Author Archives: Angie Weinberger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s not easy to find and publish your digital identity. That’s why professional support groups like our HireMeGroup exist. I hope the tips above can help you identify and maximize your digital presence. If you still feel lost and in need of help, you can always contact me and arrange a meeting.
The HireMeGroup gives you immediate access to a trusted circle of like-minded professionals. They’ve been in the digital game for a while and can help you expand your network faster! In any group, shared experiences are the key to building relationships and trust, while also providing growth opportunities through feedback from the group and the coach.

If you’re ready to join the HireMeGroup, or are still undecided and would like to know more, simply reach out to me and we can discuss your targets to get started.

I’m planning next HireMeGroup for this fall. You can always start individual coaching with me before the next group.

Kind regards
AngieOffline and Online Presence is the Way Forward for Modern Professionals

Offline Networking As Important As Ever

Modern society has evolved in many regards, especially in how we interact with each other. A significant amount of these interactions now happen in digital social spaces than real ones. Today, I’d like to talk about the role that ‘old-school’ networking still plays in building relationships.

I premise this discussion with a note that I am a champion of both forms of networking. Digital spaces are revolutionary and have brought people at great distances together. My focus will only be on the strengths of face-to-face meetings/interactions.

So, offline networking. A lot of you, especially younger people, might be wondering why Angie is so bent on this relic of the past. To these young whippersnappers, I say: Read on.

Building Trust Through Offline Networking

When was the last time you trusted a random person on the internet? In fact, isn’t the first advice given to anyone on online social media to ignore and not trust anything a stranger tells you? Just how much of a relationship do you have with someone you’ve only interacted with in Twitter DMs?
Professional networking, similarly, can only go so far to building your relationships if they’re limited to online interactions. Face-to-face meetings help develop a higher level of trust among participants – positive body language plays a great role in helping put nervous people at ease. Similarly, interacting in the same physical space (over a coffee, at a professional dinner or even a mixer of sorts) is a great ice-breaker. Shared experiences always do leave a lasting memory, what better way to starting building a repertoire with your network?

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

If You’re a Giver, Don’t Burn Yourself Out

A natural consequence of purposeful networking is the asking and giving of advice. For experienced professionals, especially those who actively network, it can soon become an overwhelming practice. Giving advice is great, it’s what makes the world turn, but when your network constantly reaches out for advice on anything from spreadsheet optimization to career planning, it can lead to the sort of burnout that makes you want to stop networking. It may also negatively impact your health!
Learning to say no is never easy, especially if you’re worried about coming off as impolite. It is, however, essential. Let your principles guide you: Develop a strategy that lets you identify scenarios where you say yes and those where you say no. Stick to this guideline and maintain your sanity!
The thing about networking is, it’s not a transactional relationship. You don’t go into it expecting rewards, or even gratitude. You do it because you believe in ‘networking karma’. That said, you are only human and even the most generous of givers can find themselves overwhelmed at times. That’s why it is important to set up boundaries that help you prevent burnout and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and your network.
As this week’s club sandwich focuses on offline networking, I thought I’d bring your attention to two excellent opportunities to engage in said networking: The RockMeRetreat! As you know, I’ll be offering the RockMeRetreat once this year starting the 21st of November.

If you’re feeling that you’re unable to make a breakthrough in your career, that your aspirations to become a Rockstar in your field are going unfulfilled, then the RockMeRetreat is just the impetus you need to make your mark. It’s a seven-day leadership retreat in Southern Germany, where you will get to network with professionals and Leaders and gain essential advice and knowledge on kickstarting your career into high gear again!

You really have no excuse to not sign up for this opportunity! Email me for a conversation.

Kind regards,
Angie Weinberger

PS: If you mention anything relevant on social media, don’t forget to tag @angieweinberger

I feel that the era of treating people as numbers on a spreadsheet needs to change, don’t you?

Steps in the right direction are already being taken and I believe that Global Mobility professionals and their increasing value in businesses is the example to rally behind. For the uninitiated, let’s talk today about how you as Human Resources or Global Mobility Professionals can demonstrate and amplify the value they bring to organizations. We had our guest blogger Kevin Castro tackle this very topic last year and it remains highly relevant today, so we are re-sharing the main ideas.

Agile is Fragile

First and foremost, Global Mobility professionals need to be agile. The goal posts are shifting all the time – organizations are reevaluating what is critical to business needs rapidly and adjusting the focus of their teams accordingly. Not only do you need to be aware of these changes as they happen, but you also need to be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice. Agility is the name of the game the most successful professionals in the industry right now are those on top of these trends.

That said, we have yet to test the boundaries of agility and how quickly we can adapt in the face of great change, for instance, how we can use integrated vendor platforms such as TOPIA with all the data protection regulations within Europe. There’s also the issue of adoption of agile technologies. For instance, I find that sometimes, even using a shared document on Google Drive or OneDrive already seems to be considered innovative for many companies I work with. (Some often still have paper files!)

Business Acumen and Language

Second, and this one is for those who interact with business leaders, start engaging with them on matters that concern the business directly. By conversing with the various team leaders, you will gain a better understanding of business goals and targets – this understanding will help you make the right suggestions that help the business get closer to those goals! In addition, this sort of engagement will put you in a better position to demonstrate your value – more on that in the next section. A great example would be to understand the growth markets of the company you work for and gaining deeper insights into their legislation. For example, if your growth potential is in India, try to at least understand an Indian payroll slip. (I know that this is almost impossible, but hey we love challenges.)

Communication

An important but often ignored part of demonstrating one’s value is the simplest: communication. Communication is key to a successful personal life but it’s equally important to the well-being of your professional one! It’s a well-known secret that many organizations slip up when it keeps to assignment tracking, so why not remind them, regularly? It’s for your good, after all. A presentation, an email, a newsletter, highlighting key successes and listing all that you’ve accomplished will go a long way in ensuring that senior leadership is aware of the value you bring the company. When was the last time you mentioned a successful expatriation of key talent to the C-Suite? When did you create a report that showed the company the cost-saving you achieved by creating a more effective compensation and operating model?

Expertise

Finally, it is critical for any GM professional to know how to flaunt their expertise. This sounds like common sense but in my experience, I’ve found it surprising just how many people express hesitation or reluctance when it comes to the subject of selling one’s skills. It’s important for all professionals, doubly so for GM professionals! You are the expert of your field, that’s why you were hired after all – you should demonstrate this expertise more often.

Our domain is a rapidly evolving playing field of ever-shifting requirements, technologies, and expectations. This is in addition to the language, cultural and geographical integration requirements. You –  are expected to have a multitude of knowledge, attitude, skills and you need to learn to constantly reflect your experiences and integrate body learning into your attributes.

Develop and Grow Global Competency

I tackled this topic in detail on last week’s “Club Sandwich”, you can catch up with the post here.

One way to build your knowledge base is to join the Global Mobility courses at the Expatise Academy in Rotterdam, Holland.  I’m currently teaching several courses, which are all now available to YOU, online. My courses deal with Global Mobility Competencies, while also focusing on intercultural competency, building solid international assignment business cases and most importantly, bringing the human touch back into our processes. There are all sorts of other technical courses available as well, by experts in the fields of immigration, taxation, social security, and employment law.

Check out the new and shiny “Educate Yourself Platform” by Expatise Academy now.  

Please mention me when you sign up to qualify for a discount via this link or email learning@expatise.academy.

Let’s keep our momentum going and aim to be even better at what we do. I believe in the “Future of Global Mobility” (#FoGM) and that we will grow in scope and influence.

Kind regards,
Angie Weinberger

PS: If you mention anything relevant on social media, don’t forget to brand it with #GlobalMobility.

Why it is so difficult to come up with a good curriculum for Global Mobility

As you probably understood already the arena of Global Mobility is vast and no Global Mobility Manager will have all the answers. If you enjoy constant challenges and a day that never looks the same Global Mobility could be right for you. However, you also need to be very structured, focussed and analytical. For Global Mobility Educators, it is a constant challenge to provide a curriculum that is based on the right career level and also deep enough. Most courses you will find about Global Mobility in your home country will assume the home approach and all the special legal areas will mainly be presented based on “home” legislation and in the home language. If you are managing a global population and wish to implement a host approach you will need to go through a lot of learning by doing and you probably have to invent the wheel.

The Expatise Academy in Holland

I recommend the Expatise Academy program in Global Mobility because I am a lecturer at the Academy and have seen how they ensure the high-quality standards in teaching. The program has a modular approach and follows your career development as a Global Mobility Professional. You should consider learning the basics at least for the home country of labor and employment law, immigration, personal and corporate tax and you need to understand your Global Mobility policy and compensation approaches.

Global Competency

A factor that is often underestimated in Global Mobility is the critical importance of developing global competency. As long as we do not see cultural differences, we do not know why men and women from other cultures behave and think differently than we do. We just assume that they are “strange”. Also, we might think we treat the other person with respect but the concept of respect is defined differently in other culture. Even if we consider ourselves open-minded, we might not have developed the skills that we need in order to be more effective in other cultures.

Our brains today still work in a similar way to that of the cavewoman. We often decide only about fight or flight. We hardly ever step back in stressful situations and think “Why is that person behaving like this?”.  We rarely sit down, take a deep breath, smile and then write a polite email to say that our judgment of the situation might have been guided by our own values and assumptions. No. Normally we jump to conclusions first and put other people’s behavior in a box (Like / Not Like). Facebook does not help.

We rely on our mental images and can become prejudiced because this is the way our gut decides if we are safe or in danger. Our mental images are influenced by our inner landscapes but also largely by the pictures we see on the news channels every day.  When some Westerners hear “Pakistan” they think “terrorism”, “Islamists”, “oppression of women” and “Osama bin Laden” instead of  “IT professionals”, “tourism” or even “Benazir Bhutto”.

A holistic Global Competency model

For the development of global competency, I have developed a simplified model with five elements: knowledge,  attitude, skills, experience and body learning. I first explained this model in an article in the German-speaking HR magazine Persorama (Weinberger, 2013). I work with this model in executive coaching and it also helps junior professionals start developing their effectiveness in a global context.

What is Global Competency?

Global Competency is the ability to work effectively in a global, complex environment with a high level of stress while achieving goals sustainably and in accordance with your own resources. It is a combination of knowledge, attitude, skills, reflected experiences and body learning.

Let’s look at the different elements of Global Competency.

Knowledge

You can gain knowledge of a country’s history,  politics, economy, and religion.  It is helpful not to focus only on factual information but to prioritize all the topics you enjoy reading about. As mentioned previously, start with the home country and move on to the knowledge areas of other legislation. Areas of knowledge you need to study are the tax, social security, immigration, local employment law, business terms, compensation and benefits, country-specific history and processes.

Attitude

It is very important that you develop openness for ambiguity, the potential to accept new experiences and the questioning of your own cultural minting. Through making yourself aware of and verifying your own cultural beliefs, you develop a more open attitude. Once you understand and are aware of your own cultural attitude and behaviors you are able to change your behavior to be more effective. You want to develop a global mindset and become more open towards ambiguity and not knowing. You want to practice curiosity and learn to be humble and serving.

Skills

Through developing your foreign language skills, active listening and empathy you can gain better access to people of other cultures. In today’s technology-driven times I believe it is also important for a globally active professional to have media competency. It’s important to be effective in telephone and video-conferences, but also to be able to build connections via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If you are working in Global Mobility you will have to develop your analytical problem- solving skills, you need a feel for numbers. You want to develop your language skills (especially English). You might need consulting and communication skills. You need to improve the way you build relationships.  You need to work with information and communication technology effectively and have a grasp of Social Media.

Reflected Experience

When dealing with other cultures it is helpful to analyze critical situations and incidents. One option is the „search for the proof of the opposite. You could, for example, have an assumption about a person’s cultural behavior and then assume that it’s the opposite of your assumption and find proof for this theory. You can start to write an intercultural diary and reflect your assignee cases by applying systemic thinking. You need the ability to record cases, decisions, and exceptions. You need to able to note the details while not losing focus of the overall process. You could debrief challenging assignees with an external coach.

Body Learning

By learning dances or practicing martial arts, and relaxation methods you learn to focus and you will feel better in your body. Thereby you will be able to handle the stress and global complexity a lot better. A good physical constitution is helpful to remain globally competent and effective.  Other creative tasks such as painting, playing the piano and photography are also helpful. You want to develop a good routine for processing information. You can increase your presence in meetings and with your clients by following our advice on learning a dance, martial art or relaxation method.

Test your Intercultural Sensitivity

A lot of scientific work has been written on intercultural sensitivity. My favorite model is Milton Bennett’s developmental model of intercultural sensitivity (DMIS). This model is the basis for the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) by  Hammer and Bennett (2001).
Would you like to test your intercultural sensitivity with the IDI and see if you estimated your competence correctly?
If you would like to go through the test you can email me. The cost is CHF 97 including a debriefing.

by Brooke Faulkner via @faulknercreek

The worldwide web has also led to a more worldwide economy, and despite recent political manoeuvrings and issues with trade, that situation is not likely to change anytime soon. Many companies have moved toward not only a remote workforce, but one that is international as well.

Think of the social media sharing app Buffer. The company has a 100 percent remote workforce with no physical home office. Employees and often their spouses are treated to a once-a-year retreat paid for with the money the company saves on infrastructure. Employees work around the world, in many different places and environments.

How do they manage this workforce? How do other countries do it? What does it take to manage employees across the globe and from various cultures who speak different languages? It is challenging, but for many companies, it is not only worth it, but it is a necessary evil.

Understanding Culture

One of the first challenges you will face is maintaining company culture when a different societal culture defines the country where your employees are located. When any company is looking to expand globally, it is important to maintain vision, mission, and values. This involves some important steps in cross-cultural management.

Send Experienced Teams to Establish New Teams

No matter how great a leader you might be, you cannot instil company culture by yourself. Typically, as a company grows, the company culture becomes a blend of employees and management working together. Assemble a small, experienced team to help set up and manage remote teams even if they do so virtually. This will assure that mission and vision are communicated properly.

Understand and Honor Local Customs and Traditions

You cannot establish a workforce presence in another country without understanding and respecting local customs and traditions including holidays, religious restrictions, and other cultural differences. To work with these things, you will have to think outside the box and have alternative holidays and other considerations.

This translates to many different areas, including the location and layout of offices, necessary break times, and even dress codes if you have one. Your team must work to align your company culture with that of your host country.

Work at Cultural Alignment

This cultural alignment will take work. There are several important aspects of aligning your company culture globally, and it will not happen organically. Here are some points to consider.

  • Direction and purpose: What is your “why” and how does it translate to a new culture?
  • Supervisor support: What does management support mean, and how can it be achieved remotely or globally?
  • Learning and growth: Are there opportunities for growth even globally? Are training materials available in the native language and are they relevant?
  • Relationships and team performance: Relationships must be developed outside of employees’ and management’s comfort zones, but the end result is rewarding. Pick team members who are willing to do this.
  • Make feedback into influence: Your global team members are more than just employees and will have ideas of how to make your company work in their culture. Welcome their influence and implement their feedback.
  • Recognition and rewards: These may look different in another culture, but they are still necessary and relevant.

By making the alignment of your company culture a priority and following these steps, you will increase the value of your global presence.

Managing Remote Teams

Like Buffer, many global teams are remote, and managing remote workers has additional challenges. While there are many advantages to a remote team such as global talent, saving the cost of relocation, and the addition of diversity, there are also some drawbacks. One of those is that they can be more difficult to manage.

LIke cultural alignment, there are some general guidelines for managing virtual teams that apply nearly universally.

  • Build trust: Your team must trust that you have their best interests at heart, just as you do those of your customers. You have to follow through with what you say you will do, and give them the support they need to accomplish the tasks you set for them.
  • Have clear goals, standards, and rules: A part of this building of trust is to have clear and consistent expectations and goals. Work must be done to a standard regardless of where in the world your employee is.
  • Communicate clearly and constantly: Communication is the key, and while this can be challenging in different time zones and across the world, it still can be done. As a leader, it is your responsibility to align your schedule with theirs, not for them to inconvenience themselves to accommodate you.
  • Build a team rhythm: Consistency is also key. Develop a rhythm and a schedule your team can adhere to, and that works for all of you. Develop and stick to consistent workflows to keep everyone at their most productive.

To manage a remote team, you will need a more flexible company culture, especially worldwide. Be conscious of this, and don’t micromanage no matter where in the world your employees are. Your management style must be consistent and predictable, too. Managing people is much different than managing spreadsheets and numbers, no matter how far removed from your office they are.

Remember, you are the leader, and the satisfaction of the employees and, in the end, the customer is your responsibility.

Providing Your Team with Tools

One of the key elements to working globally is to have tools that translate to everyone and are available in a variety of languages and formats for different countries. There are several tools that do this in different categories.

There are other ways to support your team as well. Tablets or laptops are the most common platforms, but you may want to provide remote teams with phones or pay their cell phone service costs for them. Both physical tools and software are important and should be a consideration. Managing their devices makes it easier to manage the team overall.

Traveling Both Ways

Face it, if you expand globally, you will be doing more travel, and you may want to bring in your remote employees from time to time, or like Buffer, have some kind of annual gathering.

While video meetings and chat are good, there is something to be said for meeting face to face. There are many ways to manage your international business travel, from rewards cards to mileage programs, and rewards programs can save you substantial money, especially when traveling abroad. Don’t be afraid to bring employees to you too, for annual reviews or other special events. Make this a positive experience for them, and use the time to connect and build a deeper relationship.

Global management and handling an international workforce comes with a number of challenges, but in the end, the diversity, the relationships you develop, and the broader presence of your company will be worth all of the work.