"HR truly has to partner with its company's operations people on international assignments," says Barry Kozloff, president of Selection Research International in St. Louis. "This is a necessary step of managing cost and risk for the company."
Other experts offer the following guidelines to ensure that the experience is successful-for the expatriate and for the organization:
- Consider international assignments an essential element of organizational development, as opposed to simply career development.
- Analyze the job that needs to be done abroad, and the skill sets and strengths required to fill the position's needs.
- Look at the current organizational climate: Is this a merger/acquisition situation, for instance, or is a new product being launched? How are the needs of the open position linked to that climate? What impact does the climate have on the position?
- Consider the business climate of the overseas location as well as the living conditions.
- Interview candidates and their families to ensure that they can adapt to the conditions of the assignment.
- Provide the expatriate with a mentor or buddy with experience in the host country.
- Watch for signs of intercultural conflicts and be prepared to address them, for example, by initiating forums and discussions.