Monthly Archives: November 2014

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

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

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

GM Workbook Cover High Res
#GMWORKBOOK

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

After reading the book you should be able

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

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

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

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

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

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

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

Where are these strategic functions?

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

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

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

Take on the challenge.

Because you are not alone.

Because we know what will get you there.

Because we can help you.

Change in the assignee population

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

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

More Dual Career Couples

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

And you as the GM Professional?

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

What should change for you?

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

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

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

 

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

Do you have children? Maybe you already know that in research they are often called Third Culture Kids (TCKs). The term means that they come from a different culture than both their parents. (It is not accumulative.) I thought the post was really informative.

http://www.expatnest.com/10-things-might-known-third-culture-kids-tcks/

 

 

One of the challenges when you start up a company is how to finance yourself especially if you need investments to do what you plan to do. Have you considered starting a company but you are not sure how to finance your life when you are not having a regular income. Are you worried about burning too much of your reserves and capital before you actually will see a profit.

I started my business with a car. That was thinking out of the box. Instead of providing the cash that is needed in Switzerland to fund a Limited Liability Company we used our Audi to start a business. Later we pumped a lot of personal savings into the company and also had to sustain a certain lifestyle (in one of the top most expensive cities in the world.) Believe me, I understand what it means when you cannot pay your rent or when all of your former colleagues go out for a fancy concert / dinner and you have to come up with an excuse so you don’t have to tell them that you cannot afford this anymore. When you are 40+ it’s kind of embarrassing.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding platforms emerged to help great ideas to evolve faster by bringing a lot of small investors to the financing process faster. You need to tell your story to potential investors so you better have it ready.

https://www.seedmatch.de/

https://www.kickstarter.com/

http://www.projektstarter.ch/

http://www.100-days.net/en

Competitions

There are companies in Switzerland offering support and advice to start up entrepreneurs. They often have competitions sponsored by companies.

http://startups.ch/

http://www.startzentrum.ch/

http://www.gruenden.ch/en/

Bank Loan

You need a very good business plan and “security” (such as a private investment portfolio) in order to apply for a bank loan. Before you apply for a bank loan, think about whether you really want to be in a position where you have to answer to someone else. In Switzerland (and most other countries) you can start a small business without a lot of capital. You might need savings for the first years.

Tip: Start to apply for a loan with a smaller bank.

Angel Investors

An angel investor is an affluent person who invests capital in start-up companies and other investments usually in exchange for a “convertible bond”. A convertible bond is basically the agreement that the equivalent of the invested capital can be transferred into a predefined number of shares of the future company. I understand that angel investors do not consider themselves venture capitalist so they see their investment a bit more idealistic and not only under profit considerations.

https://angel.co/zurich/investors

http://startangels.ch/

Learn the Basics

I find it very important is that we learn the basics of budgeting. Even if there is a general movement against budgeting I learnt that it is critical in the first two years at least. I think in hindsight that I wasted a lot of money and made the start harder for my business. (It’s like the real life.)

http://www.investopedia.com/university/budgeting/basics1.asp

Networks for entrepreneurial women in Switzerland

There are networks geared towards supporting women to start a business. You might find funding opportunities there as well.

http://www.nefu.ch/

http://www.frauenunternehmen.ch/

http://womenexpo.ch/

Check for Governmental Support

In Switzerland like many other countries the government supports entrepreneurs especially when you are unemployed. The Swiss government has a lot of great programmes in place. There are two conditions that have to be met in order to qualify.

1) You have to be eligible for unemployment benefit.

2) You have to have a valid work and residence permit.

http://www.awa.zh.ch/internet/volkswirtschaftsdirektion/awa/de/arbeitsmarkt/beratung_im_rav/selbstaendigkeit.html

 

 

Even if you’re super excited about the new position or company, moving or relocating is still complicated. Potential obstacles to international assignment success are almost innumerable: tax complications, cultural incompatibility, economic crises, security concerns and political unrest. With all of this, what remains the biggest threat to assignment success? It comes not from external forces, but from within. Study after study shows that family concerns are the leading cause of failure among expatriate employees.

So here you are, settled in Switzerland and ready to start looking for a job. Your spouse, whose international assignment led you here, in the first place, is trying to adjust to his/her new job. The children are feeling comfortable in their new school and your house finally feels like home. Eager to re-establish your professional self, you prep your résumé, send it out and wait for the interview invitations to roll in. After all, you’ve been working in your field for 15 years in a well-known company. So what’s with all the rejection emails you’re getting?
When a dual-career family accepts an international assignment, it’s likely that the trailing spouse will be left with the challenge of finding a new professional identity. In many cases the visa issued to the non-working partner limits the kind of contracted employment they can accept, the type of work that existed back home doesn’t necessarily exist in Switzerland or requires speaking the local language plus one of the other three official languages, and sometimes it’s a simple matter of adapting your résumé to Swiss standards. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable and expected to include your picture, birth date, marital status, citizenship and visa type in your résumé.0010044439P-849x565
An experienced international career consultant can be an essential ingredient to the success of an overseas assignment, helping the accompanying partner to avoid the pitfalls of an interrupted career, even if employment is not an available option. If an organization wants to protect and capitalize on its investment in global assignments, it needs to address the needs of the whole family in its international relocation policy. And in today’s world, this includes offering assistance that addresses the career aspirations of the accompanying partner.
Expat spouses who are in search of new employment, is a common theme for many coaching sessions. Giving up your career for the sake of your partner’s means you’ve lost an important part of yourself and often feel lost. While the assigned partner starts a new career and receives career coaching from his/her company, the non-working partner is on his/her own, feeling alone and depressed. This inevitably leads to frustrations in the relationship.

What can you do, when you are in such a situation?
1. Gather as much information about your host labour market as possible.
2. Take time to get to know your new environment before you decide to get employed.
3. Find professional advice on how to adapt your résumé to the local market.
4. Define your transferrable and global skills.
5. Discuss freelancing with your former employer before you quit.
6. Get a “return ticket” to your former employer.
7. Choose volunteer services that would enhance your resume.
8. If not employed immediately, use the time to further your education or diploma.
9. Discuss with your spouse how your career, not just theirs, will benefit from the move.
10. Agree on a long-term vision of both of your careers and how they will fit in your life plan.

Relocation itself could be one of the most stressful changes in life but these tips and advices will not only help during your time in Switzerland, but also prepare you for the next time you move to a new place.

Tell us about challenges that you’ve faced during your transition!