Assignment Preparation

9/24/2013

If the assignee is relocating with the family, daily life becomes paramount to the success of the assignment. Daily life includes the day-to-day management of family concerns; learning about the host country’s education system, banking system and food; meeting the expatriate community; taking up sports and hobbies; making friends; mastering social protocol and etiquette; and learning the language.

Given the overriding survey results stating that the number-one reason for failed assignments or early return is partner dissatisfaction and/or the family’s inability to adapt, the key element to success is family adjustment. We encourage the employee and their spouse/partner to both take an active role in preparing for the daily-life adjustment process. This will allow for an understanding, by both parties, of the challenges they will each face on the personal and professional levels.

While daily-life considerations are important in the adjustment process, it is the skills developed in communicating, interacting and working with a new culture that will help build a talented, global-ready workforce.

Work-life issues include understanding and mastering the host country’s business etiquette, dress, gender roles, organizational structure, and the locals’ use of eye contact, silence and personal space, as well as gaining knowledge of how in their corporate culture they conduct appraisals and feedback, negotiate, motivate employees, make decisions and resolve conflict.

Diane McGreal, Director of Intercultural Mobility Solutions, Berlitz