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A Home for Culture Vultures

Cross Cultural Interviews

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At this moment in time, the increase in cross border human traffic has meant that companies are no longer dealing with a homogenous native community from which they recruit their staff.

Companies are now facing cross cultural challenges in how they recruit, manage and develop a multi-cultural staff. One area of note where HR and management are finding difficulties is in the interview room.

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Top 10 Trends in Business and Cultural training

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This blog was originally written in 2008.  Revisiting this in 2021 makes for interesting reading.

It's fair to say that HumaNext certainly got it right as everything they mentinoned came to fruition and these topics - particularly cultural competency for leaders, are still trending training topics!

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Charity calls for Business Leaders to take up Diversity Challenge

diversity-typed

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]."


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash


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When a Cross Cultural Joke Goes Wrong!

cars-in-bangkok

A true story: when a US telecoms giant decided to replace its manager in Thailand several years ago, it chose an ABC - 'American-born Chinese' - in the belief he would be more culturally attuned to doing business in Asia.

He was not shy about telling his colleagues how to behave and one evening berated a couple of European rivals who had been caught engaged in financial shenanigans.

They decided to play a joke on the new arrival.

They told their driver to follow him and tell him he was going to be killed.

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Intercultural Skills are Crucial say HR Leaders

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According to a survey of more than 100 senior Human Resource managers, 81% of companies agree that international work experience is a crucial criterion for leadership in a global organization.

Why? Because international leaders cannot lead global teams without the necessary intercultural skills and insights. 

The survey, "The Importance of Cultural Skills in Senior Managers," conducted by RW-3 LLC, an international training organization, and ORC Worldwide, a global human resource consulting firm, was designed to measure the importance of cultural competencies and global experience as criteria for senior management.

"During the current liquidity crisis, we've seen yet again how the global economy is entirely interconnected and how international cooperation is critical for the world's economic well being," said Michael S. Schell, president of RW-3.

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Businesses Failing to Provide Cultural Training

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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:

1) The directness of communication style
2) Language differences – especially when people are not communicating in their first language
3) 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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HR Directors, Basil Fawlty and Cultural Training

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Some recent findings by The London School of English show language and cultural training are still not getting the attention they deserve within companies today.

In fact, the spirit of Basil Fawlty seems to live on within some British businesses!

Despite the Government pinning hopes on UK PLC exporting, it brings into question whether UK companies are thinking globally and making the effort to understand their target cultures, or whether they are instead relying on the rest of the world to think and act like them?

The findings suggest that, "UK-based businesses could be risking international growth by failing to invest in cross-cultural and communications training."

The results spwan from research carried out that questioned 100 HR directors on their attitudes towards communication skills and their approach to training.

These centenary research results show a shocking lacking of regard for our international business partners,” says Timothy Blake, Chief Executive of the London School of English. “The Brits may be reluctant to learn other languages, but this research suggests that we are not even prepared to invest in understanding the cultures they work with."

Headline findings in the report include:

•    98% of HR Directors believed their non-native English speakers should communicate effectively in English.
•    Although 67% of those questioned believed that it was “very important” for business people to have a good cultural understanding of their trading partners; only 23% would offer training.
•    Only 4% believed the “Basil Fawlty” approach of speaking “more loudly” would be effective in communicating with non-native English speakers.

Worrying stuff isnt it?

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10 Facts Every Manager of a Multicultural Team Should Remember

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As a team manager leading a multicultural team, you go through the stages of team development perhaps a bit longer than when working with most monocultural teams.

When you feel you’ve had enough of battling the cultural differences, and that you just want to call it a day, don’t despair – keep in mind that due to the diversity, the ups and downs feel extreme however in the end, there is simply much more to gain.

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Why Multilingual Leadership is Needed Today

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Last week, Triple Pundit published an interview with impact investment expert Jed Emerson.

Here, Emerson explains why multilingual leadership is important for those involved in this field.

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Putting the People Back into Global Mobility

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Most of the reputable global relocation companies conduct annual surveys whereby they gather data on global mobility trends in international companies.

Plus Relocation – a company operating in corporate relocation for the past 40 years, just published the results of their Planning for International Mobility Survey.

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Musings from the 2014 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition

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The 18th annual Corporate Relocation Conference and Exhibition took place on the 3rd of February this year, in London.

We attended the conference to gain further insight about the latest discussions in the field of global mobility.

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How do Cultural Differences Impact Job Interviews?

interview-room-ppl

At this moment in time, the increase in cross border human traffic has meant that companies are no longer dealing with a homogenous native community from which they recruit their staff.

Companies are now facing cross cultural challenges in how they recruit, manage and develop a multi-cultural staff base.

Continue reading
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What are the Stages of Culture Shock for People Moving Abroad?

happy-expats-moving

'Culture shock' is used to describe the emotional rollercoaster that someone experiences when living in a new country.

Anyone that has worked and lived in a foreign country will experience culture shock of some sort.

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What Skills Are Essential for Managers Today?

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The role of a manager is evolving in response to the needs of companies operating on the international stage.

The complexities of globalisation and international systems require today's manager to adapt in order to offer modern solutions to modern problems.

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How do Culture and Communication Impact Multicultural Global Teams?

smiley-team-colleagues

The culturally homogenous team is a thing of the past in most international organisations and companies.

More and more teams are made up of people with different nationalities and therefore different cultures, languages, ideas, behaviours and ways of doing things.

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How Can I Improve Communication in a Cross-Cultural Virtual Team?

virtual-team-call-online

Working in an intercultural environment is becoming increasingly common.

One of the results of such set-ups is an experience of more communication difficulties.

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Where is the Most Expensive Destination for Expatriates?

Where is the Most Expensive Destination for Expatriates?

Since relocation training forms such a significant part of the work undertaken by us here at Commisceo, it’s essential that we keep up to date with global changes and their impacts on all things ‘expatriate’.

Mercer, is just one of our trusted ‘go to’ experts.  As consultants in the fields of talent, investments and health, their annual Cost of Living surveys are a must read for companies engaged in the relocation of their employees. 

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Is Unconscious Bias Holding Back Business Growth?

biased-brain

One of my colleagues recently caused a rather difficult situation when he unwittingly fell victim to his unconscious bias.

My colleague and I were talking to a client regarding the need for intercultural leadership training for their CEO based in the Middle East.

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Why have Diversity and Inclusion become CEO-level Strategic Concerns?

CEO-boardroom-talk

Research from Deloitte finds that diversity and inclusion in the workplace are now leadership-level issues, central to future growth and security.

Findings from the firm's 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report suggest that diversity has moved away from a predominantly HR-focused, "check box ticking" initiative to one of key strategic importance at CEO-level.

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Nanny or a Mother? Unconscious Bias and Racial Stereotyping

wife-rushing-into-bbc-YT

The viral video of Professor Robert Kelly talking to the BBC via Skype perfectly illustrate how unconscious bias works.

When his kids break into the room and interrupt the interview, an Asian lady comes to get them - did you see a Nanny or a Mum? 

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