It may come as a surprise to the casual observer that many organizations never consider the consequences of seconding Culturally-incompetent Assignees to their global offices. They regard Intercultural or Cross-Cultural Training as an unnecessary or unworthy expenditure. Presuming that their current International Assignees have no complaints thus far, newly-arrived ones are also expected to fit in nicely.
Additionally, the subsidiary office's Human Resources Department does not see the importance of assisting an Assignee's acculturation process. Especially so in Singapore, much touted as a model multicultural society; it is not possible for the Assignee to experience any form of Culture Shock. Or so Human Resources would like to believe.
There is researched and published evidence that as many expatriates failed to adjust to their new environment as those who do not. Yet, these organizations persist in the belief that they could replace failed Expatriates anytime midway through; or upon expiry of their contracts.
At what cost?
* Team cohesion and subsequent department-wide productivity are affected
* Company's Competitive Advantage is affected
* Taking replacement Assignee through the paces
* Financial losses as a result of:
- Initial hiring and subsequent placement:
=> the Assignee is either seconded or hired in his home country, or third country
=> advertisement costs, or Recruiter's/Headhunter's fees
=> training costs involved if Assignee is a Trainee Graduate
- Costs that arise from housing, medical, transport and other allowances
- Other benefits: spousal or family resettlements:
=> applications of Dependant's Pass and/or Letter of Consent from Singapore's Manpower Ministry if spouse or partner decides to work
=> assistance in finding schools for children
* Company's reputation is at stake:
- Customers will take their business elsewhere
The above is not exhaustive although representative of the issues faced by both International Assignees and organizations. Nevertheless, these costs are more expensive than a Cross-Cultural Coaching and Follow-Up Sessions put together.
Ange Teo is the Founder of e2m expat etiquette mentoring, a Singapore-based Cross-Cultural Communications Solutions Provider.
Having worked with some of the world’s leading multinational companies and Singapore-based small medium enterprises for over 20 years; Ange Teo has a good understanding on the intricacies of Intercultural work relations. Hence, her intense belief in the importance of Cross-Cultural Competency – a critical aspect of an organization’s global competitive advantage.
For more information about e2m Cultural Intelligence [CQ]-focused Communications Solutions, please visit e2m expat etiquette mentoring . Daily Cross-Cultural News and Tips: Going Gobal - Are You?