Companies wishing to expand into new international markets often assume, wrongly, that all employees work in the same way regardless of the country in question, the personality of the employee or his awareness of specific cultural issues. to the company. It is even more common to see the failure of an international mission because the organization has not sufficiently prepared the project upstream and because it has not taken into account the level of complexity of the project. such a mission. Misconceptions about international positions are commonplace and professionals in Global Mobility, HR and Talent Management teams are not the only ones to fall for it.
Do not expect your employees to identify with the culture of their host country
If you expect your expatriate employees to adopt the behaviors and customs specific to their host country, you are demanding of them a feat that is not only impossible but also counterproductive. Culture in the broad sense and cultural differences in particular are elements that are acquired over years, throughout life, according to the experiences we lead and which are deeply rooted in each of us.
Here is one video to explain it:
The debate therefore does not concern the ability of the employee to learn by heart on the plane that will take him to Tokyo all the cultural traits and adventurer tricks described in the Backpacker. This very superficial knowledge does not allow the employee to truly immerse himself in Japanese culture. Expatriates who successfully adapt to the destination country have not been forced to give up their own identity or replace it with a new cultural identity.
Culture in the broad sense and cultural differences in particular are elements that are acquired over years, throughout life, according to the experiences we lead and which are deeply rooted in each of us.
Recommending your employees to imitate the premises and their uses would go against the international mindset that every multinational company must develop. Expats who adopt this attitude are generally seen as superficial, inauthentic and condescending. For an expatriation to be a success for both the employee and the host country, it is on the contrary recommended to develop the cultural sensitivity of the expatriate, as well as his empathy, and to find a compromise. Explicit and achievable objectives must be formulated for each stakeholder, favoring open and transparent communication. It is not uncommon to see cultural differences as divisive factors. On the contrary, companies would do better to value the diversity that is expressed in international business. Companies that promote cultural diversity are often characterized by varied positions, intense creativity and stronger market strategies. The fact of conforming point by point to the local culture does not allow this kind of performance.