Category Archives: Global Leaders
Emergency

If you are on my reader list you have probably known me for a while now. In all those years of us interacting with each other did I ever let you down? Did I ever mention that I was “under the weather”, “have a migraine” or “that I am on sick leave.”? 

Do you remember when that was?

Because the last time I remember that I was not working because I had the flu was in 2011 when I was still working for PwC. You probably didn’t know me then. The last time I was hospitalized with a slipped disk was in 2007 in Frankfurt. I’m considered an active and healthy person at almost 48 years (Yes, rub it in…). As you know from Pandemic – Part 1 I can go skiing for a week despite the fact that I’m not exercising as much as I should. 

Come #Day4 (Tuesday, 17 March 20) and I think I will die alone in my apartment. After the hasty return from skiing and emergency managing work on Monday I felt extremely dizzy that morning. I was concerned that I was going to faint. I wanted to get tested for CORONA-Virus. I made an appointment at my doctor’s practice for the afternoon. I was willing to pay 200 CHF (that was the price I heard). I just wanted clarity on what was going on with me.

Emergency

The Dark Side clouds Your Judgement

My doctor suggested I was having an anxiety attack from being alone at home and from reading everything I could about CORONA. He said that my blood and blood pressure was fine, heart rate fine and that he couldn’t hear anything worth noting in my lungs. Also, he mentioned that they didn’t have enough tests so only “serious cases” would be tested. I wasn’t even a “case”. I was just imagining… The dark side had taken over obviously. I felt stupid, like a little reprimanded 7 year old asking to stay home from school for nothing. Went home and (oh surprise) was calm, composed and better. 

I worked more than normal, because (as you might know) I’m dealing with immigration issues, health and safety topics and I run a start-up. I had new team members to train from the home office and a lot of stuff needed to be organized now that is usually done by other people…such as making sure I have something to eat. In week 2 I had a migraine and other issues but women get that stuff (although it’s never been so bad…). I reminded my doctor one more time in writing that I wanted to get tested and why. In the meantime, two friends from skiing were confirmed positive.

After the second week of quarantine was over, I informed my doctor and the cantonal health authority  that I felt okay and that I would like to ask my partner to return home now. The doctor had previously instructed me to “clean the bathroom”. You have to know that we have a rather small apartment in central Zurich. I was concerned that my partner could get infected through me which is why I had asked him to move out while I was in quarantine.

Kylo Ren must Breathe

To be honest I had breathing issues in St. Anton and my chest hurt sometimes. My friend said that I was snoring at night. Like everybody else though I was in strong denial. I thought it could be the virus but there were also a lot of other options (mountain disease, overconsumption of Schnaps, lack of general fitness, a tight nose…). 

I should have listened to my body instead of the doctor. From #Day17 onwards I found it hard to talk on G-Hangout, my voice was straining, I was getting tired easily. (I can hold full-day workshops and lectures normally.) My stress level was at peak because I didn’t sleep well at all. #Day18 and #Day19 I just hoped for the weekend.

#Day21 I need to go to bed in the middle of the afternoon. #Day22 finally Saturday and I’m outside collecting twigs, returning the recycling, making decorations, spring cleaning and building a bird gym. 

#Day23 I spent painting and offline. I was in my happy place, the post on the Pandemic Part 3 was almost done and I felt I was finally productive again. I felt that we would manage to survive this pandemic as a couple, as a family and as a team.

Suddenly, I felt like Kylo Ren had put his mask over my face (how did he do that?). My breathing was harder, the chest pain became worse and I sat at the open window counting to 10. When I lifted the washing basket I saw stars (not the ones outside). 

This was not me. The dark side had taken over my body. I was out of force.

The Corona-Jedi

On Sunday night we decided to call the Aerztefon. Despite a few technical Internet issues I got help and an ambulance took me to the hospital. Sunday night after a CT the doctor confirmed, that I have #COVID19. 

Many of my symptoms over the last three to four weeks were probably COVID19-related. As soon as I was lying there I started to relax. I felt safe. I could finally sleep well for the first time since we left St. Anton. (…)

The Hirslanden clinic in Zurich is well-equipped to deal with COVID19 patients. They have great nurses and doctors. I had a nice view, birds singing in the morning and evening. The food was excellent. On Thursday (#Day27) I was released and asked to join the rebellion.

I’m now staying in a temporary place until a spaceship picks me up because my partner is in quarantine at home. I feel fine today as I’m writing this. I still need to bring my energy level back to 100% but I can proudly say that I’m now a CORONA-JEDI. 

In my view, the “mild” version of COVID19 should be rebranded to “the Rollercoaster”. Looking back I think I went through five loops of feeling better, then worse, then better, then worse etc. With every loop a new area of my body was under attack. RIght now, I still have a mild fallout and I tend to become tired out of the blue. 

In case you are now in the situation where you are not sure about your symptoms please request to get tested with urgency. If the cabin fever is getting too hard to handle, please reach out to me. We can talk this through. You will be fine eventually. Don’t make the same mistake and wait too long. Get clarity now and deal with the dark force. Check out my 20 missions below and don’t be a stranger.

Thank you to everyone who messaged me last week. I really needed to hear your words.

Have a creative week ahead!

Angie

 

20 Quarantine Missions

40) Get to know the dark force. Watch this video by @chriscuomo. Once I got that, I decided to get up and move in my “isolation cell”. Since the beginning of the lockdown in Switzerland I have taken in the fresh Zürich air as often as possible even if it means wearing a pashmina in the summer. Get up and move.

41) Try Claudia Horner’s Online Active Meditation. I’ve been trying to show you active meditation in this video in SloMo. You can do this in a small confined space as well.

42) Make Something Creative with Coffee. Coffee powder is useful to save plants.

43) Learn to Bake German Vollkornbrot. This is a great skill to have at any time, anywhere in the galaxy. Even in Bothawui the traders sometimes accept German Vollkornbrot as a currency especially when they have digestive challenges.

44) Start A Wish Book. A wish book helps you to write down what you are wishing for and keep it all in one place. I’m at wish No. 1281 right now. It’s important to make concrete, motivating, always present, imaginable, sensible and ethical wishes. They should be open-ended (because otherwise we call them goals.).

45) Upgrade The Home Office. Get a few classy products via home delivery by Papeterie Fischer. They still have toilet paper and their service is completely personal.

I would like to buy that globe for my upgraded home office. Seen at @paperterie_fischer_ag.

46) Read A Paper Book. Discover the good old bookstore again.

47) Take a Bollywood dancing tutorial with Stuti Aga Dance Company.

48) Follow real Subject Matter Experts and Scientists. Here is a wonderful analysis by @maithi_nk in GERMAN. This is a well-explained analysis of where we right now in the pandemic and what to expect by maiLAB. She has a few followers.

49) Buy That Camera. Take an online photography class and work on your technique.

50) Plan A Journey to A Country You Didn’t Dare to Go Before Covid19. What’s the worst thing that can happen? That you catch diarrhea? Ha.

51) Write That Novel You Have Been Talking About. If that’s too scary, write a guest blog for us on the #pandemic and how you are coping with it from wherever you live right now. Baby Steps, honey. 

52) Conduct one Expert Interview per Week. Post your video on Youtube or a write-up on LinkedIn. Give the Subject Matter Expert the credit, exposure and funding they might need right now in order to continue their life’s work.

53) Use ISOS. If your company is a member of “International SOS” download the ISOS App and sign up NOW.

54) Send an Orchid to an Elderly Person by chipping in the CROWDFUNDING of Hans-Peter Meyer and his wife from SwissOrchid. You can follow them on Instagram too.

55) Make a fasting cure for a few days. Angela Warm offers webinars on cleaning and cleansing. She also mixes the most amazing soothing creams. https://warmwellness.com/

56) Go Wild with Online Karaoke. I haven’t tried this because I prefer to sing in the bathtub with Chris Mann singing Phantom of the Opera. However, I think it would be a lot of fun. I also love this song “Thank you Frontline”.

57) Write the SWISS Emergency Number on a Big Display. This way you don’t have to search when you’re unwell. Remember 144 is for life-threatening emergencies. For #COVID19 call the “Aerztefon” if you suspect you have #COVID19 and cannot reach your doctor. 0800 33 66 55

58) Go on a Movie Date. Order a pizza or piadina from SPIZZATI and watch a movie with a date online. There is FB Watchparty, streaming etc but you can also watch TV together and use the commercial breaks to talk via WhatsApp call. During the moving you just mute yourself. That way it feels as if you are watching together.

59) Join A Hackathon Like this One. Hackathons can be a high energy, adrenaline filled event for coding enthusiasts, but they are now coming together to do global good, like the Versus Virus Hackathon. Considering joining it if you are eager to help.

60) Pack an Emergency Backpack w/ Essentials. Toiletry, toothbrush, shampoo, soap, comb, brush, razors, cream and vaseline, eau de toilette, medicine, paper and pen, a pocket book, phone, charger, headphones, wallet, passport or ID, medical information (allergies), emergency contact numbers, cash, jogging pants, one change of clothes and underwear.

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#CoronaCatan

Do you know the board game CATAN? I’m rebuilding a spaceship in my living room. Sometimes it is also called home office. I’m looking for a few items that I don’t have right now. Maybe you want to get rid of them in exchange for other essentials. I’m looking for a good microphone, an external CD drive, binoculars / opera glasses and a big globe. I would also like a telescope. I can pay in the currency of toilet paper, yeast and pasta.

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Self-Isolation Instructions

If you need to self-isolate (anywhere in the world) these instructions might be helpful.

https://www.bag.admin.ch/dam/bag/en/dokumente/mt/k-und-i/aktuelle-ausbrueche-pandemien/2019-nCoV/merkblatt-selbstisolation-covid-19.pdf.download.pdf/covid-19_instructions_self-isolation.pdf

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I also share personal photos on Instagram (@angie_weinberger).

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Do you like conspiracy theories?

Various novel-like Holocaust scenarios circulate on the Internet that report the outbreak of a biological weapon from Wuhan. The last one I read scared me a little but then I thought it must be FAKE news because according to this theory I would be dead right now and it’s weird that I’m still able to write to you if I was dead right? So I dug a bit and found a good site to verify whether what you are reading is real or just another conspiracy theory. What annoys me even more than conspiracy theory (where at least I can appreciate the storytelling element of the writer) are those former doctors, virologists or others who downplay the Corona-Virus. These people are responsible for stubborn elderly citizens still going to supermarkets and pharmacies thinking that COVID19 is just “like the flu”. The other people that annoy me (please unfollow if you belong to them) are those who think that a 2% mortality rate is acceptable. Either they don’t understand statistics (please unfollow) or they are just nazis or social darwinists. A 2% mortality rate is high.

Example Switzerland: They say for “herd immunity” you need about 60% of the population infected and healed from COVID19. 

8’200’000 x 0.6 = 4’920’000

4’920’000 x0.02 = 98’400 (UNLESS a CURE is found before).

By now you know at least one person who is infected so think about this. I’m still unhappy about the lack of CORONA Tests in Switzerland. It took Switzerland five weeks to get organized for mass testing. An app is being discussed to track and trace infected people and their contacts.

This is a country that is one of the biggest pharma exporters in the world, supposedly has one of the highest standards in healthcare in the world AND practices “WAR Scenarios” constantly. Am I missing something?

Further reads:

https://amp.theguardian.com/books/2020/mar/05/theres-something-out-there-spread-of-disease

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN20M19I

COVID19

Dear Clients,

It’s Easter Monday and I hope you are safe. I will tell you about my journey with #covid19 shortly. In case you are wondering if we are working…Yes, we do work. However, I’m on sick leave for a few more days recovering from #Covid19.

My Covid-19 Update No. 3 ~ 13 April 2020

 

– Our RockMe! Executive Coaching sessions are offered only on G-Hangout until at least 30 April 2020.

Our Terms and Conditions: We don’t charge any cancellation fees for short-notice cancellations during this state of emergency. We understand if your children are crying in the background and need your attention. As of 1 May 2020 T&C will apply again.

– #GlobalMobilityAcademy Workshops will be postponed to a later point in time, probably not starting before 1 July 2020. There will be homework to be completed before the courses start. You will be informed by email.

#TransitionCoaching: You can book coaching sessions in case you wish to get through any type of transitions. Sessions are limited to 90 Minutes.

#RockMeApp: Online support is available 24/7 via our #RockMeApp. Everyone who signs up by 17 April 2020 gets free access to our RockMe! online program. I wish to help you through this. Hence, this is a gift!

#HireMeExpress: If you are looking for a job right now check out our #HireMeExpress program. Sign up by 17 April 2020.

#GlobalPeopleClubSandwich: We will continue to blog here. ~> Sign up to get our updates “The Global People Club Sandwich”.

~> Guest Bloggers: We accept guest bloggers if you meet our guidelines.

 

 

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***Global Mobility Folks***

Please join the Expatise Academy Portal for group chat and online support. We offer a very special #COVID19 deal on the full content right now.

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***Trainers and Coaches***

– If you’re moving to online coaching and want to try out the #RockMeApp email me to angela@globalpeopletransitions.com. We can help you move from physical 1:1 to online in a GDPR-compliant way.

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HireMe! now for Post-Covid19 Talks and Workshops on

Global Mobility, Expat Experience, Global Talent and Leadership Development, Culture Transformation, Transcultural Communication, Diversity and Inclusion, Social Recruiting, Global Talent Acquisition, Digital Organization of your Global, Virtual Teams, Global Career Planning, and Transition Planning for Expats and Expat Spouses. 

 

Recent legislative and policy changes in many countries around the world seem to be signaling a global shift from open market to a form of protectionism. Today, I would like to discuss what exactly this is and how it impacts everyone in Global Mobility, using the example of an upheaval close to us: the dreaded Brexit.

Before we delve into Brexit, let’s take a look first at how open market policies were and still are beneficial to Global Mobility.

Open Markets and Free Trade

It all boils down to the fact that free trade agreements specifically include concessions for mobility. Combined with reduced taxes and government programs to encourage foreign investments, this literally opened the door for GM professionals to successfully ply their trade in different countries. Another step later down in this pipeline is the streamlining of visas and entry requirements – all things that promote the movement of skilled professionals across borders.

Brexit: An End to Unrestricted Movement

The political machinations that led to the UK deciding to part ways with the EU, that is, Brexit, have been discussed far and wide and I will not be going over them. If you are looking to brush up on it, the NY Times and BBC have good summaries here and here, respectively. Relevant to this discussion is the fact that the British people have been promised that Brexit would mean an end to the EU’s famed free movement, that is, the right of people from mainland Europe to live and work in Britain. This is a form of protectionism, the term mentioned earlier. Protectionism refers to the economic curtailing of foreign imports through tariffs, quotas, and other governmental policies. Cutting down on the import of foreign workers falls under it, in direct opposition to the free movement that made the EU a unique success story in world history.

Common sense identifies this as a detrimental idea, not only to GM professionals but to long-term economic stability and growth, yet so few speak up against it – the very fact that Brexit is happening is evidence of that fact. Why is that so?

Fear-based Politics Is a Tool of Suppression

A major reason for that is the fear-mongering stoked by politicians, particularly about how immigration and immigrants “steal” the jobs of the locals – this belief is particularly strong among the working class who rally behind all attempts to close down free movement. Unfortunately, this spread of fear works on everyone, at various levels, especially in these times of economic hardship, it is easy to buy into the idea that immigrants are responsible for the worsening economy or the lack of jobs. No one likes to step out of their comfort zone, especially to speak up about uncomfortable topics.

The result? While Brexit has been lingering for years, the political uncertainty it has led to is already creating ripples across the GM community. Companies will be faced with increasingly challenging situations when seeking to move the talent they want, into the location where they are needed most.

Many companies are moving out of or planning to move out of the UK, taking with them hundreds of thousands of jobs from locals. Clearly not the best-case scenario.

This unpredictability is not limited merely to the immigration aspects of Global Mobility, as taxation and exchange of information would become increasingly sophisticated, making it more difficult for companies and authorities to work out and resolve issues of governance and tax payment. A potential problem that arises from this unpredictability is not knowing how the UK will treat its laws and legislation dealing with worker rights, taxation and other aspects that were based on relevant sections of EU law. That is something troubling corporations and experts in finances, taxation and mobility alike.

Another factor determining why we haven’t been more outspoken about the ramifications of politics on our field is the overabundance of fake news. When someone’s statement is countered with aggressively presented “facts”, the people believing in those “facts” can end up influencing others and drowning out our voice of reason.

Does anyone remember the infamous “Brexit Bus”? Despite being proven to be a falsehood, that “fact” is considered one of the major reasons the Brexit referendum was won by Leave. Despite people speaking up about the falsehood of that “fact”, the Brexit Bus still swayed millions with its lie. How does one make themselves heard in such a scenario?

Echoes of Brexit Around the World

Brexit and EU are not the only places where this tidal wave of fear-based politics and misinformation have had an impact on Global Mobility. In March 2018, Australia ended one of its most popular work visas for global professionals with claims that the visa was taking jobs away from Australians, replacing it with one that was a lot more stricter on professionals and companies alike. The USA’s stance towards the mobility of foreigners is also of note, targeting millions of Muslims from around the world, and about the same number from south of their border through the implementation of various “travel bans”. These policies have been crucial in disrupting nearly all companies that source their talent globally.

As these roadblocks mount, we are faced with a unique, ever-growing challenge of navigating political opposition to its core tenant and unpredictable laws that can spring up at any moment. Given this uncertainty, what we can do at this turbulent time is developing a series of rapid response protocols/procedures that allow us to stay on top of these shifts while carving out a longer-term plan for navigating these changing political waters.

We need to stay relevant

As mentioned by Tracy Figliola and Gina Vecchio in their excellent article “Global Mobility Coming of Age” (The International HR Adviser, Winter 2019/2020) we are currently at the crossroads of extinction or expansion of our profession. As I’ve been working on expanding our skillset and mindset over the last few years, I would certainly hope that we step up our game this year.

If we want to continue adding value as a function we need to show through our actions that we are finding solutions to all those ever more complex issues. I usually hold back my political opinion here and on social media for fear of attracting trolls and haters but I committed yesterday to support “outsiders” more, and to work with an even more diverse team in 2020.

We need to think big and start with baby steps at our own front yard. For example, I will work with an intern from Africa this year. My clients come from around the world but we can still do more to encourage global competency development and break down the barriers to Global Mobility. We can set examples and work on positive changes in our realm of influence whether we are expats, expat entrepreneurs, scientists or Global Mobility Professionals.

PS: As a lecturer and Expatise Academy Advisory Board member I recommend the Master Course in Global Mobility at Erasmus University. As the Registration deadline is approaching you should decide fast and read more here.

 

I used to once tell my colleagues that I sometimes feel that I am like an orchid. I would only blossom in the right environment and when I get a lot of love from the people working with me. As a creative person, I also need to feel safe and accepted and this is the hardest part because we often make connections between items that others will not connect. Also, connect people with each other who would not necessarily see why they should be connected. 

On the weekend I attended a short workshop in a monastery of a Dominican sisterhood in Ilanz. There in the loving eyes of those sisters, I immediately understood why I would like my clients to come to our RockMeRetreat: It’s because my heart is my compass. I only trust my heart and sometimes I also listen to my brain. However, we are taught in our society to not trust our heart anymore and that is why many of us are unwell and feel stuck. At the RockMeRetreat I will give you all the love that you need to blossom like an orchid again. You will learn to trust your heart again. Feel invited and welcome. You can still join us in 2020. I’m accepting applications now.

Our project and event manager, Monika Fischer, a veteran of cross-disciplinary fields including global mobility, cleverly alternates between allegory and candid self-reflection of her own extensive career to outline some forms of biases that can be observed in professional spaces and how to handle them. You can read her full essay below:

I have never had a green thumb, that is until I lived in Singapore for ten years and got used to being surrounded by blossoming orchids. They look very pretty and colorful, come in many shapes, shades and sizes. Through the sophisticated ability to have so many faces, some people think that all orchids are extremely demanding. Are they though?

People use shortcuts, also called biases, unconsciously. Research shows that this filtering ability of our brain basically saves it from exploding due to too many impressions and data shooting into it any second. Over the evolution of humanity, our brain learned to generalize myriads of known circumstances, create patterns and suggest immediate solutions. We are not even aware of this process, hence unconscious.

Roche research showed (as addressed by Kristen Pressner at a TED talk in Basel in 2016) that people award different attributes to male and female personalities. Whereas men are connected with characteristics like leadership, providing, assertiveness, strength, and drive, female counterparts usually get attributes like supportive, emotional, helpful, sensitive and fragile.

For our everyday life, it might be too strong a requirement to change how we speak. In a business setting, however, I argue that one should step back from time to time, reflect and think again: when I say a manager or a CEO, do I use a “he” in the next sentence? What if I used a “she”, how would it change my perspective? What if I think of my male colleague as being supportive, emotional, helpful, sensitive and fragile? A female leader behaving assertively, driven and strong, is she a great leader or a “bitch”? There is no one-size-fits-all, even though our brain suggests easy readings.

My personal experience in the past several years in Switzerland when looking for new professional challenges for the age of 50+ (I turned 60 this year) uncovered several biases. Common in recruitment, in job ads and in the reasons for rejection. The general understanding says that older candidates are expensive, out of touch with technology, unwilling to learn, not mobile or flexible. There is also the perception that senior workers will be sick more often and take advantage of the pension fund and other statutory benefits. 

That may be applicable to some or even most of them, I do not know. What I do know is that my life took me through several countries, forced me into various professional fields and in different career levels. I mastered all situations, brought up three millennials who now have excellent jobs, I even built a new successful business in a foreign culture. 

Every 2-3 years I get a new certification or vocational training in something that interests me. 

Yet, no wonder, I do not fit in a neat list of requirements that are expected from a regular job candidate in Switzerland. Basically, a linear resume with a field of study that I would work a number of years in. I ask myself, who is it that lacks flexibility? Am I really expensive? Maybe a potential employer needs a person skilled in overseeing a vast field of challenges without losing the focus. Quick assessment of risks in early stages is more effective than problem solving later. Maybe I do not want to work full-time and my income is not the most important parameter for a job, maybe I wish to have a role with a purpose. Sounds familiar? You probably connect these expectations with young generations.

So, I am now an orchid lover. As mentioned above, some people never want to hear about having orchids at home. They are too sensitive, demanding, need too much care. Do they really? 

Those who know and love orchids will tell you that they are easy to care for, blossom for months, return to bloom for years when you give them basic care. In the past, I would buy a blooming plant that would lose the blossoms within days and then turn into a “salad”, a green-only something. Very often, I would soon discover some busy leaf bugs or mites and throw the plant away. 

My orchids do not get leaf bugs.

However, one day I found out that one of my orchids had tiny, white bugs around the submerged roots. Another day, I realized that another orchid was not only getting wrinkly leaves, but it had also not blossomed for a long time.

Did I change my mind about orchids then? Did I throw them all away? I didn’t. Did I say: All of them get bugs and wrinkles? I didn’t. 

I have 13 orchids, so I know that the majority of them behave differently. Let some of them be unhappy, inflexible, in a bad mood. After all, they are just living beings. Give them a chance to show what they can do for you. 

Imagine! One of my oldest orchids even rewarded me with a soft fragrance over several months this summer (I know, these species are not supposed to scent, yet it did). Be open-minded and you will meet wonderful orchids – and people. They may not be easy to read at first, but they will reward you along the way.

About the Author

Monika Fischer is an experienced international professional in relocation and global mobility, a versatile client and account relationship manager. She is also well-versed in sales, real estate marketing, office, and project management and skilled in effective communication in international teams. 

Monika still has capacity outside her current commitments with us. She can help you on a contract or part-time basis.  You can contact her through LinkedIn mentioning GPT or email her for further contact at abcd.mf@gmail.com

 

According to Brookfield (2016) 95% of companies do not measure their Global Mobility Return on Investment.

“Given the inordinate amount of cost pressure on mobility today, it is somewhat surprising that more companies do not seem to have basic cost management practices in place. Only 62% of respondents indicated that they track costs during an assignment, and even fewer noted that a cost-benefit analysis is required at the outset of an assignment. With barely two-thirds of companies actually tracking the basic and most transparent part of their investment in assignments – their cost, it is not surprising that 95% of companies do not measure international assignment ROI.” 

This research is from 2016 and I bet if we had an updated version we would come to the same conclusion. When I speak to Global Mobility Professionals about ROI they usually roll their eyes and tell me all the reasons why it is impossible to measure Global Mobility Return on Investment in their company.

Over the last two months, I also read “Managing Expatriates – A Return on Investment Approach” by McNulty and Inkson (2013). It’s a great book, slightly academic but has really good ideas about what we can improve in Global Mobility. The authors suggest a new model and approach for expatriate ROI. I like their approach because they build on five core principles. (If you are short on time focus on Chapter 9 of the book).

As the authors state previous data based on repatriation turnover, assignment failure, assignment success and job performance were not consistently measured. To date, I often have doubts about statistics, traffic light systems, and metrics. Mainly, because I know that the data behind is often incomplete and stats are too often used to manipulate decision makers in HR and the line. This is because these decision makers are usually men in their 50ies, analytical thinkers, who need numbers to justify their gut feeling. If you have worked in an industry for 20 years, you know why you lose your best talent. You know that you have disappointed your female potential. You know that you are not doing enough for minorities. BUT without stats, you don’t see the need to change. Without suffering (as in losing clients, money, baseline) you don’t question the status quo.

Measuring international assignment ROI is easier said than done. The issue is not only about data quality and integrity. The main issue in my view is the lack of collaboration between line managers and Global Mobility Professionals. We can continue to discuss return on investment in Global Mobility for the next 10 years or we can adopt McNulty and Inksons five core principles.

We can continue looking for the magic potion that will make us look like the next CFO. (I’m thinking of Asterix as I write this. There should be an “Asterix with the GM Professionals…”).

Here are four reasons why I think we are not going to achieve a good measurement of return on investment in Global Mobility.

1) No clear assignment targets

If you want to measure ROI you need to have clear and measurable international assignment targets. Usually, assignment targets are blurry, hard to measure or non-existent. In order to determine ROI, a mix of operational indicators would need to be measured regularly. Examples include performance on assignment, repatriate retention, business volume driven by expats. We could measure savings and improvements through knowledge transfer, risk reduction, staffing stability and culture transfer from headquarter to other areas of the organization.

Most of these targets need to be transformed into measurable Key Performance Indicators. They would need to integrate into management information systems. And, we would need to have a clear understanding of what is actually expected of our expats around the world. Often this is not the case and evolves only during the assignment.

2) Flaws in the business case bring down Global Mobility Return on Investment

There should be a business case behind every international assignment and every kind of Global Mobility. Surprise…This is not self-understood.

Many companies have a hard time even differentiating between a developmental assignment and a strategic assignment. Often international assignments are not really thought through. Assignees are sent to “fill a gap”, “to accelerate a process”, “to drive more sales” and “to make them there do everything the way we do it here.” Ever heard this before?

We often do not fully understand the situation on the ground, in the host country until we have been there and done the work ourselves. Many home managers are completely oblivious to intercultural differences, the importance of local business relationships and the importance of the host language. Too often expats need a lot longer than expected to work through the intercultural transition phase, deal with family issues during the move and settling in phase and often expats overestimate their capabilities.

3) Decision makers and Global Mobility Professionals do not collaborate yet

Most managers think of “HR” as troublemakers, cost producers, and list tickers. Instead of asking Global Mobility Professionals for support in defining assignment targets and setting up a business case, they see them as the “admin, who will make it happen when I have decided”. This is a historical drama and Global Mobility Professionals have not managed to show their value to the line managers when they have taken on the role of the “Policy Police” in the past.

Managers do not involve Global Mobility Professionals because they do not think that they will get any good input from them. This process requires relationship and trust building from both ends. Line managers need to learn to trust in the Global Mobility Professional and ask them for support in defining the international assignment business case. If there is no business case or if it is not justifiable, it might be possible to consider a permanent transfer or alternative options.

4) We do not add to Global Mobility Return on Investment by focussing on bean counting

We need to stop bean counting in Global Mobility and start adding real value by supporting the talents and leaders of the company get their job done as quickly and effectively as possible. We should learn to trust expats in their decisions about budget and costs, give them a good shelve of benefits to chose from and have excellent and agile service providers available to us 24/7. We should not turn pennies around while in other parts of the company money is wasted. We should focus on what really matters and that is that we bring back the human touch into Global Mobility.

 

Angie Weinberger

PS: Sign up here to receive updates on the publication date of “The Global Mobility Workbook (Third Edition)”. Launch is scheduled for 7 October 2019 on Amazon globally.

 

 

 

Culture beats structure!