Category Archives: Cross Cultural Insights

Postings and discussions about cross-cultural topics

Seven Characteristics of Highly Effective International HR Professionals

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Working as an international HR professional is a challenge in so many ways. How can you best prepare for success in your role? Here are some tips which I refer to (with apologies to the late Dr. Steven Covey) as the “Seven Characteristics of Highly Effective International HR Professionals.” Continue reading

Expatriate Orientation – Why, What, When?

Jennifer Stein – Global Tax Network

When individuals relocate, they are bombarded with many changes at once. You may hear the phrase: So much to do, so little time. They may be tempted to skip part or all of the relocation process. Here we’ll discuss three questions related to orientation meetings.

  • Why do we need to provide international assignees with orientation meetings?
  • What should be covered during the orientation meetings with an international assignee?
  • When should this information be provided to the international assignee?

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How to Make Cross-Cultural Training Effective

Guest Author:
Nathalie-Michèle Sylvain – Transitaré

[Editor’s Note:  It is with pleasure we welcome Nathalie-Michèle Sylvain as a Guest Author. Nathalie-Michèle is based in Montreal, Canada, where she specializes in candidate and family assessment, expatriate support and intercultural management training. She regularly participates in global conferences and has been an invited speaker for cross-cultural topics at some of these conferences as well as at Canadian universities.]

A lot is said about cross-cultural training for international assignments. Some argue that it is very important and should be done prior to departure, others claim in should be done at the host country and others still doubt the value of cross-cultural training all together. But we tend to forget that the effectiveness of a cross-cultural training depends more on its content than on its timing. So what makes a good and effective cross-cultural training program?

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International HR Forum Best of 2011

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

As we reflect back on the 2011 year just completed, we have compiled a list of the most popular posts on the site during the past year.  Each of the posts listed below had more than 1,000 views during 2011.  If you did not have a chance to view these posts when they were first published, here’s a great opportunity to see what you missed.

Why Culture is Important in International Business
Ten Steps For Building A Salary Structure
International Employment Law “Quick Facts”: Brazil
How Top Companies Manage Talent Development
The Way To Identify Your Future Leaders (Part 1)
International Employment Law “Quick Facts”: India
Global Salary Grades or Global Salary Structure?
Global HR Issues That Keep Executives Up at Night – Part 1
International Annual Leave Rules — Or I Want to Live in Brazil!
The Way to Identify your Future Leaders – Part 2
Square Peg in a Round Hole: Balancing the Global Salary Budget
Base Salary – Not So Basic!
Reverse Culture Shock (or Why Do I Hate Being Back Home?)
Creating High Performance Teams
From Training Departments to a Company Academy Part 1

We have much to look forward to as we enter 2012. We will be adding some new regular contributors to the site, and will be revamping the entire site over the next few months. We appreciate your support and encourage you to add your comments on how we can make the site even more valuable for you. Also, let us have your suggestions for future posts and other ideas you think would be helpful in advancing the site as a resource for international human resources professionals.  Finally, if you are interested in submitting a post, we welcome your participation.  Please contact me to discuss your interest.

Holiday Gift Giving Around the World

Guest Author:
Dean Foster – DFA Intercultural Global Solutions

[Editor’s Note:  We are happy to welcome Dean Foster as a Guest Author.  Dean is a well-known expert on culture in business, is a frequent lecturer at various universities and conferences, and  is the author of many books on the topic of culture in business.  He is the Director of his own firm, DFA Intercultural Global Solutions.]

Gift giving can be a little tricky when giving gifts to
international colleagues. Cultural differences can make a terrific gift at home into a terrible no-no abroad. With the holiday season soon upon us, here are some important cross-cultural gift-giving considerations when sending gifts to your international friends and business associates.

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Who Dresses for Success Anymore?

Chuck Csizmar – CMC Compensation Group

It hasn’t been that many years ago that the term “business casual” was coined to describe a new flexibility in acceptable office attire .  To many business leaders though, the phrase meant no more than wearing a red tie, and perhaps only once a week.

Well, that was then.  Today, attitudes and customs are quite different, and typically much less conservative.  For example, it is not uncommon in some circles for male employees to forgo the use of socks within an office environment.  I know, because recently I visited such an office and saw for myself.

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Affirmative Action – A Global Issue

Jacque Vilet – Vilet International

MythAffirmative action is a U.S. policy that is particular to America.

Fact:  Affirmative action is an international phenomenon and is supported  by human rights principles, including the International Covenant for the Elimination of Race Discrimination.

Around the globe, historically and currently, many countries have pursued and embraced affirmative action  measures to address various forms of subordination and inequity that exclude or marginalize socially distinct groups.

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Competitive? It’s All Relative.

Jacque Vilet – Vilet International

With globalization comes added complexity for Human Resources.

Multi-national companies often have a well-documented compensation policy that outlines the specifics of their competitive market positioning.  But should there be one market position across the entire global operations of the company?  I don’t think so.

Let’s explore the realities.  Assume, for example, that the company decides on the 50th percentile (median) as their desired a market position.  Here are the problems with this approach:

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Corporate Intranets – A Global Disconnect?

Jacquelyn Vilet – TriNet

Editor’s NoteWe are pleased to welcome Jacque Vilet as a regular contributor to the International HR Forum. Jacque is a Global HR/Benefits Consultant for TriNet, providing global Human Resources services to SME’s with international operations.  She has over 20 years experience in International Human Resources with both local nationals and expatriates, and has been an expat twice during her career. Jacque holds the Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)  from WorldatWork, the GPHR Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) from the Society of Human Resources Management and  Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) from Human Capital Insitute.

Every company operating on a global basis is interested in having all their employees worldwide identify  with the company  Many companies use an “Intranet” web site for this purpose.  But oftentimes, the design can be flawed, and even lead to disconnects with global employees.  Do you think the design of your intranet makes employees worldwide truly identify with your company?

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HR in Afghanistan – A Personal Story

The Author in her tent

Guest Author:
Yolanda Adrian

Why would anyone volunteer to live in a tent and sleep on a cot?  Well I did.  I had the opportunity to work in Afghanistan for three months from November 2009 through January 2010. The company I work for is a defense contractor and we won a contract in Afghanistan; I volunteered to help with the phase-in of the program.

My assignment was to assist with the hiring of the incumbent workers employed by the current supplier as employees of my company.  While this might seem like a simple task, there were many challenges – not knowing who the employees are, not being able to contact the employees at the work site during working hours, and the many different locations involved.

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