Avoiding Failure Abroad

Human Resource Executive just published this story featuring the alliance Mercer and RW3 CultureWizard have formed to bring CulturalTrainingPassport to the market.

42% of international assignees fail according to a recent study by Right Management. Why?

Living and working in a new environment where definitions of right and wrong are often very different from what you learned as a professional in your home country means that newcomers have to learn new ways of doing business. For most relocations, even when previous international experience exists, measured, tailored preparation is a must. Without it, organizations are not adequately investing in the success of their talent. To address this, CulturalTrainingPassport gives busy professionals the chance to prepare for the adjustment long before they depart.

Ed Hannibal, North American mobility business leader in Mercer’s Chicago office, highlights that choosing individuals for assignment is just as important as preparing those who’ve already been vetted.

“The selection process is crucial,” he says. “It’s not just about identifying strong leaders; they have to be good candidates for international assignments. We suggest you screen individuals for key competencies: an ability to adapt socially, a cultural fluency, respect for other beliefs and customs, and people who can navigate ambiguity. These are key factors for success.”

What do you think is important when preparing for assignment abroad? And, if you’re not traveling but working in a diverse, multicultural environment, what does it take to have successful, relationships with your peers?


RW3 CultureWizard is a leading provider of cross cultural training and information through the CultureWizard intercultural learning platform.

Comments (2 Comments)
  1. Kevin Smith

    I think to be successful working abroad (I have for 15yrs) requires you to be motivated understand the local culture and to be willing to engage it. When I moved to the USA, I decided not to find or make too many British friends, but to integrate into the local scene. I didn’t rely on the office for my social life. I also, refused to own a TV too and so, had to go out and meet people. I was fortunate that I had an “office buddy” who would help me with day to day issues; like banking, driving licence/test, medical/dental issues.

  2. Christian Erickson

    For those with families we cannot forget how important it is for the spouse (and children) to have a positive experience from the start. In a business (non-gov’t) situation, I already knew people in the country I moved to, I had my work to keep me occupied and the spouse does not have these important life elements.

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