Companies often pay for global relocation services from some of the major providers who will then outsource those services to their long lists of sub-contractors in their various cities and countries.
This is what usually happens:
- The sub-contractor is usually not a cultural expert. (They are hired, because they are in the local area that the executive and the family plan to settle down in).
- The contractor may have never lived or worked overseas and has little cultural experience. They show up with a list of things to do and tell the executive how to accomplish things. They rarely accompany the family.
- The sub-contractor thinks that getting housing for the executive and the family is top priority. Although housing is very important, once it is found, the service is almost always considered finished and the family is left feeling frustrated and not knowing what to do next.
- The sub-contractor is usually clueless to the emotional state of the executive and his or her family members. They rarely understand how difficult it is for people to adapt to foreign cultures.
- They are operating under a limited time-frame and within a confined budget of time and materials.
- When the time-frame is over, the services end, the family and the executive will never see the sub-contractor again.
The next scenario is even worse:
If the service provider does not have a local sub-contractor they will hand over the assignment to a local real estate agency.
This is what typically happens:
- The real estate agency will assign one of their local agents to handle the assignment.
- The agent’s specialty is housing, purchasing and leasing, most know nothing about culture.
- Since they are not being paid for their time, they only focus on housing and they try to convince the executive to purchase or rent a home quickly so that they can earn a commission and move on.
- The executive and the family are given a quick local community tour, they get no assistance with schools, driver’s license, banking or with cultural issues.
- As soon as a home is obtained the project is considered completed.
The organization resorts to these means of relocating their executives because they believe it is the most expedient and cost effective way of handling transferring families to foreign places.
Unfortunately, the majority of executives and their families are not okay. Often times, they are unaware of what lays ahead. They are not prepared for the culture shock that will hit them and the complications they will be faced with as they begin their new lives in a foreign place.
To learn more about culture shock take a look at our Culture Shock Transformational Visual or sign up for our newsletter and receive our Culture Shock is Not So Shocking Handbook.
This is what happens when executives do not get the assistance they need:
- Lost production, the executive is pre-occupied with family issues and is unable to give his job full concentration.
- The executive becomes easily irritated at work.
- Resentment towards the new culture, the workplace environment and the organization begins to form.
- Staff and team members may begin perceiving the executive as being incompetent.
- The company loses more production time, because a staff member may need to accompany the executive on a family matter issue.
- The executive and the family suffer from culture shock for a longer period of time and in a most severe manner.
- The family will begin to experience complications handling simple daily matters, they may feel isolated, lonely, they miss being back home and so on, after a while they actually feel hostile towards those around them.
- With time, family members begin nagging the executive to go back home.
- The executive may eventually leave the global assignment for fear of losing the family, the organization loses top talent, time, money, global prestige and presence, the company has to start all over with a major position to fill. Everyone suffers!
Your executives are not products that can be placed on a shelf and moved from one location to another, they are people who need a lot of support when entering a new culture to live and work.