Author Archives: Angie Weinberger

by Angie Weinberger

We work with a lot of highly motivated Global Mobility Consultants but sometimes we feel they should get their act together and feel more passionate about their work.global-606828_1280

Most GMCs I know are well educated at least to Bachelor degree, speak several languages and have good business acumen or psychological understanding. Some are tax advisors or immigration lawyers. What unites us is that we breathe Global Mobility and we are approachable people with a big heart. But what I don’t get is why I still meet people in this profession who complain about the job.

It’s hard to work in GM if you are not passionate about global people

Once in a while though you might feel a bit frustrated. It could be because you just worked so hard to fight through a contract and did overtime to have the assignee on host payroll on time…when the business line manager calls to tell you that the assignment is off.

Or you spent hours in conference calls to work out a good compensation package for an assignee…when you are told by your manager that the assignee stays back in home because she or he just negotiated too hard.

And these are only the slightly annoying days

Remember when you fought for keeping policy and then the boss of your manager overruled your decision with a simple “Don’t overcomplicate everything…”.

Or when you were told by an assignee that they had the best moving experience and then your key account manager tells you that the assignee was adding moving goods after the quote which will make it impossible for them to work at the price they had quoted you. Or that day when an assignee called you to tell you that she had just moved into a hotel but her visa and work permit process did not seem to have been approved yet and you help her find a hotel as you feel bad even though the delay had been caused by the authority.

As GM Professionals we deal with a lot of issues every day but often we don’t get the recognition we deserve.

When I was at the start of my career I had a folder where I placed “positive feedback”. I got really lovely emails and printed them. This folder I collected for the rainy days…but nothing prepared me for the days of real frost.

Winter is coming

The “winter” (as GoT-fans might say) in my career came fast. One of my assignees died in a car accident, another one had a heart attack and one of our US assignees died on September 11th. All within about two years. You are so close to your assignee population that losing an assignee is the worst that can ever happen in your professional life. I became an expert on death in service. Then I moved into another role (with other challenges…).

Fast forward to about 10 years later I was sitting at the hairdresser on a Saturday morning. I read everything on Twitter related to #Fukushima. We had a crisis in Japan.

With the support of SOS International and three hours later my assignee with spouse and two small children were on the way to Tokyo airport. Our assignee was back on his desk at “home” on Monday. Many other assignees did not find the time to leave Japan on time during the Tsunami as their companies were not prepared to deal with emergencies. Even though I was criticized by our CEO for what he thought was an “emotional” and hastened decision in the end I knew I did right. I will never forget the moment when I met our assignee afterwards.

Maybe this event is one of those reasons why I will never leave Global Mobility. Once you get sucked in into this world it is hard to leave. Another reason is that the colleagues you meet they are also big-hearted people.
For me GM is one of the most interesting areas of HR. Our work can be critical to the business and we are subject matter experts. No one will say “Oh that balance sheet…I could have calculated this with a bit of common sense…” (which is a typical reaction you get as an HR person when you want to implement a new idea).

Advice to my less experienced colleagues in Global Mobility

Dear junior colleagues I advise you to pick your battles wisely. Use your energy to support your assignees and your business line managers but remember that most of your discussions are not life and death situations. Learn to focus on solutions not problems.

Invest in personal relationships to your assignee population. You are more effective when assignees trust you blindly.

Prepare yourself for emergencies of your expat population so you know how to react to such a situation like a robot. Ask for security training from your corporate security. Go through the same training as your expats. Learn everything about high-risk countries and how to deal with natural disasters, political turmoil and health issues of assignees.

Attend intercultural trainings as often as possible to understand the host cultures and your HR colleagues in those countries better.
Manage at least 200 cases in your early career so you understand the breadth of the work. Then find a focus topic that you are interested in and deepen your expertise there. Examples include tax, social security, immigration and employment law.

Build up a strong professional network of GM colleagues as they will be able to have advice when you deal with a new country or when you deal with a special topic that you did not encounter yet. Your network will also encourage you and help you gain perspective in case you ever feel frustrated with the work.

And if all else fails you can always call me. We offer a new program for GM Professionals called “FlyMe!”. Reach out to me if you would like to discuss anything.

 

 

Have you ever wondered what you are doing there in Shanghai, Pune or Moscow? Is this international assignment really a career step for you or do you feel that the tasks you have are less challenging than in your previous role? Have you felt a bit downgraded even though you might earn more money than ever?

It could be that you are a victim of a corporate strategy that does not really work out the international assignment business case but just sends “talents” abroad to give them “international exposure” or you were sent abroad to fill a gap, to replace a critical key person on a short notice. It was easier to send an assignee than to hire from the local market. Maybe your knowledge, skills and experience also justify that you were selected for the role but still…

You feel you are not working up to your full potential.

Here are five tips how you can improve such a situation:

  • Draft your international assignment business case by showing the business value of your assignment. Show facts and figures about how you can improve sales, research or processes in the new location. Discuss quarterly targets with your host sponsor. Ensure that these are filed and reported back to your home location.
  • Address the issue with your home sponsor on your next home leave. Discuss what you think is lacking for your career development. Make sure that the sponsor sees your development as a responsibility and regularly connect with her or him.
  • Journal your experience as it might be a perception error due to culture shock. Speak with an intercultural career advisor about critical incidents in the host location that give you the feeling that you are “an outsider” or “off track” or “performing badly”.
  • Ensure that your training and development history is updated in your home location regularly and that you keep your profile updated on any skill sites (internally and externally). Update LinkedIn at least every three months.
  • Build your professional network in the host location by attending business networks, industry group events and seminars. You will profit from your connections even when you move to another location.Reizigers 4

When you start your own business you have a lot of roles: You are everyone: From your own PA to the cleaner to the expert and business development manager. You need to learn about marketing, leads, work with new tools and you neglect your personal life. Those of us who thought they will have a better work-life balance when starting their own business either have another source of income or inherited millions from their parents OR they are not making enough money. They might get by but they are not saving for retirement nor do they spend money like employed professionals.

There will be a time however, when either you go bankrupt or you finally see the traction in your business, where you finally feel like all your efforts were worth it and you are suddenly making a lot of money. (For everyone the definition of “a lot of money” is different but in the context of Switzerland I would say if you reach a turnover beyond 100’000 CHF per year that’s already pretty good.)

In the last few years I have been building up a business and believe me there were many occasions when I wanted to give up and get back into a regular employment again. I have a secret to share: I only got this far because a) I had a financial reserve to cover my normal living expenses and b) whenever I had a “crisis” I spoke to a coach.

Most of my business issues were and still are internal issues. Once I “cleaned up” my inner house, I got a chance to work on the inner garden and enjoy the sunshine.  I might still be in this process but I would say that the sun shines a lot more often now.

I feel like a CEO* when:

  1. I am in control of all aspects of my business,
  2. I have a good team behind me that delivers continuous results,
  3. We have a trusted cooperation with our clients and they are happy to come back to us,
  4. I can afford to pay myself a regular salary as the Managing Director, which pays my rent, insurances, bills and groceries.
  5. My diary is rather full but at the same time I have the freedom to block a full day for creative retreats in the mountains or a business strategy meeting in Goa.

What do you do to make yourself feel like a CEO?

Do you have any CEO rituals you’d like to share?

 

Have a powerful week,

 

Angie

 

*PS: In Switzerland the Managing Director of a Ltd. is not called CEO. It would give the wrong impression if I called myself CEO.

 


When you send out your newsletter with “Here the email subject” you might assume that you’ve lost it.
Or you are just overworked.

Or you have just lost the person you relied on to do this for you.

Or you noticed that you are already way too late and that it does not matter now.

Or you want to test and see if your readers react at all.

 

Does the newsletter create value for your readers in the first place? This might be a question you ask yourself.

 

Is there a way to find out what creates engagement and what does not?

Recently we launched a post on LinkedIn that was rather successful. I am now wondering why this one was performing better than others. Was it because the content spoke to the heart of many readers? Was it because the language was easy to understand? Was it because we had a list of tips to share?

 

I don’t really know.

 

I think it is important to remind yourself once in a while what is important and the big news is: What is important to you might not be important to your reader. On the other hand: What might be obvious to you might be fairly new to your reader or maybe you are the first person that explained the topic to them in a way they can accept. Maybe you are the one person they will listen to because you have authority in the field.

 

So how can you find out what matters to your readers?

 

  • Hold a webinar and ask them
  • Write about different categories of topics and see what performs well
  • Always add tips so your readers can take away a concrete idea
  • Limit your words so your readers will be excited to read on the phone.
  • Be consistent in when you send out a new post. A lot of successful bloggers call their newsletters after the day it is sent out.
  • Change voice by letting different bloggers write for you.
  • Find out which voice and style your readers prefer.

Traditional Vs Virtual Teams

Unlike traditional teams, virtual teams don’t meet at the same location daily which is becoming more of a feasible option in this century. Globalisation has created this concept which is a common phenomenon in large organizations as well as small businesses. In one recent survey by HBR, 79% of employees said they always or frequently work in dispersed teams. They define virtual teams as “work groups which (1) have some core members who interact primarily through electronic means, and (2) are engaged in interdependent tasks — i.e. are truly teams and not just groups of independent workers)”
Like any other team, these virtual teams also require proper leadership and management for optimum results. Let’s start with why we should opt for virtual teams.
virtual-teams
Advantages of Virtual Teams:

• Companies can bring global talent together when projects start, while employees can enjoy the flexibility of working from where they live according to their schedule.
• Organisations can cut the cost of relocation, traveling, real estate and other business expenditures. Businesses that use virtual teams to build global presence, outsource their operations or/and need less common expertise or skills from people who are reluctant to relocate from their home location.
• Virtual teams add diversity to a project. It is always better to brainstorm ideas to add creativity into work process, these virtual teams are ideal to do that. They also enable organisations to network globally with the fresh perspective of every country.

Challenges of Virtual Teams:

• As compared to traditional teams, virtual teams might be hard to get right and hard to manage. It might not always be easy to bring people from different cultures at one platform and get them to collaborate on a project.
• They can fall short of goals and motivation because of the way they communicate. They rely on modern technology, emails, video conferences, virtual meetings etc., which takes away the full spectrum and dynamics of in office face-to-face-exchange. Thus in order to excel, each member needs to be self-motivated.
• Collaboration within a project might cause delays in the working on the project.

Tips To Manage Virtual Teams:

• Build Trust

The first and foremost requirement is to build and maintain trust between team members. This helps unblock their communication and sustains motivation of each person involved. If they can’t trust each another, they will have issues in working together which is the essence of virtual teams.

• Clear Goals, Standards & Rules

Managers need to pay attention towards setting clear goals of each member, as well as the team combined. Performance standards and communication rules must also be clearly defined to avoid misunderstandings and harmful assumptions. In addition, they should also be clear on tasks and processes.

• Constant Communication

Team members should be able to communicate clearly, constructively and positively, even in the absence of nonverbal cues of face to face communication. Optimum use of technology for this purpose is a requirement.

• Build a Team Rhythm

This is much more crucial for global team to have regular meetings so that they stay on track, ideally the same day and time each week. Create meeting agendas in advance with clear agreement on communication protocol and timings. You will probably have time zone conflicts so don’t put the time zone burden on same members every time, instead follow a strict rotation to practice fairness and avoid biasness.

• Global Leader for Global Teams

Develop into a leader who appreciates the experience of managing global teams. Set up one to one performance management meetings with your team members. Make sure that these are taking place periodically and give feedback based on those. Let your team know how they contribute into the success of your project so that they get a feeling of ownership.

How do you manage your global virtual team? What is your experience?