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Challenges of Hiring Global Talent: The transition process is key!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019   (0 Comments)
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 Challenges of Hiring Global Talent: The transition process is key!

By: Claude Koehl 

Attracting and hiring talent from abroad has many rewards. First and foremost, importing foreign talent gives access to a bigger talent pool of qualified candidates, which can help fill skills gaps. Foreign employees also bring knowledge of industries, business practices and markets outside the U.S.A., and will therefore enhance your projects with a fresh perspective. Furthermore, global talent also increases the diversity of the workforce and therefore its potential for innovation. In other words, the benefits largely outweigh the cost.

The Challenges

Nevertheless, hiring global talent is a challenging process for any company and invariably involves some additional expenditure, as procedures that are standard for domestic recruiting will have to be revised and adapted. Here are examples of the key issues to be considered:

  • What is the current team’s composition and what are the company’s long-term international expansion plans?
  • Do the hiring managers have the expertise needed to complete a global hiring process successfully? For instance, will they be able to confirm work references from abroad? If not, what internal or external partners need to be added? What about your legal team?
  • Have the necessary resources been allocated? The cost and timeframe need for recruiting international talent will exceed your typical domestic outlay. Additional expenses will need to be budgeted (e.g. extra man-hours, airfare for interviews, relocation expenses).
  • Is your on-boarding process flexible enough to integrate global talent efficiently? By the way, it is said that up to 70% of failed relocation's result from the family not settling in and adapting.

The Transition Process is Key for the On-boarding and Retention of Global Talent

Getting the practical relocation elements right (e.g. the work visa and social security number, household move, a temporary place to stay) is crucial to make the new hire (and their family members) feel they are being welcomed to the company.

However, surveys show (Expat Insider 2018, 2018) that global talents' main concerns are cross-cultural differences and the need to adapt and integrate into a new community.

  • Language competency, communication skills.
  • Adapting to local culture.
  • Learning culturally appropriate behaviors.
  • Developing a new social network.
  • Family unit relocation issues.
    (e.g. partner’s and children’s integration, relationship)
  • Differences in Work Environment and Processes.
  • Cost of Living and Retirement Provisions.

Letting your new hires know that the company is aware of these concerns can make a huge difference. First impressions do count!

So how can companies help with cultural issues and make global hires feel more welcome? Often, it is the little things that make a difference; here are some suggestions:

  • Have some healthy food available for the arrival of the new hire at the temporary housing.
  • Have somebody with knowledge of the new hire’s own culture give them an area tour, help them get their social security number, look for a school for the children, etc.
  • Have informational material about their new community available, e.g. opportunities for sightseeing, cultural communities in the area.
  • Implement a buddy system (e.g. past foreign hires, or domestic employees interested in cross-cultural communication).
  • Train the domestic employees on cultural differences and sensitivity!

By the way, these initiatives can be implemented at a minimal cost, particularly considering the overall cost of hiring global talent. Another example of low-cost but invaluable on-boarding material is the new book “The American Way of Life. The Foreigners Perspective”.

An ABC (literally and metaphorically) of everyday life in America, a compendium of insights and instructions, a fascinating blend of the philosophical and the practical – this is a book that covers everything from coffee (and we all know how controversial that can be, especially those of us who rely on that first vital cup in the morning) to cloverleaf ramps, those objects of terror for many new arrivals, whether as drivers or passengers. As the idiosyncrasies of everyday American life are revealed via the perceptions and experiences of foreigners, much will resonate with anyone who has ever puzzled over the intricacies of operating a garbage disposal unit for the first time or contemplated the difference between a queen or a king-sized bed.

The book helps newcomers realize that they are not alone in finding some customs surprising, funny and sometimes downright weird. At the same time, it gives U.S. readers a better understanding about how their customs and standards can be perceived by non-Americans, perhaps even inspiring them to take a fresh look at their own cultural filter.

The author uses humor very intentionally to bridge the gaps caused by cultural differences and unconscious bias, because humor and laughter are known to be key coping mechanisms to relieve stress (dopamine reward system), boost overall mood, and influence positive learning. They are two of healthiest and most powerful methods for putting challenging situations, like a cross-cultural relocation, in perspective.

Packed with thought-provoking information, the Foreigners’ Perspective is much more than simply another eye-catching coffee-table book. It is an invaluable resource as:

  • Ultimate guidebook for travelers, expats and immigrants giving much-needed insight into formal and informal facets of daily life in America.
  • On-boarding material for companies aiming to advance employee engagement and promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Entertaining icebreaker for discussions about cultural differences and unconscious bias.
  • Great reference book for ESL teachers, intercultural consultants and trainers.
  • Source book for U.S. readers desiring to better understand how their customs may be perceived by outsiders and newcomers.
  • The perfect giveaway for anybody working with an international clientele (e.g. lawyers, realtors, talent acquisition managers, relocation consultants).

The American Way of Life. The Foreigners’ Perspective is a treasure trove for anyone interested in learning more about the profound impact American culture has on all aspects of daily life. For more information see

The Author

Claude Koehl, herself a foreigner, has been working with employees from around the world for over 20 years. In 1994 she founded Intercultural Services to help companies and their employees develop cross-cultural leadership and communication competencies for the successful on-boarding, deployment, development, and retention of an increasingly diverse workforce. This book draws on her own cultural journey, as well as on the experience of the many people she has helped understand and integrate unfamiliar cultures.

Claude Koehl holds a Master's in Social Psychology, as well as degrees in Teaching, Health Promotion, Human Capital and Organizational Development. She is fluent in English, French, German, Italian, Swiss German, and is currently working to improve her Spanish.

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