#Nextchat: Preparing for Global Assignments

There are several important factors to consider when preparing for a job in another country. While language and cultural training are usually first on the checklist, HR and their expatriate employees must consider several other factors before the big move.

The first is whether or not the employee is actually suited for an expat role and the factors that might influence the outcome of his or her experience. In the SHRM Online article, “Survey: Companies Fail to Train Managers for Overseas Assignments,” Bram Lowsky, group executive vice president of the Americas at Right Management, states, “The latest research suggests that the best companies utilize a comprehensive battery of assessments with the candidate to determine whether or not an expatriate assignment will actually work. Being aware of potential derailers that could stand in the way of success is critical to understanding and adjusting to an international role.”

Another consideration is safety. The SHRM Express Request “International Assignment: Safety: How can an organization ensure the safety and security of expatriates and other employees in high-risk areas?” advises that organizations establish “their duty of care, and create and communicate an emergency plan to all affected employees. Employers have a global duty of care to their employees for their safety and security, which includes expatriates and their families living and working abroad.”

Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group Inc., has worked with several professionals who’ve had global assignments. In her blog post How to Prepare for a HR Assignment in Another Country, she highlights the expat experience of Ron Thomas, CEO of Great Place to Work - Dubai, and says that “Ron’s experience can give someone a real sense of what it’s like to work in another country and the actions you must take to be effective working as an expat.”  Dubai is his second expat assginement, as he was initialy based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as CHRO.

Are you in the process of transitioning to a job in another country, or are you on an HR team that’s preparing an employee to do so? If you’ve had an expatriate job experience, how did you prepare and what tips would you share with others?

Please join @SHRMNextchat at 3 p.m. ET on February 4 for #Nextchat with special guests Sharlyn Lauby @Sharlyn_Lauby and Ron Thomas @Ron_Thomas. We’ll chat about smart planning to help prepare for a job in another country.

Q1. How can HR help an employee prepare for an expatriate job?

Q2. Other than language and cultural training, what are some other important checklist items for an expatriate job?

Q3. What are the best resources to learn about the culture of the country you are relocating to for a new job?

Q4. What specific business tradition and etiquette areas should you focus on when preparing for an expat job?

Q5.  What steps should HR take to ensure the safety of an employee and the employee’s family in preparing for an expatriate job?  

Q6. In what ways can ignorance of the labor laws of the country that you’re working in get you into big trouble, fast?

Q7. What can HR do to assist the employee’s family with the expat transition?    

Q8. If you have prior experience with an expat job, what important tips can you share with others in preparing for the change? 


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