The Olympics remind us that successful assimilation can lead to assignment victory!
Every four years, we experience a sense of ethnocentrism rarely demonstrated at other times. This sense of pride causes us to do unusual things like buy swim trunks flanked in red, white and blue stripes, zone out in front of the television on a 90 degree day or even belt out the national anthem like we were Celine Dion (without the pitch accuracy, unfortunately).
What the Olympics remind us of, besides the amazement of the physical capabilities of the human body, is how we are really not so different from one another, regardless of where we come from. The motivation to compete and the drive for excellence, some would say, are innate in all of us.
In London, the “Olympic Village” will be home to over 14,000 athletes who will live together in a protected environment. The 5,000 seat dining room will cater to the tastes and dietary needs of every nation. These athletes will not be alone while acclimating to a new environment, as the environment itself is being catered to them.
For assignees moving to a new country, their world is not so accommodating. As corporations expand their business footprints to places far and beyond, employees are venturing outside their home lands to take on new opportunities and grow the economies of countries far beyond the US borders. An employee who relocates to a new country doesn’t have the amenities an Olympic athlete has at his finger-tips. Assimilation to a new culture can be challenging, and for a corporate relocation or assignment, the success of the acclimation can make or break a move. Everyone knows that a failed assignment is costly in many ways.
For employees moving to a new country, differences in culture, food or even day-to-day social interaction may be intimidating and difficult to understand alone. There are services that exist in the mobility industry that can provide your employees and their families with the tools they need to not only successfully work in their new location, but to live successfully.
To help your employees and their families work and live successfully in a new location, SIRVA suggests companies consider offering the below services to them:
- Settling-in services. These services can provide your employees with the confidence needed to do the day-to-day activities in their new home that many of us take for granted such as setting up a banking relationship, understanding shopping “fundamentals”, or even joining local clubs and organizations.
- Cross-cultural training services. Gaining an understanding of local customs and general rules of living can be crucial to an employee’s ability to “fit in” within the new location. For example, in Mexico, it is customary for the arriving person to greet the others. In Chile, women often greet both other women and men with a kiss on the cheek. In Russia, women often walk arm in arm with their female friends. These are the types of “rules of life” that will enhance the employee’s livelihood.
- Language training services. It almost goes without saying that an employee who moves to a country where an unknown language is spoken should receive language training services, but it is important to examine how much training is needed based on your employees’ current capabilities. One employee may only need several hours of “refinement” training while another may need many hours of intensive training. Also keep in mind the needs of families, especially if children will be attending a school taught in the native tongue.
Human beings are not all that different, but as we all splendor the pomp and circumstance of 2012 Olympic Games, keep in mind that every corner of the world has its own unique view of life. Providing mobile employees with the tools to successfully acclimate to a foreign life will pay for itself.
Interested in settling-in, cross-cultural training, or language training services? Visit the Global Management Services page of our website.
Please contact Tracey Gatlin, Manager, Global Supply Chain at SIRVA with questions about this post.