Most of the time, the spouse of an expatriate executive is woman
leaving her own career. But unless meaningful opportunities for her are found, the entire transfer could be in jeopardy, says Noel Kreicker of Chicago-based cross-cultural training firm International Orientation Resources.
She says it’s critical that in addition to country and culture-specific programmes for the executive, there are separate training programmes for the spouse and children. The five-step pre-assignment programme she recommends employers establish includes:
1. Research the target locale and culturally define factors affecting interpersonal relationships.
2. Give executives chosen for an overseas assignment, and their families, an initial orientation on new work setting, country, job and living conditions.
3. Conduct pre-departure training, include exercises that enhance interpersonal skills.
4. Make an in-country follow-up, include further training and counselling.
5. Ensure training programmes provide some form of repatriation phase for the returning executive.
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