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.

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
Continue reading
2550 Hits

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.
Continue reading
5359 Hits

Chinese managers are better than Western counterparts

Western managers are falling behind their Chinese counterparts in education and training, research has warned.

China has the fastest growing global economy and - according to a study by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) - also boasts a highly ambitious, sophisticated and commercially astute management population that poses a challenge to managers and businesses in the West.

The Global Management Challenge, which surveyed 327 managers in the UK, US, France and China, reveals that Chinese managers are underestimated by their Western counterparts and are launching a serious challenge to established Western business and management practices.

Read more > Chinese Managers 
Continue reading
2470 Hits

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 
Continue reading
2470 Hits

Zurich top city for expats

European cities offer the best quality of life for expatriate staff, according to a study of more than 200 locations.

zurich




The survey by Mercer, the international consultants, ranked the cities on the basis of personal safety, health and education facilities, transport, other public services, and social, economic, environmental and political factors.

The most attractive location for expatriate businesspeople was Zurich. The Swiss commercial centre, home of UBS, Swiss Re and Zurich financial services, scored 108 points under a ranking system that uses New York on 100 points as a base.

The US business centre, by comparison, was in 49th place, behind other US cities: Honolulu (28th), San Francisco (29th), Boston (37th) and Chicago and Washington?DC (equal 44th).Read more> Mercer 
Continue reading
2564 Hits

Medical staff require training on intercultural awareness

Medical staff require professional interpreters and specific training on intercultural awareness, a new study published in the open access journal BMC Health Services Research suggests. The authors reveal that doctors are dissatisfied with the treatment they provide to their non-native patients, and that they cite cultural differences and language barriers as the key factors causing the disappointment with the level of care that they provide.

Birgit Babitsch from the Berlin Institute of Gender in Medicine in Germany, and co-workers from Berlin and the UK, gathered the results of questionnaires completed by doctors working in the internal medicine and gynaecology departments of three Berlin hospitals. The responses were then narrowed down to those relating to native Germans and those of Turkish origin and analysed in conjunction with the patients’ medical records. Over 2400 doctor questionnaires and corresponding patient records were finally analyzed.

The researchers found that doctors’ dissatisfaction with the patient-doctor relationship was much greater with regard to their Turkish patients. The two main reasons given were communication difficulties and the doctors’ perceptions that the Turkish patients did not always require urgent treatment. Around 20% of doctors were dissatisfied with the course of treatment for Turkish patients, compared to 10% for German patients. Minor differences were found in doctors’ satisfaction with regard to the patient’s gender.

Dr Babitsch states: “The use of professional interpreters for improved communication and the training of medical staff for improved intercultural competence are essential for the provision of adequate health care in a multicultural setting.”

Read more > EurekAlert
Continue reading
2590 Hits

Charity calls for business leaders to take up diversity challenge

A charity that campaigns to provide a "secure base for Britain's minority ethnic communities" has called for effective leadership to promote diversity, after a poll revealed that almost nine in 10 recent graduates have experienced some kind of discrimination at work.

The Ethnic Minority Foundation, called for leaders to be held accountable for discrimination which, it says is "ruining the life chances of young people".

It follows a survey of 200 graduates by recruitment site Milkround.com which found that 86% of had faced discrimination while working.

Race discrimination affected two in five respondents, with age discrimination affecting 14% and gender 12%. Other reasons for unfair treatment included sexual orientation and height.

One respondent said: "People like me coming from a different country or continent to study and then try to get a work placement here are very vulnerable, particularly if they are unfortunate enough to have employers or managers as ignorant as the one I [worked for]."

Read more > Diversity 
Continue reading
2461 Hits

Migrants' safety getting lost in translation

Many employers are risking migrant workers' wellbeing by not providing adequate health and safety training warned the Institute of Occupational Health and safety (IOSH).

It said many non-English speaking migrant workers are especially at risk as H&S training is usually delivered in English. IOSH recently conducted a pilot study into how H&S training is delivered to migrant workers in the food processing sector.

Half of the 26 companies polled admitted their H&S training did not address how non-English speaking workers were informed, instructed or trained in H&S issues and practices.

"The evidence from the food and drink sector is that too many employers are taking risks with their migrant workers by not offering proper training in H&S issues," said IOSH policy and technical director Richard Jones."Within this sector only 42% of employers provide English lessons to staff."

Read more> Migrants 
Continue reading
2245 Hits

"Cultural pinpointing" and the multicultural consumer

The power of ethnic audiences is apparent in everyday life. But inherent risks exist when messaging previously meant for a minority group becomes part of the mainstream.

In its fourth year, the just-released Yankelovich Monitor Multicultural Marketing Study points to the impact of the "commercialization of culture," or repeated use of certain cultural elements to reach broader audiences. In 2004, 37 percent of non-Hispanic whites thought Hispanics were influencing everyone's lifestyle; today, it's 44 percent.

The result may mean less authentic messaging for Hispanics and African Americans, the study reports, if the same marketing strategies are used to reach ethnic consumers. "We're calling it cultural pinpointing. It's about understanding that today there's a lot of borrowing going on from the ethnic marketplace," said Sonya Suarez-Hammond, vice president of multicultural insights for Yankelovich in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Read more: Cultural pinpointing 
Continue reading
2622 Hits

Trend to shorter-term international relocation assignments

According to a new survey from Cartus, the premier provider of global mobility management and workforce development solutions, an accelerated shift from long-term to short-term international relocation assignments is expected during the next two years.

The Cartus Emerging Trends in Global Mobility: Policies & Practices Survey also revealed that international assignment volume has grown and is expected to increase in the future. The study also found that the number of assignment destinations is surging. Respondents named 51 different countries in their list of top three destination locations, a 76 percent increase over 2004. The United States continued as the most common destination for relocation assignments, but China overtook the UK for second place while Germany replaced Singapore for fourth place. China is expected to take over the top spot within the next two years, according to the survey.

Read more: Cartus 
Continue reading
2490 Hits