Challenging but Exciting New Year’s Resolutions for Assignees

It’s that time of the year and the assignees under your charge are both sighing and steeling themselves as they make their New Year’s Resolutions. All of us have been there ourselves, and we all know full well the disappointment of breaking a sincerely made vow or two, especially after we had put a lot of work into it from the first quarter.

Still, there is a way to turn this tradition around, and make it both a challenge and a source of excitement for your assignees. If they succeed, you as the global mobility manager might see a payoff in increased morale and enhanced productivity.

What’s important is that you help them start off on the right track, and with the correct mindset. Relieve any anxiety and guilt that they might feel by mixing fun and excitement into the activities.

At the same time, show them that the resolutions are worthy endeavours that deserve their attention and focus — and once done, can lead to lasting rewards. Finally, in a way that makes their list different from everyone else’s, these resolutions should specifically touch on specific issues and concerns that are close to their assignees’ heart.

Resolution #1

Enhance their knowledge of the language of the employer country and master it like a local, advises Expat.com. This kind of linguistic fluency goes beyond grammatical accuracy or aligning the vocabulary with the cultural context. It can mean using idioms as naturally as their homegrown colleagues do, or referencing the current pop culture seamlessly in conversations.

The more familiar the assignee becomes with the language of their adopted country, the more they can feel at home with its communities, and the more they can integrate and effectively deal with their people, especially those who they do business with.

Resolution #2

Expand their circle of friendship beyond their comfort zone. Again, this means going beyond having a drink or two with office buddies after work. Encourage your assignee to strengthen their ties with colleagues who, indirectly or not, present a cultural challenge to them.

For example, if your male Asian assignee is used to a more rigid and patriarchal kind of workplace, ask him to mingle more (in a professional sense) with the company’s female managers or leaders. On the other hand, if his concept of proper work behavior is a cool distant demeanor, show him the positive side of collaborating with the more people-oriented extroverts in his department.

At the very least, this exposure will help him lower his barriers and perhaps let him begin to understand the paradigms, values, and actions of the colleagues who had perhaps given him quite a shock in his first day on the job.

Resolution #3

Let the assignee try something new, something which they hadn’t done before in their new home, says Traveller 24. It could mean spending hours in a museum, sampling a dish that might appear exotic to him, or surfing on the seas if they came from a country with a desert.

Places like Northern California can offer them a wide range of alternatives, from amusement parks, nature trails, mountain hikes, foreign-themed bazaars, dance festivals, and ethnic restaurants. The novelty can not only add to their learning of other cultures, but might even loosen them up. At the end of the challenge, you will have not just a more enlightened assignee, but a happier, more relaxed one as well.