SpringBoards Consulting CEO and founder Nadia Nassif talks about her experience working in Tokyo, the challenges that multinational workers face and how to coach them for successful careers.
The future of work is collaborative. With increasingly multicultural workforces, how do organizations overcome cross-cultural challenges to collaboration?
Most HR leaders I’ve met are well aware that the increasing diversity of the workforce is driving demand for cross-cultural training and development. But company management isn’t always equally aware. And today, to compete in the talent marketplace, professional development efforts must not only address the needs of multicultural employees, but also help managers to understand the language, cross-cultural, and communications challenges that an English-speaking and often American business environment presents to those from other cultures.
Have you ever avoided giving feedback to a foreign national employee for fear of appearing prejudiced or insensitive? Managers are obliged to provide thoughtful, candid feedback as a core component of professional development. Yet managers, often representatives of the dominant or “majority culture,” may not always feel comfortable or confident in addressing foreign national employees with regard to cultural disconnects. They may not be fully aware of how misunderstandings related to social and behavioral differences can lead these employees to disengage. As Professor Erin Meyer put it: “Stereotyping people from different cultures on just one or two dimensions can lead to erroneous assumptions. Even experienced, cosmopolitan managers often have faulty expectations.”
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In early 2016, Emma Seddon picked up her life in the U.K. and moved across the world to China on a three-year international secondment in her role as talent development manager at Jaguar Land Rover. Her colleagues who had previously completed long-term assignments in China warned of “shang-highs and shang-lows,” and gave her as much advice as possible.
In its 2016 poll “Millennials: The Job-Hopping Generation,” Gallup reported that only half of millennial workers expects to remain in their current job one year from now; and 21% of millennials say they've changed jobs within the past year, more than three times the number of non-millennials who report the same.
Across L&D meeting agendas and HR discussion platforms, talent development is a perennially trending topic. Organizations have deepened their commitment to fostering cultures in which their people can develop and thrive. The L&D teams I’ve met with are eager to explore learning options both to accelerate the growth of their high-value employees and enhance their recruitment efforts, and they are pushing for budgets to do so.