to be personal, crisp, and show me who you are.

Here are rules for fresh cover letters:

  • Use the correct name of the recruiter instead of Sir or Madam. Take out time to research the recruiter’s name. This portrays you as serious. Make sure you also spell the names of references correctly. Be respectful and address recruiters formally.
  • Make the letter appealing and nice-looking by using one font only and adhering to standard letter writing style in the country you are applying to.
  • Speak about the needs of the other party before you speak about yours. This is so important because the prospective job is about what you can bring to the table.
  • Find a personal connection between either you and the company or you and the recruiter. Maybe you use one of their products, or associate positive feelings with the brand because of a personal story.
  • If you copy and paste (which is not a good idea in general), please check that you did not use the wrong company name or contact person. It helps to read the letter out loud.
  • Use active language and complete sentences. When I say active language, I ask you to use more verbs than nouns, avoid passive constructs and keep sentences short.
  • If you are not an English native speaker, check your translation and let a native speaker review your grammar. Most recruiters get irritated when they find grammatical errors in cover letters.
  • Be brief and stick to a maximum of one page. Five paragraphs are sufficient.
  • Add your contact information in the last paragraph, especially your phone number and email ID. Make sure your email sounds respectable, and the name is memorable. Email addresses like ‘sexynancy@gmail.com’ are not acceptable.
  • Avoid slang and casual writing style. You are a professional, so behave like one! Even if you are from Generation Y or Z, remember that this is a letter and not a chat. The person you want to date might be the age of your parents.

Here’s to the sunny weather, boosting your energy to take that next important step: preparing your application file. I hope these tips help you write the best cover letter you can write to catch the Swiss recruiters’ attention, get to the “dessert” stage, and get you the job you are hoping for! 

 

HireMeExpress 2022 – Pre-Workshops for all Club Members

I will teach you insights on 

Workshop No. 1:  Partnering Masters – Building Effective Relationships

Workshop No. 2: Powerful Missions – Having a Voice in a Sea of Noise

Workshop No. 3: Persisting Mindsets – Designing Work to Support a Global Lifestyle  (& Gluehweinparty)

 

All invites will be shared when you sign up on our HireMeExpress list

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Reminder: Sign up here to find out everything you need to know in order to land a job in Switzerland or another market you are not familiar with. We will send you our 19 Fresh Resume Checkpoints and further material such as videos. In case you have any questions you can email us via angela@globalpeopletransitions.com.

Zuerichhorn "Heureka"

Despite what is happening in the world I have been keeping myself really busy. Honestly, getting stuff done gives me deep satisfaction, and having a lot of great client conversations raises my energy level to the max. So, I personally feel that I work on my mission to bring the Human Touch back into Global Mobility and my team is helping me along.

However, many of you work in corporations and don’t have the luxury that I have where I can choose how I spend my time and with whom I am talking. Many of you still feel the pressure of having a boss or someone to report to and their demands sometimes drive you crazy.

However, being “busy” is not the same as being “effective” so I wanted to share a method that has helped me over the last few years to feel a sense of accomplishment over the holidays. You probably will notice that this year the annual Christmas rush and madness will be different. Not only because we work from home a lot more. 

Our common anxiety and fatigue level is a lot higher this year than in the past and working towards the year-end might even seem less stressful this year because your adrenaline has been high the whole year. 

I wanted to list a few topics that I am observing in projects and coaching conversations and give you a method on how you can deal with it in a playful way. This is also an activity where you can involve your family because

Family Success is a Team Sport”.

Perpetual Machine

What I am observing inside corporations and what increasingly frustrates me is the lack of accountability and constant waste of resources and time. It reminds me of Jean Tingeluy’s artwork “Heureka” at my favorite spot in Zurich. Often it seems that many functions and positions are just there to maintain a well-oiled machine but the value they add to the client or company they serve is minimal. 

Data Squash

We also use a lot of time correcting or searching for data because the original source does not contain the data or the data is flawed. We have to rely on our brains to remember specific scenarios so we can cover all exceptional circumstances. We hire more consultants to help us administer a workflow tool that does not deliver the data we need instead of training the data entry specialist in the Philippines or in India so that the data is entered correctly. We implement three levels of controls instead of helping the first handler of the data to deliver a zero error quality report.

Process Porcelain

Do you often chase someone because they forgot to take action on an item they were supposed to deliver so you can continue your process? You might be correcting processes and mending broken process porcelain because the decision-makers do not understand the process and just run around like a headless chicken. Sometimes you might feel like a mother at work trying to collect the toys that the children left lying around all over the floor. You pick them up so that nobody trips but you are also not really noticed as you do your work quietly in the background.

Digitalization Babies

Many digital processes still are in the baby’s shoes so they often need someone to check them and make sure that they are completed. I have been in arguments with my bank because they don’t offer a draft function so that I can enter payments right when I receive the invoice and execute them later when I have enough funds in the account. My payments regularly get stuck because of cash flow issues. Then I need to build an administration around the digital process. And the funny thing is that here they always blame the customer. They hardly ever say: “This is an interesting idea and if we can help you with that we will consider it.”. 

Lego Fail

The more digital you work the more you miss the link between systems. Be it through platforms or API’s. However, often you work with many different tools and providers, and then it is your responsibility to link them all and like LEGO build a castle or a spaceship from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, I like IKEA approaches too, but sometimes I wish I had a more detailed understanding of programming languages so I could focus on important deep work rather than fixing the lego fail of my collaborative networks.

We lost all of our ideals of Total Quality Management from the good old nineties. At the end of a day, we often feel exhausted but haven’t achieved anything meaningful. 

What I have noticed is that I can live with certain flaws in my personal space. I can accept a less than perfect light in the bathroom but I cannot accept it in my work. 

One of the reasons why my apartment almost looks the same as five years ago is that my energy goes more into my profession. Now that we are spending more time at home it has become more of a priority for me so I clean up regularly and try to keep the recycling piles low. I also have a few home improvement projects to work on. 

As the paid work usually takes over and that leads to me not speaking to good friends forever, I have come up with a solution for you and me. Let me know how it works for you.

The 25 Priorities Kanban Board

In our team, we have developed a visualization method (The 25 Priorities Kanban Board) to help us prioritize work before we add tasks to Slack, Trello, and the number of G-Sheets that I use for planning. 

I am a big fan of planning and consistency, so this method helps me keep track of my priorities and get stuff done.

You need 

  • A stack of colorful post-it notes.
  • A few big pens
  • A flipchart size (A1) poster or a blank wall.

Here is how it goes:

  • Five Pink Post-It Notes (Work Projects)- Here, you write down your five most important work projects to complete until Mid-December.
  • Five Green Post-It Notes (Home Improvement) – Write down five projects you wish to complete at home before the holidays. 
  • Five Yellow Post-It Notes (People) – Write down five people you wish to connect with before the year-end.  
  • Five Orange Post-It Notes (Love Tasks) – Write down five requests of your partner or children that you would like to fulfill until the year-end.
  • Five White Post-It Notes (Self-Care) – Here, you write down five wishes that you will grant yourself before the year-end.

Homework: Send me a photo of your Kanban Board.

Angie Weinberger

“Just reinvent yourself!” 

This phrase is advice Expat Spouses (partners of expats) often hear when they cannot find a job in Switzerland. You are a typical Gen X professional in New York, London, Frankfurt, or Mumbai. You have a career image stamped on yourself. Telling you to reinvent yourself is like saying “Why don’t you just run a marathon after you just recovered from COVID-19.”

At parties, you say “I’m a Senior Consultant / Director / Lawyer / Doctor / Scientist” and with that, you talk about the pleasure of long-distance travel in times of terrorism or you mention that your partner is away too often and that the kids know the nanny better than their parents, or you explain that you never get to the city because you feel that childcare is too expensive and you rather stay at home than trusting your kids to another person.

Your professional reputation has fueled your ego and you did everything to improve it. You attended courses, webinars, conferences, networking events and you read everything you could about the topic on your commute to work. Not to mention that you had a routine of ensuring that your social media profiles reflected your success only and you ensured your name was published at least once a year.

Then out of the blue (or even because you were following a long-term idea), your spouse gets a job offer in Basel, Switzerland or your job is outsourced to Pune, India. After the initial excitement or shock, you start to consider what a career change means for you right now. You might even consult blogs and books on the matter. From one day to the next, you worry about your branding as a professional. And you might even notice that you don’t really know what you want.

It is not so easy to find out what you want so I recommend you work with a career coach to develop a vision of your next role and probably a long-term career vision too. What I personally found even harder though is to let go of my old career image. I had acquired a status in HR and in my new roles, I felt like a beginner again.

In our cultural context here in Switzerland we say “Schuster bleib bei Deinen Leisten!”. We are discouraged from changing our chosen career path.

Break in Your new Career Image

We know well that a shoe we have worn for a while is comfortable. A new shoe often feels too tight or too big for us to fill. If you imagine now you have to get out of your patent leather shoe and into a hiking boot that is comparable to the change you are going through.

You need to break your career boot in. You might know already consciously that the hiking boot is more practical, fits better to your personality, and has more value on icy mountain grounds but you still feel the burden of a heavier shoe.

Seven Steps to Let Go (of Anything)

You need to throw your old patent leather shoe into the mental “Altkleidercontainer” (the recycling bank for old clothes and shoes). 

  1. Write down all the advantages of the new hiking boot: Think of every aspect of your new career and how it will look and feel. Run a meticulous research. Interview experts and speak to friends who work in this area. Collect as many details as you can and either collate them in a diary or add them to a vision board.
  2. Work in your new career part-time: Work in your hiking boot, at least, one to two days a week by volunteering or finding a cause in this profession worth supporting. Get a consulting project before you commit full-time. Build experience and skill in your new career.
  3. Pretend you are the CEO of your own company: Pretend you are already experienced in walking with the hiking boot, attend seminars and networking events wearing a batch with your new role on it and have business cards printed.
  4. Market yourself with your new personal brand: Update all your biographies, social media profiles, and websites and show that you are wearing the boot already. Mention your new role and functional title. Be the career you want to be.
  5. Support yourself with visuals: Leave post-its in your office, in the bathroom and at home with a visual anchor. For example, if you want to become a scientist working in the pharma industry you could jot down a logo of a company that you find attractive or a picture of you with security glasses.
  6. Create your productive workspace for your new career only: Develop a space that signifies “productive work” in your new career for you. It could be an office or an area on your kitchen table. Make sure that this area is reserved for work in your new career only.
  7. Learn more about your ideal client: Write down the story of your ideal client, someone who will depend on the results or fruits of your new labor. Who is that person, what is important to that person and how does this person live?

These are seven ideas on how can let go of your old career image and start with a new business idea or career.

If you are looking for further insights you can book a consultation with our team or join one of our programs.

 

Globe and Covid19

Starting a business (and keep running it) is hard work. I mean hard! But it is all worth the time, money, and effort invested in the end for those who have a passion, a plan, and a reliable support system. It’s going to be a rollercoaster ride, though. Between the rewarding highs of seeing the spark of interest in a student’s eyes or the genuinely thankful client, you were able to help. Then, there are the lows of the stress and responsibilities that come with being an entrepreneur, and you might wonder if you did the right thing or if you are going to make it. But the freedom to focus your energy on what you have most at heart allows you to grow, live for your purpose and live from it too!

It requires a lot of discipline, physical and mental fitness, and friends who will not leave you if you have not been in touch for more than a week. You need a life partner and family who is entirely behind your decision, and you need to be prepared to work harder than ever. After almost ten years of building and running an offline and online business with freelancers in different locations and a diverse client base, I consider myself a pro.

A few years ago, the business drained of resources, savings used up, and I had invested in two additional courses. 

I was ready to give up and get a full-time job.

I even had said “yes” to a full-time job offer. But then “fate” kicked in. In a very relaxed moment during our first RockMeRetreat, I knew the answer was a clear “No.” 

I was not ready to start a full-time job in a leadership role again, where I would spend all my energy on maneuvering politics, playing the game, coaching a team, and sitting at a desk for more than six hours a day.

Yes, I was very disappointed when the company told me that they wanted to hire somebody else. I was down and scared, but at the same time, I was relieved. And I knew this feeling. It was the freedom smell. 

Deep down inside, you know that you will always fall back on your feet and have all the skills within you to make a living. 

This post is not a pep talk on how we should leap out of our comfort zone and fight for survival daily because this adrenaline level is not suitable in the long run. We only need this kind of adrenaline in an actual emergency during a tornado or a Coronavirus pandemic but not every day for years on end. 

A job is great. A paycheck is wonderful. A sick day is sensational. A sponsored coffee is amazing. A paid holiday is fantastic. A burnout isn’t. 

You probably wonder how you keep the energy drainers out of your work environment, and my advice about this is a simple one: Focus on your well-being first. Focus on that as long as you need, stop eating junk food, walk regularly, stop working after six hours and change your routine to fit your life. Most of the issues we have at work come from our fear of not being enough. We overcompensate. You might think that you need to achieve that next level, subsequent promotion, or next salary band. Then you will have a wonderful life. But let me be honest with you: There is a price you pay for that. And this price might not be what you are looking for right now.

I am in favor of abandoning many of the typical HR systems. Let us give our people the benefit of the doubt again and help them find their intrinsic motivation. We should help them work in projects where they can thrive, help them develop client relationships they will find engaging, and above all, we should change lives. Passion is a better driver than security for entrepreneurs as employees. 

And if you doubt now how you can help your team get to that level, we should have a conversation. I would say that first of all: Everybody still has a ton to learn in this world. 

Understanding that we are always learning is the first step towards growth. Many people, especially women, need help to find the confidence to move ahead. In Switzerland, many women grew up in a male-dominated environment where they learned to work more than their peers to be recognized, and when they tried to move up the ladder and had to show their teeth.

Then a manager told them that they were too aggressive and too pushy. They started to have self-doubts and fell into a complacent state where moving up was no longer an option. I know many excellent women, but they neither sell themselves nor get enough credit for their work. They run departments silently in the background, while a male colleague gets the bonus and the honors. 

I committed last year to help more people outside of the “circle of trust.” My team and I started helping more diverse women. We worked with women in and from developing countries, women with more seniority, and women from minority backgrounds. 

Whatever their backgrounds, women with young children also face obstacles and prejudice in the labor market. Managers often assume they will miss work when their children are sick or that they will leave early. 

As an HR Professional, I’m ashamed to say that, but we diligently exclude certain people from the workforce here in Switzerland, depriving them of the fundamental right to work. It’s not always intentional, but we cannot always blame unconscious bias for our decisions. Some companies forgo excellent candidates because the humans who make up that company cannot move beyond their prejudice about women (even more so if they come from developing countries, have young children, have gaps in their resume, or are LGBTQ+, or disabled). 

It is frequent for people with a refugee background who cannot produce the required papers and certificates for specific jobs to face many challenges when accessing the job market. People suffering from mental health problems such as depression and talents who might be on the autism spectrum or have schizophrenia face numerous barriers when searching for a job. 

We might not be able to create a significant groundswell today and start a revolution, BUT we can change lives, one person at a time. Join us in our mission. We’re on a mission to bring the Human Touch back into Global Mobility.

Kind regards

Angie

 

P.S. 

Do you work in Human Resources or a closely related area? I’m giving away VIP passes to the HRMSummit in Bahrain. It’s an online event and geared towards HR professionals. Respond VIP to enter our raffle. We need to have your professional email address, professional title and employer in order to forward your details to the organizers.

The Global Mobility Workbook

We have been living in a world dominated by political, economic, and environmental uncertainty for many years now. However, the past two years have been particularly exceptional and tough for most of us. The global health crisis caused by Covid-19 has brought the entire planet to its knees. The pandemic impacted all aspects of life and radically changed the way we work. The world of Global Mobility has not been spared. Considering the extent of the impact caused by the pandemic, it doesn’t take a fortune teller to foresee that Global Mobility teams will have to deal with the blow of the crisis in the years to come.

However, it’s not all bad news! We need to think positively and see the good in all situations. For example, the crisis showed that Global Mobility teams continue to be incredibly resilient and are constantly coming up with immediate and particularly creative solutions to face issues that arise overnight. Imagine the difficulty of having to suddenly repatriate an expat (or an expat family) who was temporarily on holiday in a third country and remains stuck there without any other assistance. Or the complexity of finding a quick solution for someone who was about to go on assignment but suddenly had to postpone their departure, despite all their household goods having already been shipped to the host location. The following section will briefly outline the top eight Global Mobility (GM) trends to watch in 2021.

1 – Diversify the Assignment Types in Your Guidelines

A constantly changing and diverse population like today’s requires closer alignment between mobility types and support levels and more flexibility and agility. Since the 1990s, the mobility types have evolved enormously from only having long-term or short-term assignments. In the 2000s, new types of assignments emerged, such as the rotator, the international transfer, the globalist, and the commuter. Then, the 2010s saw the rise of business travelers, international new hires and domestic relocations. In the present decade, we will see the assignment type evolve and diversify further with new possibilities like the “flexpat”, the virtual roles, the contingent workers, remote working, and other future mobility options we haven’t thought about. Predictably, there will be more variety in the range of mobility locations as well. The “global approach,” which Global Mobility has seen increasing over time, will become the leading type of move. 

Even though Long-Term Assignments (LTAs) remain an important and widely used relocation model, it is also true that the deployment of shorter and more flexible approaches, such as Short-Term Assignments (STAs), business trips, immersive experiences, and commuter models, are constantly gaining traction (Deloitte, 2019). The Global Assignment Policies and Practices Survey from KPMG (2020) confirm the same trend, with survey participants expecting to rely the upcoming five years more on STAs (46%), Commuter (52%), and Permanent Transfers (52%). On the other hand, 44% of respondents expect a reduction in the use of traditional LTAs, and 42% believe that it will remain the same. The diversification of assignment types directly brings us to the next trend; the need for flexibility. 

2 – Become More Flexible in Dealing With the Needs of a Diverse Workforce

Flexibility has dominated HR headlines for several years. It continues to be a trending topic, driven by several factors such as a constantly changing expat population and assignment types, employee expectations, modern technologies, and tools. This trend has also been driven lately by the unexpected global halt caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has been a severe stress test of flexible policies and has raised essential questions in the flexibility debate (Mercer, 2021a). 

For a GM program to be successful, it needs to work well both for the organization and the expats. But having a policy both flexible and defined enough to be used as the foundation for any mobility scenario is a big challenge even for the most evolved GM programs, as data from Mercer’s 2019 Flexible Mobility Policies Survey report.

The expat population is changing. Nowadays, a more diverse population than ever is embarking on International Assignments. Employees are more diverse in cultural backgrounds, family situation, age, gender, etc. It is impossible to address all the needs of these various groups in a one-size-fits-all policy.

A more diverse workforce equals a larger variety of individual assignees’ expectations, with the result that a proposition might be very attractive for one employee while not being appealing at all for another. This is clearly pinpointed by the 2018 How Global Mobility is Responding to New Dilemmas Survey: expectations from millennial generation employees are impacting mobility programs for 43% of surveyed companies, while the aging workforce has 36% of companies re-evaluating their program policies.

The need for flexibility is clear, and organizations have come to understand its importance as 65% of respondents of the AIRINC Mobility Outlook Survey 2021 (MOS) believe that demand for flexibility from the business will increase. Furthermore, 33% of respondents state that increasing flexibility within policies is their top priority to focus on in the next couple of years. The survey also shows that the number of policies that companies support increased each year, with an average amount of 4.5 policies in 2017 to 6.2 in 2021. 

Flexibility is needed to cater to individual needs. According to the Mercer 2019 Flexible Mobility Policies Survey, the most popular policy elements for which the participants introduced flexibility are family-related: housing, spousal support, child education, and home leave tickets are all items that can help improve the Expat Experience while on assignment.

However, with the crisis, the importance of duty of care over excessive flexibility was acknowledged: policies should not be made flexible if they are essential for the wellbeing of employees. Flexible policies have prepared some companies to deal more efficiently with urgent repatriations and unforeseen mobility scenarios. Other companies adopting flexible policies have found them inapplicable and inappropriate in the context of urgency. 

3 – Expect more Balance in Dual-Career Expat Couples 

Dual-Career Expat couples have been a topic in GM for the past years. The 2017 Worldwide Survey of International Assignment Policies & Practices (WIAPP) survey report pinpointed dual-career/family-related issues and cost as the main barriers to mobility. Similarly, the expected advantages of a flexible mobility program were also closely related to these issues. Also, the report published by Crown (2019) highlights the same problem. But if this is not a new phenomenon, why is it considered a trend to watch in 2021?

Because nowadays many more households, globally, rely on two salaries. This means that when an employee is asked to take on an international assignment, the economic impact on the family is more significant than it used to be. Consequently, an increasing number of companies are struggling with the challenges posed by the dual-career demographic and are in search of creative solutions. According to the report published by Crown in 2020, dual-career couples are more the norm, and often the accompanying partner has left a career for the move. Interestingly, research also shows that often, the expat partner has the most challenging time adjusting. Lack of spousal/partner career support is, according to the latest AIRINC MOS (2021), even among the top five reasons why assignments fail. 

To deal with the dual-career factor, companies have put in place several strategies. Many have put in place policies to support split families, offering more frequent home leave. However, this is generally limited to 12-24 months, after which the employee runs a higher risk of suffering from burnout with a negative impact on work productivity as well. Another solution is the increase of commuter assignments, especially across the EU, where distances are limited. The downside of this could be that the commuter status will impact the employee and their family and the team’s morale in the home and host location after some time. Another strategy, the one for which we advocate, is putting Expat Spouse support at the core of GM policies. The most standard support comes in the form of reimbursements for job search assistance, professional affiliations, and credential maintenance.

4 – Facilitate and Organize “Virtual Assignments”

The first trend highlighting the continuous diversification of GM also encompasses a higher number of Virtual Assignments. Differently than managers who oversee a region or frequent Business Travelers who might occasionally be involved in operations abroad from remote, a virtual assignee does remotely the same job as an assignee who has relocated to the host country. Virtual Assignments have been the breakout topic since the pandemic (Crown, 2021). The COVID-19 crisis is changing all the debate around the possibilities of working from home and Virtual Assignments. Never in history have so many employees worked remotely to guarantee essential business continuity. Virtual Assignments also raise a lot of new questions. 

Virtual mobility does not necessarily imply that employees remain in the home country while being responsible for operations in other locations. It allows expats to ‘’work from anywhere’’, meaning that employees can also work in a third country of choice (not the home country or the location benefiting from the task performed). This possibility enables expats to become digital nomads as they are no longer bound to a specific location. Implementing a more significant number of Virtual Assignments also means acknowledging and accepting that working arrangements are changing fast in response to technology, generational changes, and sudden business disruptions. 

Of course, there are limits to this as well. The most obvious of which is that not all jobs can be performed remotely, which is also one of the reasons why virtual mobility will not replace traditional mobility. Tax and compliance issues can pose a risk too. The company having no existing operations and not wishing to have a permanent establishment in the location where the employee would like to be based is another possible barrier to Virtual Assignments. Some organizations are also concerned that Virtual Assignments could hinder company culture and teamwork, with the risk for the employee to feel like a perpetual outsider. The final point worth considering is that cost saving is not necessarily automatic. In some cases, the assignee wants to live in a high-cost country where sending them will cost the company much more (Mercer, 2021b). 

It is now easier to see how the popularity of virtual mobility is closely related to the increase of a more dispersed international workforce. As companies upgrade their technology and become more agile, they could decide to assign projects and tasks to mobile people rather than moving defined jobs as such. In other words, instead of trying to fit assignees into predefined boxes, the aim is to manage a diverse workforce in a more fluid and coordinated way (Mercer, 2021d). 

Moving jobs to people instead of moving people to jobs will not substitute the traditional way of thinking GM, but it is one more tool companies can use in their global operations. We live in an era where recruitment is not limited by geography, and hiring can occur in any global location to fill open positions. As organizations gradually embrace best practices to manage a distributed international workforce, it will be essential for Global Mobility teams to adapt to a new way of thinking and learn to implement Virtual Assignments successfully. 

5 – Expand Your Skills and Become More Agile 

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, multi-skilling is “the practice of training employees to do several different things, or of using employees who can do several different things,” or, in other words, the ability to master a wide range of skills relevant for different types of functions and jobs. Research from Hershbein and Khan (2018) provides broad-based evidence of how firms demand even more upskilling from workers when the local economy suffers a recession. Thus, this practice will likely be even more helpful in the aftermath of the crisis, when more agility is required in all business areas. 

The “future of work” (#FoW) is skill-driven, and the expansion of the gig economy brings proof to the statement. Since organizations are becoming flattered and more digital, corporate positions or job titles will not matter as much as skills and the capacity to update and renew these skills. Mercer listed a series of skills that GM professionals should acquire to thrive under these conditions. Below is a summary. 

Now more than ever, global mobility teams are asked to be advisers to the business and help anticipate risks and compliance issues. Mobility professionals should function as bridges between departments and geographies and serve as facilitators to coordinate arising matters. One possibility is that the mobility functions will be gradually more oriented towards consultancy. In one sentence, Global Mobility teams need to master compliance issues.

Ensuring that the basics are in place in terms of metrics and cost tracking will be essential, but what will make a difference for HR professionals is turning the results of newly developed metrics into concrete suggestions to improve people management.

It is also fundamental that mobility professionals speak the same language as general management and finance departments, linking mobility with compelling business cases.

Another crucial point Global Mobility teams need to bring to the top of their agendas is developing the ability to be good storytellers. Explaining the bigger story behind talent mobility and to what extent employees’ tasks relate (even distantly) to the overall economy and the society’s well-being is a differentiator. Storytelling is also about clearly summarizing the mobility program policy’s main principles or what the very mobility program entails. 

Today we live in an unprecedented abundance of information. The crucial issue is determining which data are true and relevant and interpreting them to draw appropriate conclusions for the business. GM professionals also have a role to play in the digitalization of companies. They need to familiarize themselves with the concepts and technologies revolving around AI and develop statistical and technology literacy.

Now that companies diversify more and more their compensation approaches, GM professionals need to dig deeper into Expat base pay, benefits, short-term and long-term incentives to have a more comprehensive financial understanding of the implications of an international move. It’s time to broaden reward skills. 

6 – Consider Adding “Human Touch” 

The days when careers were only about moving up the ladder are forgone. Nowadays, it’s about moving across the structure and the expat experience (KPMG, 2021). For employees, this results in a heightened focus on wellbeing, development, and recognition. At the same time, expats have started perceiving the mobility experience differently: They once used to see compensation as the primary incentive for global relocations but now tend to value providing validation on both a personal and professional level. Nowadays, the global workforce is attracted and motivated by a more personalized, agile, and holistic experience. Therefore, adding the human touch is needed which predictably results in a better relationship between employees and employers.

Employers picked up this trend and refer to it as improving “employee experience.” 47% of respondents of the AIRINC MOS 2021 mentioned this as a top priority to focus on in the upcoming years. However, it would be unfair to deny that it is too often difficult to prioritize employee experience if teams are too busy focusing on the many operational aspects of the mobility program. A well-designed human-centric global mobility program does not simply consider individual employee needs but also considers all the people involved. 

If you wish to embrace the human touch in your global mobility program, you successfully should focus on the following four core aspects:

  • Operational Support. Structure of operations and satisfaction with external vendors.
  • Financial Welfare. Rewards, benefits, and other types of support provided to the employee. 
  • Professional Engagement. Successful integration into the host location and career progression.
  • Expat well-being. Employee resilience and focus outside of work life.

The COVID-19 crisis has particularly highlighted the very last aspect of the above list, expat well-being. According to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Human Capital Trends, 80% of the respondents identified well-being as an important priority for their organization’s success over the next 12-18 months, making it this year’s top trend. Yet, only 12% feel “very ready” to address this issue, showing a clear “readiness gap.” Expat well-being does not stop at healthcare considerations and should not only be prioritized during emergencies. Expat well-being should also entail social, emotional, and financial aspects. Those are natural aspects in which highly mobile employees are automatically more at risk. Factors such as stress, mental health, family and financial issues, and demotivation or failed assignments should put the mobility team on full alert. We need to get back to providing a service that is essentially a human experience. Especially, to improve the expat’s well-being it is extremely important that they have contact with people from inside and outside the company to which they can talk to. 

Undoubtedly, the current crisis pushes companies to accelerate their strategies to ameliorate expat well-being, potentially enabling a better work-life balance. There are plenty of good reasons to make investments to improve well-being: Burnout impacts employee retention, employees with higher well-being are more likely to feel engaged at work and recommend their organizations, and to some extent, well-being drives organizational performance (Deloitte, 2020).

7 – Deal with Harder Immigration Compliance 

Even before this global pandemic, the waiting time organizations had to face before holding all the authorizations required for an employee to travel abroad for business was becoming increasingly longer. The quicker visa to obtain, that for short-term business travels, are not intended for productive work or long-term assignments. Many countries are enforcing measures more actively against illegal employment. A growing number of employees have to pay pricey fines, and some even undergo criminal punishments. 

Problems only increase when the employee is accompanied by their spouse who travels on a holiday visa and then tries to find a job in the new host country or get a local driver’s license. 

Undoubtedly, the unexpected crisis caused by the widespread presence of COVID-19 has made immigration compliance and timelines for assignments even more complicated for organizations wanting to send their employees abroad, repatriate or transfer them to a third country. Also, companies might be losing key talent now that the job market is picking up if they had to wait for their assignments, sitting on packed suitcases for more than a year.

In a world where business travel, secondments, and overseas relocations are routine, the resulting level of disruption caused by the restrictions on movement that governments set in place to combat the spread of the pandemic is unprecedented. With companies working hard to prioritize their staff’s well-being, another whole set of legal challenges arise. In such a rapidly changing scenario, some mobile employees might remain stranded in their host country or a transit country or even risk overstaying their visas. Some of the measures that governments around the world are enacting are temporary, but others could have a more negative effect on business in the near future. 

  1. Entry restrictions and an increased number of admission criteria for citizens of certain countries, including bans on some high-risk locations.
  2. Heightened eligibility criteria and application requirements where visas are issued, including suspension of visa waiver agreements and more detailed document requirements for new applications.
  3. Longer lead times for applications and discrimination in the selection leading to class systems of vaccinated versus non-vaccinated applicants.

8 – Embrace Digital Innovation

In the past 24 months, many organizations have focused on digitization (moving to more digital formats) and digitalization (strategically shifting to digital processes and activities) of the mobility function. Many consider technological breakouts to be a megatrend. One of the biggest challenges is to incorporate technology into the business in a way that adds value to the company and its employees. One positive example of digitalization is reporting assignees through an intuitive HR system and tracking assignees through security apps such as the International SOS assistance app.

Companies’ level of ‘digital engagement’ depends on how “digitally mature” their global mobility programs already are. Some might be just ‘exploring digital,’ using robotics to carry out simple and repetitive tasks, while others might be already ‘becoming digital’ with a formal digital strategy set in place. 

Mobility functions are already experiencing success where automation is implemented to perform tasks that humans would generally be assigned, such as ending routine emails or copying and pasting information from public or private sources. In turn, workers are given higher-value tasks for the benefit of the mobility function. By adopting and introducing those techniques into existing processes, GM teams will focus on diminishing costs, increasing productivity by improving operational efficiency, and retaining talent. Some of the latest HR systems like Success Factors or Workday offer basic workflow functions for international assignments but cannot yet run the full process with all the external vendors involved. Data needs to be shifted from the HR System to the vendor platform but an integrated solution has to be found to do this efficiently while still respecting GDPR and Data Security.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology is another interesting use of AI in the field. It is already being used to speed up administrative/transactional processes in mobility functions. Equally important is that automation can also reveal itself as crucial in reducing hierarchical thinking. If you want to read more about this topic then this article on our blog might be of interest to you. 

Core office technologies such as telephone, word processing platforms, and email have already evolved to expand connected and collaborative working possibilities. Expats can now access the latest information, join video conferences, share and work on the same documents or workspace at their convenience, from a device and location of their choice. It is a great aid tool for managing assignee package creation. It makes it possible for Global Mobility teams to stay in close communication with their assignees abroad. 

As for Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR, respectively), they can transform the employee’s onboarding experience into the organization or allow them to meet and collaborate with colleagues in other countries. Additionally, it can be used to virtually recreate cities to immerse oneself in the new environment before deciding to move there.

According to Deloitte (2020), AI is projected to add US$13 trillion to the global economy over the next decade. It is no wonder that in their 2020 Global Human Capital Trends Survey, 70% of the respondents stated that their organizations were exploring or using AI to some extent. At this point, the question is not whether AI will affect jobs but rather how. Reducing costs by replacing the workforce with AI technology is not the only viable path: 60% of the surveyed organizations use AI to assist rather than replace workers. 

By using smart devices to predict, detect and prevent risks in moving people around the globe, AI is already helping organizations go beyond traditional ways of managing the global workforce. With the massive increase of the data volume available to organizations, the emergence of advanced AI-based algorithms, and the growing availability of data scientists, systems become increasingly self-managing and potentially self-defending against risks.  

For regular updates on Global Mobility you can order “The Global Mobility Workbook (Third Edition)” via your favorite bookseller and sign up to our readership here:

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/become-a-reader-of-the-global-people-club-sandwich/

If you wish to bulk order please contact our team here.

https://www.angieweinberger.ch/gmwb/

References 

Websites

Dictionary.cambridge.org. (2021). multi-skilling. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/multi-skilling

Mercer. (2021a). Global mobility policy flexibility in practice. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/Insights/article/Global-mobility-policy-flexibility-in-practice 

Mercer. (2021b).The rise of virtual assignments. (2021). Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/insights/article/the-rise-of-virtual-assignments 

Mercer. (2021c). Upskilling the Mobility Function. (2021). Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/Insights/article/Upskilling-the-Mobility-Function 

Mercer. (2021d). Talent mobility: looking ahead. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/Insights/article/Talent-mobility-looking-ahead

Books and Reports

AIRINC. (2021). Mobility Outlook Survey 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://www.air-inc.com/mobility-outlook-survey-2021/ 

Crown. (2019). Big Global Mobility Trends to Watch in 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://www.crownworldmobility.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Big-global-mobility-trends-to-watch-in-2019-CWM.pdf 

Crown. (2020). Big Global Mobility Trends to Watch in 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://www.crownworldmobility.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Big-global-mobility-trends-to-watch-in-2020-CWM.pdf 

Crown. (2021). Five Standout Talent Mobility Trends for 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from  https://www.crownworldmobility.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/5-standout-talent-mobility-trends-for-2021_digital-CWM.pdf

Deloitte. (2019). ’Global Workforce Insight 2019.’ Deloitte. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ch/Documents/tax/deloitte-ch-Back-to-the-future-global-workforce.pdf

Deloitte. (2020). ‘2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Survey. Deloitte.’ Deloitte. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/insights/us/articles/us43244_human-capital-trends-2020/us43244_human-capital-trends-2020/di_hc-trends-2020.pdf 

FIDI. (2019). ‘2020 Vision: A Focus on Next Year’s Trends.’ FIDI Global Alliance. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://www.fidi.org/blog/2020-vision-focus-next-years-trends 

Hershbein, B. and Khan, L. B. (2018). ‘Do Recessions Accelerate Routine-Biased Technological Change? Evidence from Vacancy Postings.’ American Economic Review. Vol. 108, no. 7, pp. 1737-72. Retrieved May 27, 2020, from https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20161570

KPMG. (2020). Global Assignment Policies and Practices Survey. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2020/10/gapp-2020-survey-web.pdf

KPMG. (2021). Global Mobility Forecast: Trends in Risk, Talent and Digital. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2021/02/global-mobility-forecast-trends-in-risk-talent-and-digital.pdf 

Mercer. (2017). Worldwide Survey of International Assignment Policies and Practices. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://www.imercer.com/products/WorldwideIAPP

Mercer, (2019). ‘Flexible Mobility Policies Survey.’ Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/solutions/data-solutions/policies-and-practices-surveys/flexible-mobility-policies-survey

PWC. (2016). Women of the World: Aligning Gender Diversity and International Mobility in Financial Services. Retrieved 18 August 2021, from https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/assets/women-of-the-world.pdf 

More Sources

Baker McKenzie. (2019). ‘The Global Employer: Focus on Global Immigration and Mobility.’ Baker McKenzie. Retrieved May 27, 2020, from https://www.bakermckenzie.com/en-/media/files/insight/publications/2019/12/the-global-employer-focus-on-immigration-and-mobility_041219.pdf

Beck, P., Eisenhut, P. and Thomas, L. (2018). „Fokus Arbeitsmarkt: Fit für die Zukunft?”. Stiftung Zukunft.li. Retrieved 28 May, 2020, from https://www.stiftungzukunft.li/publikationen/fokus-arbeitsmart-fit-fuer-die-zukunft 

Bertolino, M. (2020). ‘How Covid-19 Is Disrupting Immigration Policies and Worker Mobility: A Tracker’. Ernst and Young. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.ey.com/en_gl/tax/how-covid-19-is-disrupting-immigration-policies-and-worker-mobility-a-tracker

Hauri, D., Eisenhut, P., and Lorenz T. (2016). „Knacknuss Wachstum und Zuwanderung: Hintergründe und Zusammenhänge.” Stiftung Zukunft.li. Retrieved 28 May, 2020, from Knacknuss Wachstum und Zuwanderung

Robb, A., Frewin, K. and Jagger, P. (2017a). ‘Global Workforce Trends: The Impact of the Digital Age on Global Mobility.’ Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/tax/deloitte-uk-global-mobility-trends-latest.PDF 

Robb, A., Frewin, K. and Jagger, P. (2017b). ‘Global Workforce : Digital Innovation in Mobility.’ Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/fi/Documents/tax/deloitte-uk-digital-innovation-in-mobility.pd 

Workshop Invite 23 September 2021

September so far has been more of a summer than the “Summer of ‘69”. Random song references are my thing now, and that makes sense because the #RockMeRetreat was never about “Rock’n’Roll Music” or “Jailhouse Rock.” “We will rock you!” so that no stone will be left unturned once you start on this journey of self-discovery with your Coach “Angie.”

Still, my dear, fall is here. We can still have a glass of “Summer Wine,” but the days are as short as the “Itzy Bitzy Teeny Weeny Honolulu Strand Bikini.” 

Rose petals sprinkled over my neglected Zen Garden, sunflower fields turned brown, and you have started to turn on the lights in the morning again. When you get home from work, you don’t want to sit outside anymore as it is dark, but you might vaguely remember this feeling you had as a kid when you were playing hide and seek at this time of the year, and it was just a notch better because it got dark at dinner time.

Apples are ripe for harvest, and the smell of onion pie and early wine hangs in the air. How do you remember the early fall, back when we were in high school? I remember a particular moment going down the stairs from our horrible grey concrete school building of the 70s, thinking, “This is great! I love being back at school!” I swung my newly acquired pepita jacket across my shoulders and closing my leather school bag with a sense of accomplishment. 

Do you miss those times where you felt like the world was in order and that you had all the opportunities ahead of you? You know when you feel like a “Rockstar” sipping champagne in a limo, with your Bono hat on, driving through “New York” with a bass drum pounding similar to the headache you will have the following day? 

Is this the life you want to have, without limits, without regrets, and certainly without the need to have a “boss” tell you what to do, as you know best how to do your job, how to build your contribution to the world and how to achieve your goals in work and life?

If you want to get to this focused and productive life level, you can start with building weekly practices and adding them to our RockMeApp. Last week I already spoke about seven easy-to-implement steps to help your body adjust to a new culture or new environment. This week, I would like to dive even deeper with these seven deadly rituals for focus and productivity

1 – Start Your Week with Monday Wishes

Starting your Week with Monday Wishes is a powerful way to start your week. Use your Have-Done-Diary (journal) to write down your wishes for the week without limiting yourself. Even if you end up re-writing your to-do list, just brain dump everything you wish for the week. The list should include fun stuff like “a bunch of flowers,” too.

2- Craft Your New Morning Ritual

I believe we should all have a morning ritual, and you can design yours around your needs, lifestyle, family, and pets. For example, you can think about which order you ideally go through your morning to have a happy and productive day ahead. Pro tip: Don’t check your mobile phone during this time of the day.

3 – Finish with Friday Reflection

If your workweek closes on Thursday or Friday, use the last hour of your day to clean up your desk, sort paper or emails, write a task list for the week ahead, and then go through our four reflection questions on the RockMeApp. Here’s a helpful virtue of separating the workweek from the weekend. I’ve talked about taking 90 minutes on Saturday to finalize open tasks instead of working late with a few of you. Test this; for me, it works well.

4 – Plan a Digital Detox Day 

Taking a real break from Social Media, especially those funny videos on Facebook, isn’t easy unless you have a plan on where you can hide your phone for 24 hours. You might be a parent and need to be reachable for your children. Using my uncle’s strategy to have an elementary mobile phone to remain reachable over the weekend for essential clients and family can pay off. Alternatively, you can try to apply willpower (just kidding). Turn on the “Radio GaGa” and listen to unexpected songs, hear the news without images and enjoy that wonderful feeling.

5 – Weekly Practices You Can Do Anywhere

Weekly practices are a vital element of our programs. They help with sanity maintenance and make you a happier person to be around (as opposed to your inner Mr. Hyde, who is also a corporate zombie.) If you are struggling to define what practices are helpful to you or haven’t even started, I encourage you to define weekly goals that you can achieve no matter where you are. Examples could be daily walking targets and relaxation exercises or keeping your space clean of clutter

6 – Consider my Productivity Hacks 

If you feel you have maxed out your productivity already, please test this: If you can implement one of these seven productivity hacks (1- Have-Done Diary, 2 – Pomodoro Method, 3 – Eisenhower Matrix, 4 – Pareto-Principle, 5 – Peace Island, 6 – Repetition Checklists, 7 – Outsourcing Housework) and you notice any changes you might still have potential to improve, and there’s always space to learn and get better at tools. Also, to let you in on a secret, I used to waste a lot of time with mundane tasks such as looking for the correct passwords or making sure I had the right document version. A year ago, I often needed to follow up on team tasks and could not always rely on them. We now use password managers, a few master spreadsheets, and SLACK for team communication. I cannot say that this has increased our productivity. Still, my stress level is lower as now everything is well organized and accessible from anywhere and all team members.

7 – Revisit Your Weekly Planner

When you started working with the weekly planner (we usually hand this out at the end of all programs), you might have noticed an increase in productivity right away. Now, with a bit more practice, you might see that you could make optimizations or that you could change your meal or exercise plan for the fall. I recommend that you keep the general structure and only optimize what doesn’t work well yet.

How about you practice one virtue for eight weeks and let me know what happened? I would love to hear from you. If you wish to further work on your purpose, performance, and productivity, I recommend joining our RockMeRetreat from 18 to 25 November 2021 in Grisons, Switzerland. Sign up here to be invited, and we’ll set up a call to discuss this further. 

On Thursday, 23 September 2021, we finalize our preparatory workshops with “Packaging Moves – Getting More out of Your Global Mobility Deal.” Respond with “I want to be a Rockstar.” or nominate a song for our playlist.

Angie

Further Reading

https://teachings.eckharttolle.com/path-to-liberation-resisting-and-demanding-nothing/

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/tech-sabbatical-10-ways-getting-offline-helped-me-to-live-la-dolce-vita/

https://www.greenhomediy.co/love-your-home/

5 Things Highly Productive People Do Every Sunday That Most Others Don’t

https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2018/07/5-powerful-health-benefits-of-journaling/

https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-journaling/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/benefits-of-journaling-_b_6648884

https://www.thespruce.com/decluttering-your-entire-home-2648002

 

 

Ilanz, Graubuenden, Switzerland

Living a Life of Purpose – Four Ideas for Sanity Maintenance

Did you just have another day where you cleaned up your desk, wondered what you had achieved today, and got home to a stack of dishes, a pile of clothes, and a crying son? Did you spend last night driving your daughter to SCUBA class, squeezed in a conference call, and forgot that it was your mother’s birthday? Did you then at 11 PM sit down thinking “Why am I not moving on with my life?”

Often we think we are too busy to do that right thing, the Ph.D. we wanted to start, the Master we wanted to finish, the weight loss program, and healthy nutrition we wanted to implement. We keep ourselves too busy to meet a new partner. We play safe and the older we get the less risk we are willing to take.

Often we spend our time doing the wrong stuff. Sometimes there are good reasons to hang onto a job, a client, or even a marriage. Sometimes hanging in there is part of the deal (“…for better or worse…”) but there is also a fine line between going through rough patches and self-destruction.

In the past, I also got stuck in a story that I have been telling myself for the longest time. I have achieved balance in my life through continuous learning and weekly practices. And to speak like a true ZEN master: It’s the practice, not the achievement that makes it important for me. 

After you have been exposed to this pandemic and the anxiety in the world you probably lie awake at night thinking about the latest argument with your manager, the constant nagging of your spouse about living “here” and your teenager trying to find their identity as an artist.

You sometimes spiral down into the rabbit hole of worry and your inner Gollum starts telling you all the critical feedback you have received EVER as if you are Arya Stark and had to remember every man who was ever bad in the world. If you feel like this (even on the odd occasion) I would like to invite you to the following sanity maintenance practices

1 – Press the Pause Button

You might not know how to do this but I will teach you. For those of you who are following our programs you probably understand that maintaining a weekly practice helps you in the process of being more satisfied with your achievements. 

2 – Plugin Your Purpose Batteries

For some of you, reconnecting with your purpose sounds too difficult to even get started. Maybe you thought you had defined your purpose clearly but now you have doubts. Is that really the reason why you are in the world? Is this the area of work and life where you can influence the world the most for the better or are you just in this for the status, the money, and the company car? Is your reason for this international move the next career step in Caracas or is it the housing allowance and the package your company pulled together?

3 – Divorce Work from Your Self-Worth

When I speak to some of you I understand that work plays a very important role in your life but so does your spouse, your children, parents, siblings, and friends. You are more than a breadwinner and after having been in the corporate world for such a long time and having made it here, don’t you think you deserve to focus more on your important relationships? Don’t you deserve sipping rosé in the Biergarten at Zurichhorn on a Saturday? Open-Air movies with your loved ones on a school night?

4 – Kill Your Inner Corporate Zombie.

You do not have to be a corporate zombie either. The company pays you to deliver 42 hours of work (in Switzerland). All productivity research shows that our productivity declines after six hours of focused work. Potentially, we need to deconstruct the 42-hour workweek as it was designed for industrial workers, not knowledge workers, let alone our new breed of Digital Nomads.

Money has a limited value. When basic needs are met, the rest is a luxury, and no pair of shoes, no holiday, no luxury car will replace your health, your happiness, or time spent with your ailing elders. What is it that you truly need? Have you ever worked out how much money is enough? 

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post “The Digital Nomad – Part 1” that we’re growing my company organically. I was inspired by creator Paul Jarvis and his book “Company of One”. Paul takes off time during the summer and winter when he thinks he made enough money for the year. How you can learn that will take a bit of reprogramming. I invite you already to join our upcoming free workshop series, where we will tackle:

1) Getting More out of Your Global Mobility Deal -> Packaging Moves

2) Designing Work to Support a Global Lifestyle  -> Persisting Mindsets

3) Becoming the Trusted Partner for Your People -> Presencing Moments.

All workshops will be held online via Zoom on Thursdays at 5 PM starting 9 September 2021. Guest speakers, workbooks, and slides will be given to you later through the participant list.

You are invited and you can just let us know that you want all the invites by replying “Rockstar” to this email.

Kind regards

Angie

P.S. Please note that seats are limited and that we have to have your reservation by 30 September 21. Should we need to cancel the RockMeRetreat because of the Pandemic we will pay your enrollment fee back. If you need us to send a formal proposal to your employer please contact our project manager Anne-Kristelle Carrier.

If you want in on the Rockstar Pipeline > Sign up to the RockMeRetreat list

Expat Spouse

Going on an international assignment is often a relationship challenge. Even if you have already been married for a long time moving abroad can bring out the best and worst in the relationship with your spouse and/or life partner.

Gone are the days of the “expat wife” sitting in the expat country club, playing tennis or painting her fingernails at the pool while an armada of the staff was taking care of the driving, children, household, and cooking. Today, life partners and spouses are of all backgrounds and all colors.

My observation is that more and more male spouses are joining female expats. We also see more same-sex couples going on assignments together. Some couples plan to have a family while on assignment, others have children living in a boarding school in different countries. My advice here is mainly for dual-career couples. If you have children, you might face other challenges but usually, there is more support around finding schooling by companies than helping with spouse adjustment.

Here are five principles you can use to help your spouse adjust to the host country faster.

1) Make sure you understand all legal obligations when applying for a residence and work permit.

Make sure you have understood the legal obligations in case you are not legally married. Is your life partner allowed to reside in the country? How hard or easy is it to receive a work permit? Did you consider adequate health, accident and life insurance coverage? Work permit legislation can be tricky even for married couples. Make sure you understand the implications of your work permit type for your spouse/life partner.

2) Help your spouse with the job search by building your network in the host country fast.

Try to find out how to build up a network in the host location fast. Speak to agencies and headhunters about job opportunities. Understand the role of agencies/headhunters in the process before you contact them. Build on- and offline networks to find a job. Help others too so that you will be considered when it is your spouse’s turn to look for a job.

3) Get intercultural training to understand the cultural differences.

Understand the cultural differences in how to write an application and how a resume typically looks for the host country. What are the usual ways of getting a job? How important are personal introductions? Who should sponsor your spouse? Getting a social life and making friends together will help in the transition into the new culture. Try to make time for events so that your spouse feels that you are on this adventure together.

4) Utilize support offered by your company.

Utilize the resources of the company you work for. Request for help. Some companies offer spouse career coaching or job coaching. f you have a chance get coaching for your spouse. The transition into a new country is stressful. Sitting at home without a real task can trigger depressions or a feeling of loneliness.

5) Discuss a fallback option with your spouse.

In case your spouse cannot find a job in the host location, come up with a fallback option and value work even if it does not generate family income. Examples include volunteer work, social engagement, university degree, freelance work or building up a company. Sometimes I have observed that expatriates are so busy with starting a new job and a new life that they forget to listen and support their partners. This might be more important than anything else. I have seen couples who agree that they take turns in advancing their career. After this assignment your spouse should be able to pick the next role or location first.

I find it critical for a couple to live together (or close to each other) during an international assignment. Commuting creates separation and your life will diverge. Also consider that even though your career step might be important it does not mean your life. So once in a while, you might be better off turning down an international assignment to save the relationship.

If you would like to discuss your or spouse’s situation with me, kindly email angela@globalpeopletransitions.com for an appointment.

It had never occurred to me that a ballpoint pen is actually refillable. I did not even think that it was using ink. To be honest, I was never a big fan of the biro, ball pen, or dot pen. How could you even have so many words to describe the same instrument? In high school, the taste and smell made me nauseous. 

In an attempt to motivate me to “get back to school,” I cleaned up all my desk drawers and found two hand-softening silver ink dispensers rolling over a ball. With these two, my handwriting looks as beautiful as that of Daisy, the kitten. Have you ever seen kittens handwrite? Me neither, but she came to mind, and it’s a beautiful thought. She sports a pink bow tie with white polka dots, greyish fur, and blue eyes like Terence Hill (If you don’t know this actor you are too young for my programs). 

Daisy is going back to school next Monday, and she will be organized and have refilled her pens. Let me tell you how I spent the summer as it might seem to you that I am always on and productive. I really needed a long break this summer, and I wanted to spend time with my family in Germany. At the same time, I had signed up for three courses during the summer. 

Do you know how your mind often just needs new input? This is me after being “productive” for months. I need new input.

That kind of learning only works for me with a structure, so I worked on a particular “summer schedule” for three weeks, where I worked productively for six hours maximum. The rest of the day I enjoyed meals with my mum, went for a walk, sat at lake Constance, licked on dark chocolate, mango, and greek yogurt ice cream (because that’s what you do in Southern Germany), tested the rosé wine selection from the local supermarket and held my grandmother’s hand while she was trying to get back on her feet after an unexpected fall. 

Why am I telling you this?

In “back to school mode,” you might be looking forward to more routine, having the kids out of the house for a few hours and a place to go to that you call “workplace.” I wish I could tell you that you will get back to your routine in no time and that the 761 emails all contain information only but need no action really because honestly, nobody was at work. 

Everyone was sipping rosé in France or eating tomatoes in Mallorca. Because this is what you do when you are a grown-up. You eat tomatoes, dip the mozzarella in olive oil and crema di balsamico, add two leaves of container-grown basil, and for a good time, you eat an extra slide of the garlicky mayonnaise-dripping sauce that you would never touch at home.

This little holiday adventure is over. Stop slacking. It’s back-to-school season. As we don’t know yet how this fall will pan out, I wanted to give you a list of ideas of how you can start your back to school routine:

1 – Hand Write Your Brand

In case you are still looking for a job, and you have missed signing up for our HireMeExpress program, here’s one idea: Why don’t you let me handwrite your biography for you? Most people have a rather generic way of writing about themselves. Most resumes are boring and hard to understand. Let’s work together on developing your personal brand, your purpose, your one-sentence mission statement, and your creative valve.

2 – Design Your Workspace

Put on your favorite playlist and clean your home and your workspace if you work from home. Make your workspace so attractive and full of creative passion that you wish to return to it magically all the time. Clean out your wardrobe and anything that reminds you of “old me.” 

3 – Create Your Magic

If you wish to live a life full of purpose, you want to figure out what matters to you, understand who you need to serve and how to do it, and then create your magic. It’s not that hard once you get started. Follow your intuition despite the fear you might feel. Focus on what matters to you and what is important to get to your goal and acknowledge that you have what it takes within you to be you.

The hard part comes later when you are creating your art, your work, your creative brief, or your ZEN garden in the backyard, and you start doubting yourself… But first, you have to get there! Dear First Name, we can help you find your own path during the RockMeRetreat 2021.  I would personally like to invite you to our RockMeRetreat 2021. The RockMeRetreat is a seven-day leadership retreat held from 18 to 25 November 2021 at Kloster Ilanz, Switzerland. 

Sign up here for our mailing list to show your interest. Tube mail this love letter to anyone in your company or your circle of friends. And if you are not sure if this is for you I’m sure you’ve heard of this modern communication device called a mobile phone. Type +41791922877 or respond to this message to arrange a call with me. We will be happy to take your reservations until 30 September 2021. 

Further Input:

 

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/do-you-want-to-live-a-life-full-of-purpose/

 

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/how-to-get-rid-of-clutter-in-five-steps-spring-cleaning-for-more-productivity/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmM0kRf8Dbk

Darth Vader

Do you know Darth Vader, the dark force of many of the Star Wars movies? Did you know that we all have a bit of Darth Vader in us? We are driven by our fears. The Star Wars movies are full of allusions to deep psychology and how our attachments and fears form our behaviors and life. With this post, I would like to give you an understanding of how we are influenced by our fears and how you can change to become a Jedi. 

Fritz Riemann, a deep psychologist established a theory based on four basic forms of fear (“Grundformen der Angst”). The four basic forms of angst are formed in our early childhood and determine to a large extent how we behave when we are grown up. In the extreme form these fears turn into psychological illnesses.

For Riemann, the Sith are schizoid, depressed, obsessive and hysterical people. You have to be aware that even though these terms have found their way into our everyday language the clinical spectrum of these illnesses is serious and needs treatment through therapy.

Carl Gustav Jung, another deep psychologist discovered the “shadow”. Jung assumed that all of our relationships with other people are based on unconscious projections of our own wishes and expectations into their behavior.

According to Jung, the shadow is the part of us that we have driven into the unconscious as it was unwanted (for example behavior as a child) as opposed to our “Persona” which was the desired (performing) part of us.

Did you ever notice that you don’t like traits in another person and later someone told you that you have this trait too?

To speak in Star Wars terminology: You might have a bit of Darth Vader within you even though you might be a Jedi most of the time.

Like Darth Vader, we were not always bad. Some of us had negative experiences. Other lost trust in the world because of a traumatic experience. Our education system did not help either. We were ruled by authority and we had to perform. If you did not have your homework back in the 70-ies and 80-ies you were punished.

No one told us that we are great because we are creative, or even because we are who we are. We were taught to perform for making it in life. My parents had a different approach to education, but they also were young and idealistic and sometimes forgot their own children over the ones they took care of.

Today when you watch TV or check an ad statement you will see that what is often shown to us is a world full of existential angst or full of gold-coated “happy families”.

We are torn between a world to be afraid in and a world where everyone is on happy pills all the time. It’s like a world where the dark forces rule and were the Sith have won. Everywhere.

Could you still become a Jedi?

What if you decided that you did not want to be ruled by fear and anxiety?

What if you wanted to be the light and show others to stay “good” or to stay on their mission?

What if you could be Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia Organa?

You see that the Jedis confront their fears all the time. They deal with it. They do what they are afraid to do and they fight evil step-by-step. They don’t stop. They sometimes take a break to train or to collect the force. They retreat to be able to focus on their mission again.

Real change happens only through taking action. You start by confronting what you are afraid of. You go into the dark tunnel and the abyss of your soul. You dive deep into the black sea of concern and unconscious. There, you will find the monsters, the Sith, the evil you need to handle. You need to work through those with a light-saber. You tackle one relationship after the next relationship. You go through them all. All your fears, projections, shadows. I’ll stay by your side like Obi Wan Kenobi.

Cherish the people who criticize you, but don’t let their criticism stop you from what you think is right.

Stay on your path.

One day you will look back and only see Jedis around you.

Sign up to our HireMeExpress list in the pink box to learn more.

In this interview we cover:

  • Repatriating Your Role – You own your career and your brand
  • Expect Re-Entry Shock – It’s not all milk and chocolate
  • Plan the Logistics – The devil’s in the detail, consult the Pro’s
  • Optimize Taxes – Talk to Your Tax Expert when to go

Badi Tiefenbrunnen

Temperatures are at summer highs, soccer champions are keeping us glued to our T.V.s, and before you know it, we will have reached the Swiss Recruiting Summer Slump. 

From Mid July to Mid August, Switzerland seems to fall asleep. This year might be different; we cannot tell yet, how recruiting will evolve over the summer. However, I am still expecting to start the “summer schedule” very soon.

Decision-makers aren’t around to take interviews and your chances of finding a job over the summer holidays usually are lower than in the more active times. If you haven’t signed a contract by now, I bet you won’t sign one within the next four weeks. Yes, I will invite you to a Cheeseburger if you prove me wrong.

With the start of international and Swiss school holidays, you notice fewer people in the trains and motivation to work is generally a bit lower than usual. This is the time to take overtime compensation, go home at decent hours, and get out of the country for a while. It’s also time to jump into a lake near you every evening after work.

That being said, even if there is a recruiting dip during summer, that doesn’t mean that there are no interesting opportunities. In fact, contract-to-hire positions are abundant during that season, and many job-seekers decided to take the summer off, which is a considerable advantage if you keep job hunting. Moreover, the Swiss Federal Statistical Office published a press release on 27 May 2021 concluding that despite the first quarter of 2021 being the fourth quarter in a row to see employment fall, it revealed some signs of improvement (4000 more vacancies than in the 1st quarter of 2020 and an employment outlook indicator showing an upward trend of +2,6%).

We observed a rise in job postings over the last three weeks and because of the pandemic, I am expecting a slight delay in the “Sommerloch” (Summer Dip) this year. As you know we share job postings with a low number of applicants in our Facebook Groups. As a client, you can join this group: The Global People Club. In case you are a reader but not a client yet please join here and refer to this post: 

That is good news, but on top of that, many predict a new phenomenon, coined the “Great Resignation” by Anthony Klotz, that might help you find a new job in the next few months: due to the major shifts in the labor market landscape since the start of the pandemic, an important proportion of workers will want to change jobs. That will, in turn, create thousands of job openings. Now is the time to jump at the opportunity: Work on your brand, nurture your network and in between, take the time to take care of yourself!

If you are looking for a job right now, you probably feel that you are late to the game. The most common reaction I see from clients is to stop all efforts over the summer. This would be counter-productive. You could still use this time for your job search by following these six important steps for finding a job in Switzerland (and maybe elsewhere too.) We also want to encourage you to plan your time so you can still spend more time outside. Starting this week, we recommend you work on a special “Summer Schedule” from 7 AM to 1 PM, and then you can spend the rest of the day in the “Badi” of your choice, reading, listening to podcasts, and enjoying life.

Aperol Sprizz in the Sun

1) Start your Summer Schedule with a Beauty Ritual

Before you get your headshot taken, plan time to pamper yourself during the summer. Georgina Axis runs an English-speaking day spa in Zurich. The Pure Beauty Spa team is highly professional, and the products are all amazing. It’s the perfect way to start your “summer schedule*.” You will get 20% off your first facial when you mention “Angie Weinberger” in your booking.

2) Have Your Headshot Taken

You might also want to revisit why a personal brand is essential and how it links to your seven work principles. If you are looking for a photographer, we recommend Carmen Sirboiu, owner of Carmen.Photo. All our members and clients are eligible for a unique discount for a Premium LinkedIn and Personal Branding photo session with Carmen. If you use the code ‘’Global People,’’ you will get the session (value 190 CHF) at the Special Price of 99 CHF. 

3) Build More Professional Relationships Outside of the House

Summer is an excellent time to build new relationships and catch up with your current contacts. Most busy people might feel less pressure than usual. Encourage them to enjoy the nice weather and spend time outside. Why don’t you take them for ice cream in the sunshine after work? Why don’t you request an early morning walk by the lake combined with a cold coffee? Or you could offer to take over their recycling runs as you have enough time on your hands at the moment for half an hour of them sharing career tips with you. A personalized request is key here.

4) Develop a Weekly Practice for Meeting Your Contacts

Set yourself a weekly practice for meeting at least one contact. Ask them if they can introduce you to three more professional contacts in your field. If you are hesitant, you probably have not written down your networking purpose yet. Write down your networking purpose, send it to me, and add a weekly practice to your RockMeApp.

5) Enjoy the Holiday With Your Family

Summer is also the best time to be away from Switzerland if you are looking for a job. You will probably not miss much, and in emergencies, companies could also interview you by video call in your holiday home. I would advise that you charge your batteries and get out of the city for a minimum of two weeks. Your children and partner/spouse will probably love it that you have time for them.

Travel Later6) Practice German and Prepare for an Exam

You have now been in Switzerland long enough to have at least started with German lessons. Ensure that you have one exam in your pocket and the certificate in your application file. While the summer is a great time to enjoy your time off, it also has rainy days. Join Heike Reinhart for a trial class and work on your German.

Join the next HireMeExpress Program

Commit yourself to a schedule by working with us. The next HireMeExpress group program after the summer break is open for sale from 13 July 2021 and will close on 22 July 2021. The program will start with the first group session on 27 August 2021 and we will release Module 1 on 20 August 2021. Wishing you a lovely summer time and see you back at the end of August.

Kind regards

Angie & Team

PS: Individual coaching sessions can be booked all through July. Just make sure you reserve them as soon as possible and ideally in the mornings. 

 

References:

Coffey, Patty. In Forbes, 28 May 2021, „7 Reasons To Keep Up Your Job Search This Summer.” Retrieved 25 May 2021, from

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/05/28/7-reasons-to-keep-up-your-job-search-this-summer/?sh=f5a426b1b176

Federal Office of Statistics, 27 May 2021, „Employment barometer in the 1st quarter 2021, Employment in Switzerland fell in 1st quarter 2021 for the fourth consecutive time – but outlook is positive.” Retrieved 25 June 2021, from 

https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/en/home/statistics/industry-services/businesses-employment.assetdetail.17344107.html

Kelly, Jack, in Forbes, 26 May 2021, „How to Attract the Attention of Recruiters as We Head Into the ‘Great Resignation’ and People Look to Switch Jobs.” Retrieved 25 June 2021, from

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2021/05/26/how-to-attract-the-attention-of-recruiters-as-we-head-into-the-great-resignation-and-people-look-to-switch-jobs/?sh=3779c45e389a

Family Separation

We talked about how family challenges and marital issues greatly impact the outcome of international assignments. We also saw that a large number of companies list the Expat Spouse’s unhappiness as the primary cause of “Expatriate Failure”, highlighting the importance of the Expat Spouse and Partner career support programs.

This week, we will talk more extensively about the kind of support you can give to Dual-Career Expat Couples and why that matters if you work in HR and Global Mobility.

I have always advocated for Global Mobility Managers to be more proactive about involving Expat Spouses. Sometimes I sound like a broken record though. Anyway, it’s 2021 so I reiterate what I’ve been repeating for years.

We want to be proactive!

The days of the passive “trailing spouse”, when they were marginally involved in any decision of moving abroad, are definitely gone. Today, according to the 2018 Relocating Partner Survey, 97% of mobile employees actively involve their partners in the discussion before accepting an assignment, so why shouldn’t you?

We want to be inclusive!

Employers cite a variety of reasons for supporting Dual-Career Expat Couples via policy and practice. The primary reason is to increase staff mobility. Some employers also do it to reduce the costs of assignment refusal or early return and promote family-friendly policies. Others want to support diversity or gender initiatives.

One figure, in particular, stands out in the latest KPMG report: 39%. This indicates the percentage of surveyed companies pointing out that sexual orientation is the main demographic reason leading an employee to refuse an assignment. But 39% is also the percentage of companies indicating that the employees’ dependents impact their decisions to accept an assignment. Perhaps, in your career as GMM, you too have witnessed these scenarios and you aim now at broadening the pool of talent by making it more diverse and inclusive. 

Here is how you can still help your company achieve its Diversity and Inclusion goals, improving brand, reputation, and global market competitiveness.

  • Review the demographics of your global mobility team based on diversity and change policies accordingly.
  • Diversify international assignment terms. 
  • Adjust policies for selecting candidates.
  • Broaden communication about opportunities.
  • Offer training to reduce unconscious bias.

We want to bring back the Human Touch!

What you can do to help Expats and Expat Spouses is to ease the external stressors to their relationship caused by the international assignment. Most importantly, take the Expat Spouse seriously!

Here are seven provisions you can take up in your guidelines.

1 – Review all your Global Mobility Guidelines

Today’s mobile employees are no longer interested exclusively in the financial aspect of their international assignment package. They are also very concerned about the impact of the move on their spouses’ careers while abroad. This is a consequence of the increased levels of equality within the couple: 77% of Expat Spouses work before the assignment and 82% of them secure a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. degree (2018 Relocating Partner Survey). In short, the current mobile population won’t accept being treated like their predecessors. 

Even if 62% of employers wish to encourage employee acceptance of an assignment by offering support to Expat Spouses, most employees are still frustrated by what employers are offering today.

An increasing number of Dual-Career Expat Couples depend on the income of their spouses during international transfers. Today, dividing Expat Spouses into the “working” and the “non-working” categories is too simplified. 

Employers should therefore ensure that their partner policies support these choices equally for working and non-working partners to avoid any form of discrimination.

According to a report published by Permits Foundations in 2012, only 33% of the companies surveyed provided career support to Expat Spouses under a formal written policy. Another 11% had informal guidelines, while 27% of them assisted on a case-by-case basis. 29% provided no support at all. 

With an Expat Spouse and Partner Support Guideline in place, you will more easily become a more attractive employer.

2 – Involve the Expat Spouse and Partner in the Pre-Assignment Phase

During this phase, there are probably lots of questions going on in the Expat Spouse’s head, and feelings of euphoria and anxiety often alternate with each other. They might be wondering what impact the move will have on their children and whether they will be able to find employment in the new country. It is part of your role as Global Mobility Manager to offer early career assessment for the Expat Spouse as well as information on international schooling options. Additionally, since Expat Spouses are often in charge of the logistics behind the move, you must be able to connect them with relocation services and immigration providers ahead of the move.

3 – Help with the Work Permit

Nowadays, Expat Spouses are allowed to work on a dependent work permit in the vast majority of the top host locations accounting for 80% of today’s global mobility (2018 Relocating Partner Survey). This huge achievement is the fruit of the Permits Foundation, which fights for the rights of relocating partners to be able to work on their dependent permit. 

However, some countries present exceptions and subtleties linked to marital status. Non-married partners from opposite sexes, as well as same-sex couples, face more challenges accessing work permits. In countries that do not allow Expat Spouses to work, securing a work permit is almost impossible.

It is therefore your duty to help Expat Spouses navigate the world of bureaucracy specific to each assignment. 

4 – Research Work Opportunities for Expat Spouses

Career stagnation is a major stressor to any relationship. Therefore, as one way to avoid putting the success of assignments in jeopardy, your employer could provide work opportunities to the Expat Spouse if they work in a similar field or area. What I’m also doing is to check with other companies if they have availability for the Expat Spouse especially when they work in a related field.

In this initial exploratory phase, it is also important to verify that the Expat Spouse’s degree is in line with what recruiters expect to see in the host country: qualifications obtained in one country are not necessarily recognized in another.

The 2018 Relocating Partner surveys highlight how career and job search support is now offered by 71% of employers, a sharp increase in comparison to previous data.

5 – Provide Transition Coaching For The Expat Couple

Coaching for the Expat Couple is also an option. In my experience, it is also helpful if one person of the couple is going through a coaching program. Your company should take over the cost within the Global Mobility guidelines. Companies offer Expat Spouse Career and Life Support programs to assist Expat Spouses. Most Swiss-based companies provide up to 7’000 CHF in services. This is a lot of money!

Transition coaching for Expats and Expat Spouses is becoming a more and more prominent concept in companies around the world. As a Global Mobility Manager, you already probably know that supporting Expats and Expat Spouses through each different adjustment stage they experience leads to a higher satisfaction rate with the assignment and the service of Global Mobility in general. 

The sad part is that Expat Couples often don’t claim support as they haven’t seen the GM policy and have not been involved in the decision-making process.

6 – Offer Host Language Course

The most common forms of assistance already in place addressing spouse career concerns are language training, provided by almost two-thirds of employers (Permits Foundation, 2012). If there is a business need, companies generally pay for a 60-hour course.

7 – Pay for Support for Children and Teenagers

Not only Expats and Expat Spouses, but their children too, need support during the assignment. After all, children are the most critical asset in the expatriation process. One of the tools you can offer them is intercultural training, especially if the children are in local schools. Giving training to Expat Children has a lot of value, and you will see that once you make the children happy, you will have a higher ROI, higher retention rate, and a better satisfaction rate in your KPIs.

When Family Separation is the Best Option

Sometimes, things just don’t work out and the result of that international assignment is family separation. There are also instances where the Expat Spouse and potential children should stay in the home country. One reason could be schooling, another reason health and safety. Consult with me if you have any questions about how can bring the #HumanTouch back into your Global Mobility Program and Team.

Kind Regards,

Angie.

PS: We open HireMeExpress for Sale

We developed the HireMeExpress program to support more Expat Spouses and Partners to find a job in a new country. All of the twelve modules and more than 36 worksheets can be used for other expat hubs from Berlin to Bombay. However, our best network is in Zurich, Zug, and Basel, Switzerland. Hence, we can help best here. If you need help in other locations, contact us anyway, as we have contacts globally.

References:

KPMG. (2018a). „Inclusion and Diversity: How Global Mobility can help move the Needle”, KPMG. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle-FINAL.pdf

KPMG. (2018b). „Inclusion and Diversity in Global Mobility”, KPMG. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle.pdf

NetExpat & EY. (2018). Relocating Partner Survey Report. https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-2018-relocating-partner-survey-final-report/$File/ey-2018-relocating-partner-survey-final-report.pdf

Permits Foundation. (2012). International Mobility and Dual-Career Survey of International Employers. https://www.permitsfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Permits+Global+Survey+2012nw.pdf

Rainbow Logo

Biases and prejudices are burdens that confuse the past, threaten the future and render the present inaccessible” ~  Maya Angelou. 

Although international organizations have Diversity and Inclusion objectives, in the vague sense of it as it were, yet according to a report by KPMG, 2018, many are falling short due to failure to understand how Diversity and Inclusion impact Global Mobility programs. 

Another survey by KPMG highlighted that the majority of Global Mobility Programs do not have specific Diversity and Inclusion objectives as part of their department’s strategy. 70% of the companies that do have diversity and inclusion practices in place stated that this was due to a strong business case for diversity across all areas of the business. 

At this juncture, it is important that we define “Female and Minority Talent”. While what you consider as a minority will depend largely on your home base country, where your headquarters is based, I recommend that you consider all of these groups:

  • BIPOC: The acronym BIPOC refers to black, indigenous, and other people of color and aims to emphasize the historic oppression of black and indigenous people.
  • LGBTQ+: LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, and other sexual identities and genders.
  • Religious and cultural minorities in your home and host countries.

We previously discussed the obstacles women face in Global Mobility. We also raised the why question. This is about the how.

As rightly posited by Tom Paton, diversity is slower to gain reception in areas where prejudice or centuries of deep-rooted behavior may persist. Unconscious bias is when a Sponsoring Manager is preparing to send only white men abroad to fill a business gap. 

What you will see is often unconscious bias against female talent because the Sponsoring Manager assumes that a woman has a house to keep and children to raise. Sometimes the prejudice is just as simple as “women don’t do this kind of job or can’t work in this country”. There is a strong stereotype that women with children don’t want to work abroad. 

Meanwhile, data shows that 88% of women feel that they need to go on an international assignment to advance their careers (PWC, 2016). The study shows that 73% of women in Financial Services wish more transparency on opportunities overseas. The lack of transparency in overseas opportunities leads minority groups and women to be underrepresented as they are not aware of the opportunities. 

Consequently, companies have smaller talent pools as the communication of overseas opportunities is often rather ambiguous. The outcome of the survey by KPMG brings a little hope in this aspect, as nearly half of the companies surveyed indicated that the review of their Global Mobility processes will result in broadening communication to employees about opportunities. 

We all want to maximize the potentials of our pool of resources. 

There is enough evidence that companies having both gender diversity and ethnic and cultural diversity are more likely than ever to outperform their less diverse peers. 

McKinsey’s most recent report ‘’Diversity Wins’’ outlines that companies in the top quartile for gender-diverse executive teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth-up quartile. The outcome for ethnic and cultural diversity is equally appealing. Therefore, the business case for diversity and inclusion is clear, it is time for us to take matters into our own hands.

Here are our top six tactics to give female and minority talent a seat at the Global Mobility table.

1 – Identify Strong Candidates: This boils down to eliminating all forms of prejudices, stereotypes, and biases. Regardless of being male or female, it is important to create a system of identifying those who are qualifying for international work and projects. The key points to consider for an ideal selection are performance, potential, and if needed proficiency with the relevant languages. Use your performance and potential data and don’t just rely on “gut” feeling about candidates. Make sure that you have “hard skills” added to your HR System so you can search talent by language or IT skills.

2 – Select Candidates Based on Intercultural Sensitivity Tests: Every candidate that meets the requirement for being sent on an assignment should go through an intercultural sensitivity test.  We must stop making the assumption that women with children are unwilling to take up an international assignment.  Not only can women be willing to receive an assignment, but they are just as capable of accomplishing great things and succeeding as their male colleagues.  On another note, the potentially stressful or dangerous context in the host location might be a deterrent for some employees, but before assuming, have a conversation with your potential assignee. You have to ensure that your selection process is based on data and facts, rather than sentiments. Work with a professional to assess their intercultural competence. At GPT, we use assessment tools such as the Intercultural Development Inventory or  Individual Cultural Blueprint Indicator.

3 – Provide Global Guidelines for Recruiters: This sounds simple yet very profound. We have witnessed the surge of different “expatriates” such as Cross-Border Commuters, Virtual Assignees, Global Nomads, International Business Travelers, and Commuters. In Global Mobility, if we want to be inclusive, we need to offer support to all of these people, their families, and their needs have to matter to us. Here are my ideas for your global recruiting guidelines. 

4 – Enhance Intercultural Intelligence Across all Levels: “Intercultural intelligence means suspending judgment until enough information about the other person becomes available; paying attention to the situation; cross-cultural training that increases isomorphic attributions, appropriate affect, and appropriate behaviors; matching personal and organizationally attributes; increasing the probability of appropriate organizational practices”  Now is the time to promote intercultural intelligence within your workforce population. Offer “Unconscious Bias” training for your senior managers and ensure your senior managers lead a diverse workforce. Expose them to other cultural styles.

5 – Offer an open Job Platform: Most companies work like Twitter. You have fans and followers and people who watch what you are doing closely. Instead of organizing talent programs, you can make your global job market transparent. All talents want to be given a fair chance at success and you need to find ways to motivate more introverted busy bees as well. Part-timers often need more recognition and sponsors who help them be seen for opportunities. 

You might want to rewrite all your job postings to be more inclusive and reduce the white male-dominated language. You also need to reduce the profiles so they match real professionals. As I mentioned in “The Global Career Workbook” most job profiles I’m reading have been written for Superman and Wonderwoman. According to a study by Hewlett-Packard, women only apply for jobs when they meet 100% of the requirements while men already do so if they meet 60% of them. This finding is often quoted in articles to prove that women lack confidence. It is never wrong to boost up your confidence, but the reason behind the figures seems to be something else. 

According to an article by Tara Sophia Mohr, the reason why women apply less quickly is because of the bias that women need to meet more qualifications than their counterparts. Secondly, from a young age girls are being taught to follow the rules and are being rewarded for doing so. This often leads to a rule-following habit that makes women believe that if they don’t meet all the requirements, that they shouldn’t waste their or the HR Manager’s time and energy. So, don’t post vacancies that only heroes can fulfill as you will miss out on many potential candidates. 

6 – Target Your External Job Ads to Female and Minority Talent: When you post a job profile on LinkedIn, you can pay for as much or as little exposure as you want and target it to a very specific audience. Indeed, if you manage your campaign effectively by targeting Female and Minority Talent you not only show your support, you also help your brand. Mention that you wish to hire women and minorities explicitly. Posting jobs online is like getting applicants in real-time. Online announcements can help you either increase your efforts to attract more candidates or even prevent candidates from applying if you’ve already found the right person for the job. If you are looking for younger recruits in particular, then e-recruitment is probably the single most effective and efficient strategy possible; in the US, for instance, 98% of the 18–29 age group are active internet users. It can help if you build a fan base through a specific topic and use this fan base for building your female and minority talent pipeline.

We’re offering a series of free workshops in advance of our upcoming #HireMeExpress fall group program.

Workshop 1:  Partnering Masters – Building Effective Relationships 

with Angie Weinberger
Thursday, 24 June 21 

from 4 PM to 5 PM CET

Workshop 2: Powerful Missions – Having a Voice in a Sea of Noise 

with Angie Weinberger
Thursday, 1 July 21 

from 4 PM CET to 5 PM CET

Workshop 3: Planning Money – Bringing Financial Security to your Life 

with Keren-Jo Thomas
Thursday, 8 July 21 

from 4 PM to 5 PM CET.

We promise friends, fame, and finances.

#hiremeexpress #humantouch #globalmobility #expats #digitalnomads #networking #minorities #diversityinclusion #financialplanning #retirement #friends #fame #jobalert #jobs

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RELATED POSTS:

Why only 25 percent of international assignees are women

https://www.sundaebean.com/2019/04/29/121-why-only-25-percent-of-international-assignees-are-women/

The Ultimate Holiday Reading List for Minority Expats to Reinvent Themselves

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/the-ultimate-holiday-reading-list-for-expats-to-reinvent-themselves-start-2021-with-a-plan/ 

Why we Need to Push for More Minority and Female Expats in Global Mobility

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/why-we-need-to-push-for-more-minority-and-female-expats-in-global-mobility/

Every Expat and Spouse Should have the Best Experience – Why we Need to Transform Global Mobility

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/every-expat-and-spouse-should-have-the-best-experience-why-we-need-to-transform-global-mobility/

https://www.globesmart.com/blog/four-ways-organizations-can-support-their-lgbtq-employees/

References:

KPMG. (2018a). Inclusion and Diversity: How Global Mobility can help move the Needle. KPMG. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle-FINAL.pdf

Kramer, S. (2018). How Inclusion and Diversity Impact Global Mobility Programs [Report]. Retrieved 15 June 2021, from https://fowmedia.com/how-inclusion-and-diversity-impact-global-mobility/ 

McKinsey & Company. (2020). Diversity Wins: How inclusion matters [Report].
https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/featured%20insights/diversity%20and%20inclusion/diversity%20wins%20how%20inclusion%20matters/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters-vf.pdf

Paton, T. (2021). DiversityBusiness.com | News. Retrieved 15 June 2021, from http://www.diversitybusiness.com/news/diversity.magazine/99200881.asp 

PwC. (2016). Women of the world: Aligning gender diversity and international mobility in financial services. Pwc. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/assets/women-of-the-world.pdf

Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified. (2014). Retrieved 15 June 2021, from https://hbr.org/2014/08/why-women-dont-apply-for-jobs-unless-theyre-100-qualified 


“We need to take a stance and stand up for minority and female talent now.”  @angieweinberger

Are you a Senior Manager or a Global Mobility Professional, perhaps the Manager of the Global Mobility Program in your company?

How many times have you had the realization that your Global Mobility Program is not diverse enough? Are you concretely working to achieve your company’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) goals and do you foster more inclusion within your team?

Let’s see together how you can actively help to fill the current gap in diversity seen across organizations. 

What is a “diverse and inclusive organization”? 

An organization is diverse when it encompasses all aspects of the employees from age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, family status, and background. However, an organization is also inclusive when minority groups participate in the decision-making process and contribute to breaking the career glass ceiling. Besides being meaningless, diversity without inclusion does not drive team performance either (Czerny and Steinkellner, 2009). To quote the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, “inclusive diversity is a strength.”

Why do we need more minority and female talent in Global Mobility?

A KPMG survey highlighted that the majority of Global Mobility Programs do not have specific Diversity and Inclusion objectives as part of their department’s strategy. But why is that? 

According to 59% of the respondents, the reason is that candidates for international assignments are chosen by the business unit and not Global Mobility. This is true, however, why should you not encourage the business line to include more minority and female talent in their selection. Should your role not be to challenge the business when they always promote and select the same kind of talent?

Another 31% consider the movement of people to new countries and cultures as diverse and inclusive by its very nature and do not think that further D&I goals are needed. We think this is too short-sighted and a biased view of the world. Diversity and Inclusion at this stage need to be more than affirmative action. We need to actively push to integrate more minority and female talent into our expat populations. 

What you consider a minority will depend strongly on your home base country, usually the country where your HQ is based. However, I strongly recommend that you consider more second-generation immigrants, People of Color and refugees.

Only 41% of the respondents say they have D&I objectives as part of their Global Mobility department strategy.

You certainly have acknowledged that meeting these goals is not easy. Here are the common challenges faced by most Global Mobility Programs.

1 – There’s a data gap on most aspects of diversity 

Apart from gender and gender identity, there is a  scarcity of mobility-related data on most demographics (KPMG, 2018a). This makes it difficult for Global Mobility Teams to identify problem areas and solutions related not only to religion, ethnicity, and disability status but also to educational, professional, and socio-economic backgrounds. 

2 – There are still too many biases and stereotypes

As you can easily guess, this issue particularly affects how women are represented within the international mobile population. Currently, women only make up from 20% to 25% of it (PwC, 2016; MacLachlan, 2018), which shows how much more work is needed to fill the gap. 

The good news is that 88% of the women (PwC, 2016) feel that they need international experience to advance in their careers. The bad news is that there is a strong perception that women with children don’t want to work abroad. To make it worse, traditional mindsets still typically associate men with international assignments. 

Interestingly, however, the data doesn’t say the same. 66% of women would be happy to work abroad at any stage of their career (vs 60% for men), and only 17% of women cited the well-being and education of their children as a concern preventing them from embarking on an international assignment (vs 22% of men).

How many times have you consciously or unconsciously assumed that someone would not be able to perform their jobs effectively due to the situation in host locations? Or that they simply would not want to go on assignment due to family constraints, for example? Before assuming, just ask. 

3 – There’s a lack of transparency over who is assigned and why

Let’s look at gender again. Data speaks loud and clear, and it’s worrying. 

According to 42% of women (PwC, 2016), organizations don’t have a clear view of employees who would be willing to be internationally mobile. This means that you may be choosing from a narrower pool than necessary. 

What’s more, only 13% of women who have been on assignment said that their employer has a program that positions Global Mobility as a core part of an employee’s career plan. 

4 – There’s a lack of flexibility in assignment choices 

You might not know that shorter and more flexible short-term assignments are notably more popular among women than men (PwC, 2016). In particular, women tend to give favorable consideration to frequent business travel based in their home country, fly-in/fly-out commuter assignments, short (6-12 months), and very short-term assignments (less than 6 months). If you expand the list of available options, you can match a wide variety of business demands. 

5 – There’s a lack of diversity among the pool of candidates 

In traditionally male-dominated types of work, such as construction and mining, casting a wider demographic net may be impossible. Likewise, some candidates may not go after mobility opportunities because they feel they are out of place. This explains why, for example, women, older workers, and people with disabilities may not raise their hands for relocations to oil rigs or construction sites. At the same time, minority groups may feel discouraged because they lack role models.

6  – There are barriers posed by external factors 

The definition of family has expanded to include same-sex couples for most mobility teams — rising from 17% in 1999 to 70% currently (KPMG, 2018a). However,  attitudes and laws in many countries have not kept pace. A majority of countries don’t allow same-sex marriage, and homosexual acts are illegal in at least 69 countries. According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (2021), there are still 7 countries where there is the death penalty for same-sex sexual conduct. 

How can you benefit from being more inclusive?

Even though it may seem that the global business case for boosting Diversity and Inclusion is clear, the reality is still shockingly stuck in the last century. I even observe that we have gone back three steps in supporting minority and female talent over the last 25 years.

In my view, if you want to expand your global competitiveness, you need to be a pioneer of equal opportunities, promote acceptance and understanding, and highlight the value of each of your employees. You need more than unconscious bias training for managers. You need to establish facts. And facts are only established with data.

1 – You tap into a bigger pool of resources

Establish concrete goals for sending minority and female talent and persistently work towards achieving them. You will then automatically broaden the pool of talent from which the mobile population is drawn. This way, you will also help ensure that the executive pipeline reflects your customer base, developing a more diverse group of future leaders. Report the data regularly to your Senior Management. Without data, nothing will change.

2 – You control costs better

One of the main mobility cost drivers is not related to pay packages and policies as such but to the fact that companies often have a limited choice of candidates for assignments. A broader talent pool facilitates assignment success and indirectly helps control costs better. You depend less on only one candidate and can negotiate better packages if you have a broader pool. You probably also have better candidates if you have more than one in the pipeline.

3 – You improve your brand and reputation as an employer of choice

Having international experience is nowadays a precondition to reach top managerial levels within many multinational companies. Employees develop essential skills and build a network that boosts their careers immensely. It’s therefore important that you promote mobility as part of your talent brand. If you do that, you will also be advantaged when competing for minority and female talent. In your reviews and competition for being an “Employer of Choice”, offering international opportunities to minority and female talent will put you ahead of the competition.

Resources 

https://www-srf-ch.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.srf.ch/article/18661443/amp

Murchie, F. (2020). Women on the front line. Relocate Global, Summer Issue 2020, p.13 https://content.yudu.com/web/fiqy/0A3p9yp/Summer-2020/html/index.html?page=12&origin=reader

https://attitude.co.uk/article/meet-the-head-of-the-united-nations-lgbtq-staff-network/23388/?fbclid=IwAR3iICb0qbAqf2lZWoerrUxYTkKIIgBrd7qBs3EWtgReDadvT54I9BoEDi0

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/5/18/21260209/facebook-sheryl-sandberg-interview-lean-in-women-coronavirus

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2020/06/three-degrees-racism-america/613333/

 ​https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200724-why-imposter-syndrome-hits-women-and-women-of-colour-harder 

https://www.fidi.org/blog/expats-with-disabilities?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=socialseeder&utm_campaign=2020+07+%2F+01+-+Expats+with+disabilities%3A+why+the+lack+of+accessibility+is+holding+us+all+back

References 

Czerny, E. J. & Steinkellner, P. S. (2009). Diversität als Basis erfolgreicher Teams. Eine ressourcenorientierte Betrachtung. Unpublished Working Paper, Vienna: PEF Privatuniversität für Management.  

Human Rights Campaign Foundation. (2019, Sep. 23). World Report 2019: Human Rights Watch Country Profiles: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/interactive/2019/02/28/human-rights-watch-country-profiles-sexual-orientation-and

Human Rights Campaign Foundation. (2021, April. 23). World Report 2021: Human Rights Watch Country Profiles: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved June 04, 2021, from
https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/interactive/2021/04/23/country-profiles-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity 

KPMG. (2018a). Inclusion and Diversity: How Global Mobility can help move the Needle. KPMG. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle-FINAL.pdf

KPMG. (2018b). Inclusion and Diversity in Global Mobility. KPMG. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle.pdf

Maclachlan, M. (2018; Mar.). Why Female Talent Are the Future of Global Mobility. Learnlight. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://insights.learnlight.com/en/articles/female-talent-future-global-mobility/PwC. (2016). Women of the world: Aligning gender diversity and international mobility in financial services. PwC. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/assets/women-of-the-world.pdf

Rise of Women

Picture this scenario: a leading multinational company needs to select somebody with the right skills to establish their first overseas division and they have two equally strong candidates. Alice just got married and, in their best intentions but without consulting her, leadership decides that she would not like to go on assignment as she is likely to be starting a family. The opportunity is therefore offered to George. 

What do Alice and George think twelve months later? 

Alice and her husband wanted to get the wedding out of the way so that she could pursue her dream of going on an international assignment. She was shocked about not even being consulted. But it all worked out for her in the end: she is now working overseas for one of their competitors and is very happy in her role.

For George, the company’s decision really came at the worst time. His wife and he were about to tell their families about their first baby. But he still said “yes” to the opportunity and eventually convinced her wife to try that out. However, it was very tough on her and she ended up being sick through the whole pregnancy. When the baby was born, she had no support network. This situation also impacted his performance which was much lower than back home. For this reason, the company decided to bring him back. 

I bet it’s not the first time you are faced with this scenario. Wrong assumptions and stereotypes are in fact one of the reasons for which women continue to be highly under-represented within the expat population

However, there are a few positive sides that make the rise of women in Global Mobility look somewhat brighter than some time ago. Take policy and awareness for example. In 2011, only 12% of CEOs saw poor retention of female talent as a key business challenge, and only 11% were planning policy changes to attract and retain more female workers (PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey). Yet, just a few years later, 64% of CEOs worldwide confirm that they finally have a diversity strategy and 13% of them are planning to adopt one over the next 12 months (PwC, 2016a).

What’s to Celebrate?

When we look at data, it’s important to break it down. If it’s true that the percentage of expat women swings between  just 14%  and 25% (Mercer, 2017; PwC, 2016a; PwC, 2016b), we cannot bypass the significant differences between regions and industry sectors. For example, while expat women in the energy and high tech sectors are only 8-11%, the percentage for the life science sector is 23%. Companies in the service and retail sectors also generally tend to have a higher percentage of women expats. 

Other research (Communicaid, 2017) provides an even more optimistic picture, showing us how the proportion of expat women grew slowly but steadily from 1980s onwards.          

And always on the bright side, among those employees who have already had an international experience, 47% of the female and 53% of the male respondents confirmed they had completed more than one international assignment. In addition, based on their most recent international experience, 84% of women said that they would repeat a similar experience, and 93% state that they would recommend an international assignment to a colleague (PwC, 2016a). 

Last but not least, 73% of women working in Financial Services believe that they have equal opportunities than men to undertake international assignments at their current workplace (PwC, 2016b). This percentage is encouraging in comparison with the 50% of women taking part in the previous year’s millennial survey who believe that promotion is biased towards men (PwC, 2015).

Even with something to celebrate, we shall keep in mind that these variations don’t change the overall conclusions: we are still decades away from seeing this percentage rising to 50%. Predictions show that, in the best case scenario, this will be reached only around 2050 (Mercer, 2017) 

How can you benefit from having a more expat women ? 

1 – You will Facilitate Better Assignment Selection with a Broader Talent Pool 

One of the main mobility cost drivers is related to the limited choice of candidates ready for assignments. By inviting more women to the club, you create more options for your company and indirectly to control costs better. The more good candidates you have, the better will your selection be and the higher the chances that you don’t have to sell an incredibly overpriced assignment package.

2 – You will Record a Higher Assignment Success Rate

The When Women Thrive report highlights that women are perceived to have unique skills that are particularly relevant for expatriation, including flexibility and adaptability (39% vs. 20% who say men have those strengths); inclusive team management (43% vs. 20%); and emotional intelligence (24% vs. 5%.). In short, women tend to build cultural bridges better than men and work in a more sustainable manner.

3 – You will not only Attract, but also Retain Talent

Female demand for international mobility has never been higher than now, with 71% of female millennials wanting to work outside their home country during their careers. Also, 64% of all women interviewed said that international opportunities were critical in attracting them as well as keeping them with an employer (PwC, 2016).

If you want to be successful in attracting and retaining female employees, you need to have a talent brand with international experience as a core element of your employee talent proposition. 

Are you not yet convinced that more expat women provide a huge added value to your company?  In our previous post, we give other proofs of how a more diverse expat population makes you a more profitable and valuable company. 

Seven Obstacles to the Rise of Women in Global Mobility

1 – Strategy

Like the majority of international organizations, you too might be currently challenged with a lack of alignment between Diversity & Inclusion and Global Mobility. This is a crucial issue that you should be working to solve as soon as possible. When goals and data are discussed with Senior Management, Global Mobility Managers need to have a seat at the table. 

2 – Policy

Many Global Mobility policies have originally been developed for male assignees with children and a “trailing” spouse. It’s 2020 and this needs to change. Make sure your policy addresses the issues of expat women and new types of families – single parents for example (the vast majority of them being female), or same-sex couples.

3 – Nomination Process

As we mentioned in our previous post as well, too many times there is still a lack of transparency over who is assigned and why. Companies often don’t have a clear view of those employees who would be willing to be internationally mobile. And like in Alice’s and George’s stories, unconscious bias still plays a considerable (yet invisible) role in the selection of the right candidates. Because of the prevalence of stereotypes that associate women with family, female employees are usually not  even asked even if they would be willing to consider. 

I’ve been there personally as well. 

And if you want to take a small journey into the world of the unconsciously biased HR world, have a look at this insightful article on gender decoding. 

4 –  Non-Diverse Host Locations 

This is probably not such a big issue (apart from a few very critical war zones and dangerous locations). The issue, instead, is the assumption that expat women won’t be accepted because of the fixed gender roles men and women have in the host location. As a matter of fact, expat women in India have automatically a higher status than local women. And in some Muslim cultures, as long as you wear a ring implying that you are married, you can be seen as highly respectable and you will be treated accordingly. 

5 – Representation

While Global Mobility Managers are often female, women don’t benefit from the same representation rate at the upper levels. This means that Senior Leaders and Executives in Global Mobility are mainly men. As a consequence, there is an issue of lack of awareness at Senior Management level, and this is especially true in traditionally conservative countries.

6 – Lack of Visible Assignment Opportunities for Women

65% of female employees (PwC, 2016a) are still unhappy with the little transparency of their companies over the availability of opportunities for overseas assignments. 

It’s time that you make opportunities readily accessible to all, including underrepresented talent groups!

7  –  Lack of Human Touch 

The lack of Human Touch and/or previous bad Expat Experiences might stop women from actively seeking opportunities for international exposure.

In fact, teams are often too busy focusing on the many operational aspects of the mobility program and fail to design a human-centric Global Mobility program for their expat population. 

If you haven’t started yet, do it now. Talk openly about diversity in your policies and encourage internal discussion on this topic. Communicate about role models and success stories.

Six Potential Solutions  for a More Inclusive and Diverse Global Mobility Program 

1- Set Clear Diversity and Inclusion Goals  for Global Mobility

Global Mobility and Diversity and Inclusion teams need to set realistic yet challenging goals for increasing the number of female assignees AND female department heads in Global Mobility. According to KPMG (2018), only 41% of the organizations surveyed had clear D&I objectives in place. Without specific targets nothing will change! 

2 –  Allow for More Flexibility by Having Different Assignment Types 

New types of assignments and flexibility are making things easier for women and employees with family responsibilities to go on assignment. As I reiterate in The Global Mobility Workbook, Global Mobility should not systematically be synonymous with traditional Long-Term Assignment. In fact, even if those remain the most preferred assignment type by both genders, women favour 6-to-12 months’ assignments more than men (37% vs 29%). The same can be said for assignments shorter than three months (10% vs 5%) as well as frequent business travels (36% vs 32%) (PwC, 2016a).

3 – Identify and Understand What the Real Barriers are 

Do you actually know what the real barriers to inclusive mobility are for your workforce and organizations? If you’ve never measured in which way your current policies hinder women’s mobility, it’s time you act NOW.  Stop simply assuming the barriers to gender inclusiveness and understand better where the actual issues lay. That’s why I recommend intercultural training for all Global Mobility Managers.

4 – Give More Visibility to Female Role Models

While 68% of men feel that there are enough male role models of successful expats in their organization, only 48% of women feel the same about female role models (PwC, 2016b). This impacts negatively the wider female talent pool of companies and their Global Mobility programs.  If you want to help fill the gap, take active measures to drive awareness of the positive experiences of successful expat women within your organizations. 

At page 24 of this PwC report you can read a short and inspiring testimonial of a Tax Partner and Expat Woman role model. 

5 – Use More Gender-inclusive Language 

Too often Global Mobility policies still refer to their globally mobile workforce with masculine pronouns. At the same time, they would make you assume that Expat or “trailing” Spouses should be female. Well, it’s 2020 and this is not anymore the case. If you want to make your program more inclusive, start from how you address your talent. The UN has recently published new very helpful guidelines that can definitely be useful for your policies too.

6 – Foster a Supportive and Inclusive Culture

It is absolutely critical for your company to move away from the restrictive gender stigmas of the past if you wish to unlock your full global workforce potential. Your ultimate challenge is to create a culture where all your employees are on board with diversity and recognize how valuable this is.

Our message is clear: Global Mobility strategies that do not fully include women will simply not deliver to their full potential.

How we can Help you

If it all makes sense to you but you don’t know where to start from, this is why we’re here. Here are four ideas on how we can help you.

  1. We deconstruct your expat nomination process and review your existing policies for inclusiveness.
  2. We improve the language you use in communication to make them gender-inclusive and we also help you sprinkle them with “Human Touch”.
  3. We conduct an analysis of your Expat Experience and identify unveiled barriers for female expats and their spouses.
  4. We facilitate transition workshops with expat women in the host country, and prepare female candidates for potential expat assignments through our exclusive 1:1 Executive coaching program RockMe!

PS: I want to tell you two more things.

Are you looking for a board member mandate in Switzerland? Have a look at VRMandat and Stitungsratsmandat and check how they can support you.

Look up the above links also if you’re trying to expand your board of directors.

Resources

Read the insights of the 4th edition of the Advance and HSG Gender Intelligence Report.

https://stiftungsratsmandat.com/de/

https://www.vrmandat.com/en/

https://dorothydalton.com/2016/03/11/gender-de-coding-and-job-adverts/

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20160929-where-are-all-the-expat-women 

http://www.internationalhradviser.com/storage/downloads/Gender%20Bias%20in%20Global%20Mobility%20Developing%20Female%20Leaders%20PwC.pdf 

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/global-hr/pages/women-expatriate-workforce.aspx 

References 

KPMG. (2018). Inclusion and Diversity in Global Mobility. KPMG. https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle.pdf

Meier, O. (2019). The path to diversity. Mercer. https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/insights/article/the-path-to-diversity-women-on-assignment

PwC. (2015). Female millennials in financial services: Strategies for a new era of talent. PwC. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/financial-services/publications/assets/pwc-female-millennial-report-v2.pdf

PwC. (2016a). Modern Mobility: Moving women with purpose. PwC. 

https://www.pwc.com/gr/en/publications/assets/modern-mobility-moving-women-with-purpose.pdf

PwC. (2016b). Women of the world: Aligning gender diversity and international mobility in financial services. Pwc.

https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/assets/women-of-the-world.pdf 

This is a good example of Women in Global Mobility
Riikka Virtanen Schwitter speaking during the EY “Future of Mobility” event (February 2020)

Talking

A guest post by Romée Jager

Do you also feel overwhelmed and overloaded before the day has even started? Then don’t worry, you are not alone. It is 7:30 AM and I started working half an hour ago. Even though it is only the beginning of my working day, I already feel that I am way behind on my tasks. I am staring at my screen and scrolling through my emails, opening a few, marking them as unread again and giving them a colour code. 

I feel overwhelmed and do not know where to start. My solution? Preparing myself a cup of coffee. While the smell of fresh roasted coffee beans reaches my nostrils, I think about how to structure my tasks for the day ahead. 

I am wondering why we ‘’only’’ have 24 hours in a day and I start wondering whether I will make it in time for my dinner appointment, as I will probably have to work late again. I feel like my mind is going in a downward spiral and suddenly I remember something that Angie Weinberger once told me: ‘’it is not that we need more hours in a day, instead we should prioritize better’’. 

I mean it would be great if somebody could invent a time machine and could double the time we have in a day. But let’s face it, as the time machine is not invented (yet), we need to find ways to boost our productivity to simply get more done in the time we have. 

Manage your Energy

If you enter ‘’Improving Productivity’’ on Google more than 226 million results pop up including many articles providing productivity hacks. We already provided your Angie’s seven productivity hacks.

However, when implementing those tips it is fundamental to consider your biorhythm. Knowing your chronotype is key.

Instead of just scrolling through our emails and randomly doing some of our tasks, we should carefully reconsider when we do certain tasks in order to increase our productivity. According to Daniel Pink, international best selling author of six provocative books about business and human behavior, big chances of performance can be seen depending on time of day. Therefore, instead of just doing our tasks randomly, we should carefully plan and structure our day. Our day is divided into three periods of productivity that Pink calls: Peak, Through, and Recovery. 

As you plan your day ahead, you need to consider your different periods of productivity. Do you recognize any of the mentioned productivity periods? Consider when you are in which productivity period. When do you have the most energy during the day? 

During which part of the day are you the most focused? Try to identify for yourself the different levels of productivity during the day and plan your tasks accordingly. Personally, my peak time is during the morning until lunch, therefore, this is the time for me to do some highly focused work. After lunch, my productivity drops and I see myself scrolling through my emails again. 

As I already had three cups of coffee, it is not the time to get another one. Instead, this is the time for me to start on the administrative tasks and routine activities. During my ‘’Through’’ period I start feeling that the ‘’Recovery’’ is coming and I move to more creative and insightful tasks again. 

Everybody has their own subjective understanding of chronological time. 

How to get started

Maintaining a Have-Done Diary could be a great help to recognize how you use your daily time and to give you an understanding of when you are focused. When you have identified your different productivity periods, the next step is to plan your tasks accordingly. After a while you can see your productivity skyrocketing and your pile of work slinking. 

As a consequence, you can peacefully shut down your work computer and feel satisfied. You can even plan your tasks for tomorrow already. You can now be at ease and can attend the dinner parties with your loved ones. You might even sing along with the radio while driving home, because you got things done! You come home and your mind is where it needs to be, present in the moment. 

If you want to learn more about timing and our hidden patterns then we recommend you to read the book ‘’When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing’’ by Daniel Pink. 

Do you find it challenging to identify your productivity periods? Or do you feel that you need to reset yourself again? Then our RockMeRetreat from 18 to 25 November 2021 is for you! 

During the RockMeRetreat we will work on boosting your productivity. Hopefully, once you come back from this week you will feel refreshed and inspired again and ready to tackle whatever challenges arise. Does this sound interesting to you? Then you can sign up here to be invited or Angie will be happy to set up a meeting with you to discuss your participation. 

About the Author

Romée Jager is the Academic Intern at Global People Transitions. She loves travelling and is passionate about exploring new cultures. As a soon to be graduate in Intercultural Management, she considers herself as an interculturalist. She has been working in a Dutch governmental youth panel for over 7 years where her aim was to give the youth a voice in the Dutch political system. She believes in continuous learning and is passionate about exploring and doing research. She wrote her master thesis about Defensive Nationalism and is interested in furthering her research. She is wishing to pursue a PhD in social sciences. 

RELATED POSTS

Have Done Diary

When clients ask me how they can fit more into their day I tell them to forget time management. We manage our time when we have enough of it. When we are stressed and under the pressure of delivering something on time we forget all of the methods and act like crazy headless chicken or chucks.

Over the years of my early career having worked with bankers, I learned that time is money, and efficiency is considered a must. Responsiveness during the job meant that I would call back immediately and respond to emails as fast as possible. Today, I feel this paradigm has shifted to social media, WhatsApp and other messaging systems. 

When you are constantly in response mode it is hard to get any work done. With the pandemic and all of us sitting on video calls all day you might often feel drained in the evening and as if you did not get a lot of important work done during the day. If this feeling continues during the week and then several weeks you might not only feel drained but also frustrated with yourself.

If you also struggle with productivity these seven tips will help you to claim back your diary. Do you want to have more time with family and friends? Do you want to start a new hobby or continue one you started years ago and then dropped? 

If your answer is “Yes, but I don’t have time”, practice one or two of the methods given below.

1- Have-Done Diary

In consulting firms, you have to maintain a timesheet in which you document daily how you use your time. This can be great to give you an understanding of where you are focused and where your priorities lie. Similarly, you can increase the value of this exercise by maintaining a daily diary in which you document your accomplished tasks (Have-Done-Diary). I recommend a notebook and handwriting for this exercise.

2 – The Pomodoro Method

Find your most productive time in the day and block 90 minutes for creative and conceptual work. Set a kitchen timer for the task to 25 minutes. Work without picking up the phone or checking emails or social media. Then take a five minutes break where you actually get up from your chair and move.

Then work for another 25 minutes and take another 5 minutes break and a third junk. See how much you accomplish with this method. This is called Pomodoro-Method and you can even get a timer on your browser.

For many professionals, the most important brain time is the early morning but I hear there is the other camp of night owls as well. So it is up to you to find your best 90 minutes in a day.

3 – The Eisenhower Matrix

When you are overwhelmed use an easy categorizer. So when you’re backed up on work and overwhelmed, using an easy categorizer will help manage your tasks. Work with an A, B, C, D categorization system whenever you add a task to your diary or task list. Use your time block for A tasks, schedule B tasks and delegate C tasks. If you can’t delegate to anyone think about blocking an hour in the afternoon to just work on those C tasks.

Very similar, but not exactly the same is to work with the next one.

4 – The Pareto Principle

“What is important is rarely urgent, what is urgent is rarely important.”

20% of the most important tasks will have an 80% of impact on our success according to the Pareto principle. So it is critical that we understand what these important tasks are that we should spend time on. One example: You might think you don’t have time to make networking a priority even if we know that if you want to move ahead in your current job or if you are looking for a new job, this will clearly be a game-changer. You might know that you should sit down and write that book you have been dreaming about for the last five years but other operational work always seems more important. The book would catapult you into the league of experts in your field and enhance your personal brand and might even give you the peace of mind that you have accomplished one of your “Big Five”.

5 – The Peace Island

In your busy and tightly scheduled day, try to build one island of peace. The island can be lunch with a good friend, a massage, running, or sitting outside watching birds. Simply put, taking the time out to enjoy a peaceful moment in the day. The island of peace needs to  be a place where you cannot use your smartphone or have it be switched off to ensure no distractions and  you are not allowed to take away tasks from this place. This could be your meditation space, your garden, or a café you love. Ideally, you bring your diary with you and use your time there for reflection.

6 – Repetition Checklists

Repetition, routine, and checklists are great ways to take the stress out of tasks that need to be accomplished but do not require much of our focus. I personally prefer to work on such tasks in the late afternoon or evening as I feel more available then. Examples are packing for an event, preparing your travel cost claim and scheduling meetings and other appointments. 

To establish a weekly routine especially if you are working from home every day right now I recommend a weekly planner, where you schedule a few regular tasks on one day of the week, for example on Mondays you endorse contacts on LinkedIn and you return the glass bottles during your lunch break.

7 – Outsourcing Housework

I encourage you to outsource your housework from grocery shopping to cleaning, this idea might be new or odd to some but it makes the most sense. Most of the housework you might still be stuck with but at least you can win about three hours per week and more importantly some peace if your house is cleaned by another person. You will also notice that you keep the house tidier if you have regular external help.

Add one of these practices to the weekly practices in the RockMeApp and answer the four reflection questions in the RockMeApp on a weekly basis. Practice one method for several weeks and let me know what happened. If you wish to further work on your focus and productivity I recommend you join our RockMeRetreat from 18 to 25 November 2021 in Switzerland at Kloster Ilanz. Sign up here to be invited and we’ll set up a call to discuss this further.

Zurich

With Five Pandemic Proven Methods for Connection

Modern society has evolved in many regards, especially in how we interact with each other. A significant amount of these interactions now happen in digital social spaces than real ones. One excuse I get a lot these days is that you can’t “network” because it’s very difficult to meet other people in person, especially people you don’t know.

Digital spaces are revolutionary and have brought people at great distances together but if you are like me you probably feel entirely ready to leave the house and meet a stranger in person. I have started to chat a bit longer with the bakery lady and the guy who fixes my doner kebab. It’s weird but necessary because human interaction has become so scarce and I also feel that we all deserve a bit more love these days. Don’t get me wrong: I’m generally not a very chatty person unless I’ve known someone for a long time. I rather keep a “professional” interaction short and this might come across as arrogance to some. 

However, over the last year I changed my attitude a lot. The pandemic has made me realize how little I often connect with people in business as in good German style I still separate business and pleasure, colleagues and friends. If you have listened to my workshops about the importance of building relationship you probably wonder how I can hold up this paradox. 

My answer is simple: It’s a deeper level of trust that I share with the friends and more personal connections. I also don’t hold back whereas in a professional environment I would probably not use certain expressions. Today it’s all a bit more blurred because I speak to everyone from my living room. I feel like I let everyone into my personal space, hence they must be able to handle the more authentic “Angela” as well.

Building Trust Through Offline Networking

When was the last time you trusted a random person on the internet? In fact, isn’t the first advice given to anyone on online social media to ignore and not trust anything a stranger tells you? Just how much of a relationship do you have with someone you’ve only interacted with in Twitter DMs? And even worse, if you are on social media you probably get abused by scammers and other annoying people a lot. Social media for me has a dark side and it’s very easy to feel vulnerable there after you were told for the 100th time that someone wants something from you. Most of the time I find it irritating and frustrating.

Professional networking, similarly, can only go so far to building your relationships if they’re limited to online interactions. Face-to-face meetings help develop a higher level of trust among participants – positive body language plays a great role in helping put nervous people at ease. Similarly, interacting in the same physical space (over a coffee, at a lunch or even a mixer of sorts) is a great ice-breaker. Shared experiences always do leave a lasting memory, what better way to start building a repertoire with your network?

Believe in the Networking Karma

The thing about networking is, it’s not a transactional relationship. You don’t go into it expecting rewards, or even gratitude. You do it because you believe in ‘networking karma’. That said, you are only human and even the most generous of givers can find themselves overwhelmed at times. That’s why it is important to set up boundaries that help you prevent burnout and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and your network. I have adopted the “Five-Minute-Favor” from Adam M. Grant’s book “Give and Take” as one of the principles that I can easily say yes to. With knowledge exchange it depends on whether I feel I get the same inspiration out of the relationship that I give in. Usually, this is the case in most of my networking groups, usually I prefer “Erfa”-Groups where practical tips are exchanged to a captive audience and “Mastermind-Groups”, where we usually bring our lazy selves forward and overcome imposter syndrome. In Switzerland you can also follow the institutionalized networking by joining an association or club that is dedicated to your profession. If you need more advice on this please reach out to me. I’m offering my resources and recommendation to readers and clients within our HireMeExpress program.

Five Pandemic Ideas for Offline Networking

1 – Go for a Walk at Lake Zurich with a Cup of Americano

The easiest way to network offline right now is the walk along the lake with a coffee to go. I have finally bought a reusable cup because the waste of coffee cups and general one-way packaging is starting to get on my nerves. My local bakery accepts that you bring your own plate or bowl when you buy lunch from them.

2 – Allow for a Weekly “Watercooler Chat”

What I am missing the most about working in an office environment is the social part, the watercooler chats about not so professional topics, the casual bumping into colleagues and asking them about their cats and the general exchange of fun and pleasantries when you work with the same people for years. As a global digital nomad you will have to get used to building up relationships fast but there are always people that you have known for a long-time even if you worked at different companies or on different projects. And it is absolutely okay if you contact them without a reason and set up a “Watercooler” chat where you strictly make smalltalk only or chat about your family or the last tech problem you faced when trying to organize a vaccination for your mother from abroad. I know you are as keen as I am in turning into a mega productive robot but allow yourself this time by blocking half an hour once a week (that’s in addition to a daily lunch break).

3 – Visit the Zoo or Kunstmuseum

I admit that I haven’t been to the Zurich Zoo yet and the last time I went to the Kunstmuseum was probably when I was here as a tourist or when I had friends over from other countries. I admit that I tend to not fully utilize all the opportunities Zurich offers during “normal” times but if you wanted to meet me right now these two options are open and you can connect while watching giraffes or looking at a Warhol. I am sure this will go down really well as a networking opportunity. 

And: If you aren’t convinced yet at least take your kids there to support the Zoo because…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztC2QCkge2I&ab_channel=ZooZ%C3%BCrich

4 – Go for a Hike

Generally we have a lot of opportunities for small hikes in the city and out in the countryside. If you are a workaholic you might not be aware of them so I suggest you start with Uetliberg, Felsenegg, Greifensee and Pfäffikersee. I don’t own a car but most of these locations can be accessed by public transportation and if you wish to save your contact time you will need to let them know how they get there or pick them up.

5 – Share a Themed Take Out Meal on a Park Bench

With the upcoming week and the spring weather we are expecting you could invite a person you wish to meet to a themed take out meal on a park bench. Even if restaurants are still closed we have these beautiful parks in Zurich and a botanical garden where you can take your lunch in a beautiful atmosphere. If you want to make it even more interesting you could combine it with a topic or an expert interview.

If you are a Giver Watch your Boundaries

If you’re a seasoned professional with the wisdom of experience to share, offline networking can help you build trust with those who wish to seek your advice but would hesitate to reach out to you directly. By giving off an approachable vibe, perhaps giving a little impromptu talk to a group of people, you can embed that necessary bit of trust in younger professionals to reach out and network with you and others at your position. They’d go on to do it when they reach your place in their careers, and continue the cycle of positive networking!

A natural consequence of purposeful networking is the asking and giving of advice. For experienced professionals, especially those who actively network, it can soon become an overwhelming practice. Giving advice is great, it’s what makes the world turn, but when your network constantly reaches out for advice on anything from spreadsheet optimization to career planning, it can lead to the sort of burnout that makes you want to stop networking. It may also negatively impact your health!

Learning to say no is never easy, especially if you’re worried about coming off as impolite. It is, however, essential. Let your principles guide you: Develop a strategy that lets you identify scenarios where you say yes and those where you say no. Stick to this guideline and maintain your sanity!

Kind regards,

Angie Weinberger

Why you need networking principles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRUXcBT_QS8&t=10s&ab_channel=AngieWeinberger

https://www.everydayhealth.com/coronavirus/how-to-not-let-pandemic-fatigue-turn-into-pandemic-burnout/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdFudLPyqng&ab_channel=RobBulder


Do you feel the first attempts of spring to lure us into this illusion that everything will be fine shortly? It’s heartwarming when you get outside these days, sunshine in your face, birds chirping and first flowers jumping out of earth as if we never even had a winter…or a pandemic…or something weird going on in the world.

Spring is my favorite time of the year and you might already know that this is also the time for deep cleaning. And as you know that I am not the best “hausfrau” of Switzerland and won’t ever win a gold medal for the cleanest house (that one will go to my auntie A.), you probably understand that I am talking about a different kind of cleaning. I am talking about inner and outer order and I would again like to take you by the hand so we can start this journey together. 

What a better way to start with updating your resume and online profiles? 

Offline and Online Presence is the Way Forward

These days, if you’re not on LinkedIn or any equivalent jobs platform, you’re either sitting on a large inheritance, or seriously out of touch with the industry. For freelancers in particular and job seekers in general, having a digital presence is now perhaps as essential as being qualified to work to begin with.

A network of peers and industry members is something that was essential in the offline era, does it not make sense that professional networking would be equally, if not more important in the digital age? I remember starting online networking in 2004, a move that was particularly helpful for me – as I moved cities and countries, I was able to remain in constant touch with my established network, able to leverage it for various purposes as the need arose.

For a Global Mobility Professional, a network that travels everywhere with them is priceless.

Looking back at that time and analysing the power that was afforded to me by my digital professional network, I got to thinking about how this could be used to empower job seekers everywhere. That is how the offline HireMeGroup was set up: allowing professionals to hack the Swiss Job Market with strong business connections, both offline and online.

Pinpoint the platform where you will find Hiring Managers and Clients for your industry


LinkedIn may be the ‘de facto’ professional networking platform for the masses, but certain industries are known to frequent alternative digital platforms. The publishing and writing industry, for instance, can be found on Twitter and Goodreads. Photographers and videographers have made their home on Vimeo, YouTube and Instagram. The bottom line: Inhabit the right digital spaces so you can make the right connections.

Understand that a digital presence takes longer to pay dividends.


The internet era is the era of scams and fake profiles. It takes longer to build trust with a stranger than it would through only real-world meets. You can speed the process along by building your digital home, ideally a blog that acts as a thorough resume for visitors. Once you’ve interacted with someone online, directing them to your blog would allow them to access not only your professional biography but a way to contact you. Remember to use blog tools to set up a sign-up form so you can start building your list.

Support and develop the community.


Self-promotion is a big turn-off, you should instead focus on promoting other people’s work. A great way to be a positive influence in your network is to endorse other people’s work (on LinkedIn or otherwise). It is especially helpful for people who are modest or doubt their own achievements (a condition known as “imposter syndrome”). By fostering a communal and supportive network, you can create goodwill among colleagues and with peers in general. It is essential to creating the right image online.

Be genuine when you meet people IRL (In Real Life).


A general assumption about digital presences is that they are heavily curated, that is, they contain cherry-picked information that may not be representative of the entire picture. By showing that you’re as nice, if not nicer, in real life will be a pleasant and welcome surprise to all who meet you. Be genuine in providing help, be genuine in general and good things will happen to you.

You will eventually generate an income
We developed our #HireMeExpress program so that we can help expats and digital nomads with a minority background in the new country to generate an income. 

The HireMeExpress program gives you immediate access to a trusted circle of like-minded professionals. We can help you expand your networks faster! In any group, shared experiences are the key to building relationships and trust, while also providing growth opportunities through feedback from the group and the coach. The group gives you accountability and paces your efforts at the same time. Sometimes, especially when you would like to give up, the group carries you to the next step.

I hope the tips above can help you identify and maximize your digital presence. We would also like to invite you to join our preparatory free workshops starting on 16 March 2021. 

If you’re ready to join the HireMeExpress you should let me know asap. We also offer a special deal to members of the Global People Club until 15 March 2021 only.

We look forward to zooming with you shortly.


I have this tendency to not want to work with Germans who have just arrived in Switzerland. I end up seeing too many of my own mishaps and small failures back when I was a newbie in Switzerland. Instead of reminiscing about my failures however, l would like you to meet Dr. Rainer Schulz.

This German leader from one of the cases from The Global Mobility Workbook (2019) has never done any intercultural training. He manages a global team which is mainly based in Switzerland exactly like he manages everybody in Frankfurt. Tom Jones, the main character in this case study challenges a lot of his assumptions about hierarchy and collaboration.

At the age of 55, Dr. Schulz cannot get over the fact that everyone in Switzerland goes to first name and “Du” in no time. Even his children call him stuck up and old-fashioned. Dr. Schulz is a typical example of someone stuck in their own cultural preferences. He could have made an effort and offered Tom the first name basis. He could have tried to build trust when they began working together. Instead, he just cannot get out of his comfort zone, hides behind his intellectual competence, relationship to the Management Board and his assistant. 

Tom on the other hand, is a little naive and not even aware of intercultural differences. He made an effort to learn German but he is still depressed. He attributes his issues to others. His weakness in this situation is that he does not take responsibility for his learning and progress. Tom also limits himself and could have done more to work better with Rainer. Tom quits the company, an assignment failed, the retention score is down and people are even more convinced that working with people from other cultures is just too hard. No happily ever after.

Having lived here in Zurich for over 10 years now, I also prefer to run my life Swiss-style. Despite considering myself open and tolerant, I still mess up intercultural communication. I’m not always understood and sometimes I’m just wrong. I recently got into a long discussion about left and right and I know that I have a weakness there. At the end I had to find out that I muddled up left and right (again!).

Communication across Cultures is a Challenge

My team members sometimes don’t do what I thought I had asked them to do. Then there is the occasional issue where I thought I had sent an email with a spreadsheet attachment but the person at the other end never received it. We hop on a conference call to discuss a topic with the assumption that the other person has the spreadsheet in front of them but IT Security blocked it. The whole conversation goes in circles. (Remind me to explain the “Asian Loop” to you sometime.) 

And yes, there could be plenty of reasons behind these issues. Maybe it’s “not my fault” or “not my responsibility”.

[tweetthis]If we don’t achieve our goals as leaders, then we are not good enough as leaders. [/tweetthis]

Do you also in such situations then tend to take control and do everything yourself?

And does that then lead you to burnout, depression or anger?

Does your partnership or family life suffer?

I have had to learn to accept the fact that people are as diverse as sand corns or snow flakes. You can learn to improve your leadership style but it is a never ending story of continued failures. Eventually you’ll get the swing and then you are asked to retire from the working world…

(Isn’t it crazy that our society doesn’t value the experience of our elders? Personally I intend to work until the day I die… hopefully with a nicely branded fountain pen in my hand.)

With this post I would like to give you an intercultural explanation to these phenomena and help you get out of your cultural comfort zone.

What is Global Competency in Global Mobility?

Global Competency is the ability to work effectively in a global, complex environment with a high level of stress, while achieving goals sustainably and in accordance with your own resources”. (Weinberger, 2019)

One of the major themes in my work with clients is on how they can improve their relationships at work. In order to find a new role in the Swiss market a number of trusted relationships are required. Relationships are usually built through a third-party introduction, at events and through long-lasting cooperation. And while this is similar in Germany, the German approach to building relationships always has a hierarchical component. Usually, the younger or newer members of the crew are treated with a little less respect. Globally competent leaders know how to gauge the hierarchy level and address the person according to status and seniority. However, in Switzerland where 70% of your interactions are with other expats it is trickier than in Germany.

You can almost assume that everyone is on your experience and intellectual level. And most locals are modest, so they could easily be underestimated.

Five Reasons why You might find it hard

  1. You are shy, introverted or not convinced that they are good enough to deserve success. Many partners suffer from the “impostor syndrome”, a psychological state of mind where people doubt their own accomplishments or consider themselves frauds just about to be exposed, especially if their career-driving partner just got another promotion in another country.
  2. You are embarrassed and ashamed of being “unemployed” in a society where most of your self-worth is driven by your career and how busy you are.
  3. You come from a culture where achievement is overly emphasized and ascription is considered an unfair privilege while at the same time they are blindsided by the fact that they had an ascribed status in their home turf.  Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner used to associate the achievement dimension with mainly protestant work ethic and belief. However, even if Switzerland is the home of Zwingli and Calvin, we have catholic cantons as well and status is often equal with family name, wealth and also how many generations you have already been a member of this society. So, there is still a strong ascription component that is not so obvious to outsiders. you don’t recognize that you have been in the out-group until you join the “Circle of Trust”.
  4. You are not aware of how they come across in person and assume that your style and behavior is “normal”. You have not yet learned to read the cultural cues that would indicate to them that they might be too pushy or even rude. A common example in Switzerland is that expats tend to overstretch a time commitment. For a society that runs on the clock and is a role model of the sequential time approach according to E.T. Hall’s time dimensions, this is often creating a lot of stress for the other person.
  5. You are sending messages with which in your home turf you would mark  your status such as the “Dr.” title in Germany or a certain seniority by name-dropping the influential VIP’s you used to hang out with but in Switzerland for example this is either not understood or considered boasting, egocentric and merely annoying. 

Over the years of running my own business and projects I often noticed that all the tools I tested to maintain a strategic approach to networking failed miserably with the extensive network that I’ve built over my professional life. 

So, I decided to let go of “strategy” and follow my gut and memory. I realized that the best idea is not to worry too much about “contact segmentation”. We Germans love the word “Begriffsabgrenzung”, so we also do this to our social life (“Bekannter, Kollege, Freund, Verwandter, Familie, Partner, Ehepartner…”). It’s a step-by-step approach showing how much you trust the other person.

The same segmentation exists in Switzerland, but there are “false friends”, e.g. the word “Kollege” means “Work Colleague” in High German and “Friend” in Swiss German. The meaning of the informal way of addressing a person with “Du” has a different meaning in Switzerland than in Germany.

Without intercultural training a German manager will behave like a bull in a China shop in Switzerland – completely unintentionally. Hence, working with German managers in the “honeymoon phase” is a lot of work for the trainer or coach. I prefer to work with you when you are beyond the honeymoon phase and you understand that you might not function in Switzerland like you are used to.

My approach after 10 years in Zurich

Some of my colleagues in the #GlobalMobility world have become friends over the years and some of my best friends from the university days or early career are colleagues or clients now. Some of my team members have almost become family and some of my family members work in the same field or closely related ones. And some friends will never pay you while others will insist on giving back. The world is colorful and so are people.

While saying this, I don’t want to imply that you have to like everybody you work with and everybody you network with. However, it’s another atmosphere for collaboration and innovation when you can fully trust the other person without a doubt.

When you know in your head and in your heart, that this person would never talk badly about you behind your back and would not spill your secrets with your competitors. I thrive in safe and collaborative environments but these require “relationship work”.

[tweetthis]We can’t stay on the task-level (the “Sachebene”, one of my favorite German words) if we want to be great leaders in a globalized world.[/tweetthis]

Let me know what you are doing today to work on your business relationships.

The Expat Experience (XX): Walking alone at the shores of lake Zurich on a rainy Sunday morning.

Is there anything I could help you with?

You probably despise networking. You think of networking as wasting time and you don’t like to go to events with no direct outcome. Are you appalled by “coffee meetings” with people who never plan to support you but happily take your free advice? Know that feeling?

You probably heard me say this before: For me, time has an immense value and since I started my business I’ve come to the conclusion that I have three major priorities: 1) My health, 2) My time and 3) My support group (including my family and partner). Without these you cannot run a successful company of one.

In order to use my time effectively and to the best possible outcome, I am constantly reviewing my “networking” strategy and have become very strategic about building connections in a way that suits me but also generates business. At the same time with recent health challenges, working from home and restrictions on events I had to think of other ways to “network the network”. The term “working the net” already indicates that there is work involved in building and maintaining mutually beneficial business relationships. AND while this comes natural to expats and other people from more relationship-based cultures, it requires energy for people from strictly task-based cultures.

The secret to making peace with “networking” as I often explain in my talks and workshops such as “#Networking4Nerds” is to treat your business relationships similar to other friendships and to be a giver.

Here are my five recipes for working your net:

1) Connect those who would not meet

A big benefit of being a networking queen or king is that you can organize connections. Think about who would need to know whom in your network in order to move ahead one step with one of their issues. Maybe a friend needs a new job or a business contact wants a new client or needs to solve an immediate problem at hand. Risk a little discomfort. Set them up for a “Professional Blind Date”. Trust your judgement and see what happens.

Over the last few years I have made several professional introductions. Mainly I helped my clients to find jobs that they would otherwise not even know. I also benefit from introductions so I try to keep the karma of connections spinning. 

2) Accept that Relationships require work

As in a good marriage you want to keep the relationship alive by making it beneficial for both parties. Once you know too many people you might just react once you are asked but even a small advice to a junior colleague might help them to move ahead in their career or move out of a job where they have stopped to learn.

A lot of professionals I know have lost the ability to trust their managers and colleagues. Being a mentor for a more junior professional in your industry can be really motivating for this person.

3) Share your knowledge and expertise graciously

There has never been a time where too much knowledge was hurtful. It’s also impossible to shock people with well-written report summaries or other insights you have about your industry. Start posting on LinkedIn. Tell people what you know and how you view the trends. In a worst-case scenario you get a negative comment. Be bold and bring in your unique perspective to the world.

4) Help others and increase your self-esteem

It sounds like a boy/girl-scout value but “a good deed a day keeps the shrink away”. When you help your contacts then you will feel more self-respect and wake up with a smile on your face. It always makes me so happy when a client tells me they found a job they love or that a connection was really helpful.

It’s even more fun to just support people in your network (for FREE). Give them likes, +1, endorsements, retweets and hearts when you are not paid for it. It’s a great way to give people appreciation and we all could get a bit more of that especially in the corporate world.

5) Challenge yourself and treat networking as a game

I often ask my clients to set a networking target. That includes that they must give before they take. It could be a small weekly challenge such as meeting a person you never met for a coffee. You could also offer to connect someone to someone else because you know they share a theme, hobby or interest.

These connections really seem to bring out most amazing collaborations. You obviously want to ask permission before sharing details. You could implement a score card on your whiteboard and whenever you helped a connection you add a smiley there. Imagine how that will make YOU feel.

 

If you would like to know more and keep updated on how to find work in a new market sign up here to join our HireMeExpress Waiting List.


The weather is chilly and grey if you live in Zurich, Switzerland right now. You might have thought about going to your home country for the holidays and that might not have worked out thanks to the pandemic.

The year was undoubtedly a recipe for disappointment and mental stress in many ways. We can’t meet our families at home due to governmental restrictions but hopefully things will be better next year and we will get through this alive.

This time of the year usually feels very quiet but this year it almost feels as if time came to a halt. We (our team) thought about ways to inspire you and we came up with this compilation of books.

Here is a compilation of our 12 best books to read from our team to all those who are looking for inspiration on how to change their lives for the better.

NOTE: The inclusion of Amazon links for each book should help you make your purchase as easy as possible, though we would recommend you order through a local bookstore to support the local community. I’ve mentioned my bookstore at the end of the list. The books are in no particular order and we would be interested in your opinion on them as well.

1 – Do Over by Jon Acuff

About: When life isn’t how you want it to be, whether you still lust over your dream job or still think about taking that alternate path in life. “Do-Over” as the name suggests aids in this predominant struggle to achieve the most out of life. Jon Acuff highlights the four elements in life, which all successful careers collectively share: Relationships, Skills, Character, and Hustle!

Get that new edge in your life by investing yourself in what truly matters. Hurdles are inevitable so it’s better to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Do-Over-Today-First-Career-ebook/dp/B00LFYXE5I/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3H0T135ZQ7GR3&dchild=1&keywords=do+over+jon+acuff&qid=1607938210&sprefix=Do+over%2Caps%2C342&sr=8-1

2 – Banishing your Inner Critic by Denise Jacobs

About: You are your harshest critic, right? But how do we know when enough is enough? Banishing your inner critic helps you identify your core self, whilst eradicating the copious amount of self-doubt a person deals with. It’s time to unleash your most productive, creative, and positive self!

Denise Jacobs provides an intuitive read on how one can master certain power practices to uphold your core strength and overcome self-doubt, time to break free!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Banish-Your-Inner-Critic-Self-Doubt/dp/1633534715/ref=sr1_1?dchild=1&keywords=banishing+the+inner+critic&qid=1607938236&sr=8-1

3 –  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron 

About: Ignite your passion, reinvent your creativity, elevate your confidence, and burst open like your ideal self! The American author Julia Cameron guides you on the spiritual path to creative bliss. To book itself provides in-depth exercises and trusted methods to rejuvenate your artisanal self.
Link: https://www.amazon.com/Artists-Way-25th-Anniversary/dp/0143129252/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=The+artist+way&qid=1607938262&sr=8-2

4 – Give and Take by Adam Grant

About: Success is always known to be a combination of hard-work, determination, and willpower, amongst many other factors. But the main idea is the same, we as an individual must strive for it. Yet in this modern world, where everyone is interconnected at almost all points in their life, going solo isn’t the right approach. As Adam Grant aptly named the book “Give and Take”, the core message is encompassed by it. As an esteemed professor and an award-winning researcher put it “Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon”.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Give-Take-Helping-Others-Success/dp/0143124986/ref=sr_1_1?crid=28UZSJNM5AQKU&dchild=1&keywords=give+and+take+adam+grant&qid=1607938327&s=books&sprefix=give+and+take+adam+%2Caps%2C376&sr=1-1

5 – Company of One by Paul Jarvis

About: It’s not all about working big, sometimes you have to work smart! The Company of One by Paul Jarvis truly encapsulates this exact mentality. Working on what situation, timings, and ideology suit you best. At this scale, you’ll build your company around your life, and not the other way around.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Company-One-Staying-Small-Business/dp/0358213258/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=company+of+one&qid=1607938373&s=books&sr=1-1

6 – The Middle Finger Project by Ash Ambirge

About: Having a breakdown just thinking about your day? Or maybe some tyrant boss has made your way to that promotion a minefield? Well, sometimes you’ve to stick it to the man and flip the finger to the gods above. Ash Ambridge uses her humorous and fresh writing style to hook the reader on her journey of overcoming imposter syndrome. Sometimes you need to be your own hero, through all the tacky, ugly, and nasty process. The only thing stopping you is you, so kick it and live it how you want to!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Middle-Finger-Project-Imposter-ckwithable/dp/0525540326/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+middle+finger+project&qid=1607938405&s=books&sr=1-1

7 –  Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

About: No one is perfect or can hustle through life without fear. Much like happiness and anger, it’s still an emotion at the end of the day. The author works around fear and exposes the underlying problems that may cause it. We as humans fear failure or rejection which stops us from achieving and ultimately stunts our growth. Jeffers has therefore mapped out a series of tests, to feel our fears as nothing more than an emotion.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Feel-Fear-Anyway-Indecision-Confidence/dp/B011T7KWO6/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Feel+the+fear+and+do+it+anyway&qid=1607938092&sr=8-2

8 – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

About: The Alchemist truly is a modern classic, its mystical story has inspired generations and sold millions of copies along the way. This tale of wisdom and wonder follows the journey of a boy Santiago. A mere shepherd’s boy, whose belief in his recurring prophetic dream takes him to Egypt in search of treasure.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Alchemist-Paulo-Coelho/dp/0062315005/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+alchemist&qid=1607938434&s=books&sr=1-1

9 – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

About: Elizabeth Gilbert is a household name by now, empowering much of the youth through her series of captivating books. Big Magic delves into the process of the author’s own creative perspective and her thought process. It truly is a manual on embracing and making the most of your creative side, it’s broken into six segments, each of which contains more food for thought. The six topics are as follows: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Big-Magic-Creative-Living-Beyond/dp/1594634726/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=big+magic&qid=1607938459&s=books&sr=1-1

10 – Lessons from Life by Steven Darter

About: By questioning his own decisions and reflecting on his placement in life, Steven Darter takes us on an emotional journey to find the purpose of life. Steve truly hooks the reader with his visual storytelling, combining both personal and professional experiences along the way. Lessons from Life pushes you as a person to rethink your choices no matter what age group you lie in.


Link: https://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Life-Meaning-Purpose-Success/dp/1981970916/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=lessons+from+life&qid=1607938484&s=books&sr=1-2

11 –  Searching for God in the Garbage by Bracha Goetze

About: We’ve all been into unhealthy food addictions, at times munching on just sugar and carbs. Thought of switching up your dietary habits right there and then may have popped in your mind before, here’s how Bracha Goetze a Harvard graduate decided to do exactly that. She’s kept her journey transparent from becoming an observant jew, to completely cutting of unhealthy eating, and finally beating anorexia!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Searching-God-Garbage-Bracha-Goetz/dp/1635540887/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=searching+for+god+in+the+garbage&qid=1607938529&s=books&sr=1-1

12 – The Elegant Out by Elizabeth Bartasius

About: The Elegant Out showcases the story of Elizabeth herself, where she escapes an abusive relationship, a tedious eight-to-five job and delves into her goal of publishing a book. She puts her thought of expanding her family with a new baby aside to focus on her writing, but the announcement of pregnancies from her social circle and her husband’s unwillingness for another baby put her in a dire situation that complicates into frustration and depression. Thus Elizabeth is put in a precarious situation and must make an executive choice between separation or a baby. 

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Elegant-Out-Novel-Elizabeth-Bartasius/dp/1631525638/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Elegant+Out+by+Elizabeth+Bartasius&qid=1607938559&s=books&sr=1-1

I hope these books will inspire you. Please note: We have added AMAZON to ensure you know which book it is. However, I would very much prefer if you ordered through a local bookstore. My neighborhood bookstore BUCHHANDLUNG HIRSLANDEN orders and delivers to your home address in Zurich during the Pandemic.

Email: lesen@buchhandlung-hirslanden.ch.

AND, if you liked this please sign up to our reader’s list here.


The Digital Nomad – Part 3 – Improve Your Productivity Kanban-Style

Last week, when you could not fall asleep because you felt overwhelmed by the increasing number of items on your to-do list, you had the brilliant idea to buy post-its and start to plan your next four weeks. Then, you also thought about writing down your 25 priorities. 

You already felt a little relieved and fell asleep. However, the question remains “did you actually do what you planned the day after?”

I bet you didn’t do it even if you thought it was a great idea.

 

The good news is that what happened to you last week happens to most of us too. The bad news is that when you do this in your personal life, you are more inclined to do the same in your professional life as well. We accept a mediocre solution or we try to put a plaster on a process instead of analyzing the root cause of the issue.

According to Schwarzt et al (2014), the great majority of companies see this phenomenon as a challenge to productivity and overall performance, but struggles to handle it. According to Deloitte, over half of the respondents to her survey  say that “their organizations are not doing a good job helping workers address information overload and today’s demanding work environment.” 57 percent believe their organizations are “weak” when it comes to helping leaders manage difficult schedules and supporting employees manage information flow.

Have we lost all of our ideals of Total Quality Management (This is a management approach to long-term process through customer satisfaction. In a Total Quality Management effort, all members of an organization participates in improving processes, products, services and the culture in which they work)  from the good old nineties? Do you know about Kanban and visualizing process flows?

We need to learn how to become more productive and we need to learn it now. If, like me, you are always eager to receive tips on how to increase productivity, check this podcast out.

Kanban 

Kanban is a lean method which originated in lean manufacturing, which was inspired by the Toyota Production System. It aims at managing work by balancing demands with available capacity, and by improving the handling of system-level bottlenecks. 

In knowledge work and in software development, the aim is to provide a visual process management system which facilitates decision-making about what, when, and how much to produce. 

Among the most important characteristics is that work items are visualized to provide a view of progress and process, from start to finish, usually through a Kanban board. Indeed, in Japanese, kanban means “signboard” or “billboard.”

Kanban Boards 

A colorful, tidy and good-looking kanban board is one of the most effective tools in project management. It can be used to plan and work through any project, both in your personal and professional life. 

Kanban boards visually display a certain process in its various stages using cards to represent work items and columns to represent each phase of the process. Cards are moved from left to right to show progress and to help coordinate teams performing the work. 

Simple boards have vertical columns for the “to-do”, “doing”, and “done” work.  Alternatively, they may be labelled “waiting”, “in progress” and “completed”. Complex Kanban boards can also be divided into horizontal “swim lanes” representing different types of work or different teams performing the work. Additionally, it can subdivide the “in progress” work into multiple columns to visualise the flow of work across a whole value stream map.

Example of a Kanban board:

 

Seven core practices for Kanban

 

Here I suggest six core practices that will make you optimize the efficiency of the tool and become a master of kanban boards.

  1. Visualize the flow of work. You cannot work on a Kanban board, either physical or electronic, if you cannot visualize the process steps needed to deliver your work. Depending on the complexity of your process and your work-mix, your Kanban board can be very simple or very elaborate. Once you visualize your process, then you can visualize the current work that you and your team are doing. 
  2. Use Colors. Use post-its in different colors for different types of projects. Or, if you decide to use this tool for personal life projects, consider using different colors for different kinds of activities (orange for the projects you wish to complete at home, yellow for your children’s requests, and so on).
  3. Limit WIP (Work in Progress). It’s important to reduce WIP to a minimum to encourage yourself and your team to complete work at hand first before taking up new work. Work currently in progress must be completed and marked done. This creates capacity in the system, so that you can focus on new tasks. Limiting WIP helps you finish what they are doing already before taking up new stuff. This practice is also useful because it communicates to the customer and other stakeholders that there is limited capacity to do work, and they need to plan carefully what work they ask you or your team to do.
  4. Manage Flow.. A Kanban system helps you manage flow by highlighting the various phases of the workflow and the status of work in every single phase. Based on how well you defined the workflow and set the limits to WIP, you will observe either a smooth flow of processes or work piling up as a bottleneck forms and starts to hold up capacity. Kanban helps you analyze the system and adjust their work accordingly to improve flow. In this way, you will manage to reduce the time it takes to complete each task. By improving flow, your delivery of work becomes smoother and more predictable, making it easier to communicate to your customer when you will manage to get any work done. You will also automatically increase your reliability to your customers’ eyes.
  5. Make Process Policies Explicit. Visualize explicitly your policies, process rules or guidelines for how you do your work. In this way, you create common ground for all those involved in the process to understand how to work in the system. The various policies can be at the board level or at a “swim lane” level or for each column. Examples of explicit policies are: what defines a task complete, what describes individual “swim lanes” or columns, who pulls when, etc. 
  6. Implement Feedback Loops. This practice is an essential part of any good system. Kanban encourages and helps you implement different types of feedback loops. If you want to deliver the right work in the shortest possible time, it’s crucial to get feedback early, especially if you ended up on the wrong track.
  7. Improve Collaboratively, Evolve Experimentally (using the scientific method). The Kanban Method helps you implement small changes and improve gradually in a way that is sustainable for you and your team. It encourages you to form a hypothesis, test it and make changes according to the results you obtain. In a few words, it aims at tackling issues through a scientific method. As an individual or team who aims at being agile, it’s fundamental that you evaluate your process continuously and improve as much as needed.

Notable tools

This is a list of tools that implement the Kanban method. You can test some of them for free.

  • Asana, with boards.
  • Azure DevOps Server, an integrated ALM-platform for managing work in and across multiple teams.
  • CA Technologies Rally, provides teams with the option of managing pull-based, lean software development projects.
  • Unicom Focal Point, a portfolio management and product management tool.
  • Jira (software), provides kanban boards.
  • Microsoft Planner, a planning application available on the Microsoft Office 365 platform.
  • Pivotal Tracker provides kanban boards.
  • Projektron BCS, project management tool, provides kanban boards for tickets and tasks.
  • Trello, cards-based project management.
  • Tuleap, an agile open source tool for development teams: customize board columns, set WIP (Work In Progress), connect board with Issue Trackers, Git, Documents.
  • Twproject (formerly Teamwork), project and groupware management tool.
  • Wrike, an Agile Collaborative Work Management Platform.

Reflection

Think of three ways a Kanban board could facilitate your own professional and/or private life. When you come up with ideas, try to be very specific. They have to reflect what you do and how you operate on your daily routine. 

If you haven’t tried Trello yet, try navigating it and setting up your own account.

 

Resources

If you want to learn more about Kanban: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanban_(development)

If you want to learn more about Kanban implementations and Kanban boards:

https://www.digite.com/kanban/what-is-kanban/ 

If you want to know why you should use Kanban in marketing https://business901.com/blog1/why-you-should-use-kanban-in-marketing/

If you think your lack of digital competencies is affecting your productivity: https://globalpeopletransitions.com/lack-of-digital-competence-affecting-your-productivity-heres-how-you-escape-that-rut/

If you’re curious to know more about the benefits of handwriting: https://www.fastcompany.com/90389979/5-times-when-using-paper-and-a-pen-is-better-than-using-an-app

References

Piper, J. (2018). Focus in the age of distraction: 35 tips to focus more and work less. Panoma Press, St. Albans.

Schwartz J. et al. (2018, Aug. 4), ‘The overwhelmed employee: Simplify the work environment.’ Deloitte University Press. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/focus/human-capital-trends/2014/hc-trends-2014-overwhelmed-employee.html#:~:text=The%20overwhelmed%20employee%20Simplify%20the%20work%20environment&text=Too%20much%20access%20to%20information,us%20into%20%E2%80%9Coverwhelmed%E2%80%9D%20employees.&text=Sixty%2Dfive%20percent%20of%20executives,ready%E2%80%9D%20to%20deal%20with%20it

Productivity Makeover with Graham Allcott (Podcast): https://www.sundaebean.com/2019/12/02/152-productivity-makeoverwith-graham-allcott/

If you’re curious to know more about the benefits of handwriting: https://www.fastcompany.com/90389979/5-times-when-using-paper-and-a-pen-is-better-than-using-an-app

References

Piper, J. (2018). Focus in the age of distraction: 35 tips to focus more and work less. Panoma Press, St. Albans.

Schwartz J. et al. (2018, Aug. 4), ‘The overwhelmed employee: Simplify the work environment.’ Deloitte University Press. 

TCK

A natural consequence of the international professional, accelerated in recent years through increased globalisation and advances in Global Mobility, is the rise of Third Culture Kids, or, children who have grown up in cultures that weren’t the passport cultures of their parents. This term originated through the work of American sociologist Dr. Ruth Hill Useem in the 1960s. You can read more about her legacy here.

Given that the term has been around for so long, some of these children have now grown up and are referred to as ATCK (Adult Third Culture Kid). Therefore, it is important that their unique experiences and those of current TCKs are recognized and better understood, as they will be shaping the future. I’d like to do just that.

TCKs Have an Expanded Understanding of the World

Research has clearly demonstrated that TCKs are more tolerant of other people, their beliefs and cultures because of their broader world views. This allows them to build relationships with all cultural backgrounds, which makes them great international assets as professionals. However, They Can Suffer From Identity Crises

A person’s self-esteem and identity is intrinsically linked to their attachment to the social constructs of culture, the sense of belonging that comes from such an attachment can often be lacking in TCKs, given that they are uprooted from their origin culture at a young age and thus they can become culturally “homeless” if their transition into the new culture is not smooth.

Often, the reverse can happen as well, with the TCK adjusting smoothly to the new culture but becoming alien to the original one. This fear is something expat parents frequently bring up with me and I always suggest that parents try to maintain a link between their children and the culture of their homeland. A great way to do that is through books, particularly those that spark the imagination of inquisitive young children. In fact, Cukibo has a range of delightful and enchanting books geared specifically for expat children that will help them learn and remember what makes their home culture so wonderful. Do read more about this series, it is called Journey to Another Homeland.

TCK’s Identity Issues Lead to  Difficulties

These identity issues, at such a critical time of psychological development, can lead to further problems down the road for TCKs. They have trouble adjusting to adult life as the feeling of not having roots like those with cultural “stability” can lead to frustration and a further loss of self-esteem. Their values can be compromised as well, particularly if the home and expat cultures have complementary cultures.

TCKs Develop Excellent Intercultural Competence

That is solely due to how the Global Mobility has changed in recent decades. Previously, most expats moved once, overseas, and built a life there. That is no longer the case, with expats moving multiple times and bonding with more and more diverse people. It is not uncommon for TCKs now to belong to 3 or more cultures, and as part of their upbringing they develop the capacity to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures.

TCKs Also Boost Global Mobility

Surveys have shown that TCKs retain a desire to travel and move once they reach adulthood. Their professionals careers, consequently, have a focus on international travel and mobility. The influx of these ATCKs into professional spheres is pushing greater mobility and emphasis on the international aspects of their development: multilingualism, high cultural intelligence and sensitivity.

There is no denying that TCKs face the kind of challenges that non-expat children do and by overcoming those challenges, they grow up into the kind of three-dimensional and evolved professionals and human beings that are slowly ushering the world into a new era of globalism and open-mindedness.

Schools are also taking the TCK’s into account more and more. You can read more about how international recruiters can solve the family education and support internationally mobile families here.

An Expert Interview by Sara Micacchioni

Prof. Tamara Pawluk is specialized in cognitive diversity and inclusion. She has collaborated with teams designing Diversity and Inclusion campaigns and training teams to leverage diversity potential. Her professional goal is to contribute to any organization where diversity is seen as a key factor to achieve competitive advantages. Interestingly, she also works as Project Manager for Diego Romero Music to support her husband in bringing Argentinian and Latin American music into the European market. 

In early September I  met her in her apartment in Berlin to get inspired by what she does. 

Who is Tamara Pawluk in a nutshell? 

I am an interculturalist by profession and by mindset. I like working with people from different cultural

Headshot
Prof. Tamara Pawluk

backgrounds, I am a curious person and I like to listen to stories. I have the feeling that everyone has a story to tell and that even when they think it’s not interesting, I always find it fascinating. I mean, we’re all protagonists of our lives after all.
I also love learning, not only from books and manuals but especially from people. I love to be amazed by what others do in their professions and act as a connecting bridge between them. 

I’ve been teaching at college for six years. I love doing classes and helping people develop their talent and discovering their potential together. Currently I am mostly dedicated to webinars but I keep teaching within the startup I work for, Expertlead

I am  a very family-oriented person too and love spending time at home with my husband and my friends, playing cards or board games, watching Netflix…or going outside to practice roller skating (and failing miserably) 😉 

Can you tell us a bit more about Expertlead and your projects there? 


Our core business is trying to build a solid network of freelancers. However, we do this in a very human-centric way i.e. guiding them through a professional self-discovery journey and helping them plan their career development. We mostly work with IT professionals: front-end and back-end developers, mobile developers, software development engineers, architects, project managers, designers and data scientists. We try to understand what exactly each of them brings to the table and only then we do the matching. We don’t just feel responsible for ensuring that they get paid for their job, but we also worry that they are performing tasks that they really enjoy.  Besides that, we also do webinars on professional branding, CV improvement, train the trainers, stakeholder management, and soft skills training. 

As the head of freelancer management, I strive to help freelancers be the best versions of themselves.

One of the Diversity and Inclusion projects we’ve just launched is our blog series “Freelancing Women in Tech” about which I am really enthusiastic. We interview female freelancers within the network and discover together their success stories and obstacles they encounter in the IT field as women. 

You can have a look at the blog and at our recent articles where we interview a female iOS developer and a female software engineer

There is a lot of potential in IT when it comes to D&I and we’re trying to get in touch with other associations that might be connected to a wide and diverse talent pool. For example, we’d like to partner with associations for refugees that promote IT educational programs and other initiatives of this kind. If you are one of them, don’t hesitate to get in touch! 

Would you like to share with our readers the learning and career path that brought you to the position you so passionately hold now? 

Well, there are a couple of relevant episodes that really marked my professional development. The first was at the age of 15 when I got into an exchange program with people from around various parts of the world. Thanks to this, I got to spend lots of time with people from Tunisia, South Africa, Russia, you name it. Even if I was “just” a teenager, I was amazed by how much you can learn just by actually allowing yourself to be open to everything. That’s basically how I start to learn from people and about people. This marked me so much that it led me to choose my next degree, a BA in Intercultural Management. 

What other salient events happened next? 

Then I had the opportunity to work as a ghost in a haunted mansion at the famous Disney World Park in Orlando 😉 You might wonder what this has to do with what I do currently but…

There I had a conversation with a colleague of mine that really made me start reflecting about a reality I hadn’t been faced with much until then. And so I started getting curious about the topic of diversity and more in particular about gender and sexual orientation and the role that this plays in identity. This was such an eye-opener that I decided to make Diversity and Inclusion the focus of my PhD, creating a fusion with the topic of Intercultural Management.

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle fell into place when I met my husband who is a musician. I want to contextualize this: my parents are doctors and when I entered the field of Social Sciences they thought this was already weird. But what they accepted even less easily was me having a musician as my boyfriend. During this phase, I realised how important the role played by professional identity is in our lives. Now they love him as well as his music.

And so I landed in cognitive diversity, i.e. valuing people for the different ideas that they bring at the table and the different experiences they had in life. This brought me to Talent Management and to Berlin, where I currently live. 

I can really say that being part of an amazing team at Expertlead really enables me to bring together all the different aspects of culture identity in which I am a specialist.

What are the major challenges that you face in your industry? 

When it comes to Talent Management, unconscious bias for me is the main obstacle. Too often, I find that  people very easily allow their own prejudices and pre-formed opinions to shape the situation they’re faced with as well as the idea of the person they have in front. The issue with unconscious bias is that in a few seconds, you’ve made up your mind and from that moment you don’t allow yourself to be wrong anymore. 

But we need to change this and learn to admit that we can be wrong about the first impression. We need to learn to get rid of our assumptions, become better listeners and let the new information come in. This is especially important when you work with diversity.

This is interesting. How do you help people raise awareness about their own issues with unconscious bias?

When I encounter new clients, I always start with the most simple biases. I avoid talking about biases linked to gender, race, sexual orientation etc from the very beginning because they might make it difficult for people to let their barriers down.

I’d like you to run this small social experiment. Next time you’re in a group, just try to draw three boxes on a paper and ask three volunteers in front of you to write three words about diversity on the sheet. What happened? 

I can bet that now all boxes contain a word. But have you actually ever asked them to write the words inside the boxes? If you followed my instructions carefully, you did not. 

Yet, if you try to ask people to explain the reasons why they wrote words inside the boxes, you’ll see that they will struggle a lot finding the answers. And this is what a bias is about: thinking/doing something automatically and without second thoughts.

I tried this each semester for six years, and not in a single group was there a volunteer who did this differently.

That’s brilliant and quite an eye-opener.

Now, what education would you recommend to somebody who would like to embark on a career similar to yours?

Well, I’d start by saying that when you deal with jobs around Intercultural and Talent Management, I think it’s really important to find a good mentor. Follow someone in the field to whom you can relate professionally and let yourself be inspired by what they do. It’s not an easy-to-answer question because we, professionals in the intercultural field, very often have a different background. 

Definitely, here in Europe there are a lot of academic courses you can decide from if you want to study this at university, and having studied in Argentina where options are really limited, I don’t know even half of them. 

I am pretty confident when I say that the field of diversity allows for different career paths and allows you as well to find your own professional identity.

Certificates might open a gate or two but they won’t drive your internal need to make a change. It’s relatively easy to obtain certifications, but the most challenging and most important is finding the inner spark inside. Only this will make you thrive. 

What’s your recipe for success? 

Be yourself and be authentic to who you are. You’re never going to be happy trying to pretend to be someone you’re not. One of my mottos, and this is borrowed from a teacher, is 

“Never stay where you don’t want to be.”

Considering that you probably spend half your existence at work. My tip is, if you have the privilege of deciding where you work, choose well where you want to spend your time.

Is there a final thought you’d like to share with our readers? 

You might not be able to change the world, but if you manage to change only one person, you’ve changed a world.

If you want to be in touch with Prof. Tamara Pawluk you can connect on LinkedIn or write to her on Facebook. You can also subscribe to her Youtube channel.

Tamara is also busy writing her book on Diversity Management which she’ll publish in 2021. Stay tuned! 

About Sara Micacchioni

Sara
Sara Micacchioni

Sara Micacchioni is currently working as Academic Intern at Global People Transitions, where she is responsible for research and quality assurance projects. At the beginning of 2020, she graduated from an international English-taught master degree in Intercultural Management at the University of Burgundy, France. In the past, she also carried out several short-term and long-term voluntary work projects in Europe and South America.

Sara lived, studied, and worked in seven European countries and speaks four foreign languages. She considers herself an interculturalist with a real passion for globetrotting. In her mission to travel the world, she has now ticked off 30 countries globally.

Connect with Sara on LinkedIn if you want to talk about Diversity and Inclusion, Intersectionality, Cultural Intelligence (CQ), Bilingualism, Digital Learning, Immigration or Low-Cost Travels.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sara-micacchioni/

Over 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.

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”.

November Colors

As I mentioned last week I am starting the year-end processes a week earlier this year. This essentially means that I am dedicating a weekend to sorting out old stuff, decluttering and preparing the apartment for cleaning. I would like to do this before I start decorating for the holidays because it is giving us a fresher spirit and as I mentioned most of us get really stressed in the last few weeks before the year end as they wish to focus more on family and friends during the holidays. What I would also like to do is finish open ends and projects and before starting too many new ideas and projects reduce the “Pendenzenliste” (It’s one of my favorite Swiss German words and can be translated into the list of open tasks). Most of my friends and I keep laughing about the tasks that never seem to get off the Pendenzenliste and keep you feeling guilty even if you are highly productive all the time. I shared with you already that I’m a bit more relaxed when it comes to my home so “Cleaning out the drawers” would definitely be on the Pendenzenliste. But before I dive into cleaning the apartment there are issues in the order of my home office that urgently need attention.

1 – Start with the Old Paper Files and Reduce your Pendenzen

For many of us it is worse than any other five-letter word.  It’s because paper can weigh you down and hold you back. Getting rid of paper will make you more productive. You might have noticed that when you don’t feel in your comfort zone you need to have something in writing to hold on to. You can reduce complexity by having a plan or calendar of events on the wall. You might reduce your stage fright by writing down and scripting speeches and conference calls.

What it means to let go is that you need to remember more but also that you focus on what’s really important. In the name of productivity I am trying to avoid tasks that do not add value to my business or my clients. In the old days we used to spend hours sorting and deleting emails or filing documents. Being a business owner now I am trying to reduce such work to a bare minimum as I have found out that if I cannot find something it is usually because I am in FRANTIC mode. In RELAXED mode I find all my documents on the laptop by working with the search function or using our elaborate system (It’s just an excel sheet with links to the respective document). 

2 – Simplify and standardize by reducing clutter.

Simplifying can also be done at home. I don’t have an extensive wardrobe. Reading articles on productivity made me standardize my clothes even more so I don’t have to make decisions about what to wear. I also place matching clothes together on the rack. I try to have all clothes “ready to wear” because if I go out in the dark I might not see certain colors or holes or stains. So anything stained, holed or old has to go into the “Altkleidersack” (old clothes bag). The art is to throw the old clothes into the bin where they belong and will be picked up for charity right after you take them out. Otherwise clothes and other clutter have a sneaky way to find their way back into your home.

 3 – Use color codes, the three-box system and laminated signs to sort your office.

In my home office I use a very clean and color-coded physical filing system. It helps me find files that I need to see printed. It also helps me to grab the right file when I am on my way to a client. Most of the time I work without paper though. I also structure my wardrobe by color and even try to sort items by color. It doesn’t always work but gives me a great sense of order and accomplishment.

The three-box system is very simple. You need to have three boxes and give them three functions: box 1: bin / recycling, box 2: donations and box 3: treasures. You need to ensure that you go to throw away the bin right away. The treasures you can put in a box and leave them there until your next cleaning exercise.

4 – Take the first step by sorting for half an hour a day.

One important tip when you start to work on this process is to limit it to half an hour a day. Set the clock and reward yourself afterwards for example by buying yourself a bunch of flowers. Letting go of clutter means to learn to rely more on your brain.

Tell us what you do to sort out your clutter and find order in your life!

HOMEWORK

Read this related blog post.

Performance

A study by Learnlight shows that four in ten international assignments are judged to be a failure. And yet the number of overseas assignments continues to rise. Global companies are under considerable pressure to determine what makes a successful overseas assignment and to understand why they so often fail. However, what has been so often overlooked is why it is difficult to measure expatriate performance. Since both assignment failure and success depends on how expats perform on the job, it becomes pertinent to consider how expats perform and why it is difficult to measure their performance. In the following points, I will highlight and elaborate on five reasons why it is difficult to measure expatriate performance.

  • Goals for Expats are often not clearly defined. They are often conflicting as they have to take into account the interests of the home and host company, or headquarters and subsidiaries. It becomes difficult to work effectively when expats are trying to achieve the home company goals while simultaneously trying to fit in the expectations of the host company. More expats would perform well if the goals of the host company align with the objectives of the home company.
  • Performance ratings have been calibrated for years. However, we know that there is an unconscious bias in the data. The first rater is usually a direct manager.  This person potentially judges their own weaknesses less and thinks that the expat is responsible for failure alone. However, often the manager in the host country does not help the expat to solve dilemmas. The home country manager should consider it a responsibility to make it seamless for the expatriate to integrate well into the system. One of the biggest factors that determine whether or not an assignee would be successful is who his or her line manager is. 
  • Cultural concepts of performance are biased. Definitions of “high performance” have been largely influenced by Western values and did not take team performance into account. The gig economy will need stronger team collaboration and fewer individual players. Eastern values and approaches might have an advantage now.
  • Management by Objectives is outdated. We need a new conceptual framework of performance. Even in the past setting annual targets was not always the best method of judging performance (irrespective of expat or local).
  • Expat managers usually lack the informal network and access to the host culture so it is not surprising if their performance drops in Y1. It is quite impossible to know how to navigate in a terrain that you are not familiar with. Also, they are busy adjusting and have a family to integrate into the new life abroad. One might think that we can accelerate the cultural adjustment and then just go “back to the normal way of judging performance” but I would advise against such thinking. It takes time to fit into the system and culture of a new location. Hence, the whole process of cultural adjustment takes its tolls on expat performance.

Expatriate Performance and Potential Assessment

Scullion, Collings (2011) describe the performance assessment system at Novartis which will be used as a generic example for global companies. The system “…grades employees on (a) business results (the “what”) and (b) values and behaviors (the “how”). While the business results are unique to each business area, the values and behaviors (ten in all) are common across the entire firm.” Together with the potential assessment talents are assessed in a nine-box matrix. (Scullion, Collings, 2011, p. 29)

Basing expats’ performance solely on business results may not give the overall picture of all that transpires to make an assignment either a success or a failure. There should be a holistic overview of all the processes that go into cultural adjustment and family acculturation. 

Expat adjustment as a success factor – The Term “Expat Failure” and what it commonly refers to

When discussing the success of an international assignment or project a common way to measure “success” is expat adjustment which in contradiction to “expat failure” is often equalized with completing an assignment for the planned assignment period.

“The authors leave open how long it may take an expatriate to attain the same level of applicability and clarity abroad as at home, stressing that one or two years may not suffice. To reach higher levels, the person may very well have experienced an identity transformation far more profound than passing through a cycle of adjustment.” Hippler, Haslberger, Brewster (2017, p.85)

“A “comprehensive model of success is missing” and Caligiuri’s (1997) suggestion that future studies should clarify what is meant by adjustment, as opposed to performance, indicated the need for definitional and discriminant clarity when examining performance.” Care and Donuhue (2017, p.107)

Talent management approaches in Germany and Switzerland and most of Europe are driven by the U.S.-based ideas about talent identification and definitions and use the “nine-box grid” to select key talents with a halo-effect towards white males. 

Influence of psychological contract on expatriate retention

An issue in expatriation is often the lack of clarity around the role after repatriation. A psychological contract exists between the expat and the company but there is no written agreement or clear understanding of the next role or roles in the process. Expectations are not properly managed and often expats are disappointed with their title, pay or role content in the next role when returning from an assignment.

Two years after repatriation there are several factors influencing retention significantly. 

  1. a) re-entry cultural adjustment, another 
  2. b) role expectation mismatch and 
  3. c) the lack of applicability of the learning from the previous assignment.

The Integration of Global Mobility and Global Talent Management

One of the reasons for this lack of synchronization is the missing integration of global mobility and global talent management activities and functions in today’s organizations. The only guidance focuses on academic concepts of expatriate return on investment.

A Holistic Competency Model is Needed

I claim that we not only need a better integration of Talent Management and Global Mobility (hence the term Talent Mobility) but we also need to look at our performance management systems, global competency models, recruiting and talent identification process under a new light. We finally need to advance HR to an interculturally competent function and reduce the inherent bias in all of our processes, tools and leaders. This will be a major task in a post-colonial BANI World.

My Global Competency Model has been an attempt to integrate Eastern and Western mindsets into a model. Our coaching approach builds on Eastern and Western coaching practices. We included the ethics by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). The holistic approach of my coach, educator Drs. Boudewijn Vermeulen, further developed by Dr. Eva Kinast into a holistic, body-oriented and intercultural coaching method. This method focuses on building and maintaining effective trust-based relationships, the body-mind-heart connection and is linked to the psychology of Carl Gustav Jung. 

The model also assumes weekly reflection, regular practices, which originate from Eastern mindsets and concepts such as ZEN. We integrated body learning which was taught to me by Dr. Jay Muneo Jay Yoshikawa in a course of Eastern Mindscapes (back in 2005 at the Summer Institute of Intercultural Communication in Portland, Oregon). Reflected experiences are based on the single-loop and double-loop learning theory of Argyris and Schoen. Also, experiential learning that I first learned from Thiaggi about 20 years ago and have further developed into all of my programs.

Trust and Relationships are Collaboration Glue

In almost every coaching session right now leaders talk to me about the need to get better at building trust (also in a virtual setting) and relationships. Relationships in my view are the glue to working well together within a monocultural but also multicultural environment. Collaboration (as opposed to Cooperation) requires a higher level of trust among project team members. Agile needs it. And Diversity, Equity and Inclusion demand it. 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR GLOBAL MOBILITY?

“Better alignment between global mobility and companies’ global talent agenda is a precondition for making mobility truly strategic and helping companies achieve a significant return on investment with their international assignments.”

  • Widening the scope of Global Mobility to include international hires, cross-border commuters, international transfers, lifestyle assignments, global digital nomads and other groups of internationally mobile professionals.
  • Reviewing all HR models and processes to reduce bias and White Supremacy should be on the priority list of every HR leader but you can also make it your personal mission. Help us create a world where everyone has a chance and invite those to the table that are often overlooked.
  • Defining assignment objectives up front and tracking progress throughout assignment. You must ensure that not only the home company or headquarters have clear cut objectives for the expat  but also that the host company’s objectives are in sync and align with that of the headquarters. Coach the expat or send them to me for coaching. Help them be a success rather than a failure.
  • Improving productivity by addressing development areas such as communication, process and culture barriers. Key problem areas should be identified. Oftentimes, expats complain about loss of connection to the home company. Nobody from the headquarters or home company is interested in how they fare in the new environment. If expats feel deserted, it could adversely affect their performance output. Proffering viable solutions to pain points of expats, such as cultural roadblocks would help improve expats performance. Give them the vocabulary to speak about their blockers, send them to intercultural awareness training. 
  • Helping coordinate annual talent review of all expatriates. Reviews like this give expats the opportunity to express their perception of the international assignment. 
  • Increase the expat’s self-awareness. Let expats learn more about themselves. We use the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) and ICBI™ (Individual Cultural Blueprint Indicator) for example for self-awareness assessment and the outcomes can be a great conversation starter in a coaching session.

You already know that I am on a mission to bring the Human Touch back into Global Mobility and therefore we would also like to contribute to research in the growing body of knowledge around Global Mobility. Our Academic Intern Monica Kim Kuoy is running a research project and I hope you would like to support us by being an interview partner or sounding board for our ideas.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

RESOURCES

Who is an Expatriate Employee?

https://expatfinancial.com/who-is-an-expatriate-employee/ 

https://feibv.nl/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Master-Thesis_Weinberger-Angela_Jan-2019_Final.pdf

Performance
Expat Performance