More Business Development, Less HR for Global Mobility Pros

Moving to the United States from another country may just be a great career move, but what if doubt creeps up on your assignee — and he realizes he misses home, even if his family is joining in a year or two, as you promised?

It’s actually normal for them to feel homesick if it’s their first time to be away from home. The key is to find out if by year’s end, they will still feel the same way.  Of course, many find out their initial fears were unfounded and they end up staying permanently.

But how does one survive that one-year adjustment period? For those used to relocations, this is nothing new, even when they need to make intercultural and societal adjustments. Still, it’s not like it’s really difficult to adjust in America, one of the most diverse countries in the world.

Yes, your assignee may always find a reason to complain, but you’re there to make them settled properly in their new working environment and establish good relationships with the people you’re going to work with on a regular basis.

Intercultural and societal concerns of assignees should be handled well by global mobility professionals. It may sound like a lot of babysitting work, but working closely with assignees this way should not make you think you’re doing HR work but business development work, the kind that helps your company handle assignees efficiently, especially for other cases that come your way.

In a talk last month, global mobility expert and author Angela Weinberger addressed  this, which should help both assignees and their recruiters get acculturated quickly to their disparate jobs:

  • Assignees and spouses need to have a valuable intercultural experience, and both can further their career and life vision together. Expat children need support in moving from one culture to another and even though they might be multilingual at the end of their school life, they have to cope with identity loss and loss of their roots.
  • Western managers of certain age have to develop their relationship-building skills before becoming effective leaders of global teams. The performance of most global teams can only improve through higher global leadership competency following a holistic global competency model.
  • A great assignment experience is linked to assignment targets, an international assignment business case and a repatriation plan.
  • Companies need to focus more on creating succession plans and ensure that roles are filled in a more structured manner, handovers improved and teams will function more self-managed going forward. Leadership itself will change significantly.
  • GM professionals have the potential to become critical players in the international growth of businesses and should be valued as subject matter experts. They will move out of HR and be closer to business development.