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Moving for work poses resilience and readiness problems, especially in light of COVID-19’s impact on our workplace culture and its shift towards remote and hybrid work arrangements. This blog explores the challenges associated with moving for work, emphasising the critical role that cultural training plays in facilitating transitions in today’s dynamic world and the ways in which the pandemic has increased the need for strong, adaptable support networks to enable successful adjustment to new social and professional environments.

KPMG reports that just 38% of businesses with a workforce that travels internationally provide cultural training to workers and their families, and that 35% provide no training at all. This means that a sizable portion of the population may be unprepared and unaware of their future living and employment situations.

By teaching individuals how to overcome cultural barriers in the job and in life when they are in a new setting, cultural training can help people save money. Intercultural training, which educates transferees how to interact with their new teams and their host communities appropriately, lessens these disadvantages. International assignees, or employees deployed overseas, have less culture shock as a result, which raises the possibility that their overseas assignment will be successful. Additionally, it makes it easier for individuals to communicate with their co-workers, which strengthens bonds and increases respect, trust, and eventually success at work.

It may be challenging for someone to work together with new employees when they first step into a new culture. Different social norms can lead to a higher chance of unintentional disrespect, misinterpretation, and trust erosion, which can lead to staff churn and lost investment. By teaching your employees how global markets think and function, cultural awareness training addresses this gap and enables them to create and promote goods and services that are appropriately tailored for the target cultures. Additionally, they may react to criticism quicker and more skill fully, which improves customer service, fosters client loyalty, and boosts revenue.

Ultimately, there is a rise in competition. Businesses with a strong cross-cultural knowledge approach have a clear advantage over rivals with a weak understanding of culture.

Chen et al. (2018) define culture as encompassing the following areas: history, architecture, sports, music, dance, art, and cooking. Different cultures express themselves in different ways, and there are four components to successful expat enculturation.

  • Self-adjustment: The major purpose of self-adjustment for an expat is to sustain their well-being when they feel respected and trustworthy. A better-adjusted expat could deal with conflict, depression, and social isolation more easily.
  • Additional alterations: This is a crucial element in creating a long-lasting and solid friendship with locals and being happy to converse with them in order to improve enculturation.
  • Cognitive feeling: Reducing uncertainty in interpersonal connections, lowering suspicions among individuals, and preventing misunderstandings brought on by cultural differences are all considered aspects of cognitive feeling.
  • Cultural abrasion: Diverse nations exhibit unique cultural traits. In certain nations, foreign workers employed by multinational corporations exhibit many types of discontent, such as job discontent, stress, health insurance, entertainment, food, and co-workers’ professional abilities.

Here are a few instances of how companies can get their employees ready for success abroad:

  • Offer cultural education to improve comprehension of regional traditions and customs.
  • Provide language instruction to improve communication in the destination nation
  • Hold orientation seminars that include the legal system, medical system, and social mores of the host nation.
  • Help with practical moving needs, like locating homes and educational institutions.
  • Create mentorship programmes or local support networks to facilitate a more seamless assimilation.
  • Establish unambiguous and ongoing channels of communication for assistance and criticism.
  • Provide flexible work schedules to facilitate acclimatisation to new work environments.
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