The Commisceo Global Blog - Perfect for Culture Vultures

Whether a press release, a case study of cultural difference, some tips on working abroad or some lessons in cross-communication, we try our best to satiate your inner culture vulture.

Culture Shock & Employee Relocation

Culture Shock & Employee Relocation

A delegation from the financial services sector recently visited Brussels in an effort to drive forward a post-Brexit deal for the industry.

If they fail, it may become necessary for financial service businesses in the UK to relocate key staff to other sites in Europe to enable the continuation of current services.

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So Sochi: Spotlight on Russian Culture

So Sochi: Spotlight on Russian Culture
The winter Olympics have just started in Sochi and Russia expects a lot from it as the Olympic Games always represent the opportunity to shine in the world. The international attention that this event draws to 'the Motherland' will be an excellent opportunity to share some of its culture.
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50 Foreign Faux to Keep you out of Trouble when Travelling Abroad

50 Foreign Faux to Keep you out of Trouble when Travelling Abroad
Travel by its very nature means meeting and living with people from different cultures; and with cultures coming together there will always be differences in the way we do things. By way of highlighting this, the insurers Insure and Away have compiled a rather cool infographic of 50 Foreign Faux Pas to help keep you out of trouble!
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Work across Cultures? You need Global Dexterity

Work across Cultures? You need Global Dexterity
You can read as many books about cultural awareness as you like; you will only become successful when working with other cultures when you put your knowledge into action.
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Civil Engineer helps Construction Industry Go Global

Civil Engineer helps Construction Industry Go Global
Ever thought of going global with your design or construction company? You might run into problems you didn’t expect to occur. Here are a few tips on how to realise your global ambitions as smooth as possible!
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Afghan jokes on Cultural Differences

Afghan jokes on Cultural Differences
You wouldn't think war would bring out a people's sense of humour but in Afghanistan the cross-cultural interaction between locals and troops has resulted in some very funny stories.
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The burden of Expatriate life



More and more workers have relocated abroad in recent years, but despite the growing numbers, family issues remain a major factor in the failure of overseas postings.

The initial excitement of an exotic new posting can turn to culture shock, loneliness, identity loss and depression, and it is often the employee's spouse and children — without the familiar routine of work — who are most affected.

"I thought it would be an adventure, and it was," said Francesca Kelly, an American who moved 10 times in the first nine years as a Foreign Service spouse, living in places like Belgrade and the former Soviet Union during the cold war. But it "was much more difficult than I ever imagined it would be."

Brenda Fender, director of global initiatives for Worldwide ERC, a not-for-profit association concerned with work force mobility, said a family's happiness was crucial. "If the family cannot adapt, the employee will likely not succeed," she said.

And not succeeding can be expensive.

Scott Sullivan, senior vice president at GMAC Global Relocation Services, told the story of a man from Cleveland with an important role in building a large manufacturing plant in rural China. He left the project midway through and returned home when his wife and child became desperately unhappy. This disrupted the project, a joint venture with a Chinese company, which then backed out — a loss for the American company of hundreds of millions of dollars, Sullivan said, and it could have been avoided with a better assessment before the man left home.

Read more >>> IHT
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Corporate support for the Third Culture Kid (TCK)

The good news is that organisations can provide services that facilitate successful adjustments. The cost of sending an employee and family on international assignment is substantial. For a minimal additional investment, corporations can provide pre- and post-assignment cross-cultural development programmes that reduce the stress of the move and meet the family’s needs. Specifically, such programmes help the family to understand the leaving process, the new culture(s), how to conduct themselves (socially, in business, and in daily life) more effectively in the new location, and how to manage culture shock and adjustment.

Cross-cultural programmes offer knowledge and support to the third-culture child. Many relocation companies contribute to the family’s international success by offering packages and programmes to the new assignee and family.

It is up to employers to promote the value of this to employees and their families, and to encourage them to make time for the training in the hectic schedule of an overseas move.

The employer’s organisation needs to support all the family members through the adjustment phase, which can take up to 18 months. The follow-through and tracking after the move is very important. Counselling services, coaching, mentoring, and, ultimately, a repatriation programme are other valuable options for third-culture children and their families.

Read more > TCK 
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Language and Cultural background holding foreign-born workers back

“When you're looking at skills and technical professions there's a good body there of commonality,” said Tom Ryan, who's in charge of Communitech's recruitment strategy. “What we also find is culture shock. We find culture shock and language as a two-part killer.”

Not always, according to Herbert Hess, president of Hess Associates, which provides a placement service for people looking for work in the IT sector. Hess said that while language and culture shock can be a problem for some immigrants looking for work, people from countries such as India are used to working 10 to 14 hours a day - the kind of work ethic employers are looking for. “They've got language skills, communication skills and are very well educated. They don't seem to have a problem in terms of fitting in.”

Hess said he's seeing more Middle Eastern people looking for work nowadays compared to previous years, when Russian and Asian workers dominated the field.

Read more: Hess 
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