The Commisceo Global Blog - Perfect for Culture Vultures

Whether a press release, a case study of cultural difference, some tips on working abroad or some lessons in cross-communication, we try our best to satiate your inner culture vulture.

Culture Shock & Employee Relocation

Culture Shock & Employee Relocation

A delegation from the financial services sector recently visited Brussels in an effort to drive forward a post-Brexit deal for the industry.

If they fail, it may become necessary for financial service businesses in the UK to relocate key staff to other sites in Europe to enable the continuation of current services.

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Brexodus - Managing Employee Relocation After Brexit

Brexodus - Managing Employee Relocation After Brexit

London business leaders visited Brussels last  week in a bid to push for a financial services deal following Brexit. 

If the EU pursues plans to move Euro Clearing services back into the EU zone, then London may potentially lose its status as the European financial hub. 

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UK Getting Cheaper for Expatriate Relocation Packages

UK Getting Cheaper for Expatriate Relocation Packages

Traditionally one of the more expensive destinations to send expatriate staff, a survey has found that the UK is now becoming cheaper for foreign companies.


The MyExpatriate Market Pay survey (published annually by ECA International) states that for the past few years the fall in the value of UK Sterling has meant that for companies outside the country, operating mainly in USD, sending resources to Britain has become around 11% cheaper.

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Why India is Becoming a Top Expat Destination

Why India is Becoming a Top Expat Destination

As a cross cultural training consultancy, we have a great insight into the countries which rate highly as expat destinations and it seems that India is certainly viewed highly as a popular ‘go to’ country at the moment....especially with Americans. The numbers now moving to India for work is phenomenal.

Why is India so popular for American Expatriates?

Trade deals are a key reason.  The US is India’s key second biggest trading partner after China whilst India is the US’s eleventh largest trading partner.  The strength of mutual trading makes for a pretty strong relationship between the two countries and clearly generates considerable relocation opportunities for both parties. India is also one of the fastest growing global economies which makes it more likely that investments in this part of the world are likely to do well.

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The Relocation Industry and Historical Context

The Relocation Industry and Historical Context

Mention the ‘relocation industry’ as conversation fodder at a dinner party and your guests will probably panic that you’re planning to expose them really dry conversation pieces such as Cost of Living Allowances, Trailing Spouses, Expat Taxation, Bridging Allowances etc

In actual fact, the relocation industry is an exciting one and not deserving of the stifled yawns that might otherwise be elicited when mentioned.

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Top Expat Relocation Concerns

Top Expat Relocation Concerns

Post-Brexit, Relocation of Resources is Top Priority

Price Waterhouse Cooper predicts that as many as 70,000 British employees will relocate to alternative European locations between now and 2020 following the vite to Brexit vote. This is not counting the thousands of non-British that could also leave.

We are already seeing signs and it is slowly becoming a reality for a number of employees. As a number of companies seek to retain access to European skills, initiatives and pan EU licensing & tax arrangements, relocation of key staff has become central to their contingency planning.

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The Stages of Culture Shock

The Stages of Culture Shock

'Culture shock' is used to describe the emotional rollercoaster that someone experiences when living in a new country. Anyone that has worked and lived in a foreign country will experience culture shock of some sort.

Culture shock affects anyone from business personnel and their families, to EFL teachers to sports stars. Recognising culture shock is an important way of being able to deal with it. Dealing with it helps minimise the risk of becoming disillusioned with a new country and the possibility of deciding that a quick return 'home' is the only solution.

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Musings from the 2014 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition

Musings from the 2014 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition
The 18th annual Corporate Relocation Conference and Exhibition took place on the 3rd of February this year, in London. Kwintessential attended the conference to gain further insight about the latest discussions in the field of global mobility.
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Putting the People Back into Global Mobility

Putting the People Back into Global Mobility
Most of the reputable global relocation companies conduct annual surveys whereby they gather data on global mobility trends in international companies. Plus Relocation – a company operating in corporate relocation for the past 40 years, just published the results of their Planning for International Mobility Survey.
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Global Mobility Trends and Expatriate Relocation

Global Mobility Trends and Expatriate Relocation
Weichert Relocation Resources have recently released a whitepaper entitled “Current Global Workforce Mobility Trends”.  These reports, no matter which company its from, are a great insight into international relocations and personnel movements.
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Culture Shock: from the inside out

Expats often underestimate the challenges of culture shock, and even those who've mastered adaptation are often unprepared for the adjustment the expat bubble itself demands.


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IHRM - Repatriation Management



Despite ongoing concerns about high expatriate attrition rates companies do not seem to be paying a lot of attention to the repatriation phase. A similar observation can be made in HRM journals; whereas expatriation has been researched extensively during the last decades, repatriation has received scarce attention in literature. The purpose of this article is, therefore, to highlight the relevance of repatriation management in the earliest stages of expatriate management.

Recent research indicates that successful expatriation assignments rely on four elements: the selection of the candidates, pre-arrival preparation for both expatriate and family, the provided support and possibility to keep in touch with the home organization while on an expatriate assignment, and the repatriation arrangements after completion of the assignment (Baruch and Altman, 2002). That appropriate attention to repatriation arrangements is important follows out of various observations: (1) Valuable personnel frequently leave the organization relatively shortly after repatriation. Research findings from 2002 showed that about 50% of personnel left a financial services company within a few years following the return to their home country (Baruch & Altman, 2002).

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Soft expatriates: Successful expatriation in a nutshell


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China is top expat destination



China is the top expat destination followed by the U.S., UK, Singapore and Switzerland, survey reveals.

China is ranked as the top destination for international assignees in the annual Global Relocation Trends report from from Brookfield Global Relocation Services. In second place was the United States followed by the UK, Singapore and Switzerland.

China was also ranked as the top emerging destination followed by India and Russia.

China presents greatest challenges
Paradoxically, China was seen as presenting the greatest challenges to both international assignment managers and assignees due to the difficulty in finding suitable homes and schools, accessing medical care, immigration formalities, tax compliance, communication and knowledge of international regulations, the remoteness of the destinations and increasing costs. India ranked second and Russia third in terms of presenting the greatest relocation challenges.
The survey of 180 multinational firms reveals a significant move by companies to control costs with the number one relocation challenge being the overall cost of assignments, followed by finding suitable candidates and controlling policy exceptions.

Read more > China
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Review: Yanks in Blighty

Donna Marsh is a business woman and cultural awareness trainer specialising in many fields. Over her 30 year professional career she has visited more than 140 countries. As a strue globe-trotter this has given her a great insight into the field of intercultural communication, awareness and skills.

Now this experience has translated itself into a new publication entitled "Yanks in Blighty". As the title suggests the book is aimed at Americans moving, working or living in the UK who are looking for a better understanding of their new environment and the natives.

Review:

Having readthe book we are pleased to offer a glowing review and thoroughly recommend it to our readers. The one major factor that sticks out in the book is how much ground is covered in terms of topics. Donna leaves no stones unturned in her examination of what the UK is, where it is and how it is. We are given quick, informative facts on subjects such as the present situation the country is in, the Royal Family, government, the cultural diversity of the population, language, transport, housing, health care and of course the weather. In short this book contains probably everything anyone would ever need when moving to the country.

As well as the fantastic details, the book also offers the reader answers to questions they were probably thinking but most authors never thought to answer. Although it may sound trivial, knowing how a washing machine works, how the rubbish (or should I say trash?) is collected and when the sales start are all little things people really do need to know.

The book wins in a lot of ways due to its focus. As it is targetted at Americans specifically wanting to understand the UK it allows the author the luxury on concentrating on what they want to know and specific areas of concern for Americans (rather than some other nationality).

Excerpt:

"As a rule, the British are likely to overlook or at least keep silent about most social behaviour that they do not approve of. Queue jumping a notable exception."

Where to buy?

You can buy the book by clicking the link below to Amazon or at any decent online bookstore. The ISBN is 978-1-906710-37-8.


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Cross Culture Kids

cck-kids



I recently attended the 11th annual Families in Global Transition (FIGT) conference – an idea which was first planned at a kitchen table in Indianapolis.

That kitchen table belonged to author and Cross-Culture Kid (CCK) expert, Ruth van Reken. The first conference attracted 80 delegates but this year's boasted over 200.

Almost half were first-timers, drawn from a mix of military, corporate, missionary, education and diplomatic backgrounds. Many were in the business of providing relocation services and support to transitioning families. Many were part of those families.

FIGT is always an uplifting experience and this year, though the conference was in Houston, Texas, it was testament to the global reach of the organisation that each of the plenary sessions included one person living in Europe. The three-day conference also offered more than 40 break-out sessions to choose from.

Child psychologist Doug Ota, who heads up a world-leading transitions programme at the American School of The Hague (ASH), opened the conference with a keynote speech focusing on how grief impacts on the lives of those who roam the globe.

"Grief is a messy, backward and forward process," he explained, as he shared his experience of growing up with a Japanese father and British-origin mother in California. He spoke of his loss of identity; the loss of his colleagues, friends, and even his brother, during the 16 years he has lived in the Netherlands with his Dutch wife.

Read more > Telegraph
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Expat life getting harder



With fluctuating exchange rates and companies less willing to keep expats on their payroll, the economic landscape for expats is changing drastically.

Expatriates have always been known for their ability to adapt to new cultures and contexts but the current financial crisis may prove to be the biggest challenge yet for internationals.

The economic landscape across the globe is changing by the day and it is still unclear how that will affect the world and workplace – and the place of expats within it.

Two things are already clearly impacted, though: the costs borne by expatriates in many European cities and overseas assignments by multinational corporations.

A recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), for instance, showed that while weakening exchange rates have substantially lowered the relative cost of living in Western Europe for expatriates, it remains the most expensive area of the world to live in. Western Europe boasts seven of the top 10 most expensive cities across the globe and all but two of the Western European cities surveyed are in the top 50, according to the report.

However, those living in Western Europe can take heart in the fact that the relative cost of living in the region is dropping – due, in large part, to drastic declines in European currencies such as the sterling, the euro and the Norwegian krone.

Read more > Expatica
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Expatriate Bankers Are Cut Loose



Losing your job anywhere is disorienting, but imagine being laid off when you work in a foreign country. Not only is your source of income, and perhaps a good part of your identity, suddenly yanked away, but often you lose your right to remain in the country.

Sandra Johnson, left, president of the Kensington and Chelsea Women’s Club in London, said membership was dropping. International recruiters like Sonamara Jeffreys in London, right, say that laid-off Americans with 30 days to leave Britain are looking for jobs back home.

Add to that urgent disruption the calamity of a collapsing industry and you have the life more or less of thousands of American expatriates in banking and finance.

The archetype of the young international banker cut one of the most dashing figures of the age of globalization. Well-educated and well-connected, able to take their pick of jobs, they skipped across employers like they did countries for weekend getaways.

As recently as last fall, financial professionals who lost their jobs as Wall Street bled could hope for new positions overseas. But layoffs have spread quickly from New York to Europe and now to the Mideast and Asia, leaving a growing number of jobless expats, as they are known, with few places to turn and either stranded or forced to return home.

A rhyming refrain among laid-off bankers a few months ago — “Try Dubai, Mumbai and Shanghai” — now seems hopelessly dated. Financial markets in all three cities have crashed.

Read more > Bankers
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Working abroad improves your skills



In his  14-year career as an industrial and electrical engineer, Carlos Founaud has worked or done business in Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Portugal, Germany, Britain, Australia, and Italy before returning to his native Spain.

“I called myself a multicultural interface,” he laughs. “If something broke down, the Spanish way was to focus on the problem—let’s have a look, make a decision, and do it. The Austrian way was to find out who’s guilty. The British way was to open the manuals and find the different procedures for fixing it—and afterward go to the pub.”

Founaud has found that this multicultural approach to problem solving, while maddening at times, has also made him better at his job. Now general managing director of iA Soft Aragón, a Saragossa firm that develops public administration software, he seeks out foreign programmers specifically to challenge the procedural mind-set on his home turf.

Foreign postings often offer more autonomy and responsibility, a faster pace, higher pay, and tax breaks, as well as the adventure of foreign lands and languages. The posts can also improve your skills.

Read more > Skills
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HR challenge for Gulf States



Gulf oil producers have made substantial progress in economic development because of their massive crude resources but they will always remain reliant on foreign labour, a United Nations official said yesterday.

Adel Abdul Lateef, Director of Regional Programmes at the Regional UN Development Programme Office, said the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries still face the challenge of human resources development despite their remarkable economic achievements over the last 50 years.

One of the problems he cited was that GCC nationals still account for a low percentage of the workforce in most member states as they prefer the public sector in the absence of attractive incentives in the private sector.

"The GCC economies will always surpass the production capacity of the native population and this will make these economies permanently reliant on expatriate labour from all sides," he told a human resources conference in Abu Dhabi.

"The GCC's long-term strategies must take into account the rapid demographic consequences resulting from this steady development whether in terms of rights and duties for expatriates or the number of nationals and their contribution to all economic aspects and values."

Abdul Lateef said the large expatriate presence in the GCC has become a permanent phenomenon, which has "not only offset a sharp labour shortage during the oil boom but also largely contributed to the expansion of the GCC market in terms of commodities and services".

"There is no doubt this large foreign presence has become a controversial topic of discussion and has raised economic, political, cultural and strategic issues over the past period due to a steady increase in this presence."

Read more > Foreign Labour
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