Author Archives: Nabeha

Guest Post by Artur Meyster

Women continue to be painfully underrepresented in many economic sectors. Unfortunately, tech is no different—women hold only about 20 percent of all jobs in technology worldwide. If we expand our scope to STEM education more in general, the percentage is still low: worldwide only 32% graduates are women (WEF, 2016). 

Striving to improve the woman-to-man ratio, companies around the world are looking to hire female talent. However, with women so vastly underrepresented in the sector, this is no easy task. Executives are scratching their heads, wondering what they can do to increase the number of female workers and attract the best female talent. 

The answer is multilayered, with changes needed across the entire educational and professional apparatus—from early education to the workplace. Here we explore a few ways to boost female representation in the tech sector.

Promote STEM Education 

It all begins with early education. Science, Technology, Engineer and Math (STEM) is still widely perceived as a male-dominated field, which explains the low number of girls who choose this educational path. Even today, only 18 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees in the US are earned by women, according to the Computer Sciences Organisation.

Studies point out that girls tend to lose interest in STEM and related fields at around 15, which suggests that tech companies need to reach out to young teenagers before this age. For many teens and pre-teens, hearing about the job prospects in tech directly from a local leader or executive could mean the difference between choosing a technical or non-technical career.

Companies should consider partnering with schools and organizations in their area to speak to girls about the opportunities that the tech sector has to offer. But why stop there? To really pique their curiosity, firms can organize workshops where the students get hands-on experience in coding, web development, user experience design, and other skills. These events could be pivotal in helping young girls develop the analytical mindset the industry requires.

Increase Exposure to Role Models

The scarcity of female workers in the tech sector contributes to the low number of girls choosing a technical career, statistics from the World Economic Forum (2016) suggest. Exposure to more female leaders in the industry is therefore essential to encourage more young girls to opt for this career path. 

Schools and universities must prioritize the creation of spaces and opportunities for female students to meet successful women in tech. Bringing female tech leaders to discuss their experiences in the sector would allow girls to hear first-hand accounts of what it is like to work in the field, the problems they are likely to encounter, and the many opportunities available.

During these events, attendees can explore the main questions and concerns that women face, such as social expectations, family and work balance, and thriving in a male-dominated industry. These young women will benefit from the advice of professionals that have already dealt with these issues.

Access to Mentorship

Mentorship is key to support young women navigating important life decisions, as a study of young women that chose to join a tech initiative in Cambodia shows. During secondary and tertiary education, institutions must consider offering mentorship opportunities for young women who are interested in tech. 

This mentorship can take various forms. For example, the students can be paired with a dedicated mentor throughout their studies. Schools can also organize visits to tech companies in the area where students can join group mentoring sessions led by female executives.

Education institutions can get creative and consider events such as speed mentoring, where a group of female leaders is invited to talk. Each is given a certain amount of time, say 20 minutes, to introduce themselves and their work, tackle a specific topic relevant to the sector and answer questions from the audience. When their time runs out, another speaker takes the stage.

Talent Mobility

Many believe that you need to have impressive coding skills or be a math whiz to start a career in tech, but that’s nothing more than a myth. The truth is that companies in the tech sector require the services of many professionals with non-technical skills. These professionals can have very satisfying and lucrative careers in a tech company.

Compensation monitoring site Comparably recently compiled results from more than 14,500 users to determine the most popular jobs for people without a technical background, and how much they pay.

The employees surveyed came from companies of all sizes, including Apple, Uber and Facebook. The study found plenty of roles that require little to no tech experience—some of them complete with handsome salaries and bonuses. 

These are a few of the non-technical roles in high demand in the tech sector: accountants (base salary $60,249), copywriters ($65,976), customer service managers ($65,400), business analysts ($78,393), and marketing managers ($81,095).

The thing is that these positions can also serve as a springboard to a career as a tech professional. It is not unheard of to start working for a tech startup as a copywriter and then progressively transition into a more technical role. Some non-techies hired by tech companies are eventually bitten by the bug of coding, and start to learn programming languages and other tech tools on their own. Eventually, they may move on to an entirely technical role, such as a web developer, database administrator or SEO expert.

Get the skills you need

Whether you are a high school student deciding what to study in university or a professional working in a non-technical role, if you are considering starting a career in tech, you first need to acquire certain skills and knowledge. You have several options at your disposal.

The traditional route is to study Computer Science at a university or college to earn an academic degree. Many tech employers indeed favor university graduates, but earning a college degree entails a four-year commitment and a substantial financial investment.

A second—and increasingly more popular—path is to attend a coding bootcamp. Bootcamps allow you to acquire the skills you need to have your foot in the door quickly. In less than 15 weeks of intense, practical training, you will learn the basics of your chosen profession and be ready to apply for jobs. 

More and more people are choosing coding bootcamps as opposed to studying full-time at a university. This is because bootcamps represent a much smaller time and money investment and are, therefore, considered the smarter alternative. Compare the average cost of a bootcamp—$13,500—to what a university degree could potentially cost. Earning a degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for example, costs between $60,000 and $70,000 per year, making the cost of a single semester exceed that of an entire coding bootcamp.

Finally, many tech sector hopefuls choose to teach themselves. Depending on how disciplined and able to motivate yourself you are, this may be the right option for you, but keep in mind that the accreditations you’d earn by completing a university degree or bootcamp can be very helpful during the job application process.

Seek Support

The journey is always easier with other like-minded people by your side. Fortunately, there are multiple organizations and regular events to inspire young women to enter a tech career and support those already walking down this path. 

Women in Technology (WIT) is an organization with one aim—advancing women in technology, from students to seasoned professionals. To achieve its goal, WIT engages in leadership development, technology education, networking and mentoring opportunities for women at all levels of their careers. The organization has over 1,000 members in the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia metro region.

Similarly named, Women in Tech, is an international organization that aims to close the gender gap and help women embrace technology. The organization focuses on four primary areas: education, entrepreneurialism, social inclusion, science and innovation. The aim is to educate, equip and empower women and girls with the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in STEM careers.

The Women Tech Global Conference​​​​​​ is a virtual conference connecting thousands of women and minorities in tech through an interactive platform featuring keynotes, engaging panels, technical workshops, and a tech job fair with face-to-face networking sessions.​​​​​​​

Taking place in Amsterdam, the European Women in Technology is mainland Europe’s biggest celebration of the successes and innovations engineered by women from across the tech industry. European Women in Technology seeks to give women the educational tools, inspiration, knowledge and connections they need to thrive as individuals and become active participants in driving progressive change and equality in the sector.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Artur Meyster Headshot

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.

https://twitter.com/arturmeyster

https://www.linkedin.com/in/meyster

Resources

https://www.weduglobal.org/advancing-women-in-tech-in-cambodia/

https://www.comparably.com/blog/study-10-popular-jobs-in-tech-for-non-techies/

https://careerkarma.com/careers/web-development/

https://careerkarma.com/rankings/best-coding-bootcamps/

References 

Microsoft. (2016). “Why Europe Girls aren’t studying STEM.” Microsoft. 

https://news.microsoft.com/europe/features/dont-european-girls-like-science-technology/#sm.0000a046evm91crtzzd15dbmak88g%23O0g4dh2732ZlhJdB.97

World Economic Forum. (2016, Jan). “The Industry Gender Gap. Women and Work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Executive Summary. WEF. 

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_FOJ_Executive_Summary_GenderGap.pdf

Are you a Senior Manager or a Global Mobility Professional, perhaps the Manager of the Global Mobility Program in your company?

How many times have you had the realization that your Global Mobility Program is not diverse enough? Are you concretely working to achieve your company’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) goals and do you foster more inclusion within your own team?

Let’s see together how you can actively help to fill the current gap in diversity seen across organizations.

What is a “diverse and inclusive organization”? 
An organization is diverse when it encompasses all aspects of the employees from age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, family status, and background. However, an organization is also inclusive when minority groups really participate in the decision-making process and contribute to breaking the career glass ceiling. Besides being meaningless, diversity without inclusion does not drive team performance either (Czerny and Steinkellner, 2009). To quote the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, “inclusive diversity is a strength.”

Why do we Need More Minority and Female Talent in Global Mobility?

A KPMG survey highlighted that the majority of Global Mobility Programs do not have specific Diversity and Inclusion objectives as part of their department’s strategy. But why is that?

According to 59% of the respondents, the reason is that candidates for international assignments are chosen by the business unit, and not Global Mobility. This is true, however, why should you not encourage the business line to include more minority and female talent in their selection. Should your role not be to challenge the business when they always promote and select the same kind of talent?

Another 31% consider the movement of people to new countries and cultures as diverse and inclusive by its very nature and do not think that further D&I goals are needed. We think this is too short-sighted and a biased view of the world. Diversity and Inclusion at this stage needs to be more than affirmative action. We need to actively push to integrate more minority and female talent into our expat populations.

What you consider a minority will depend strongly on your home base country, usually the country where your HQ is based. However, I strongly recommend that you consider more second generation immigrants, People of Color (PoC) and refugees.

Only 41% of the respondents say they have D&I objectives as part of their Global Mobility department strategy.

You certainly have acknowledged that meeting these goals is not easy. Here are the common challenges faced by most Global Mobility Programs.

1 – There’s a Data Gap on Most Aspects of Diversity

Apart from gender and gender identity, there is a  scarcity of mobility-related data on most demographics (KPMG, 2018a). This makes it difficult for Global Mobility Teams to identify problem areas and solutions related not only to religion, ethnicity and disability status, but also educational, professional and socio-economic backgrounds.

2 – There are Still too Many Biases and Stereotypes

As you can easily guess, this issue particularly affects how women are represented within the international mobile population. Currently, women only make up from 20% to 25% of it (PwC, 2016; MacLachlan, 2018), which shows how much more work is needed to fill the gap.

The good news is that 88% of the women (PwC, 2016) feel that they need international experience to advance in their careers. The bad news is that there is a strong perception that women with children don’t want to work abroad. To make it worse, traditional mindsets still typically associate men with international assignments.

Interestingly, however, data doesn’t say the same. 66% of women would be happy to work abroad at any stage of their career (vs 60% for men), and only 17% of women cited the well-being and education of their children as a concern preventing them from embarking on an international assignment (vs 22% of men).

How many times have you consciously or unconsciously assumed that someone would not be able to perform their jobs effectively due to the situation in host locations? Or that they simply would not want to go on assignment due to family constraints, for example? Before assuming, just ask.

When I was sent on an STA to India in 2006 I had to ask for it and there weren’t many women on assignment at the time. There was a general assumption that it would be harder for a woman to perform in India and yes, sometimes we were separated from the men, which was very unusual for me at the time and I felt at a disadvantage. However, I would still consider that I had a successful assignment and managed to work through a lot of issues just by being there in person. 

3 – There’s a Lack of Transparency over who is Assigned and why

Let’s look at gender again. Data speaks loud and clear, and it’s worrying.

According to 42% of women (PwC, 2016), organisations  don’t have a clear view of employees who would be willing to be internationally mobile. This means that you may be choosing from a narrower pool than necessary.

What’s more, only 13% of women who have been on assignment said that their employer has a program that positions Global Mobility as a core part of an employee’s career plan.

Later in my career, I noticed that I was never asked again for opportunities in other countries – I always had to push for them. One time I turned down an STA to the Middle East (for the wrong reasons in hindsight) but the fact that even progressing it to an offer took a lot of persistence and relationship management is symptomatic of a system that is flawed. My assumption was that if I accepted the STA during a core restructuring program, my team in the home country would suffer from my absence, so I stayed. One year later though, with the next restructuring, things changed again. I had already moved on to start my own company. Now I wish I had taken the STA.

4 – There’s a Lack of Flexibility in Assignment Choices

You might not know that shorter and more flexible short-term assignments are notably more popular among women than men (PwC, 2016). In particular, women tend to give favourable consideration to frequent business travel based in the home country, fly-in/fly-out commuter assignments, short (6-12 months), and very short-term assignments (less than 6 months). If you expand the list of available options, you can match a wide variety of business demands.

Most companies are now frantically working on expanding their toolbox and traveler types. We know that we will have more work with these kinds of constructions but we also need to be aware that this is the future of Global Mobility. As I mentioned in the Global Mobility Workbook (2019) we are expanding our scope and this will not only help minority and female talent but also us as a function.

5 – There’s a Lack of Diversity Among the Pool of Candidates

In traditionally male-dominated types of work, such as construction and mining, casting a wider demographic net may be impossible. Likewise, some candidates may not go after mobility opportunities because they feel they are out of place. This explains why, for example, women, older workers and people with disabilities may not raise their hands for relocations to oil rigs or construction sites. At the same time, minority groups may feel discouraged because they lack role models.

This is a general issue when you are ‘junior’. Interestingly, I have seen very good initiatives in the construction industry to overcome stereotypes against gender roles in countries normally associated with those very stereotypes. LafargeHolcim has great programs for women in countries like the Philippines, for example.

6  – There are Barriers Posed by External Factors

The definition of family has expanded to include same-sex couples for most mobility teams — rising from 17% in 1999 to 70% currently (KPMG, 2018a). However,  attitudes and laws in many countries have not kept pace. A majority of countries don’t allow same-sex marriage, and homosexual acts are illegal in over 70 countries. According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, there are still 10 countries where people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgendered or transsexual (LGBQT+) can be put to death.

Still, I know several gay couples who had successful assignments to countries where societal attitudes and laws are not wholly favorable. We just need to find the right arguments and then we often end up finding solutions to these external barriers. For example, with good immigration lawyers you stand a chance of getting work visas for both partners in a same-sex relationship. Public conduct and private conduct may differ significantly. In Africa and some Asian countries men holding hands is seen as normal in public. What happens inside the apartment is often private. What is harder to overcome, in my view, are gender identity and racist issues as they are more visible than sexual orientation. 

How can you Benefit From Being More Inclusive?

Even though it may seem that the global business case for boosting Diversity and Inclusion is clear, the reality is still shockingly stuck in the last century. I even observe that we have gone back three steps in supporting minority and female talent over the last 25 years.

In my view, if you want to expand your global competitiveness, you need to be a pioneer of equal opportunities, promote acceptance and understanding, and highlight the value of each of your employees. You need more than unconscious bias training for managers. You need to establish facts. And facts are only established with data. Here are the four main reasons to establish D&I goals for your Global Mobility Program.

1 – You Tap Into a Bigger Pool of Resources

Establish concrete goals for sending minority and female talent and persistently work towards achieving them. You will then automatically broaden the pool of talent from which the mobile population is drawn. This way, you will also help ensure that the executive pipeline reflects your customer base, developing a more diverse group of future leadership. Report the data regularly to your Senior Management. Without data, nothing will change.

2 – You Control Costs Better

One of the main mobility cost drivers is not related to pay packages and policies as such but to the fact that companies often have a limited choice of candidates for assignments. A broader talent pool facilitates assignment success and indirectly helps control costs better. You depend less on only one candidate and can negotiate better packages if you have a broader pool. You probably also have better candidates if you have more than one in the pipeline.

3 – You Improve Your Brand and Reputation as an Employer of Choice

Having international experience is nowadays a precondition to reach top managerial levels within many multinational companies. Employees develop essential skills and build a network that boosts their careers immensely. It’s therefore important that you promote mobility as part of your talent brand. If you do that, you will also be advantaged when competing for minority and female talent. In your reviews and competition for being an “Employer of Choice”, offering international opportunities to minority and female talent will put you ahead of the competition.

4 – You do What is Appropriate in 2020

In times of crisis, #blacklivesmatter, #metoo and refugees being part of our workforce, we need to take a stance and stand up for minority and female talent. Who knows, had my employer sent me to Dubai in 2011, I may still have been there today. In January, I made a commitment to hire at least one professional from a minority group or from a country I am not familiar with at all. I’m hoping to challenge myself against my biases and assumptions. It’s a baby step, but you can do this too.

If you wish to discuss how to make your team or your Global Mobility program more attractive for minority and female talent, please contact angela@globalpeopletransitions.com directly for a proposal.

We also offer RockMe!, a coaching program for expats which can help minority and female talent define their global career goals and follow through with them.

Resources 

https://www-srf-ch.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.srf.ch/article/18661443/amp 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/5/18/21260209/facebook-sheryl-sandberg-interview-lean-in-women-coronavirus

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2020/06/three-degrees-racism-america/613333/

References

Czerny, E. J. & Steinkellner, P. S. (2009). Diversität als Basis erfolgreicher Teams. Eine ressourcenorientierte Betrachtung. Unpublished Working Paper, Vienna: PEF Privatuniversität für Management.  

Human Rights Campaign Foundation. (2019, Sep. 23). World Report 2019: Human Rights Watch Country Profiles: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/interactive/2019/02/28/human-rights-watch-country-profiles-sexual-orientation-and

KPMG. (2018a). Inclusion and Diversity: How Global Mobility can help move the Needle. KPMG. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle-FINAL.pdf

KPMG. (2018b). Inclusion and Diversity in Global Mobility. KPMG. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle.pdf

Maclachlan, M. (2018; Mar.). Why Female Talent Are the Future of Global Mobility. Learnlight. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://insights.learnlight.com/en/articles/female-talent-future-global-mobility/

PwC. (2016). Women of the world: Aligning gender diversity and international mobility in financial services. Pwc. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/assets/women-of-the-world.pdf

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Over the last twenty years in Human Resources, I noticed that a lot of international talents were frustrated in the process of moving to another country for work. It was not only because their companies paid them another package than what they expected. It was also because a lot of international assignees underestimated the challenge of moving to another country.

For example, expats moving to Switzerland often think it will be easier to find affordable childcare, high-quality apartments, and a job for their “trailing” spouse. Most expats believe it will be easy to learn the local language (or they even think we speak English). Most expats believe that they are going to have a great career step after their repatriation. I have seen a lot of anger when assignees went to another country and when they returned home and did not get that promotion or the role they were hoping for.

Regularly, I have clients break out in tears because they feel overwhelmed by the international assignment experience. When I worked in India and when I moved to Switzerland from Germany it was not always just “Cricket & Bollywood” or “Cheese & Chocolate”.

 

Five Gaps in the Global Mobility Approach

There are five gaps in the Global Mobility approach and I think this is true across industries and countries.

  1. Expats are often selected on an ad-hoc basis and intercultural competence is hardly ever taken into account in the selection process. Female Expats are still greatly underrepresented.
  2. International assignments hardly ever have a- business case showing assignment drivers, measurable targets, expected gains, growth opportunities, assignment costs and a repatriation plan for the expat.
  3. Most companies lack succession plans where repatriates could be included with their future roles and often expats are overlooked when it comes to filling roles in headquarters or when promotions are due.
  4. Global Mobility Professionals are hardly ever considered strategic partners of the business. They are often just seen as administrators of the process while the decisions about who is going where are taken solely by the business.
  5. The Expat Family is hardly considered in the Global Mobility Approach. Only a few forward-thinking companies offer career support for spouses. I have not seen any company who helps with educational considerations and advice for the Expat Children. Relocation companies only give minimal support and hardly understand the concerns of globally mobile parents. Most relocation consultants have never moved to another country in their lives.

There are also five global trends that have made Global Mobility more difficult in the last 10 years.

Budget cuts due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The financial impact of the global coronavirus pandemic has yet to be fully calculated, though McKinsey and the BBC have presented analysis based on the available datasets and the outlook is bleak. Combine that with the fact that the world was still recovering from the worldwide financial crisis of 2008 and you realize how deep the effects are. With both crises, it has been observed that travel and expat budgets get reduced to a minimum. With the current pandemic, especially, that has left Expats stranded, with their support system from the employer vanishing. The Expat Experience coming out of this COVID-19 driven financial crisis – will get worse.

Many Expats and Repatriates are finding themselves unemployed in their respective home countries. We also see that companies are struggling to sustain, with even large organizations filing for bankruptcy (like Virgin Australia). More are merging or getting acquired. Even those that have managed to transition to a work from home structure have had to downsize, with the working employees not guaranteed fixed working hours, which means that job security for all staff is non-existent. Especially in the EU, many countries are new to this kind of unstable job market and do not yet have the tools and systems in place to allow their workforce to work fluidly and flexibly from anywhere. Cherished and spoilt expats dwell on the verge of desperation because they have been made redundant, even if they may not be at the end of their contract.

Local Plus is the New Black

Other expats receive a local contract without really understanding what that means for their social security, long-term pension and often they do not know that their work and residence permit depends on their employer too. Employers find “Local Plus” convenient but they do not really consider all the risks these moves entail because many business decisions in the last ten years are driven by controllers.

The Talent Gap

We now lack the critically needed talent in important growth areas. Programmers and engineers are examples of professionals that are in high demand.- There is certainly a mismatch and gap between demand and supply. There are a number of reasons related to the sourcing process as well. Recruiting has become a science and needs to go through a transformation. Recruiters need to learn to cope with the demand and supply in a globalized market of talents. Check out Avoiding Global Talent Acquisition Failure – Six Basics To Add to Your Recruiting Guideline. Language is still one of the main barriers to an influx of highly skilled migrants in Europe. Even though we launched the green card and blue card initiative we have not managed to attract the potential and talent needed within the EU for example in IT.

Health and Security Concerns Hinder Free Movement

Security concerns are growing in Global Mobility. Expats frequently face acts of terrorism, natural disasters, mugging and burglary as well as health issues. Check out Global TV Talk to gain perspective on this. While often the issues are normal in the local environment they can also be inflated disproportionately in our media. The images we have of countries such as Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan to name a few make it hard to convince families to work in these countries. Each terrorist act — in Istanbul, Jakarta, Tunis, Paris or Beirut will reduce the willingness of expat families to move into these cities even though expats probably have the best security support you can have in these locations.

Global Migration Challenges

Look back to 2015, the year global migration became pop culture. The term “refugee crisis” was coined in Europe. Even though we have had proportionately more refugees coming to Europe since the Arab spring started in 2011 in Tunisia, we all had more interaction with refugees since 2015. While I am personally concerned about the right-wing propaganda, I do understand that the intercultural and societal challenges of integrating refugees at least temporarily are considerable. – I am concerned about discriminatory practices in Recruiting and Global Mobility. In 2020, global migration faces another challenge in the form of the travel restrictions that have been imposed on the entire world by the highly infectious COVID-19. Many countries are not letting in any people, especially those on temporary visas (such as temporary work visas). Delays in paperwork processing due to shutdowns, mandatory quarantine periods and more means that a highly qualified international workforce has been robbed of all mobility.

All of this has led to Global Mobility being flawed, expats not able to go on international assignments anymore and overwhelmed GM Professionals who feel the pressure from all ends as they are in the firing line of assignees, business line, talent, HR and Finance managers. In addition to having been undervalued, overworked and squeezed by their interest groups, classical Global Mobilitytasks have been outsourced to Third-Party Service Providers and Shared Service Centers, or put on indefinite hold for those organizations that have stood down their employees and halted operations.

Working in Global Mobility used to be a career dead-end and a Sisyphian task. We roll up the stone assignee by assignee only to see it roll down again. We run KPI report after KPI report only to be told that no one knows what we are doing or who we are. We are often managed by HR Directors who don’t get us. We are online 24/7, involved in GM improvement projects, listen to depressed spouses in our evenings and do not get the promotion or salary we deserve.

But there is hope. I am not willing to give up. Yet.

We see the change in Global Mobility.

The more complex our global markets become, the more we need to reevaluate our assumptions of how we run Global Mobility

We need global leadership competency in our international talents and if they do not have it yet we need to send them out on long-term assignments earlier in their career. We should force expats to learn the local language and coach them through the Expat  Experience. Intercultural briefings are not enough anymore.

We need to ensure that there is a- Global Mobility Business Case showing assignment drivers and targets, expected gains or opportunities, assignment costs, and a repatriation plan. I explain this at length in “The Global Mobility Workbook (2019)” and my lectures.

We need to implement succession plans and add our current assignees as potential successors. We need to ensure that the knowledge, skills, and network they gain while on assignment is appropriately reflected in their following role and repatriation plan. We also need to ensure better handovers to their successors in the host location.

We need to upgrade the GM Profession- and the GM function needs to sit closer to business development and potentially move out of HR. We need to up-skill the case managers and train GM Professionals for a consultative approach where they can work as trusted partners with the business line managers.

We need to consider the Expat Family in the process more by providing spouse career support, elderly care and educational advisory. We also should offer 24/7 support to our expat families in crisis situations such as marital issues. A helpline to professional counsellors is needed.

What I believe in and what makes me get up in the morning:

  • I believe that Western managers of my generation and the baby boomer generation have to develop their relationship-building skills before becoming effective leaders of global teams. The performance of most global teams can only improve through higher global leadership competency following a holistic global competency model.
  • I believe that a great Expat Experience is linked to assignment targets, an international assignment business case and a repatriation plan and also to the Human Touch.
  • I believe that companies will focus more on creating succession plans and ensure that roles are filled in a more structured manner, handovers improved and teams will function more self-managed going forward. Leadership itself will change significantly.
  • I believe that GM Professionals have the potential to become critical players in the international growth of businesses post-crisis and are valued more as the subject matter experts that they are. They will move out of HR and be closer to business development.
  • I believe that assignees and spouses need to have a valuable intercultural experience and both can further their career and life vision together. Expat children need support in moving from one culture to another and even though they might be multilingual at the end of their school life, they have to cope with identity loss and loss of their roots.

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FlyMe! – Boost Your Global Mobility Career in 180 Days 

Globe and Covid19
The Smell of the Big, Wide World awaits you.

The Smell of The Big Wide World Where Adventure Awaits You

It’s Monday morning at 8 AM and instead of starting your laptop to go through another uninspired day of filling forms online and playing appointment bullshit bingo with your colleagues you look at the map of the world that is hanging in your home office. You have been home too long and you wish to smell the spices in a market in Amritsar, walk through the East village of New York City, sit in a rickshaw in Lahore or go on a hike in Northern Italy.

The big wide world, it’s never been so hard to get access to it. You are thinking about moving into the field of Global Mobility because this might at least give you the option to feel connected to the wider world than your home village.

You have experience in the relocation industry and you sometimes feel that you are not entirely clear on basic knowledge of Global Mobility which would help you to serve your clients better. Recently, you have considered that being a Subject Matter Expert in one area of Global Mobility might be a good career path for you but you are not yet sure which area you would enjoy most.

You have lived in your home village for most of your life and you would like to get a job that you can take to other countries. You would like to deepen your knowledge of other cultures and work in a global context where you speak English most of the time.

You Could Join us and Become a Global Mobility Specialist

If you would like to become a Global Mobility Specialist or deepen your knowledge, improve your skill set and build your professional network at the same time, this program is for you. FlyMe! helps you to understand the world of Global Mobility and even gives you insights into intercultural collaboration. Being part of the global network of the Expatise Academy™ we will not only help you technically, you can also book individual coaching sessions with Angie Weinberger in case you feel stuck or need advice from an industry Yoda. You will also have access to other industry experts and meet colleagues based in other countries than your home market.

FlyMe! Boost Your Career in Global Mobility in the next 180 days.

Angie Weinberger wrote the FlyMe! content which is essentially a digital version of the Global Mobility Workbook (2019). From us you will receive a weekly chapter with homework. In addition we give you 12 months access to our #RockMeApp. The #RockMeApp is an online platform for our clients where you define your career goals, learning targets and weekly practices. You are also invited to a weekly reflection exercise. Angie Weinberger reviews your input and will give you pointers on how to work on your Global Mobility career.

You can also buy coaching sessions with Angie Weinberger as per our Terms and Conditions.

FlyMe! is included in the Expatise Academys New Program for Relocation Professionals and GM Newbies. You will receive a EUR 200 discount if you sign up before 30 June 2020. You just have to mention “GPT” when you sign up.

https://www.expatise.academy/comprehensive-courses/hr-gm-for-relocation-professionals/

The regular tuition fee amounts to EUR 1’950 + VAT per participant.

 

The Full Program includes:

  • A 12-months license to the use of the online Global Mobility certification course © by Expatise Publishers with video and audio lessons, Q&A tests, topical libraries and peer communities.
  • A 12-months license to the use of the MemoTrainerApp © ANewSpring;
  • A digital copy of the Expatise Handbook for Global Mobility Professionals © by Expatise Publishers;
  • A 12-months license to the use of the FlyMe! program © by Angie Weinberger;
  • A 12-months license to the use of the RockMeApp © by Angie Weinberger;
  • A Certification and EC-registration,
  • The membership of the Expatise Alumni Network.

Additionally, the participant can opt for extension of this program with six one-hour live webinars with our lecturers for EUR 210 + VAT. VAT will be applied where appropriate. Expatise Academy will set up live webinars depending on demand.

Click here to sign up and for queries.

The last week has been one of the most challenging weeks of my life.

The bad news first: I have not been tested for CORONA-Virus, because my symptoms seem to be too mild. My dizziness, weakness, cough might just be a sign of an anxiety attack, mountain disease or a weird cold. For me, it would have been better to know if I’m positive or not. Not knowing if I’m potentially a transmitter of the disease makes it hard to allow my partner to come back home.. This is week 2 of my quarantine.

For those of you who are still trying to catch up on emails here is what happened and why I’m under quarantine. Read this!

The good news: Last night I could finally sleep for more than a few hours and I have the feeling that I’m on the right track mentally and also that my body is getting better. I promised that I would keep you up-to-date and share a few lessons with you. Maybe you can imagine that I have become an information junkie. So I’m trying to do this:

  1. I summarize 20 quick recommendations in a list style. Most of my recommendations are geared towards expats and international people living in Switzerland. Most of the advice will be working in any other country too though.
  2. I’m offering deeper conversations for those of you who face similar problems and I will be available via the RockMeApp over the next few days. I’m also giving every client free access to the online version of the RockMe! program. It might help you to work on a career-related topic during this crisis.
  3. I’m looking for an idea on how to distribute more information to clients and other people. At the moment I’m using Twitter (@angieweinberger) and LinkedIn.

I hope this is helpful and let’s stay connected through these times. Check below my 20 recommendations for Quarantine.

Angie’s 20 Quarantine Recommendations

  1. First Things First: Fix your” oxygen mask”, open windows regularly and try to take in sunshine. Look into ways to improve your immune system naturally. Eat Vitamin-C and Vitamin-D. Prepare your meals with grace and dedication. Add ginger to anything. Drink more water and herbal tea than usual. I start my day with adding all the water to the table so I know how much I have to drink.
  2. Help Migrants and Refugees: Share the multilingual updates from your country health authority. If you have capacity and want to do something useful, help the ministry of health by sharing the information in different languages. It seems the migrant population was not addressed in previous campaigns and many migrants do not fully understand what is going on. Help migrants in your neighbourhood if you can. This page has information in many languages.
  3. Buy Local: Ensure that you know where you can support local businesses by ordering food and home delivery. Newinzurich has great information for day-to-day topics such as food delivery, restricted areas, and online entertainment.
  4. Help the Neighbors: If you feel you can support others, get to know the neighbors through this site and offer your help.
  5. Be Reachable and Savable: Have phone and emergency numbers next to your bed. I left my apartment door unlocked when I felt dizzy. I will soon feel strong enough to lock it again.
  6. Define your Essentials: Stock up on essentials without hoarding, maintain a basic list of food and household items that you always want to keep in the house. I’m not good at this at all since I’m a convenience shopper but at least now I have enough pasta to survive a week or two without support.
  7. Consider Small Projects: If you are fit and free of symptoms, start spring cleaning at home
  8. Reduce Your Online Time: We are using the Internet too much now. We should learn to entertain ourselves offline too. Listen to old-fashioned radio, watch DVD’s or learn games with dice or chess. Read a paper-book. Challenge the kids for a round of “Kniffel”.
  9. Learn Basic Relaxation Methods:
  10. Enjoy the Fact That you are Still Alive: Sing and dance, play an instrument. Invite your friends to a virtual coffee chat and set up dinner dates.
  11. Reduce Your Work Time: Set a work schedule for max 6 hours a day if you are well enough. I’ve decided that I will work every day but only as long as I’m feeling okay. I have a hard time sitting in an office chair for more than two hours. I’m working mainly from my red sofa. It feels more like fun this way.
  12. Check Your Health Insurance: If you live in Switzerland you probably have basic coverage and additional hospital coverage. If you are not sure what is covered exactly and if your family members are covered for the same treatment it’s a good time to check that.
  13. International and Local Pension Plans: Verify and update the beneficiaries on your pension plan, check if your pension plan is sufficient for now or if you need to set money aside for your old-age pension. Usually, we procrastinate on these topics but in a situation like this we want to be sure our family is not suffering any unnecessary stress.
  14. Have Cash at Home: I keep more cash than usual. Even though it is generally recommended to pay with cards and other cashless payments for dealing with grocery shopping and pharmacies, you might need more cash than usual. Sometimes you just want to give a person a tip or you need to pay cash at the door. I know that I’m inviting burglars to my house writing this but I will cough at everyone who dares to enter. Karma baby.
  15. Improve your Cash Flow: If you are experiencing cash flow issues as a small company owner or freelancer please check if you are entitled to support through social security. For Switzerland, there is a temporary support package (see email below from Markus Hohl) and the really great news is that invoices from social security can be paid later without interest. I’m very happy with the government’s fast action following this petition.
  16. Ensure Business Continuity: I noticed that I’m the only person who can access the company bank account. So I’ve organized power of attorney for two close friends. The bank was very supportive and delivered forms in no time. I hope we can get everything set up digitally.
  17. Do Admin Stuff: You have to a lot of admin work anyway such as your tax declaration. If you are bored you can work on your tax declaration for 2019. The deadline has been extended to 31 May 2020 in Zurich for everyone. If you are done with your taxes think about all the money you can claim back now. Also, if you have a general train ticket you can freeze it online for 30 days. Small peas but they also contribute.
  18. Seek Professional Help: My colleague Axel Kellerbauer offers free German and English-speaking crisis support calls.
  19. Send an Orchid: Orchids are long-lasting and show perseverance. They are a perfect symbol for our condition. If you know a person who’s unwell send orchids. Help Hans-Peter Mayer so the orchids and shop can survive by ordering orchids for your team and others.
  20. Support this Petition: Switzerland should get more people tested against Corona-Virus in order to make more informed statements. Being in limbo myself, I know that not knowing doesn’t really help. The petition was started about a week ago and by now 2000 people have signed. The organizers will need at least 10’000 signatures before the government will take this serious enough.

Free Support & Access to RockMe! Program

Sign up to our RockMeApp

We will only charge fees for usual Executive Coaching sessions. Access to the RockMeApp, online support and program are free of charge until 30 April 2020. The access to the RockMeApp will remain free for 2020.

Special Offers for Our Readers (mention GPT, Angie Weinberger)

Temporary Living for Self-Isolation:

CityStay 

NEST Temporary Living

Online Crisis Support

Free 45 min crisis conversations with experienced colleague Axel Kellerbauer

Food Delivery in Zurich:

Food delivery with no food waste: FairCustomer.Ch

Online Shopping in Zurich: Zurich Liefert 


Resources

HR Professionals:

Coronavirus HR Comms & Resources Guide

Global Mobility Professionals:

Expatise Academy 

Global Leaders and Expats:

Global People Transitions

Medical Researchers

Sentinel Initiative 

WHO Immunization

WHO Emergencies

EDCE Europa Surveillance & Disease Data

Enthrat Covid 19 Task Force

Whatsapp Q&A by WHO

WHO Health Alert Brings Covid 19 Facts To Billion Via Whatsapp

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Over the last two decades in Human Resources, I have noticed that a lot of international talents were left frustrated by the process of moving to another country for work. I observed that the issues weren’t just financial, but pertained a lot to both the individuals and the company underestimating the challenges involved in moving to a new country.

Therefore, today I would like to draw on my experience and discuss some important practices for that critical period, the first 90-odd days, of an expat landing in a new country and beginning their onboarding process in the host company.

Be Thoroughly Prepared Before You Land

Increasingly, in this age of protectionism, many countries now require you, the expat, and your accompanying family to have active medical insurance before you arrive in the country. This is different from the travel insurance you may have used for vacations and needs to be negotiated with a local provider in the host country. Whether your company is processing this for you, or you are required to do so on your own, you also need to make sure you are aware of what is covered – are your children covered? What about planned or unplanned pregnancies?

On that subject matter, there is now a lot more paperwork and prerequisites required before visas and associated work permits are given out, with increasingly thorough information required. If your company is handling this for you, make sure you are kept in the loop so you avoid unnecessary delays. However, if you are required to manage the applications on your own, ensure you are aware of the full process. You may need the help of a specialized lawyer in this scenario, don’t hesitate to contact them.

You may also have to plan your own relocation, a shortcoming of lifestyle expatriation that many organisations have still not overcome. An issue many people have with selecting medium-to-long term accommodation is that they do not want to make such decisions based on photos alone. To get around it, a recent trend involves making short-term living arrangements via Airbnb or similar service, and then inspecting more appropriate housing in person. It makes a certain amount of sense, but you want to keep an eye on your budget, as good rentals may not come cheap.

Finally, make sure you have wrapped up all pending tasks and necessary paperwork before signing off!

The Move

It may seem just like an airplane journey but make no mistake, the move is frequently considered the most stressful time. That’s because of all the farewells and goodbyes, packing up and shipping of belongings. And don’t forget that while you are also spending time at the office on last-minute tasks, your spouse is at home managing the children and the packing. Generally, this means that by the time your plan lifts off, everyone is pretty exhausted and you may end up questioning your decision, worry about the unknown challenges ahead and fear for the future of your family.

In this situation, make sure you open up to your case handler from the Global Mobility team when they reach out to you. Talking about what you are feeling and experiencing with them will help them both meet your unique needs, and to guide you on the best way to manage stress. Often they will arrange an arrival service for you and give you a day or two off before you have to join the new workplace. Use this time to spend time with your family and help each other settle in properly.

Manage Expectations

You’ve landed, navigated immigration, moved into temporary living and started settling in. Now, it’s time to join work! You may find yourself settling in very quickly because the workplace and culture at the office give you a feeling of “being at home” fast.

That may not always be the case, however. There are a wide range of issues that can crop up, so your excitement needs to be tempered with a can-do attitude to learn new things. It really depends on the country you are in and how well you are prepared for the different cultures.

For instance, arriving in Switzerland is considered tougher because of the challenges associated with assimilating into Swiss culture later on. A move to Brazil would, for example, necessitate greater research into personal security. China has a culture revolving around work and you may find yourself working longer and engaging with colleagues far more than you bargained for. And did you forget that the host country’s native language is not English?

This not only means that you need to learn more about the host culture, but that your company needs to shoulder some responsibility for preparing you for such challenges – you may find that your company may sign you up later on for intercultural awareness training, spouse career coaching and host language training, all providing essential support not just for you but your spouse as well.

Don’t Neglect Your Family

It is natural to get swept away in the hubbub of new activities as you settle into a new work life, adjust to a new office culture and make new acquaintances. An unfortunate side effect of that is that you may forget that your spouse will be having an entirely different experience to yours. Their adjustment is tougher than yours and they can often find themselves feeling alone and left behind. Remember, while you are working they are the ones who will be ensuring your children’s schooling commences at earliest!

Providing emotional support to your spouse is critical in helping them adjust, especially if they are not always guaranteed work rights by the host country and have to put their own careers on pause. Language and cultural barriers can make it harder for them to do basic tasks (like choosing schools, setting up gym or sports club memberships) and builds up stress. Time zone differences can make it harder to contact friends and family back home and you both may feel the additional worry of not being in frequent correspondence with your own parents or close relatives and friends.

During this period of 90 days, you may be in frequent contact with the Global Mobility professional assigned to your case by the company. Their job is not just to get you up to productivity quickly, but to ensure a smooth transition for you and your spouse. They will be your guide and support during the entire assignment, not just the first 90 days so it is beneficial to form a good working relationship with them.

The initial period after your move will not follow a fixed path, some expat families face greater challenges than others, due to a variety of reasons. Whichever path your onboarding follows, remember to be in regular and detailed contact with your Global Mobility Manager, because as with most things in life, communication is key to success here.

Kind Regards,
Angie.

P.S. If you are looking for a more in-depth look at the expatriation cycle (from the pre assignment period to the first 90 days and beyond), The Global Mobility Workbook discusses it in much greater detail in the Expat Experience.