According to the 2010 Global Relocation Trends Survey, only 47% of international assignees had families with children when they went abroad last year. This all time low percentage shows a new trend in international human resources: organisations increasingly prefer to send expatriates with no children for short and long term assignments. This is primarily because the inability of the family to adapt is one of the primary causes of failed international assignments and is one of the main concerns for HR professionals.
Indeed, sending a whole family to a foreign country can represent a huge challenge without the proper preparation. Offering an expatriate cross cultural program to the partner and children can be an excellent way to prepare them for their international experience. By undergoing an expatriate cross cultural program, families can get the insights and understanding they need about the environment, way of life, currency, customs or food in the target country. Increasing their understanding of the visible part of the culture they are going to live in is just one aspect. Training can also make expatriates aware of the core cultural values of the target country that they will need to understand and adapt to.
Deciphering the core cultural values of the target culture can help all family members to cope with culture shock which is one of the greatest challenges they will face and can jeopardise the whole expatriation process. An expatriate cross cultural program can also help them to understand the different communication styles and social etiquette to ensure they can communicate what they need and behave without making any cultural faux pas during their expatriation.
Expatriate cross cultural programs can also provide the partners of international assignees practical tips about finding a job or building their social network. This ensures partners avoid getting bored and feeling disconnected from society which can negatively impact their adaptation to the new country. Getting the children ready is equally important. Expatriate cross cultural programs can help kids to understand the differences they will encounter in their new school while it will also improve their ability to adapt to their new environment and make new friends.
Regardless of where you are going on an international assignment, going through a cross cultural training course is the best way to make sure you enjoy your new life as an expatriate. Cultural training programs can also provide peace of mind to human resource professionals responsible for ensuring the expatriation is a success.
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2010