Author Archives: Angie Weinberger

 

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

 

 

 

The word souk is Arabic for the marketplace. Based on that word, WeTheSouk is an immensely powerful initiative that is seeking to preserve the cultural crafts and artisanal creations of conflict-ridden Syria. Home to breathtaking silk, awe-inspiring glasswork, and mother of pearl embedding, Syrian marketplaces are in dire straits. WeTheSouk will empower production from within Syria, and bring the products to the Swiss audience through their online store.
The goal with WeTheSouk is to sustain the livelihood of Syrian artisans and to preserve Syrian craft traditions. To learn more about this enterprise and add your contributions to this website, you can visit the WeTheSouk page here.

Expat Experience

by @angieweinberger, the Global Mobility Coach

I recently held a talk where I was discussing the Expat Experience in Zurich and how to enhance it. Zurich is a typical inbound hub, so many ideas in this article will also fit to places like Dubai, London, Hong Kong or Singapore.

As the most populated canton in Switzerland, Zurich is becoming home to an ever-growing population of expats

Today’s typical expats look like this expat couple: Heidi and Govind. Heidi is a Director who works in banking and is a credit guru. She met Govind, her husband, at the London School of Economics. From there they moved to New York and later Abu Dhabi.

Govind now works for a pharmaceutical company that has had them stationed in Abu Dhabi for the last 3 years on a local plus contract.

Then, the company asked Govind to move to Zurich to join the company’s  headquarters. With their three children Anush, Anya and Anjali (9, 7 and 2.5 years old respectively), they joined the 55,000 other immigrants into Switzerland last year and exchanged the desert for snowflakes.

What attracts expat couples like Heidi and Govind to Zurich? Obviously, in their case they had the company offer and certain personal considerations, but I’ve found that for a majority of expats, the main reasons to move to Zurich are love, the quality of life, the outdoor lifestyle, job opportunities and good salaries.

I asked expats what they would change about Zurich that would be of benefit to them. Their answers ranged from “we would like to change the people so they would open up more” to “we would reduce cost of renting apartments” and “we would reduce cost of living, especially essentials like food”. 

They also desired better career opportunities for expat spouses, which I’ve found is a recurring theme with most expat stories. Both Heidi and Govind belong to a cohort group that was targeted by project ZRH3039. This group of mainly globally mobile professionals, all living in Zurich, would like to participate politically. They would like Zurich to show and live the diversity that it offers. They want the city to accept and cater to new life and living realities – these are the motivators of today’s expats and worthy of our attention. It’s not all about the package.

Returning to our expat couple, Heidi’s current focus is to look for a job in finance while also finding full-time education for their children Anush and Anya. Since Anush and Anya were always in the international school, Heidi and Govind are looking at schooling options. There is also the additional challenge of deciding whether a Swiss kindergarten is suitable for their youngest, Anjali.

This brings me to my next point: I think providing expat couples with advice on schooling and education options is an important way to enhance their experience. 

“Lifestyle Expats” have different Challenges

Most “lifestyle expats” in Zurich are on local contracts – it is an entirely different experience if you have to pay for international schooling yourself and it might not even be necessary. However, as an international parent you need advice as you don’t understand the Swiss school system.

The next underestimated challenge is the Swiss culture. There is something in the culture here that seems to make it more difficult for people to arrive in Switzerland, more than in other cultures.

Let’s break this down. What does this imply? I think it means that while we emphasize the importance for expats to learn about Swiss culture and to assimilate with the locals, we need to shoulder some of the responsibility as well. Granted, we cannot control what sort of neighbors expats will find, nor can we change all neighbors! However, is there any point of expats learning to integrate and still facing issues despite fitting in or blending perfectly, simply because the locals did not join intercultural training? 

I think we need to start with ourselves and raise our global competency. We need to understand the little nuances, for instance how the word “service” has a different expectation for people from China, India or Brazil than for Swiss people or anyone from a European background. The demographics of Global Mobility are changing. We can expect from diversity of culture and backgrounds from expats – more dual career couples, more female expats, more same sex couples, more patchwork families. Only by learning things like this, we can understand how to serve clients from other backgrounds in a better way.

What does this mean for Global Mobility?

Basically, we are moving away from policies and focus on individual offers and value propositions. The objective here is to provide better service while keeping the cost at the same levels. For example, we could say we have a budget we need to adhere to so we could provide spousal support but maybe the expat does not get support with the move. Or, we provide expat children with schooling but they have to tackle housing on their own. We could also allow the expat more control over what type of service they would like instead of either/or scenarios. Essentially, GM policies need to be geared more towards the individual. We are expecting that the scope of Global Mobility will be changing as more international hires and more international permanent transfers come in. In the past, the classical departments that took are of international assignments only took care of that “thing”. When we talk GM today, we mean departments that take care of all sorts of international movements, from business travelers to commuters, even digital nomads. In fact, digital nomads bring up interesting challenges. These are people who work through the internet and therefore theoretically could be working from anywhere. What would their home base be? And what implications would this have on their pensions?

I feel that we also need to re-evaluate our definition of the word expat. In the Global Mobility Workbook, I talk about the Lifestyle Expat. These are families or dual career expat couples like Heidi and Govind, where the roles are fluid. For instance, Heidi was the breadwinner in New York and then they moved to Abu Dhabi, where Govind was in the career driving seat. Now, they are in Zurich where Heidi needs to develop her career again after the 3 years she spent out of the workforce in Abu Dhabi. Their children have parents who belong to different cultural backgrounds, they’ve lived in multiple countries and don’t mind this lifestyle as they are used to it.

Contrast this to what we think of when we use the word migrants. I would say migrants move to another country because they want to find work there. Their expectations are of a better lifestyle and better living conditions in the new country, and they often move on a permanent basis while they still care for family members in their home country. Migrant should be a more general term but has a different connotation than expat

However, in some countries, the term migrant and expat are used interchangeably. We should be open to this too, an expat is not someone who is just being moved by a company with a fat package. They could also be migrants or lifestyle expats who move on local contracts. 

What we can do as service providers in this situation is to support global recruiting and talent acquisition. We could improve the experience for lifestyle expats by addressing some of the issues they face, such as issues with the immigration process, medical insurance, employment retention and language barriers. A recent survey by AIRINC found 63% of companies currently working on enhancing the employee experience, indicating that this is indeed a very prominent topic in Global Mobility.

Is Expat Experience (XX) the same as User Experience (UX)?

I think “Expat Experience” is more than just a case of user experience. There are several sub-categories to it. As we start to develop the idea of the Expat Experience I think we should discuss all of these aspects:

  • the service expats receive at touch points, 
  • the cultural adjustment process, 
  • the learning journey
  • the “deeper expat experience”
  • the transition to another location, 
  • the expat’s performance during the assignment, 

I will pick out a few topics and hope we can start a longer discussion on this concept.

The Service at certain Touch Points

While observing the interactions at touch points can help measure service quality, this is only one side of the coin. I think we fail to understand here that global couples aren’t robots. We cannot just send them through a move, open a bank account, help them sign a lease and expect them to be happy.

The Cultural Adjustment Process

Academics usually focus on the cultural adjustment process. They try to understand how expats adjust to their new surroundings and how it relates to their performance. It is commonly known that in the first six months expats generally don’t perform as well as in their home country due to the adjustment period and cultural transition. In the normal adjustment period curve, there is a phase where the adjustment almost always leads to psychological mood swings and symptoms close to depression – this is commonly referred to as “culture shock”

The Communication Hole

In contrast, what we do in Global Mobility is that we focus on communicating with expats during the initial phases of the assignment (decision, move and arrival). When they have moved to the country, we sometimes provide intercultural training, help with settling in and then we expect them to handle the next steps on their own. Here expats often discover the true value of their packages. The spendable income in Zurich might be eaten up by daily necessities, medical expenses and lunch money. The commute to work might take longer than expected and the next person in the grocery line already shouted at them as they did not follow the protocol correctly.

Essentially, right when they need our support to keep them delivering high performance, we leave them alone. 

The Learning Journey

That, I believe is actually an issue we could address quite easily. Why? Assume that an expat has already gone through a tough phase – the family isn’t happy, they are all experiencing culture shock, the expat’s performance is low. They’re all out of their comfort zone and are in fact in a panic zone. Simultaneously, they are also experiencing what it means to be alone because of the loss of their support network from back home. 

I also noticed that in this phase, difficult situations seem to pop up more frequently and often together. Expats could get robbed for instance, and they could also find out that someone from their family in the home country had passed away. In Heidi and Govind’s case, Rashmi (Govind’s mother) falls ill and needs help at home in India. As Govind is the only son, this is his responsibility.

Here we could help by providing support in small, incremental steps and by listening to the expat couple and their needs.

The Deeper Expat Experience

The deeper expat experience that I alluded to earlier, it is something many of us don’t know about. Perhaps you have heard of the famous swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung? 

He talked about how we often reflect our “shadows” in another person. Being in a different culture could also make you reflect yourself in the people of the host culture. 

After the “honeymoon phase” for a while your reflection is negative – you will see things in other people you do not like about yourself. And you might not overcome this phase easily if you don’t discuss it with a professional coach. I think we still underestimate the consequences of the expat experience on our psyche:

“Expatriation is a deep experience. You meet your core, the essence of who you are and who you could be, a true journey of self discovery.” @angieweinberger

What does that mean for you?

 I believe that you should define your ideal client going forward and review your business model. Think about who your future clients will be and ask yourself the following questions: Are they still corporate and institutional clients only? Or could your clients now be private individuals? What does that mean for your prices? Consider adjusting your services and prices for private clients, market your services more on the Internet, build your reputation and followers and develop your own intercultural competence. 

If you would like to do this exercise, I recommend you start to work with the golden circle, a term coined by Simon Sinek. 

Basically, if you would like to move to the expat-as-a-client model of business, think about why they would contact you? How would they find you? What can you do for them? 

Please contact me if you would like to discuss how you can enhance the expat experience or how you can adjust your business models to lifestyle expats.

In my view this our higher purpose is to bring the human touch back into Global Mobility.

The higher purpose of Global Mobility professionals is to help expat couples discover themselves, guide them through the challenges and be there for them when they go through the valley of tears.” @angieweinberger

Kind regards 

Angie Weinberger

PS: We have launched the third edition of “The Global Mobility Workbook” (2019). Find out more here.

Angie Weinberger

Angie is the Global Mobility Coach. Angie always worked in International Human Resources specializing in Global Mobility. She owns a coaching and training company for expats and their spouses. Angie is the author of ‘The Global Career Workbook’, a self-help career guide for internationally mobile professionals and ‘The Global Mobility Workbook’. She is a recognized lecturer in the Global Mobility field and supports us as a consultant.

 

Related Links / References

2018 Global Assignment Policies and Practices Survey, KPMG International (2018)

https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2016/10/global-assignment-policies-and-practices-survey-2016.html

Airinc (2019)

https://www.air-inc.com/wp-content/uploads/AIRINC-MOS-Report-2019-_Web.pdf

Internations

https://www.internations.org/magazine/three-moments-that-can-make-or-break-your-expat-experience-39418?utm_source=Club+Sandwich+Readers&utm_campaign=27872efc48-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_02_11_11_13_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a8947942dc-27872efc48-154828633

Project ZRH3039 – Final Report (2019)

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/content/dam/stzh/prd/Deutsch/Stadtentwicklung/Publikationen_und_Broschueren/Stadt%20der%20Zukunft/ZHAW_Schlussbericht_2018_12_13_WEBVERSION.pdf

Population with Migration Background

https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/en/home/statistics/population/migration-integration/by-migration-status.html

Revision Foreigner Law in Switzerland

https://ma.zh.ch/internet/sicherheitsdirektion/migrationsamt/de/aktuell/mitteilungen/information_aig.html.

Photo Credits: @Claudia.hug (insta)

When you are ready to show your art to the world you might find out that all the doors are open. 

Did you ever host a party and thought shortly before “What if nobody shows up?”. This is how I used to feel before every party at my house. I thought this time it would be different, but honestly, I was even more afraid. I wished for a few hours that I can sit on my sofa, watching a movie in my jogging pants and eat popcorn. And then I realized this is just a form of stage fright…

Our party was just like any great party.

Time flew by and I was too busy talking to people while magically the prosecco glass in my hand seemed to fill up automatically. I would like to tell you what I took away from the last five days especially if you didn’t have a chance to join us in person.

Photo Credits: @Claudia.hug (insta)

The event starts when you feel ready, not when it is scheduled

I was still in the middle of a call with an important client when my doorbell rang. This is rather unusual in Switzerland so I knew who it was. My first guest had arrived from Dubai. After an introductory chai, Nazia Abdul Rasheed and I took a walk through my city. I showed her Zurich’s landmark such as the Lindenhof hill, where the women of Zurich fought of the enemies in the middle ages by disguising as men. We went to see the Fraumuenster with the Chagall windows and left our doggie bag there as a gift to God. We walked through the old town, had a brownie at the Zurich Film Festival, lunch at St. Lucia and became friends right away.

Stage-fright is normal

I was struggling for a long time to recognize myself as an artist and even on Thursday I had this fear that no one would show up to our event. During the morning, I could tell that I had stage fright and it was worse than when I was playing a major part in the school play in high school. I changed my outfit last minute and was quite nervous practicing what I wanted to talk about. When my long-time uni friend Iris Kollek arrived I was a bit shaky and we had to leave to the location immediately. Our team and friends helped with the preparation of the giveaway bags, the book table and the room.

I had no idea that being in the centre of attention would mean that I would be overwhelmed when getting a huge bunch of flowers from Inge Nitsche, CEO Expatise Academy and her business partner Ernst Steltenpohl .These two “guild masters” of Global Mobility have supported me over the last five years and I was very surprised about the lovely greetings they sent me all the way from Holland.

My family showed up early as well as a few other guests but I was pulled away between photographers,  bloggers and last-minute organizational questions. After a photo session with Christina Fryer from @NewInZurich, I tried to greet most guests in person and loved how many actually did show up. Almost every seat was taken when we started (and the few latecomers filled the left seats.)

Photo Credits: @Claudia.hug (insta)

The History of Guilds is very relevant for us
The first speaker was Philip Welti, the Guild Master of the guild house wher

e we held our book launch. We heard from Philip Welti, the Guild Master about the history of the “Zunfthaus zur Waag” from 1637 to today.  We then moved to Monika Fischer’s story of her first intercultural encounter with her German mother-in-law. The “Potato Variety” story was hilarious and also showed how sometimes cultural differences are based on your perspective of the world. Monika’s experience shows that we can widen our view when we move to other cultures and interact with people with another cultural background. Monika also asked who in the room lived in another country than their home country or who had a partner or spouse from another culture. With a few exceptions, most of the people in the room showed up. We are living in the global village here in Zurich.

Magic happens when you leave the red sofa

When I went on stage I told our guests that we would guide them through an activity called “The Magic Postcards”. We asked people to get to know new people in the room and to catch up with the ones they already knew. As I’m a big believer in building professional relationships to get work I encouraged participants to write a postcard to the people they met at the event. During the next few months we will send out these postcards. I promised magic to happen and now I am excited like a child before Christmas hoping that whatever my guests wished for will come true over the next few weeks, be it a new role, a new job, finding a new friend, spending more time with loved ones, getting healthier, being with the parents, getting that writing project started or photography class done.

If you still want to write a postcard to another person who was at the event or was supposed to be at the event please let me know. Maybe the magic dust still works a few days later. Also, if you can’t wait to receive your postcards you can tell me to

Photo Credits: @Claudia.hug (insta)

prioritize or you could just practice patience.

“Patience is beautiful.”

I finally got to thank my mother in public. Even though I was a little nervous about doing this, I just had to thank and kiss my mother in public. Although I didn’t win an Oscar, I felt it was time. I knew she would not fully understand my words in English, I was hoping that she would love the gesture anyway. Thank your parents as often as possible. You never know when they will leave.

After the book launch is before the RockMeRetreat

Now, we would like to focus again on building our Global Mobility Guildhouse, helping our professionals, our expats and their spouses and all the clients we serve. We would like to spend the remainder of the year with ge

tting our clients ready for their next steps. The highlight of our business year 2019 will be the #RockMeRetreat. We still accept clients who are going through a professional change, have just arrived in a new country or wish to balance their own wishes with their careers better. We work towards more creativity, more agility and a healthier lifestyle together.


Personally, I wish to find a bit of time for writing, because after all, I’m a writer and this is what we do. I feel blessed, happy and want to thank you all for coming, your presents and your kind wishes.       

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!