Supporting Your International Assignee

9/23/2014

As someone who has been working with corporate expatriates for 18 years in many different countries, I have seen organizations consistently add more operations in more countries every year. This is an important indicator of business growth and of when organizations should begin offering cultural consulting opportunities. After all, expatriates and their families need a lot of support as they embark on their assignments.

According to Brookfield Global Relocation Trends, the average number of countries that companies send employees to has jumped from 13 in 1998 to 22 in 2012 and is anticipated to be 33 by 2020.

Such support should be offered pre-departure or within a few days after arrival at the destination country. Support for a relocating professional should include exploration of their own cultural values and preferences, and how their own perception might affect interactions with people in the host country. It is vital for both the expatriate, and their partner, to develop a set of behavioral and cognitive skills to manage cultural differences, both socially and in the workplace. In developing these skills, concrete strategies for assignment success can be realized.

This helps ensure the assignment continues smoothly and effectively, and reduces the risk of the assignee opting to head home before their assignment has reached a successful completion.

Diana Anderson