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.”
What you need to know about the historic TikTok deal (for now)
(BUSINESS NEWS) No one really knows what’s happening, but the TikTok deal’s impact on business, US-China relations, and the open internet could be huge.
So, maybe you’ve heard that Oracle and Walmart are buying TikTok for national security!
Um, not exactly.
Also, Trump banned TikTok!
Sort of? Maybe?
The terms of the proposal seem to shift daily, if not hourly. The sheer number of contradictory statements from every player suggests no one really knows what’s going on.
Just one example: Trump said the deal included a $5 billion donation to a fund for education for American youth. TikTok parent ByteDance, said, “Say what now?”
Here’s what we think we know (as of this writing):
Oracle and Walmart would get a combined 20 percent stake in a new U.S.-based company called TikTok Global. Combine that with current US investors in China’s ByteDance, TikTok’s parent, that would give American interests 53 percent. European and other investors would have 11 percent. China would retain 36 percent. (On Saturday Trump said China would have no interests at all. But that does not jibe with the reporting on the deal.)
Oracle would host all user data on its cloud, where it is promising “security will be 100 percent” to keep data safe from China’s prying eyes. But reporting has differed on whether Oracle will get full access to TikTok’s code and AI algorithms. Without full control, skeptics say, Oracle could be little more than a hosting service, and potential security issues would remain unaddressed.
Walmart says they’re excited about their “potential investment and commercial agreements,” suggesting they may be exploring e-commerce opportunities in the app.
The US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is overseen by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, still has to approve any deal.
As for the TikTok “ban” – which isn’t really a ban because current users can keep it – the Commerce Department postponed the deadline for kicking TikTok off U.S. app stores to September 27, to give time for the deal to be hammered out. Never mind that it’s still not clear whether the U.S. government has authority to do that. Unsurprisingly, ByteDance says it doesn’t in a lawsuit filed September 18.
Whatever happens with the whiplash of the deal’s particulars, there are bigger issues in play.
According to business news site Quartz, moving data storage to Oracle mirrors what companies like Apple have done in China: Appease the Chinese government by allowing all data hosting to be inside China. A similar move could “mark the US, too, shifting from a more laissez-faire approach to user data, to a more sovereign one,” says China tech reporter Jane Li.
In the meantime, TikTokkers keep TikTokking. White suburban moms continue to lip sync to rap songs in their kitchens. Gen Z continues to make fun of the president – and pretty much everything else.
And downloads of the app have skyrocketed.
Hobby Lobby increases minimum wage, but how much is just to save face?
(BUSINESS NEWS) Are their efforts to raise their minimum wage to $17/hour sincere, or more about saving face after bungling pandemic concerns?
The arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby announced this week that they will be raising their minimum full-time wage to $17/hour starting October 1st. This decision makes them the latest big retailer to raise wages during the pandemic (Target raised their minimum wage to $15/hour about three months ago, and Walmart and Amazon have temporarily raised wages). The current minimum wage for Hobby Lobby employees is $15/hour, which was implemented in 2014.
While a $17 minimum wage is a big statement for the company (even a $15 minimum wage cannot be agreed upon on the federal level) – and it is no doubt a coveted wage for the majority of the working class – it’s difficult to not see this move as an attempt to regain public support of the company.
When the pandemic first began, Hobby Lobby – with more than 900 stores and 43,000 employees nationwide – refused to close their stores despite being deemed a nonessential business (subsequently, a Dallas judge accused the company of endangering public health).
In April, Hobby Lobby furloughed almost all store employees and the majority of corporate and distribution employees without notice. They also ended emergency leave pay and suspended the use of company-provided paid time off benefits for employees during the furloughs – a decision that was widely criticized by the public, although the company claims the reason for this was so that employees would be able to take full advantage of government handouts during their furlough.
However, the furloughs are not Hobby Lobby’s first moment under fire. The Oklahoma-based Christian company won a 2014 Supreme Court case – the same year they initially raised their minimum wage – that granted them the right to deny their female employees insurance coverage for contraceptives.
Also, Hobby Lobby settled a federal complaint in 2017 that accused them of purchasing upwards of 5,000 looted ancient Iraqi artifacts, smuggled through the United Arab Emirates and Israel – which is simultaneously strange, exploitative, and highly controversial.
Why does this all matter? While raising their minimum wage to $17 should be regarded as a step in the right direction regarding the overall treatment of employees (and, hopefully, $17 becomes the new standard), Hobby Lobby is not without reason to seek favorable public opinion, especially during a pandemic. Yes, we should be quick to condone the action of increasing minimum wage, but perhaps be a little skeptical when deeming a company “good” or “bad”.
RIP office culture: How work from home is destroying the economy
(BUSINESS NEWS) It’s not just your empty office left behind: Work from home is drastically changing cities’ economies in more ways than you think.
It’s been almost six months since the U.S. went into lockdown due to COVID-19 and the CDC’s subsequent safety guidelines were issued – it’s safe to say that it is not business as usual. Everyone from restaurant waitstaff to start-up executives have been affected by the shift to work-from-home. Even as restrictions slowly begin to lift, it seems as though the office workspace – regarded as the vital venue for the U.S. economy – will never truly be the same.
Though economists have been focusing largely on small businesses and start-ups, we are only just beginning to understand the impact that not going back into the white-collar office will have on the economy.
The industries that support white-collar office culture in major cities have become increasingly emaciated. The coffee shops, food trucks, and food delivery companies that catered to the white-collar workforce before, during, and after their workday, are no longer in high demand (Starbucks reported a loss of $2 billion this year, which they attribute to Zoomification). Airlines have also been affected as business travel typically accounts for 60%-70% of all air travel.
Also included are high-end hotels, which accommodate the traveling business class. Pharmacies, florists, and gyms located in business districts have become ghost towns. Office supplies companies, such as Xerox, have suffered. Workwear brands such as J. Crew and Brooks Brothers have filed for bankruptcy, as there is no longer a need to dress for the office.
In Manhattan – arguably the country’s most notorious white-collar business mecca – at least 1,200 restaurants have been permanently lost. It is also is predicted that the one-third of all small businesses will close.
Additionally, the borough is facing twice as many apartment vacancies as this time last year, due to the flight of workers no longer tied to midtown offices. Workers have realized their freedom to seek more affordable and spacious residence outside the city. As companies decentralize from cities and rent prices drop, it isn’t all bad news. There is promise that particular urban white-collar neighborhoods will start to become accessible to the working class once again.
Some companies, like Pinterest and REI, are reporting that their shift to work from home is in fact permanent. The long-term effects of deserted office buildings are yet to make themselves evident. What we do know is that the decline of the white-collar office will force us to reimagine the great American cities – with so much lost due to the coronavirus, what can now be gained?
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