The Commisceo Global Blog

Keeping you up to date with all the news, articles, tools, opinions and press relating to the world of cultural understanding, in and out of business.

Muslim twins' discrimination case could lead to record payout

A major test of the UK's religious discrimination laws next week could see a record compensation payout, according to reports.

A pair of Muslim twins are taking City firm Tradition Securities and Futures to an employment tribunal on a series of allegations.

The French nationals claim bosses at the company took Jewish clients from them, and gave them to non-Muslim colleagues.

They are said to be seeking damages that could run into millions of pounds for religious and racial discrimination, among other claims.

The sisters worked as brokers at Tradition Securities and Futures from 2002 to 2004, when they transferred to the firm's London office for two years before quitting.

Read more > PT
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A Unified Culture: Unilever Europe


unilever culture


Three years ago, Unilever was suffering on two fronts: a soft top line and an elevated cost structure. The company made a radical choice to embark on a total transformation program, emphasizing an approach it dubbed “One Unilever.” Throughout Europe, the organization strove to achieve a single ERP platform, a common European supply chain, and a number of outsourcing initiatives in IT, HR, and finance that would unify the firm’s many iterations across international borders and myriad cultures.

According to Jean Stephane Payraudeau, director and F&A outsourcing senior project executive for IBM ’s Unilever EMEA account, “It was a radical transformation from the Unilever Europe point of view. Unilever needed external help to execute the changes. By enabling people to focus on core business, they were releasing their energies there, exercising their real expertise, and leveraging the scale of outsourcing vendors.” And because the company wanted to achieve a turnaround on the grand scale in a very short timeframe, outsourcing seemed the obvious solution.

Gijsbert De-Zoeten, Unilever’s managing director for Unilever finance business services – Europe, said the real story had three programs for the three different business units of Unilever Europe in every country—food, home, and personal care—all moving toward a single, cohesive operating unit.
“In the European region, Unilever Europe operated as a loose federation of countries,” De-Zoeten said. “We wanted to integrate them into one European organization, whether it was for the supply chain or sales and marketing, but we needed to implement the systems to enable that. At the heart of the program is an SAP standardized platform we rolled out, as well as common systems in finance and HR.”

Read more > Unilever
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Tricky feats of cross-cultural communication


A true story: when a US telecoms giant decided to replace its manager in Thailand several years ago, it chose an ABC - American-born Chinese - in the belief he would be more culturally attuned to doing business in Asia.

He was not shy about telling his colleagues how to behave and one evening berated a couple of European rivals who had been caught engaged in financial shenanigans.

They decided to play a joke on the new arrival. They told their driver to follow him and tell him he was going to be killed. A crude jest, but the young manager was panicked into ringing his head office saying his life was in danger.

The head office told him to stay calm, stick to the business district and take precautions.

What they did not tell him was that they had hired a security firm that uses ex-CIA agents - at some considerable cost - to watch his back.

When the security outfit made its report to the conglomerate a week or so later, it turned out the first-time-in-Asia manager was doing lots of cultural homework - spending every night in at least one bordello. His career wilted.

The conglomerate had made a mistake. The manager may have been competent, but - appearances notwithstanding - showed no special talent or experience for operating in Asia.

Read more > FT.com

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HR Expat Management Conferences, Event, Seminars 2008


HR events 2008


GMS (Global Mobility Specialist) Training and Certification

When and Where:
13th, 16-17 June 2008 – Brussels, Belgium
27-29 October 2008 – Washington D.C.
Produced by: Worldwide ERC’s Global Workforce Association
Cost: See website
More information:
www.erc.org/PERC_INTERNATIONAL/gms_dates_locations.shtml
Description: The Global Mobility Specialist (GMS™) designation signifies that you have taken training in the specialized field of global workforce mobility and are committed to ongoing education to grow your expertise.

HR Strategy - Translating Business Strategy into HR Actions
When and Where:
30th July, 2008 – Hong Kong
Produced by: Mercer
Cost: see website
More information:
www.mercer.com
Description: As organisations in Asia ask HR to play a more active role in helping achieve business success, many HR professionals are being required to actively contribute to setting and implementing the business strategy. HR professionals are also being called upon to play the role of strategic advisor to the business.  How can HR play an active role in helping to implement business strategy? Through developing congruent HR and Human Capital strategies that align what business needs to achieve to what HR does, HR can directly contribute to business success. Acquiring the knowledge and applying the know-how to make this happen has become an imperative for HR professionals in Asia to start playing this crucial role.

Becoming an Effective HR Business Partner
When and Where:
2nd September, 2008 – Melbourne, Australia
Produced by: Mercer
Cost: see website
More information: www.mercer.com
Description: One of the challenges for HR Professionals today is the need to not only deliver efficient and reliable HR operations and systems, but also to act as a business partner and strategic advisor to the senior team. This 1-day workshop helps participants to understand the new demands and roles of the HR Professional, and explores how to position oneself as a true business partner. Case studies, group sharing and facilitated discussions help highlight issues and how to address them.

JSB’s 5th Annual Employment Law Europe 2008 - A Practical Approach to the Latest Developments in Six European Jurisdictions: France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Spain
When: 23 - 25 April 2008
Where: London, U.K.
Produced by: JSB Training and Development
Cost: see website
More information: www.eurolaw2008.com, Email: www.jsbonline.com/booking
Tel. UK 020 8371 7032
Description: Europe plays a central role in the UK’s economic success and is vital for UK businesses. Understanding how employment law works in different European countries has become one of the key challenges facing business for many HR professionals, in-house lawyers and advisers who operate in more than one European jurisdiction. This comprehensive three-day conference will enable you to deal with employment law issues in France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.  Leading experts from each jurisdiction will point out pitfalls and highlight how each domestic legal system differs from the UK.

The Summit on Leading Diversity – Practical Solutions for Building Inclusive and Productive Organizations
When: 28 – 30 April, 2008
Where: Atlanta, GA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/div/default.aspx
Description: As the nation's premiere diversity event, the Summit on Leading Diversity plays an integral role in creating and sustaining inclusive work environments that mirror the demographic makeup of this country. Linkage prides itself on the quality and depth of the program and remains committed to showcasing a collection of the most vital tools, strategies, and best practices available in the diversity field. Each year, the Summit takes diversity work to new levels by building on the concepts presented the previous year and challenging presenters and participants to be visionary in their thoughts and actions



The Human Resources Forum
When: 7-10 May 2008
Where: Oriana, Southampton, U.K.
Produced by: Richmond Events
Cost: see website
More information: www.hrforum.co.uk
Description: An event that combines an outstanding conference programme with facilitated networking. Meetings are pre-arranged allowing delegates to research potential suppliers, benchmark existing ones and hear about new products and services in the marketplace. Equally, for suppliers, it’s an opportunity to build new relationships and affirm existing ones. It’s also an event where you’re likely to achieve more in three days than you usually do in three months!

The Best of Organizational Development Summit – Proven Tools, Skills and Best Practices for OD and HR Practitioners 
When: 13 -15 May 2008
Where: Chicago, IL
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/od/default.aspx
Description: In its 10th year, The Best of Organizational Development Summit addresses the OD practitioner's highest priorities and challenges with the latest and most pertinent tools and information from thought leaders, practitioners, and world-class keynote speakers. Each year, Linkage conducts field research with hundreds of practitioners, thought leaders, and consultants from around the world. This research and the resulting Model for High Impact OD set the agenda for The Best of Organizational Development Summit. The Summit is able to address the needs of OD practitioners at every level, equipping them with practical and cost-effective tools and applications to immediately improve business results. This event combines competency and skill development with action learning, networking, and best practices to accelerate the capability of OD practitioners.

EuRA 10th Anniversary Conference
When: 14-16 May 2008
Where: Rome, Italy
Produced by: European Relocation Association
Cost: see website
More information: www.eura-relocation.com or by email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Description: EuRA is an industry body for relocation professionals in both Europe and Worldwide. Relocation service providers are required to abide by EuRA's Rules of Conduct. This year’s conference, “We Versus Me; Celebrating our Work-Life Balance,” will focus on balance for expat and relocation professionals.  The focus will be on the psychological reactions to an increasingly work-driven lifestyle, especially for the globally mobile employee and family.

The 9th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research & Practice Across Europe
When: 21-23 May 2008.
Where: Lille, France
Produced by: The University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD), the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD), and IÉSEG School of Management
Cost: See website
More information: http://hrd.ieseg.fr/index.html 
Description: THEME: Developing Leaders and Managers - The University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD), the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD), and IÉSEG School of Management (part of the Catholic University of Lille), are pleased to announce the 9th International Conference on Human Resource Development across Europe.  The conference aims to promulgate the latest research findings, best practices and theoretical developments in HRD.  The theme of this year’s conference is developing leaders and managers as a key HRD activity. In particular we hope to highlight how we, in the HRD community, in our roles as academics, educators, professionals and trainers shape, constrain and contribute to the process of developing and leaders.

Expatriate Compensation Seminar
When and Where:
21-22 May 2008 - Cambridge, MA USA
28 -29 May 2008 - London, U.K.
Where: Produced by: AIRINC Associates for International Research, Inc.
Cost: see website
More information: www.air-inc.com/seminars/cambr08.html or for USA contact Scott Sutton in Cambridge +1 617 354-2133 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and for UK contact Ilse van Loon in Amsterdam +31 20 618 5205 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Description: Our restructured training program consists of a two-module format: The first-day session will focus on the fundamentals of expatriate compensation and the second day will cover more advanced material, addressing best practices in policy design & strategy.  International human resources professionals (or the equivalent) can register to attend both sessions or one of the individual modules.

Eighth International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations

When: 17 – 20 June 2008
Where: Montreal, Canada
Produced by: Common Ground
Cost: see website
More information: http://diversity-conference.com
Description: This conference will address a range of critically important themes in the study of diversity today. Main speakers will include some of the world’s leading thinkers in the field, as well as numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Global Workforce Summit: Focus on Europe, Middle East & Africa
When: June 18-19, 2008
Where: Brussels, Belgium
Produced by: Worldwide ERC®
Cost: See website
More information: www.erc.org/Global_Summit/emea08.shtml
Description: This conference promises abundant opportunity for those responsible for workforce mobility and talent management in Europe, Middle East and Africa. This year the event will be hosted by the globally important city of Brussels – where many important decisions that impact business prospects are made and which is home to many corporate decision-makers. Workforce mobility is a key strategy for talent management in today’s dynamic economic and business environment. Finding and keeping the right people in the right jobs is more difficult than ever before and demographers predict the labour shortage will continue to grow. Learn from the leaders in workforce mobility about best practices and emerging trends that will help your organization succeed in this competitive environment.

New Regulations for Cross Border Workers
When: 23 June 2008
Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Produced by: Lexlumen, in cooperation with Expatica
Cost: See website
More information: www.lexlumen.nl or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Description: Learn about the latest changes in Dutch regulations for expats and inpats in labour law, tax regulations and pensions.

Employing and Vetting Non-UK Nationals
When: 2nd July 2008
Where: The CBI Conference Centre, London, U.K.
Produced by: Symposium Events
Cost: see website
More information: www.symposium-events.co.uk  Tel: (UK) 020 7231 5100
Description: Symposium Events’ 5th Annual Employing and Vetting Non-UK Nationals 2008 is the authoritative conference for employers involved in recruiting and screening non-UK nationals. This unique and timely conference features an update on the most recent vetting rules and legislation surrounding both EU and non-EU nationals. By attending you can ensure your vetting practices are rigorous and fair, and avoid the risk of litigation.

W.I.N. Global Leadership Forum 'women creating the future'
When: 18-20 September 2008
Where: Barcelona, Spain
Produced by: WIN Conference/Kristin Engvig
Cost: see website
More information: www.winconference.net - Registration Opens 1 May 2008
Description: Come join hundreds of outstanding women in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain for the global leadership forum of the year. W.I.N. is bringing a vision of sustainability, authenticity and nurturing values and the women at W.I.N. are making it happen.  Come and meet highly dynamic, experienced and competent women and some courageous men too. Learn how to do business in a graceful way and create an innovative future that is beneficial for all.  Join us in developing, empowering and connecting leaders with a feminine, authentic and truly global vision.

CERC National Conference
When: 21 – 23 September 2008
Where: Vancouver, B.C.
Produced by: CERC
Cost: see website
More information: www.cerc.ca/events/conf/conference.aspx or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone: + 866-357-CERC (2372)
Description: John Ibbitson, a respected journalist with the Globe and Mail newspaper and author of several books, will be the keynote speaker at this year's annual conference.  Mr. Ibbitson is currently covering the U.S. primary race in advance of the U.S. Federal elections in November 2008. He is a noted expert on Canada/ U.S. political relations and trade matters. In 2005 he wrote the Canadian best seller - "The Polite Revolution, Perfecting The Canadian Dream."

Global HR News Conference - Going Global and Thriving
When: 23rd September 2008
Where: Mexico City, Mexico
Produced by: Global HR News
Cost: See website
More information: www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=52 or contact Ed Cohen: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Phone: +1.619.297.5700
Description: Conference educational theme: Aligning Human Capital Financial Resources, Talent Management and Mobility Policy with Corporate Strategy.

TAMA Conference 2008 - Quality, Standards and Technology: Terminology's Future
When: 9 - 10 October 2008
Where: Ottawa, Canada
Produced by: TermNet
Cost: see website
More information: www.termnet.info/english/events/idss2007.php, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel.: +43-1-524 0606-11
Description: TermNet, the International Network for Terminology, is an international co-operation forum for companies, universities, institutions and organizations who aim at developing a world-wide market for terminological products, services and tools.  The 9th International Conference "Terminology in Advanced Management Applications (TAMA)" will take place within the "Canadian Terminology week."

The Global Institute for Leadership Development
When: 12 – 15 October 2008
Where: Palm Desert, CA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: http://gild.linkageinc.com
Description: In its 11th year, with over 3,500 alumni, GILD is an intensive 5.5 day leadership immersion program providing a world-class accelerated learning experience that combines expert instruction, real-time business application, and social awareness in a pragmatic and hands-on environment. GILD joins together seasoned leaders from all industries and functions representing Global 2000 companies.  Participants engage in focused learning around the 15 components of the model through our leadership assessment instrument, lessons in leadership sessions, skill development programs, private executive coaching program, and business simulation.

Best Practices in Leadership Development Summit – Tools, Processes and Systems for Developing Leaders
When: 12 – 15 October 2008
Where: Palm Desert, CA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/bpld/default.aspx
Description: Linkage's 1st Annual Best Practices in Leadership Development Summit: Tools, Processes & Systems for Developing Leaders is the one place where those who are responsible for accelerating the development of managers, executives and leaders in their organizations can come each year to learn the state-of-the-art in their profession. Thought leaders, world-class practitioners and expert instructors join an elite faculty to help attendees produce the results expected of them. Benchmark against the best in the industry and dramatically increase your know-how and ability to succeed in your role. Your organization's future depends on it!

Japan Human Resources Roundtable
When: November 2008
Where: Tokyo, Japan
Produced by: The Economist
Cost: see website
More information: This conference is currently being developed; please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the latest information on programme, venue and speakers.
Description: Please see above info.

The Women in Leadership Summit – Distinctive Learning. Practical Solutions. Proven Results
When: 10 – 12 November 2008
Where: San Francisco, CA
Produced by: Linkage Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/wil/default.aspx
Description: The Women in Leadership Summit equips women leaders with the strategies and skills to catalyze change, accelerate development, gain visibility, and create sustainable operating results. The event boasts more than 5,000 alumni and hundreds of world-class speakers. Year after year, the Women in Leadership Summit delivers exactly what it promises, including proven leadership skills; strategies from best-in-class practitioners; inspiration and renewal; opportunity for reflection and change; unmatched networking opportunities; and continuous learning and development.

The Global HR Congress; Aligning Human Capital, Talent Engagement, Innovation & Competing Globally
When: 3-4 December 2008
Where: Paris, France
Produced by: Global HR News
Cost: see website
More information: www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=71 or www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=52 or contact Ed Cohen: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Phone: +1.619.297.5700
Description: Theme: Strategic Role of International Assignments in World Trade.

The Best of Talent Management Summit
When: 9 – 11 December 2008
Where: Lake Buena Vista, FL
Produced by: Linkage Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/default.aspx
Description: The Best of Talent Management Summit is a gathering of the world's foremost talent management experts, thought leaders, and experienced practitioners, brought together to share the tools, models, leadership skills, and overall implementation plans executed during successful talent management initiatives. Attendees are offered a genuinely unique immersion learning experience through a combination of visionary keynote presentations, best practice case studies, and small, focused learning teams. Participants and team leaders alike will have the shared opportunity to discuss and debate principles and methods learned throughout the presentations and then apply them to their own real and current challenges in small action learning groups.
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Overseas investors should respect local culture

The Fiji Hotel Workers Union is urging overseas investors and expatriates managing hotels and resorts in Fiji to understand and respect the Cultures of the Fijian workers of this country.

fiji culture




Union General Secretary Daniel Urai says some of the bad remarks that are common in hotels by expatriate management should be stopped.

Urai says this was one of the reasons why some of his members had gone on a protest recently against the management of the RADDISONS RESORT at Denarau in Nadi.

“We have expatriate management who make counter-sending remarks to workers and we have addressed this in some other properties and some expatriates have been reviewed the way or they manage locals in the way they utter statement and words, to them and hopefully this will now change in the future.”

The dispute was finally settled by the union and the Resort management.Read more >> Fiji 
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