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Top 15 international relocation destinations

International relocation sounds like a great idea on the surface, but many employees are unprepared for their assignment, so knowing the trends of the top destinations can help.

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Top 15 international relocation destinations

Companies are moving employees all around the globe, with U.S. employees being transferred more frequently to China and the UK than anywhere else. Global relocation management company, Cartus reports that many employees are not fully prepared for their new assignment, but with awareness of standards and traditions, any relocation can go more smoothly.

“Every location presents unique challenges in the areas of decision making, relationship building, and preferred communication styles,” said Jenny Castelino, Director of Intercultural and Language Solutions for Cartus. “Our research found that a full 75 percent of companies believe cross-cultural training is important not only for the transferee, but also for the transferee’s family.”

To help companies understand the cultural challenges their transferees often face, Cartus’ Intercultural Training Solutions group compiled a list of important career survival tips for each of the top 15 countries, shown in rank order according to 2012 international relocation volume from Cartus clients:

Top 15 relocation destinations

From Cartus’ report:

1. United States – American business managers often deliver bad news in a sandwich; first the good news (“You’re doing a great job!”) and then the not-so-good: (“but I really need you to…”) followed by a final dollop of good (“So keep up the good work!”). Many non-American workers hear only the first assessment and leave the encounter without taking away the “meatier” interior message.

2. United Kingdom – Refrain from asking personal questions of someone you’ve only recently met – especially in the workplace. Individualism is a prized value of British culture, and a person’s privacy is highly respected.

3. China – It’s never a good idea to begin meetings by immediately framing challenges/issues and asking for opinions on how best to address them. In a Chinese business setting, a direct and confrontational interaction is not the norm and is likely to result in a loss of “face.” Spend time upfront making small talk and focus on developing relationships before diving into the business at hand.

4. Germany – Expect to communicate formally in German workplaces and try, to the extent possible, to speak in complete sentences. In German, the most important word in the sentence is the verb, which usually comes at the end. As a result, Germans will generally listen very intently for the end of a sentence.

5. Switzerland – Don’t assume you will automatically be as successful doing business in Geneva by behaving as you did in Zurich, 170 miles away. That’s because Switzerland is quite unique in that it has four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

6. Singapore – Don’t assume that all Singaporeans you meet professionally are very Westernized just because English is used for business practices and many social interactions. Singapore is perceived to be mainly Western in outlook, but it is also Eastern in mindset, and hierarchy and not “losing face” are key drivers in business success.

7. Canada – Steer clear of statements that indicate Canadians are just like Americans. Canadians consider themselves quite different from their neighbor to the South, and assumptions to the contrary may cause a strong reaction.

8. India – If recruiting staff in India, be prepared to gear your message not just to the candidate, but to their entire family, as well. Parental control is strong in India, and status-conscious families expect to be equally as impressed and wooed by the choice of company as the recruits themselves.

9. France – Don’t be offended if your French counterpart refuses your comprehensive contract for a much shorter, simpler version that they have created. One of the reasons for this is France’s civil law system (versus a common-law system). As a result, business agreements tend to be much shorter than many others because they are able to refer to the French legal code.

10. Hong Kong – Never run out of business cards. Because your business card is your identity and your “face” to the professional community here, keep an ample supply on hand. If you don’t have business cards when you are in a meeting, people won’t know your title or your role and will feel uncomfortable; lack of a business card can even convey a lack of interest in furthering the relationship.

11. Netherlands – Promises, promises! Never make a commitment you don’t plan to keep. Dutch nationals communicate directly and mean what they say. They are also task-focused, pragmatic people who value the ability to act swiftly. These values mean a promise can be taken literally.

12. United Arab Emirates – Don’t be distant or detached when interacting with Emiratis. Body language and personal space in the UAE are areas where boundaries are small, and physical contact (between males) is common. Emirati colleagues tend to sit close to each other in meetings and may hold another male’s hand while talking.

13. Japan – Just because no one says “no” in a business meeting, it doesn’t mean all are in agreement. It’s important to pay attention to non-verbal body language and indirect signals. Generally speaking, many Japanese find it difficult to say “no” directly. This is particularly true in a hierarchical setting where most attendees will express their “public mind,” which means they will agree with the most senior individual in the room.

14. Australia – Work-life balance is highly valued here, so generally speaking, it’s not a great idea to ask Australian staff to work on time-sensitive projects late in the afternoon, when they might carry over past traditional work hours. This is particularly true on Fridays.

15. Italy – Don’t turn down the opportunity to go out for a quick coffee with a colleague. Working relationships in Italy revolve around trust, and the idea that an Italian knows you on a personal level is a building block for working relationships.

“It’s incredibly important for employees on global assignments to be immediately productive in their new locations,” said Castelino. “Understanding the host country’s business and cultural norms and preparing for them, in advance, is imperative for a successful assignment.”

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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Business News

Working from home could be permanent for many after COVID

(BUSINESS NEWS) Lockdown has millions of workers doing their jobs from home, and many will never go back to the office again. So how do you settle in for the long run?

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Facebook announced in May that they estimate to have about half of their staff working from home indefinitely, even after the pandemic ends. Twitter also made headlines around the same time with similar statements.

When staff work remotely, companies save on major expenses like rent, heating, and electricity. Nationwide (yes, the insurance provider!) recently closed five regional offices, simply because they no longer needed them, thanks to remote working. Talk about cost cutting!

It does beg us to ask: Why do we spend so much money on gas and so many hours in traffic to do things at the office that we can easily accomplish at home?

If you’re reading this right now, you probably have all the tools you need in order to do (at least part of) your job from anywhere: An internet connection and one or two devices, like a cell phone and a computer. That’s all you need in order to collaborate with people all around the globe. It’s honestly kind of surprising that mainstream work culture hasn’t caught up to this technology sooner, considering it’s been widely available for roughly a generation. And the stay-at-home orders have all but dispelled the myth that working from home makes employees less productive.

If these big businesses are eager to make the transition, it will set the tone moving forward for other industries. Undoubtedly, tech companies stand to seriously benefit from a broad shift to remote work, considering they provide the tools that make it possible.

However, there are considerable barriers to overcome before telecommuting can fully go mainstream. For one, it’s still hard to set boundaries between work & play from home, especially when you lack a dedicated office space. If you spend any substantial amount of time at work mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or watching cat videos on Youtube, then that habit is likely to follow you into the remote workplace (and don’t think I’m just throwing shade here, I’m guilty as charged).

There are also financial limitations that can prevent one from efficiently working from home. For example, if I normally use an office computer for my job, but don’t own a computer personally, who would be responsible for ensuring that I get a computer to effectively do my job during this crisis?

Regardless, whenever things go ‘back to normal’, wouldn’t it be great if working from home became a widely accepted option? Job opportunities would be more accessible to skilled candidates from areas outside of cities and tech hubs, those with chronic illness and disabilities that limit them to their houses, and parents with young children who need supervision and care.

If done equitably, we may end up seeing the new shift to remote work have a powerful, progressive influence on the way that we all get things done.

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Business News

Plastic bags are making a comeback, thanks to COVID-19

(BUSINESS NEWS) Plastic bags are back, whether you like it or not – at least for now.

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Single use plastic bags are rising like a phoenix from the ashes of illegality all over the country, from California to New York. Reusable bags are falling out of favor in an effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19. It’s a logical step: the less something is handled, generally, the safer it is going to be. And porous paper bags are thought to have a higher potential to spread the virus through contact.

It’s worth mentioning that single use plastic bags are considerably more
environmentally efficient to manufacture compared to paper, cloth, and reusable plastic bags. Per unit, they require very little material to make and are easily mass produced. It also goes without saying that they have a very short lifespan, after which they end up sitting in landfills, littering streets, or drifting through oceans.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s hard to deny that single use plastics have the potential to be as dangerous to humans as COVID-19. Coronavirus is a very immediate existential threat to us in the United States, but the scale of the global crises that stem from the irresponsible consumption of cheap disposable goods, also cannot be overstated. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t going anywhere. (And did you know that it’s just one of many huge garbage patches around the world?)

So… what exactly are we going to do about the comeback of plastic bags? Because to be honest, I used to work in grocery retail, and it is difficult and often unrewarding. So, I wouldn’t exactly love handling potentially contaminated tote bags all day in the midst of a pandemic if I were still a supermarket employee. You couldn’t pay me enough to feel comfortable with that – forget minimum wage!

I used to have a plastic bag stuffed full of other plastic bags sitting in my kitchen, like American nesting dolls, before disposable plastics fell from grace. (I’m sure some of y’all know exactly what I’m talking about.) This bag of bags was never a point of pride. It got really annoying because it just kept growing. There are only so many practical home uses for the standard throw-away plastic shopping bag. Very small trash can liners; holding snarls of unused cables, another thing I accumulate for no reason; extremely low-budget packing material; one could get crafty and somehow weave them into a horrible sweater, I guess.

I don’t miss my bag of bags. I don’t want to have to deal with another. Hey, Silicon Valley? Got any disruptive ideas for this one?

Even if we concede that disposable plastics are a necessary evil in the fight against COVID-19, the fact remains that they stick around long after you’re done with them. That’s true whether you throw them out or not.

I’m not trying to direct blame anywhere. Of course businesses should do their best to keep their customers and staff safe, and if that means using plastic bags, so be it. Without clear guidance from our federal government, every part of society has been fumbling and figuring out how to keep one another healthy with the tools they’ve got at hand. (…Well, almost every part.)

The changes to the state bag bans have been cautious and temporary so far, which is a small relief. But nobody really knows how much longer the pandemic will rage on and necessitate the relaxations.

I won’t pretend that I have a sure solution. All I can really ask is that we all be extra mindful of our usage of these disposable plastic products. Let’s think creatively about what we might otherwise throw away. We must not trade one apocalypse for another.

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Business News

Scammers are taking advantage of the unemployed

(BUSINESS NEWS) In a country that’s been stricken by higher-than-ever levels of unemployment, scammers have found a unique way to target this vulnerable demographic.

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With unemployment rates reaching unprecedented levels in recent months, it’s a fairly safe bet to say that there’s something that many of us currently have in common: we need a job. While these levels are slowly starting to decline, already down to 11.1 percent in June from an all-time high of 14.7 percent in April, the need for steady gainful employment is still great for many Americans. That’s what makes the newest scam making its rounds particularly vile.

There’s a common misconception that people who get scammed largely deserved their misfortune. Whether it’s presumed that they got greedy, they fell for something that was too good to be true, or they were looking for an easy way out, it’s both unfair and unkind to make these snap judgements of victims of scammers. When it comes to scammers, there’s only one party to blame for these wrongful actions — the scammers themselves.

And with literally millions of people looking for a job right now, these scammers have found a new round of susceptible people to target. It’s a fairly well documented fact that scammers have a knack for knowing who will be easy prey, and this latest scam is no different. According to a report from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scammers have ramped up their efforts to separate desperate job seekers from what’s left of their meager funds.

This scam is nothing new, but it has surged in popularity with the sheer number of people looking for jobs in today’s economy. Dubbed the “employment scam,” it can take on many forms, but the end result remains the same. At the end of the day, if a person is bilked out of their money, then the scammer has won.

What does this scam look like, and how can you safeguard yourself from falling prey to it? Please note that anyone — from all walks of life, no matter your age, your sex, your race, or any other factor — can become a victim of a scam. The only way to protect yourself is to be aware of the scam and recognize the signs of it. If a potential employer asks any of the following of you, then there’s a good chance they’re a scammer:

  • You are required to pay the so-called employer for your own training up front.
  • You are expected to give up your banking/personal info for a credit check.
  • You are overpaid by a fraudulent check and told to wire back the difference.
  • You are told that you need to pay for expensive equipment to work from home.

Please note that these scammers can spoof legitimate companies. They may try to pass themselves off as real-deal businesses; they’ve even tried to emulate the BBB itself. And when you refuse to follow through with their demands, they will double down and might even become hostile and aggressive, resorting to threats and cajoling. It’s important to not cave in; once they start bullying you, they know the gig is up.

The BBB also notes that coronavirus has created a “perfect storm” for scammers, but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. They advise that you avoid social isolation, as that can make you more vulnerable to scammers. When in doubt, seek out a friend’s feedback. Sometimes a reality check can make all the difference in whether or not you become a mark. Do a little bit of digging online before you accept an “offer” or share personal information. And finally, be prudent. No matter how many warnings the BBB puts out each year about scams, the only person who can really protect you from getting scammed is just one person…yourself.

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