Tuesday, 31 January 2012

#globalhub Conversation Now Live

A community of global workers on international assignments discussing their personal, cultural, business, and international experiences.

Location: @globalhub1

Date: First Tuesday Every Month

How to Comment:  Add the hash tag (#globalhub) to your tweets.

  • Choosing a New Way of Life
  • Developing Identity
  • Doing Business Abroad
  • Building Global Teams
  • Managing a Boundaryless Career
  • Understanding Politics
  • Leaving Home
  • Build a New Life Abroad
  • Understanding Globalisation
  • Raising Third-Culture Kids

How to Respond to a Moderated Conversation
  1. Watch the feed for question from the moderator labeled with Q1, Q2, etc.
  2. Answer a question with A1, A2, where the number corresponds to the question number.
Moderator: @theartofthexpat

3 New Research Topics in IHRM

Contact these researchers to participate in their projects and help our community gain more insight into our experiences.

Sophie Cranston*
Exploring the changing model of international assignments.
Gabriela Whitehead (@GabbyGNomad)
Understanding global nomadism.
Evelyn Smith (@thesmartexpat)
The Smart Expat (Belgium)
Exploring the career choice of accompanying partners.
* No Twitter handle available.

What Makes You Think I Don’t Understand?

Translated into English!
There are interesting pitfalls when you get in an argument with people who don’t share your mother tongue. Corey Heller at Multilingual Living made me laugh when she wrote about swearing at her husband in his native language. Unfortunately she didn’t get it right and ended up making him laugh instead of conveying how mad she was.

The Not-So-Dark-Side of Not Knowing Someone’s Language

• Assuming that a person who never talks to you in your language doesn’t speak it. You might be surprised how much they know or can understand.
• Teaching a foreigner the wrong word so that you can make fun of them.
• Thinking that your body language doesn’t tell the person what you think.
• Trying not to offend non-native speakers after you laughed-out-loud at the irony of a translation.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Is Living Abroad a Life Stage?

The Future of Human Capital is a topic at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland. One of the key points from the Session Summary is that, “Global mobility and migration are the highest in history, offering hope as mechanisms for addressing the unemployment crisis.”

Reflections on life paths
This session also addressed the volume of migration, “The world has never been more mobile, with almost 1 billion people in some stage of migration (750 million domestically and 250 million internationally). Migration has been humanity’s longest serving defence against poverty, and so the current large-scale movement of people is necessary and desirable.”

How Does This Change How We Should View Migration?

- Immigration laws should be understood as tools to reduce global poverty.
- International migration is a life stage.

Is It Just Poverty We Should Consider?

Affluent people are making professional and personal choices on where they want to live, work and retire. Companies need to build capabilities that enable global workers, people need to build mobility skills, and governments need to create legislative tools that enable people to make global choices.

A Life Stage?

Life stages are transition phases in our life. International assignments include many dilemmas. If international migration occurs in most people’s lives, will the dilemmas become a new life stage?

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Which Country Should I Move To?

Country brands rank countries by how well you know them, how much you want to visit and whether you would like to live there. There are two main indexes: Futurebrands Country Brand Index (CBI) and the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI).

Good values make countries more desirable
Each of these indexes produces different rankings.

  • The No. 1 country is different. In the Futurebrand Country Brand Index (CBI) 2011-2012 Canada is the No.1 country. In the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI) the USA is ranked No.1, while Canada is in sixth place.
  • New Zealand is No. 3 in the CBI index, but it doesn’t make the top ten in the NBI index. It made the list because of strong economic growth, and high ranks in the Natural Beauty and Value System.
  • Japan makes both lists and gets a No. 1 rank in Tourism in the CBI. Perceptions of countries are shaped by media exposure. Japan has had problems, but the perception of the country has been damaged by the tsumani and the attention on a possible nuclear meltdown.
  • Small countries can have big reputations. The Maldives ranks No.1 and the sinking island of Mauritius ranks No. 2 in the CBI Resort and Lodgings dimension in the Tourism Attributes section. 

Does National Pride Shape the Outcome?

Simon Anholt developed the system for the NBI in 1996. If you visit his website you can use a simple tool to find out how people rank themselves and others. Hint, India likes India, but after itself, who does India most admire? Hint, I think they want to mimic this nation’s technical reputation.

How Are the Nation and Country Brands Indexes Different?

  • Futurebrands measures 3,500 business and leisure travellers, 14 countries, 102 expert contributors from 16 cities and 400+ ideas sourced in the ether. They rank countries on how good they are at making people’s lives better using a 7-stages model of awareness, familiarity, association, preference, consideration, decision/visitation, and advocacy.
  • Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index measures 50 countries on the power and quality of the brand and the reputation of the country using 6 dimensions (export, governance, culture and heritage, people, tourism and investment and immigration).

Sunday, 15 January 2012

How Do You Hedge an IA?

Companies and employees both hedge on international assignments. Employees hedge against lack of opportunity and employers hedge against the cost.

How Have Companies Hedged International Assignments?

There are two business drivers that underpin policies:
  • Short-Term Assignments. Commuter and short-term assignments, assignments without families, and selecting single male employees have been used to control costs and hedge against poor return on investment.
  • Family Issues. To hedge against family problems that result in employees returning home early, companies have made the decision to go on an international assignment easier for families by offering short-term assignments. They have also created employee-only assignments and decided not to offer education costs for children as part of the compensation package.

The False Economy of Short-Term Assignments

Hedging, Not Just for Pork Bellies!
Short-term assignments impact the growth of the host country operations and send the message that you aren’t committed to the operation, the employee, or the host country.

Customers may choose another company to do business with when they realise that they can’t build long-term relationships with you. And, if you keep costs down by reducing the length of assignments or restricting benefits, employees start looking for new roles before the assignment ends.

How Should I Hedge?

A better way to hedge against increasing costs and family problems is to develop insurance policies that pay out when an assignment fails and strategies that address employee development and innovation instead of minimising costs.