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.

Brexit-bound Britannia: The Skills, Insights and Knowledge We Need to Truly be a ‘Global Britain’

Brexit-bound Britannia: The Skills, Insights and Knowledge We Need to Truly be a ‘Global Britain’

:: As of this week Brexit negotiations have officially commenced.

:: The UK will be leaving the EU within the next few years.

...
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Time Management Training: Skills and Techniques

Time Management Training: Skills and Techniques
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your workload and have no idea where to start and how to get organized? Does the term procrastination sound familiar to you? Can you relate to internal battles with work/life balance? You are not alone.
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Organisations Failing in Cross Cultural Up-Skilling



Leading research and workplace innovation company, Career Innovation (Ci) has today published the results of its latest study, Cross-Cultural Development Conversations.

Carried out across 45 leading companies worldwide, the new study has found that although organisations are aware of the need to skill up their leaders to manage the cross-cultural workforce, few have acted to make this a reality.

At a time when the pace and scale of globalisation has never been higher, competition for the best talent remains intense. The effectiveness of development conversations in organisations is known to play a significant role in engaging and retaining key talent. Factoring in the complexity of a diverse and dispersed workforce makes it even tougher to ensure that these conversations are at their most effective.

According to the 45 organisations interviewed (Sept-Nov 08), the business importance of working effectively across cultures is high and rising. Most are already operating complex organizations across multiple regions and almost all (91%) indicated they expect cultural diversity in their organisations to increase over the next 3-5 years, with nearly 50% expecting a “significant increase”.

The study revealed three top factors that impact cross-cultural development conversations:

The directness of communication style
Language differences – especially when people are not communicating in their first language
The need to establish high levels of trust across cultures, in order for development conversations to be effective

Differences between Asian and Western cultures were consistently reported as a particular challenge by respondents with 50% of organisations reporting this as an issue.

Companies identified many key employee development processes that are impacted by these cultural hurdles. For example, 60% of organisations said that coaching relationships can be much tougher to establish in some cultures than in others. Giving feedback can also present challenges, with one company finding that its Chinese employees quit after receiving challenging feedback.

“This issue has a big impact on global organisations”, says Ci’s founder Jonathan Winter. “Although they are increasingly aware of the need to encourage meaningful dialogue with employees about their careers and development, only a few have really taken on board the additional complexities overlaid by the cross-cultural dimension. Left unresolved the cross-cultural conversation gap hits the bottom line in a way companies can ill afford in today’s tough times.”

Organisations who are placing the strongest focus on building their employees’ cross-cultural competence report significant benefits including improved attraction and retention rates.

Following on from this study and Ci’s previous Conversation Gap research, Ci will be developing its existing career tools and approaches to encourage more leaders to develop cross-cultural thinking as part of their everyday style. Winter offers an example of how this will be incorporated, “Our Engaging Conversations multi-rater tool is already helping mangers around the world improve their staff dialogue skills and habits. We’re going to take that to the next stage and incorporate the cross-cultural dimension”.

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Global Skills for an International Career



As an international careers adviser, I receive questions daily from people of varied backgrounds who hope to try their luck in the global marketplace. Many job seekers mistakenly believe that they can’t begin an international career until their feet are on foreign soil. They overlook their own backyard for resources and training opportunities.

The Most Sought-After Skills

What do international employers really look for in employees and what skills will be needed by professionals to perform successfully in the global marketplace?

A study commissioned by the College Placement Council Foundation surveyed 32 international employers and colleges to determine what international employers seek in prospective employees. They identified the following areas of required knowledge and skills:

Domain knowledge

Colleges in the U.S. are presently preparing their graduates well in domain knowledge, or knowledge in one’s academic discipline, although employers expressed concern that increasingly greater demands and higher standards may soon result in inadequately prepared graduates.

The three most important skills were cognitive skills, social skills, and “personal traits.” Problem-solving ability, decision making, and knowing how to learn are highly prized generic skills. Social skills were described as the ability to work effectively in group settings, particularly with diverse populations. Personal traits mentioned frequently included flexibility, adaptability, and the capacity to be innovative. Employers often mentioned that colleges do not adequately address this type of skill development.

Cross-cultural competence

Students must make a concerted effort to acquire the knowledge, skills, and traits gained through cross-cultural interaction because we are more geographically and linguistically insulated than most other countries.

On-the-job training and prior work experience. Employers seek applicants who have been successful in applying their domain knowledge or academic studies and generic skills in the workplace. They say that colleges do not place sufficient emphasis on work experience.

Read more >> By Debra Peters-Behrens
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New national standards on intercultural respect at work



The first ever National Occupational Standards for working with people from different countries or diverse cultures will be launched today at a high profile event in central London. The new Standards provide a quality benchmark for building mutual respect, improving communication and workforce relations, and reducing racism.

The new National Occupations Standards for Intercultural Working describe the skills, knowledge and understanding required by anyone wishing to work effectively in a multicultural environment. They can be used to inform policy and procedures, provide a good practice guide for human resources professionals, and identify training needs to promote social and community cohesion.

CILT, the National Centre for Languages led the government-funded project to develop the new Standards, which were approved by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in September 2008. Today’s launch celebrates the completion of the project, which has involved hundreds of organisations, employers and individuals from across the UK over the past two years.

Read more >> CILT
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HR Expat Management Conferences, Event, Seminars 2008


HR events 2008


GMS (Global Mobility Specialist) Training and Certification

When and Where:
13th, 16-17 June 2008 – Brussels, Belgium
27-29 October 2008 – Washington D.C.
Produced by: Worldwide ERC’s Global Workforce Association
Cost: See website
More information:
www.erc.org/PERC_INTERNATIONAL/gms_dates_locations.shtml
Description: The Global Mobility Specialist (GMS™) designation signifies that you have taken training in the specialized field of global workforce mobility and are committed to ongoing education to grow your expertise.

HR Strategy - Translating Business Strategy into HR Actions
When and Where:
30th July, 2008 – Hong Kong
Produced by: Mercer
Cost: see website
More information:
www.mercer.com
Description: As organisations in Asia ask HR to play a more active role in helping achieve business success, many HR professionals are being required to actively contribute to setting and implementing the business strategy. HR professionals are also being called upon to play the role of strategic advisor to the business.  How can HR play an active role in helping to implement business strategy? Through developing congruent HR and Human Capital strategies that align what business needs to achieve to what HR does, HR can directly contribute to business success. Acquiring the knowledge and applying the know-how to make this happen has become an imperative for HR professionals in Asia to start playing this crucial role.

Becoming an Effective HR Business Partner
When and Where:
2nd September, 2008 – Melbourne, Australia
Produced by: Mercer
Cost: see website
More information: www.mercer.com
Description: One of the challenges for HR Professionals today is the need to not only deliver efficient and reliable HR operations and systems, but also to act as a business partner and strategic advisor to the senior team. This 1-day workshop helps participants to understand the new demands and roles of the HR Professional, and explores how to position oneself as a true business partner. Case studies, group sharing and facilitated discussions help highlight issues and how to address them.

JSB’s 5th Annual Employment Law Europe 2008 - A Practical Approach to the Latest Developments in Six European Jurisdictions: France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Spain
When: 23 - 25 April 2008
Where: London, U.K.
Produced by: JSB Training and Development
Cost: see website
More information: www.eurolaw2008.com, Email: www.jsbonline.com/booking
Tel. UK 020 8371 7032
Description: Europe plays a central role in the UK’s economic success and is vital for UK businesses. Understanding how employment law works in different European countries has become one of the key challenges facing business for many HR professionals, in-house lawyers and advisers who operate in more than one European jurisdiction. This comprehensive three-day conference will enable you to deal with employment law issues in France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.  Leading experts from each jurisdiction will point out pitfalls and highlight how each domestic legal system differs from the UK.

The Summit on Leading Diversity – Practical Solutions for Building Inclusive and Productive Organizations
When: 28 – 30 April, 2008
Where: Atlanta, GA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/div/default.aspx
Description: As the nation's premiere diversity event, the Summit on Leading Diversity plays an integral role in creating and sustaining inclusive work environments that mirror the demographic makeup of this country. Linkage prides itself on the quality and depth of the program and remains committed to showcasing a collection of the most vital tools, strategies, and best practices available in the diversity field. Each year, the Summit takes diversity work to new levels by building on the concepts presented the previous year and challenging presenters and participants to be visionary in their thoughts and actions



The Human Resources Forum
When: 7-10 May 2008
Where: Oriana, Southampton, U.K.
Produced by: Richmond Events
Cost: see website
More information: www.hrforum.co.uk
Description: An event that combines an outstanding conference programme with facilitated networking. Meetings are pre-arranged allowing delegates to research potential suppliers, benchmark existing ones and hear about new products and services in the marketplace. Equally, for suppliers, it’s an opportunity to build new relationships and affirm existing ones. It’s also an event where you’re likely to achieve more in three days than you usually do in three months!

The Best of Organizational Development Summit – Proven Tools, Skills and Best Practices for OD and HR Practitioners 
When: 13 -15 May 2008
Where: Chicago, IL
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/od/default.aspx
Description: In its 10th year, The Best of Organizational Development Summit addresses the OD practitioner's highest priorities and challenges with the latest and most pertinent tools and information from thought leaders, practitioners, and world-class keynote speakers. Each year, Linkage conducts field research with hundreds of practitioners, thought leaders, and consultants from around the world. This research and the resulting Model for High Impact OD set the agenda for The Best of Organizational Development Summit. The Summit is able to address the needs of OD practitioners at every level, equipping them with practical and cost-effective tools and applications to immediately improve business results. This event combines competency and skill development with action learning, networking, and best practices to accelerate the capability of OD practitioners.

EuRA 10th Anniversary Conference
When: 14-16 May 2008
Where: Rome, Italy
Produced by: European Relocation Association
Cost: see website
More information: www.eura-relocation.com or by email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Description: EuRA is an industry body for relocation professionals in both Europe and Worldwide. Relocation service providers are required to abide by EuRA's Rules of Conduct. This year’s conference, “We Versus Me; Celebrating our Work-Life Balance,” will focus on balance for expat and relocation professionals.  The focus will be on the psychological reactions to an increasingly work-driven lifestyle, especially for the globally mobile employee and family.

The 9th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research & Practice Across Europe
When: 21-23 May 2008.
Where: Lille, France
Produced by: The University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD), the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD), and IÉSEG School of Management
Cost: See website
More information: http://hrd.ieseg.fr/index.html 
Description: THEME: Developing Leaders and Managers - The University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD), the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD), and IÉSEG School of Management (part of the Catholic University of Lille), are pleased to announce the 9th International Conference on Human Resource Development across Europe.  The conference aims to promulgate the latest research findings, best practices and theoretical developments in HRD.  The theme of this year’s conference is developing leaders and managers as a key HRD activity. In particular we hope to highlight how we, in the HRD community, in our roles as academics, educators, professionals and trainers shape, constrain and contribute to the process of developing and leaders.

Expatriate Compensation Seminar
When and Where:
21-22 May 2008 - Cambridge, MA USA
28 -29 May 2008 - London, U.K.
Where: Produced by: AIRINC Associates for International Research, Inc.
Cost: see website
More information: www.air-inc.com/seminars/cambr08.html or for USA contact Scott Sutton in Cambridge +1 617 354-2133 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and for UK contact Ilse van Loon in Amsterdam +31 20 618 5205 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Description: Our restructured training program consists of a two-module format: The first-day session will focus on the fundamentals of expatriate compensation and the second day will cover more advanced material, addressing best practices in policy design & strategy.  International human resources professionals (or the equivalent) can register to attend both sessions or one of the individual modules.

Eighth International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations

When: 17 – 20 June 2008
Where: Montreal, Canada
Produced by: Common Ground
Cost: see website
More information: http://diversity-conference.com
Description: This conference will address a range of critically important themes in the study of diversity today. Main speakers will include some of the world’s leading thinkers in the field, as well as numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Global Workforce Summit: Focus on Europe, Middle East & Africa
When: June 18-19, 2008
Where: Brussels, Belgium
Produced by: Worldwide ERC®
Cost: See website
More information: www.erc.org/Global_Summit/emea08.shtml
Description: This conference promises abundant opportunity for those responsible for workforce mobility and talent management in Europe, Middle East and Africa. This year the event will be hosted by the globally important city of Brussels – where many important decisions that impact business prospects are made and which is home to many corporate decision-makers. Workforce mobility is a key strategy for talent management in today’s dynamic economic and business environment. Finding and keeping the right people in the right jobs is more difficult than ever before and demographers predict the labour shortage will continue to grow. Learn from the leaders in workforce mobility about best practices and emerging trends that will help your organization succeed in this competitive environment.

New Regulations for Cross Border Workers
When: 23 June 2008
Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Produced by: Lexlumen, in cooperation with Expatica
Cost: See website
More information: www.lexlumen.nl or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Description: Learn about the latest changes in Dutch regulations for expats and inpats in labour law, tax regulations and pensions.

Employing and Vetting Non-UK Nationals
When: 2nd July 2008
Where: The CBI Conference Centre, London, U.K.
Produced by: Symposium Events
Cost: see website
More information: www.symposium-events.co.uk  Tel: (UK) 020 7231 5100
Description: Symposium Events’ 5th Annual Employing and Vetting Non-UK Nationals 2008 is the authoritative conference for employers involved in recruiting and screening non-UK nationals. This unique and timely conference features an update on the most recent vetting rules and legislation surrounding both EU and non-EU nationals. By attending you can ensure your vetting practices are rigorous and fair, and avoid the risk of litigation.

W.I.N. Global Leadership Forum 'women creating the future'
When: 18-20 September 2008
Where: Barcelona, Spain
Produced by: WIN Conference/Kristin Engvig
Cost: see website
More information: www.winconference.net - Registration Opens 1 May 2008
Description: Come join hundreds of outstanding women in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain for the global leadership forum of the year. W.I.N. is bringing a vision of sustainability, authenticity and nurturing values and the women at W.I.N. are making it happen.  Come and meet highly dynamic, experienced and competent women and some courageous men too. Learn how to do business in a graceful way and create an innovative future that is beneficial for all.  Join us in developing, empowering and connecting leaders with a feminine, authentic and truly global vision.

CERC National Conference
When: 21 – 23 September 2008
Where: Vancouver, B.C.
Produced by: CERC
Cost: see website
More information: www.cerc.ca/events/conf/conference.aspx or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone: + 866-357-CERC (2372)
Description: John Ibbitson, a respected journalist with the Globe and Mail newspaper and author of several books, will be the keynote speaker at this year's annual conference.  Mr. Ibbitson is currently covering the U.S. primary race in advance of the U.S. Federal elections in November 2008. He is a noted expert on Canada/ U.S. political relations and trade matters. In 2005 he wrote the Canadian best seller - "The Polite Revolution, Perfecting The Canadian Dream."

Global HR News Conference - Going Global and Thriving
When: 23rd September 2008
Where: Mexico City, Mexico
Produced by: Global HR News
Cost: See website
More information: www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=52 or contact Ed Cohen: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Phone: +1.619.297.5700
Description: Conference educational theme: Aligning Human Capital Financial Resources, Talent Management and Mobility Policy with Corporate Strategy.

TAMA Conference 2008 - Quality, Standards and Technology: Terminology's Future
When: 9 - 10 October 2008
Where: Ottawa, Canada
Produced by: TermNet
Cost: see website
More information: www.termnet.info/english/events/idss2007.php, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel.: +43-1-524 0606-11
Description: TermNet, the International Network for Terminology, is an international co-operation forum for companies, universities, institutions and organizations who aim at developing a world-wide market for terminological products, services and tools.  The 9th International Conference "Terminology in Advanced Management Applications (TAMA)" will take place within the "Canadian Terminology week."

The Global Institute for Leadership Development
When: 12 – 15 October 2008
Where: Palm Desert, CA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: http://gild.linkageinc.com
Description: In its 11th year, with over 3,500 alumni, GILD is an intensive 5.5 day leadership immersion program providing a world-class accelerated learning experience that combines expert instruction, real-time business application, and social awareness in a pragmatic and hands-on environment. GILD joins together seasoned leaders from all industries and functions representing Global 2000 companies.  Participants engage in focused learning around the 15 components of the model through our leadership assessment instrument, lessons in leadership sessions, skill development programs, private executive coaching program, and business simulation.

Best Practices in Leadership Development Summit – Tools, Processes and Systems for Developing Leaders
When: 12 – 15 October 2008
Where: Palm Desert, CA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/bpld/default.aspx
Description: Linkage's 1st Annual Best Practices in Leadership Development Summit: Tools, Processes & Systems for Developing Leaders is the one place where those who are responsible for accelerating the development of managers, executives and leaders in their organizations can come each year to learn the state-of-the-art in their profession. Thought leaders, world-class practitioners and expert instructors join an elite faculty to help attendees produce the results expected of them. Benchmark against the best in the industry and dramatically increase your know-how and ability to succeed in your role. Your organization's future depends on it!

Japan Human Resources Roundtable
When: November 2008
Where: Tokyo, Japan
Produced by: The Economist
Cost: see website
More information: This conference is currently being developed; please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the latest information on programme, venue and speakers.
Description: Please see above info.

The Women in Leadership Summit – Distinctive Learning. Practical Solutions. Proven Results
When: 10 – 12 November 2008
Where: San Francisco, CA
Produced by: Linkage Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/wil/default.aspx
Description: The Women in Leadership Summit equips women leaders with the strategies and skills to catalyze change, accelerate development, gain visibility, and create sustainable operating results. The event boasts more than 5,000 alumni and hundreds of world-class speakers. Year after year, the Women in Leadership Summit delivers exactly what it promises, including proven leadership skills; strategies from best-in-class practitioners; inspiration and renewal; opportunity for reflection and change; unmatched networking opportunities; and continuous learning and development.

The Global HR Congress; Aligning Human Capital, Talent Engagement, Innovation & Competing Globally
When: 3-4 December 2008
Where: Paris, France
Produced by: Global HR News
Cost: see website
More information: www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=71 or www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=52 or contact Ed Cohen: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Phone: +1.619.297.5700
Description: Theme: Strategic Role of International Assignments in World Trade.

The Best of Talent Management Summit
When: 9 – 11 December 2008
Where: Lake Buena Vista, FL
Produced by: Linkage Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/default.aspx
Description: The Best of Talent Management Summit is a gathering of the world's foremost talent management experts, thought leaders, and experienced practitioners, brought together to share the tools, models, leadership skills, and overall implementation plans executed during successful talent management initiatives. Attendees are offered a genuinely unique immersion learning experience through a combination of visionary keynote presentations, best practice case studies, and small, focused learning teams. Participants and team leaders alike will have the shared opportunity to discuss and debate principles and methods learned throughout the presentations and then apply them to their own real and current challenges in small action learning groups.
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Cross-cultural competence

Cross-cultural competence (3C), another term for inter-cultural competence, has generated its own share of contradictory and confusing definitions, due to the wide variety of academic approaches and professional fields attempting to achieve it for their own ends. One author identified no fewer than eleven different terms with some equivalence to 3C: cultural savvy, astuteness, appreciation, literacy or fluency, adaptability, terrain, expertise, competency, awareness, intelligence, and understanding (Selmeski, 2007).

Organizations from fields as diverse as business, health care, government security and developmental aid agencies, academia, and non-governmental organizations have all sought to leverage 3C in one guise or another, often with poor results due to a lack of rigorous study of the phenomenon and reliance on “common sense” approaches based on the culture developing the 3C models in the first place (Selmeski, 2007).

The U.S. Army Research Institute, which is currently engaged in a study of the phenomenon, defines 3C as: “A set of cognitive, behavioral, and affective/motivational components that enable individuals to adapt effectively in intercultural environments” (Abbe et al., 2007). Cross-cultural competence does not operate in a vacuum, however. One theoretical construct posits that 3C, language proficiency, and regional knowledge are distinct skills that are inextricably linked, but to varying degrees depending on the context in which they are employed. In educational settings, Bloom’s affective and cognitive taxonomies (Bloom, 1956; Krathwohl, Bloom, & Masia, 1973) serve as an effective framework to describe the overlap area between the three disciplines: at the receiving and knowledge levels 3C can operate with near independence from language proficiency or regional knowledge, but as one approaches the internalizing and evaluation levels the required overlap area approaches totality.

Read more > Multi-National Multi-Cultural Collaboration 
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Spouse language skills part of revised migrant scheme

Husbands and wives of work visa applicants will have to prove their English language skills under plans unveiled by the government yesterday.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith announced that foreigners applying for spouse visas will have to undergo language tests.

She also said that criminals with unspent convictions will be refused entry, while the age at which people can come to the UK for marriage will be raised from 18 to 21.

The government is revamping the UK's migration system, introducing a tougher, points-based scheme. This will be introduced in five stages over the next 18 months.

Read more> Language

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An expat's view on intercultural communication

Portuguese expat Elizabet Fernandes enjoys the international atmosphere in her multilingual EU company, but finds that people get 'lost in translation’ and inherit one another's linguistic mistakes.

Lost in translation

English is the current working language but too often people ‘get lost in translation’ because the level and the knowledge of language amongst us varies from person to person. We also inherit each other’s linguistic mistakes and end up speaking a kind of ‘Euro-English’. I like to speak as many languages as possible so I prefer to speak Spanish, French or Italian depending on the nationality of my colleagues. Besides, with this job I can also use and develop my skills as a translator and that’s perfect.

Unfortunately it’s too hard to use Dutch on a daily basis as the Dutch immediately respond in English to foreigners even to Flemish people!

Culture games

Although Eurojust is a very multicultural environment it is still not very intercultural. My colleagues often don’t understand each other or tend to ‘over-react’. I have been fighting for intercultural training because it helps you to realise that different people (from different cultures) may react differently in similar situations and to respect that. I followed this training myself in Portugal so I know the impact and the benefits.

Read more: Holland 
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Global Teams - A Guide For Multinationals

For global corporations, the borderless world offers a glimpse of what's to come. International success once meant having bodies and factories on the ground from São Paulo to Silicon Valley to Shanghai. Coordinating their activities was a deliberately planned effort handled by headquarters.

The challenge now is to weld these vast, globally dispersed workforces into superfast, efficient organizations. Given the conflicting needs of multinational staff and the swiftly shifting nature of competition brought about by the Internet, that's an almost impossible task. And getting workers to collaborate instantly—not tomorrow or next week, but now—requires nothing less than a management revolution.

Complicating matters is the fact that the very idea of a company is shifting away from a single outfit with full-time employees and a recognizable hierarchy. It is something much more fluid, with a classic corporation at the center of an ever-shifting network of suppliers and outsourcers, some of whom only join the team for the duration of a single project.

To adapt, multinationals are hiring sociologists to unlock the secrets of teamwork among colleagues who have never met. They're arming staff with an arsenal of new tech tools to keep them perpetually connected. They include software that helps engineers co-develop 3D prototypes in virtual worlds and services that promote social networking and that track employees and outsiders who have the skills needed to nail a job. Corporations are investing lavishly in posh campuses, crafting leadership training centers, and offering thousands of online courses to develop pipelines of talent.

Read more: Global Teams 
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Diversity and equality workers want a professional association

Diversity practitioners are calling for a new professional association to help them to establish industry standards and define proper career paths, according to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

A report commissioned by the LSC, due to be published next week, has revealed that despite educational and vocational training, diversity experts feel they cannot carry out their jobs effectively as there is an "unstructured" mix of standards and guidance available to them, through 'on the job', formal and informal training.

Read more: Diversity 
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Recruiting, Retaining and Promoting Culturally Different Employees

Picture it: the CEO of a pharmaceutical company is brainstorming with his staff, and the idea of gift certificates is tossed around. One employee, an accountant and a recent immigrant from Romania, has never heard of a gift certificate, because although she’s fluent in English, gift certificates don’t exist in Romania. She asks, “What’s a gift certificate?” and everyone looks at her like it’s the stupidest question they’ve ever heard.

Unfortunately, this is a true story. It’s just one example cited in Recruiting, Retaining and Promoting Culturally Different Employees by Canadian cross-cultural specialists Don Rutherford and Lionel Laroche.

Although cross-cultural challenges exist in Canadian workplaces, entrepreneurs can employ tactics that help minimize the difficulties to ensure they retain and capitalize on the ideas and skills that culturally diverse employees bring.

Read more: Recruiting, Retaining and Promoting Culturally Different Employees
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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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Communication holds key to M&As

As companies conduct cross-border courtships and inter-marry , the one glue needed to hold all the pieces together seems to be missing. Language and communication skills seem to be the one major casualty of the technical education pursued by most managers and coveted by most employers. However successful an organisation, the lack of proper language skills can derail the most audacious merger or turn the most breath-taking innovation into an ordinary process shift.

That’s probably why Astra-Zeneca , Boeing and Citigroup have all hired well-known poet David Whyte to figure out how to conduct conversations within their organisations.

Read more: Whyte 
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