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.”
DMCA and Twitch streaming, aka a mess of copyright
(BUSINESS NEWS) As live-streaming is booming in popularity, DMCA claims are becoming an existential problem for Twitch. And it’s streamers who bear the burden.
Last month hundreds of content creators on the streaming platform Twitch received DMCA takedown notices from their host at the same time, telling them that content on their channel was potentially in violation of copyright law.
Twitch has since summed up the incident in their own words on their blog. Typically, DMCA notices are supposed to provide the recipient with information about their options for submitting a counter-claim or seeking retraction. But, as the post admits, “the only option provided [to streamers] was a mass deletion tool for [their] clips, [and] we only gave [them] three days notice to use this tool.”
If they didn’t, they would risk losing their channel (and in many cases, their full time income.)
The videos in question could span thousands of hours of content, which could not realistically be deleted in the time allowed.
So, what you’re saying is all potentially copywritten music clips/VODS on my channel have already been identified and deleted, so I don’t need to delete anything right now?I need clarification because I don’t have the time to go through 4 years of clips.
Twitch has pretty much looked the other way from the unlicensed use of music on its user channels throughout its history. That’s generated more than a little resentment from groups like the Recording Industry Association of America in the past, and as the site only continues to grow, a massive wave of pressure from the labels has forced the site’s hand
The music industry wants Twitch to arrange for their streamers to use audio under the terms that websites like YouTube use. That includes a diligent Content ID system.
But instead, Twitch has built an in-house solution to this whole mess: Soundtrack, which offers a “rights-cleared music” from “independent artists.”
A spokesperson from Twitch supplied this statement to The Verge: “The music from Soundtrack is put into live streams and does not end up in VODs, and therefore we and our partners agree that sync licenses are not needed for Soundtrack.”
Not only that, but streamers still have a lot of questions about the new expectations on the site. In one case, a streamer had to completely stop their feed because their video was picking up music from an unrelated source.
Someone can even be flagged for playing a game that uses copyrighted music on-stream. Even playing a Star Wars game that makes use of the movie’s copyrighted soundtrack is a risky move. (After all, nobody wants to take any chances with Disney’s infamously aggressive legal team.)
In their apology, they expressed a desire to explore “potential approaches to additional licenses,” but said that “the current constructs for licenses that the record labels have with other services […] make less sense for Twitch.”
Securing a given song’s licensing rights is a pretty implausible task for a young streamer, since major copyright holders don’t generally negotiate on small-scale terms. Twitch, on the other hand, has been owned by Amazon since 2014. Amazon just happens to already be one of the biggest copyright holders in the world, and obtaining the rights to the songs that are in high demand shouldn’t be a prohibitive issue for one of their companies.
But ultimately this debacle isn’t solely their fault. The DMCA is an old law— old enough to drink, even. The people who wrote it could not have possibly accounted for the rapidly expanding new media industry. Under pressures like these, something has to give.
There, and back again? Working remotely now, and in a post-vaccine world
(BUSINESS NEWS) Working remotely is now a subject openly discussed in the business world, and is affecting every employee in organizations. Companies should adapt while remaining careful to avoid common pitfalls.
I’m not even sure it’s up for debate anymore – working remotely is not lowering productivity. Several employers (90%!) are saying this (perhaps surprised with the findings). There was a lot of concern and hand wringing about this in the first part of the 2020 decade, but the experiments have bore out data that largely suggests it’s a viable option.
Working remotely has not been without its issues. Communication remains a concern and always will be, whether that is with coworkers or management, parents have more to deal with, and virtual meetings carry their own set of logistics that we’re all still navigating. But productivity has – surprisingly – been upheld despite the massive shift.
So this brings us to the next problem on the horizon – what happens once the pandemic is over, specifically with regard to remote work? Will workers want to return to their offices (assuming they are still available)? Will it affect a company’s entire workforce, or will it be left up to individual employees to decide? Could a hybrid system work?
“Hybrid can be horrible,” says Gitlab CEO and co-founder Sid Sijbrandij. Gitlab has functioned as a fully remote company since its inception, and now has over 1,300 employees across 66 countries. They have written an extensive book that covers their processes for maintaining this setup, which has seen an increase in downloads since the beginning of the pandemic.
Sujbrandij explains that, “If you try to do hybrid you will have an A team and a B team, those in the office and those deprived of information and career opportunities.” This will create a disconnection between both groups, and will ultimately result in a breakdown in communication between those who work remotely versus those reporting into the office. This can lead to a number of potentially damaging scenarios – favoritism, knowledge being hidden away and siloed, and creating unfounded myths about productivity and commitment.
In other words, companies – once given the opportunity to return to a centralized workspace – may fall into the incorrect assumption that there can be flexible rules that apply to everyone under the guise of personal preference. This is a great idea in theory, but sounds a lot like the time Jim tried to celebrate everyone’s birthday on the same day. The ultimate joke of the episode is that the plan fails spectacularly – there’s so much unforeseen logistics and opinions and requests that everyone ends up disappointed; Michael comes back and consoles a broken Jim, stating that he’d tried that before.
Prithwiraj Choudhury – a professor at Harvard Business School – weighs in with similar advice, stating that companies need to take this transition seriously, with the potential for several months or years to fully complete the process. A recent article he authored explores this idea, with a huge emphasis on the idea that we will not simply work from home, but from anywhere, embracing a future where employees will be able to choose to live in other cities, states, or countries.
He further elaborates that this will be a necessity to help attract and keep key talent, and that this should be one of the primary motivations. “You really need to be convinced of why you are embracing this model. … This is the way to attract and retain the best talent. There are real estate costs and other benefits, but those are secondary.”
One way to help this is to ensure that everyone is on board – that even the C suite executives need to work remotely, functioning as a “shining example” that emphatically and enthusiastically embrace knowledge sharing. They can utilize Slack channels (or other communication avenues), and pursuing all necessary methods to ensure access is evenly applied across the board and given to all employees.
As we turn into a new year where a vaccine might be available, there will come a time when companies must re-evaluate their approach to working remotely again, making sure to have protocol and process that is definitive.
End of unemployment benefits spell disaster without plans to replace them
(BUSINESS NEWS) If Congress doesn’t agree on a stimulus extension, December 31st could be a massive “cliff” for millions of unemployed Americans
If you’re still employed, chances are you know someone who has been furloughed or laid off as a result of COVID-19. Unemployment benefits from the CARES Act have cushioned the economic fallout from the pandemic for millions of Americans who are currently jobless. As someone who was furloughed from my 9-5 at the beginning of quarantine, I was extremely relieved to discover that the government had a plan for myself and others in my shoes.
However, without an agreed upon plan from Congress, these benefits are set to expire at the end of the year. This inaction would make unemployed Americans exceedingly more vulnerable to poverty and eviction. So, what’s the deal Congress? Why are y’all dragging your feet?
Here’s what you have to know about the current state of things:
- Since the end of July, when extra unemployment benefits (aka the “extra $600) expired, most unemployed people are only making about half of their wage
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about two unemployed workers for every open job (yikes!)
- Over 10 million people are collecting pandemic-related unemployment benefits in America – and another 345,000 filed new applications last week – this isn’t “getting better”
- After December the federal ban on evictions will be lifted, meaning we will most likely see a massive spike in unhoused individuals and families
All of this is happening as the holiday season approaches and a third wave of COVID spikes across America. As it gets colder in many places, many businesses that made it through the first waves are expected to close and, subsequently, their workers are expected to be laid off.
Everything is coming to a head on December 31st. If Congress doesn’t get its act together and agree on what a pandemic relief extension needs to look like, the American people will undoubtedly experience a very dark and depressing winter and spring.
Jean Kimmel, an economics professor at Western Michigan University, states that: “A society that already was becoming increasingly unequal will just become even more unequal [without benefit extensions].” Because COVID-related unemployment disproportionately affected America’s gig and low-wage workers, as well as women and People of Color, the failure to extend benefits would only further exacerbate the economic inequality in our country, which isn’t good for anyone.
Let’s hope our politicians can put aside their differences for the sake of the general public. Fingers crossed.
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