Monthly Archives: August 2018

My successful friends and I also faced job losses, health issues or international moves in the past. I observe how when we are pulled out of our program of going to work and caring for family, we open up to change.

It is more difficult to change when you are not forced to. When we feel healthy enough we don’t feel like watching our diet or go to the doctor for a check-up.

It is harder to make an effort to learn when you have a well-paid managerial job. The reason for this is not always time. Learning occurs when we stretch outside of our comfort zones but who will do that unless he or she is pushed a little?

Where are the risk-takers, who voluntarily expose themselves to learning situations that keep their brains active? Is an international career and transition into another culture one of those potential stretches you could do? Is it running your own company? Or becoming a mentor to a more junior professional in your industry?

In today’s global and digital world, do you still want to depend on an “employer” and make your self-worth dependent on a title such as “Vice President” or “Senior Manager”? Is that really driving you? Is another suit, car or holiday really going to make your life so much better?

We believe at GPT that we need to deconstruct “career”. If you think about your own professional life, you might be experiencing automation, the death of industry and uberization. Have you asked yourself if you will still have a “retirement” in 20 or 30 years?

Maybe you won’t even stop “working” because your work gives you purpose.

Being a Gen-X, I believe in ‘work hard, play hard’ and at the same time, I would like to make a contribution to the world.

Why would you use all of your energy to make a multinational more successful?

Do you really want to spend hours discussing words on a presentation or numbers in a business case?

We could go on and become the ”Walking Dead” of the workforce.

We could also say that we develop ourselves into the leaders that we really want to be.

Instead of thinking about our next promotion, more money, and the next career step, we could think about what we would like to contribute to the world. We could brainstorm a vision: why do we get up in the morning? We could think about how we can improve society, our company or even our neighborhood. We could write down what we would do every day for a better world. We could paint it, photograph it and have a vision board (on Pinterest).

Would that not make you happy and be better than “making a living”?

Kind regards,

Angie Weinberger

P.S.: related to this topic is also this short blog post from the Middle Finger Project

The Global Mobility Workbook

Global Mobility Professionals,

Since 1999 I have worked in the Global Mobility and international HR space and there is not one day where I do not learn anything new! In the year 2000, I sat in the last row of a very expensive Global Mobility seminar in Berlin. I was about three months into a role that was at least one shoe size too big for my experience but I must have made a big impression in the interview (and my future boss was probably desperate) so I landed my dream job which was to be the “HR International Advisor for the Asia Pacific responsible for around 80 assignees and representatives of a large global bank.

The seminar was a waste of money on me. It was far too specific and detailed. The cases were more the exceptions than the general rule and I am happy that at least I remembered when to apply the “183-day-rule* in a case of double taxation and when not even to bother.

We are NOT relocation professionals even though we often engage them. Later in my Human Resources career, I noticed that there is really not a lot of good advice out there for international HR professionals PLUS if you say you work in Global Mobility a lot of people think you are doing the relocation only.

When talking to other HR Professionals and senior managers they often underestimate the complexity of Global Mobility and one of the remarks that still makes me angry is when Global Mobility Professionals are called “ADMIN” because what we do requires an enormous knowledge and skill set.

If you are one of my colleagues you probably share my view that Global Mobility Professional have to be

  • Highly analytical (you are a comp and cost expert).
  • Highly technical (you are an expert on tax, social security, immigration, employment law).
  • Highly experiential (you have to have moved 200 expats to know your job).
  • Highly sensitive (you work with talents and their families in a phase of high stress).
  • Highly intercultural (you speak at least four languages and deal with numerous cultures).

One of our challenges globally is that there is no formal Global Mobility education. As mentioned in my recent article in the International HR Adviser, Spring 2018, we need to build up our own professional standards while we need to learn to work more in line with the businesses and clients we serve.

We need to step up and become real consultants. We have come a long way already and I wish to guide you further.

Sign up for the free upgrade of The Global Mobility Workbook, 3rd Edition (2018). You’ll also be the first to know when the book will be published.

Kind regards

Angela Weinberger

 

International Relocation is usually stressful. It ranks among the top 10 stress factors in life. I have worked as a Global Mobility Manager and I regularly consult expats and their spouses on career choices and one of the lessons I had learned is that you cannot take away the stress from international relocation completely but you can make it easier by following those seven rules I will share with you now.

1) Organize your move into smaller tasks with a checklist.

It is all about organizing yourself and all those relocating with you. Try to break down the move in as many steps as possible and work those off day by day. Better one baby step a day than a huge step in a week. I’m a fan of an online and an offline checklist and you can use our checklist if you find it helpful. Shortly before the move, I would rely on hand-written notes and post-its. Kanban-style visualization helps in any kind of project.

2) Reserve time to get tasks done

You can set aside a time in your diary possibly early in the morning where you get 1 or 2 relocation items off your checklist. You will instantly feel better for the rest of day. If you are a couple make sure that every one of you as a block of tasks bundled that make sense together. For example, your spouse might clean out closets while you check the exact moving allowance and contractual agreements with the moving company. You might take charge of selling household goods that are no longer needed while your spouse writes to insurance companies and other authorities.

3) Work with the relocation company from the beginning

If you work with a professional relocation company clarify expectations early. Find out what their service includes exactly so you don’t do superfluous work. Usually, they will do the packing but not the unpacking of your boxes. Get an understanding of the volume your company will pay for you to relocate. If you move internationally for the first time you will not know how much a container holds. Invite the relocation consultant to your home as soon as you know about the relocation. The relocation consultant will tell you exactly how much of your furniture and stuff will fit into one container. The less “stuff” you have the better. You also don’t want to take valuable furniture into a climate that is tropical. Make fast decisions about what needs to be stored. In my last move, I used colored stickers to help me identify which picture will go into which building. You can use stickers for everything that will go into storage. Also, make sure that the relocation company will be authorized to dispose of anything you don’t want anymore.

4) Separate important documents

Sometimes the most important customs documents or your child’s passport end up in a moving box. Important documents need to be separated and best kept outside of the apartment during the packing process. Scan all of them and put them in an electronic folder like Dropbox where you can access them at any time. Moving companies tend to have a “red box” for all items that should not go into the container. Request it with the consultant’s first visit.

5) Plan at least two days for arrival and unpacking

My mum once had to unpack all my boxes because I needed to start to work. It took me quite a while to find out where everything was. Some of the things my mum put away nicely are still where they were three years ago. Try to make sure you have enough time to unpack. With children, you need to plan extra time too.

6) Make sure people have enough to eat and drink

Moving is a physical exercise too and if you are a nerd like me you probably hardly carry out that much. You don’t use the stairs so many times normally and you will feel exhausted from answering a lot of questions. You can create a good atmosphere with the movers by providing enough food and drinks to get through the packing. You should also tip them generously. So have enough cash with you at the location you depart from and the location you are moving to. Since an overseas shipment will take at least 6 weeks there is enough time to prepare for the moving day in the host location. Remember also that you should stay in corporate accommodation until you are positive that your consignment will arrive on time. In emergencies, relocation companies will rent out furniture to you but it is an unnecessary hassle.

Miracles cannot be expected but if you ensure movers have enough to eat and drink it usually helps the mood.
Miracles cannot be expected but if you ensure movers have enough to eat and drink it usually helps the mood.

Abu Dhabi Mosque

7) Keep all receipts and expect Murphy’s law

Sometimes moving goods get lost at sea or damaged. If you care too much about granny Susanne’s old kitchen cupboard you might need to consider to store it. If it is valuable to make sure you get proper insurance. Keep all receipts of expenditure you had due to the move even if you get a lump sum cash allowance to cover your relocation costs. You might need them to claim insurance. You will have a packing list and you can take photos of your important furniture and paintings for example. Otherwise, you might not have proof of damage. Most relocation companies are very generous with handling issues (unless they are not adhering to industry standards). Before you get into a fist-fight with the relocation company it is best to escalate the issue to your in-house Global Mobility Manager.

These are seven small tips for keeping sane during relocation.

If you liked this post please share it with a person who is currently relocating to another country.

Kind regards

Angie Weinberger

PS. If you wish to have a chat with me you can book a call with me here.


I promise you 10 life-saving rules from my experience as a Global Mobility Coach when you embark on your Expat Journey. Moving into another country poses a lot of challenges. Too often we all rely on our employer and hope that they will make sure everything is done properly.

When we get an indication that an international assignment could have challenges because we talk to other expats, we might not take those so seriously or we might think that certain issues do not apply to us. You probably also think you can outsmart everybody else, correct?

Still, here are 10 rules you should follow when embarking on your Expat Journey.

  1. Host Market Salary: Often the salary in the host country is determined at “peer” level. However, it might not be very transparent what that exactly means. Often there is room for negotiation. Familiarise yourself online with the cost of living especially for rent. Try to budget your spending in the first months as you might not have a good feeling for the currency yet.
  2. Host Grade / Title and Role: All too often we accept an offer that does not totally match our experience level. Try to find out what your role entails and address your expectations early in the process. Get a written role description.
  3. Repatriation or Transition Plan: I have seen many assignees who never clearly articulated what they would like to get out of their international assignment experience. They also do not know how the experience would lead to a new role in the home entity. Formulate a plan for your repatriation before you go on the assignment.
  4. Immigration, Tax and Social Security: Usually assignees see those three areas as burdensome administration. However, mistakes in immigration, social security or tax can be costly. Follow the instructions from your employer closely. Make sure you have understood what the assignment conditions are in these three areas. Do you know what is expected of you and when you have to meet certain deadlines? If you are not getting supported by your company seek external help.
  5. Life Partners & Spouses: Many of my assignees discuss the assignment with their life partners and spouses and rely on their consent to come along with them. Often though I get the impression that the decision is a wish of the assignee and the other partner has to decide to come along to maintain the relationship. Often this puts a high strain on the relationship because in the host country your spouse or life partner is on his or her own, does not have a network and even worse does not have a meaningful job like you have. Get coaching and find communities on the internet before you embark on your journey. Building up a network in the host country is key.
  6. Kids and Teens: I do not have children myself but I can imagine the strain of having to take your child out of school and moving to another place since I was one of those children too. It is hard and your children might need more attention than usual. Often they have to learn a new language and make new friends. Work with your spouse/life partner through the issues, find out how easy an international education will be in the host country, discuss with other global parents and most importantly listen to your children’s needs too.
  7. Parents and elderly family members in the home country: Before you embark on your journey consider what to do in family emergencies. What can you do if your parents need help or have an accident? What about your old auntie or uncle who was always there for you and is all alone now?
  8. Emergencies in the host countries: We all believe that we will live forever but there are moments in our life when we are suddenly in the middle of a bomb attack, civil unrest or exposed to a natural catastrophe such as a Tsunami. Have an emergency plan ready. Discuss with your partner and friends at home what to do in case of you getting injured or dying. Learn the emergency services of your companies and their phone numbers by heart so you can call them. Enrol on their websites.
  9. Global Mobility Experts: Accept that there are professionals in the field who support expatriates all the time. Seek their advice and support. Be nice to them! We usually have very good relationships with our assignees. We know a lot about your personal concerns. For us, an assignee is a human first. So if you are nice to us we will gladly help you through all your topics and hold your hand when the going gets tough.
  10. Make friends for life: In our global world today it is easy to feel at home in most places once you have established some meaningful relationships and once you have had a chance to see the country you moved to. Work is important but remember: Work will always be there. The moments you will remember later are those you have either shared with people, been to places or doing special activities.

All the best for your adventure.

If you find this post helpful please share it with all your expat friends.

Angie Weinberger

The Global Mobility Coach
Angie Weinberger
Global Talent Deer

This article was first published on LinkedIn.

I need to get this off my chest before I start shouting it out loud: What is going on with global recruiting in 2018? On the one hand, we have a huge number of open positions in Zurich, we hear that companies cannot find the right candidates, war for talent, shortage of talent and all that. On the other hand, I speak to a large number of global talents, who cannot seem to get a foot in the door. We are talking about highly qualified, well-experienced and reliable GenX professionals with the right attitude and skill set. I blame the process, not the people.

We need to really up our recruiting game

Last week, I started to vent on Twitter. By the end of the week, I am more constructive. I did not want to touch the subject matter of recruiting but you are the evil twin sister of Global Mobility after all. We have so much in common. We came from the same womb of shared services. Today, we are both trying to get out of kindergarten of the center of expertise we were dumped into because we are considered “difficult to handle”. Take my hand and let’s walk this path together.

So, recruiting sisters and brothers, listen up. I am writing this post for you. I want to help my candidates have a better experience. I will share my client’s stories and we can always share our pink lunch box to discuss this further.

ATS – The Applicant Torture System

Most of the applicant tracking systems I currently see are a milder form of torture. Why do they never allow you to save a process in the middle? Maybe you did not yet write your cover letter. Maybe you get a phone call or you are interrupted during an upload. Also, they never give you enough space to upload your extensive collection of testimonials and certifications. They hardly ever give me a status update. That should be so easy to program. Here is where you are, then you get a drop-down or similar with a few status updates: We received your valuable application, one of our staff members has reviewed your application, we have forwarded your application to the hiring manager, you are in the pile of rejections, we might take a second look, we will call you for an interview, we will call you again. Maybe you could get an amazing copywriter to make it sound appreciative.

Going back to the 70ies with individual cover letters

Seriously? Do we need cover letters and do we have to make them several pages long? If you really want a well-written cover letter it will take the candidate at least 30 minutes if the person is a native speaker and good at writing. If not, it will take them an hour or two. Just to go into the black hole or to receive a robot response. If you want to get a candidate’s motivation it’s simple: We need to make a living in one way or another. We have studied hard, worked hard all of our lives and now we had to face a job loss/ offshoring/ burnout/ international move of the partner. You will not get a lot of additional value from the cover letter and if you must make it compulsory, can it not be a field where you can just write 200 words instead of an A4 Letter upload and all that?

The robot response

The robot response is a little bit disheartening even if you are packaging it nicely. With the GDPR I am not even sure if it is legal that you keep the candidate’s profile in your database. Have you considered writing a line that is a little more personal? In the old days, we used to give candidates feedback and give them a chance to call us by telephone. I guess that’s no longer possible since you are now based out of Wroclaw or Pune. But maybe you could give a hint, WHY the application did not match (especially when LinkedIn thinks you have 7(10) skills. Was it because the candidate seems too lazy as he did not write a cover letter? Was it because the candidate did not adjust his resume, because I told him not to do that? Did you maybe think he was too old, she was too expensive or too xxx? Give us an idea of what to improve next time.

Thanks for your interest in the role of (insert role here). After reviewing your details, we’ve decided not to progress further with your application. We’ll keep your profile in our database. If you are interested, we put new jobs on our careers website (xxx) every day. Thanks for your interest in working with us and we wish you success in your future job search.

The black hole

It’s hard for most of my clients when they receive a lot of robot responses but for many of us, a robot response is better than 0 response. I don’t understand how you can do this and still look in the mirror in the morning. A busy person is using 30 minutes to 2 hours of their precious life to communicate their interest to you and you do not even find it necessary to send a thank you note? Where you raised by wolves? Seriously, sisters and brothers, this is just not good enough.

The fake job

If you have just posted a job online you cannot tell a candidate 24 hours later that you have found an internal solution, changed the job profile or that you found someone from your network. It screams “fake job”. What were your trying to achieve? I don’t get it and I don’t think that posting a fake job all over the Internet will increase your credibility. You might raise your website’s ranking if you are a newly established recruiting company but who will come back to you a second time? You go back to play hide and seek with the kids in Kindergarten. I don’t think you are ready for school yet. If you must post a fake job for any political or whatever reason at least have the decency to check if the candidate matches other roles. Give them a call, try to see if you can work with them in the future. Maybe they would be great as freelancers.

The sick bird stays in his cage.
This is how a lot of global talents feel in Zurich.

Unconscious bias

Prof. Dr. Gudrun Sander pointed out in a superb webinar last week that unconscious bias is still dominant in the recruiting process. She gave examples of how a name change from a Germanic name to a Turkish name reduced the number of invites from 20% to 14%. When the same candidate wore a headscarf the number of invites went down to 4%.

I had written a (German) post in 2015 about how important it is that we train our HR Professionals in recruiting in intercultural competence. It seems that we have not really made progress since then. Maybe we even went a step back when it comes to diversity and inclusion in recruiting. If you are wondering why you don’t have any female candidates, for example, you should implement the actions Prof. Sander recommends.

Companies complain about talent shortage. Maybe we would find more talents if we took a different route and asked talents more about their needs. Examples could be a four-day week (at 100% pay), decent pay and benefits, home office options and family time. And for heaven’s sake could you please eliminate age brackets and other discriminatory items from your job profiles.

Could you also consider that the requirement “native speaker” is discriminatory? In my experience, most of the positions you advertise do not require native speakers but fluency. Be careful how you advertise language skills and you could have a lot more qualified candidates.

LinkedIn Easy Apply

If you use this function, please make sure that it is understood by candidates and companies alike. I don’t know why “your job profile has been shared with the job poster” is less significant than a formal application. Is that not already an indication of interest? How can technology become a process enabler and not just an annoyance?

Is there hope?

Maybe, after all, there is hope. Maybe we should bond and not wait for disruptors in the field. We can be stronger together! Candidates and recruiters. You could be Ginger and Fred, going on amazing dates, dancing wonderful shows together if you just learned to speak each other’s languages better. Ask the candidates about their wishes. Apart from a job, they mainly want to be respected. How can you treat them with respect? What would you do if the candidate was your next date? How would you treat them? What if the candidate was your next manager, supporter or friend?

These are questions you should be asking yourself, my dear recruiters. Now, do your homework and then you can come to school with us in the fall.

Share this post with all of your friends who are frustrated with their job search. Tell them to book a call with me.

Angie Weinberger

PS: You can book a call with me here if you dare.