Expatriate Yourself to Success Series

Expatriates have to undergo culture shock, the strains of moving, mental strain and a range of adjustments to life abroad. Over 200 million people currently live abroad and in the globalized labor force this number is continuously rising. Being able to adjust to the marketplace and the cultural norms of the country is the key to having a successful expatriation.  40% of  leaders who go abroad fail at their overseas assignment—do not become one of them.

Within a year of returning to their home country, 1/5 former expatriates will leave their company. This can be due to a number of factors, but often it is due to the expatriate not being properly prepared by their company to life abroad.  4/5 of these new expatriates are not provided with any form of cultural awareness program by their organization. Even worse, 30% of expatriates express concern over not being able to adequately perform their task due to language barriers. What this amounts to is a cost of up to$250,000 for companies who have to deal with the negative impact of a failed assignment. These failed assignments result in both a negative impact for the expatriate, the organization and for other potential candidates.

As these fields grow—international assignments are expected to increase by 50% by the year 2020—companies need to find ways to properly train and prepare their employees for the strain of life abroad. Setting clear expectations, becoming open minded and planning ahead for difficulties are all a part of a proper integration program. New applicants should be prepared for the customs and cultural values of the area and learn not to judge it by their home country standards. Being abroad can be an eye-opening, rewarding experience as long as the expatriate can learn to accommodate for potential setbacks. Read More…

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