Socialisation tactics for self-initiated expatriates

How can hotels help their upcoming global hires settle into their teams while adjusting to the local culture? This is the question answered by Ms Lausanne Bos, Hotelschool The Hague alumna, through her research, exploring what motivates self-initiated expatriates to accept jobs in foreign climates and how hotels can help with this challenging experience.

Accenture is a leading consultancy agency with branches across the world including subsidiaries in the Netherlands. As such, it represents a desirable career move for ambitious talents advancing their careers while affording cultural explorers unique adventures, as evidenced by our global management placements. Yet, socialising with a team in an unknown destination can pressure newcomers juggling many challenges. It is well recognized expatriate assignments often fail for employees equipped by their employers, yet these hires are commonly left ill-equipped adapting to their employers in foreign locations. Accordingly, self-initiated expatriates can become alienated, unable to adjust and finally returning to their countries with implications for all parties.

Here we explore the onboarding of self-initiated by a leasing consultancy agency, ensuring their hires embed both within their local as well as organizational cultural contexts. Specifically, how career driven individuals compare with cultural explorers when adjusting to their new circumstances to ensure their successful transitions. Although such transitions are increasingly common, HR departments still require further awareness to facilitate these separate needs, acquaint and familiarize them with their jobs, bond with their teams and build their confidence.

Our findings suggest these two groups differ based on their motivations although along similar lines. For cultural explorer’s pre-departure preparation and previous experience can aid their cultural intelligence as well as family adaptability for settling into their new homes. While careerists often feel pressurized balancing their career ambitions with securing their families resettlement, they can be less curious about their surroundings.

This paper is especially relevant for the hospitality industry, as Dr. Brannon, Ms. Bos’ HTH thesis coach explains: “Historically, moving globally was rare, especially for those with family commitments however initially through emails, later Skype and WhatsApp, geographic boundaries began tumbling. The global hospitality industry particularly attracts cultural explorers, eager for foreign lands, and careerists advancing up the multinational corporate ladders. Yet they often struggle adjusting, biting off more than then can handle which leaves both parties at a loss. To illuminate some of these experiences, Ms. Bos explored the onboarding of self-initiated expatriates within Accenture across their Dutch subsidiaries. Her findings offer HR department valuable recommendations for on-boarding both cultural explorers and careerists guiding their socialization process to embed hires and their families in their new homes.”

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