43rd Glasford International® Conference in Warsaw

43rd Glasford International® Conference in Warsaw

The 43rd Glasford Inter­na­tion­al® Con­fer­ence was held in War­saw from 6th to 8th Novem­ber 2014, host­ed by Glasford Inter­na­tion­al Poland. Over 20 Glasford Part­ners attend­ed the event, rep­re­sent­ing 16 coun­tries and regions, includ­ing: Aus­tria, the Czech Repub­lic, Den­mark, France, Fin­land, Ger­many, Hun­gary, Italy, Rus­sia, Slove­nia, Swe­den, Switzer­land, Turkey, Cana­da, Brazil and Hong Kong.

A high­light of the Con­fer­ence was a pre­sen­ta­tion of the results of a sur­vey of 79 inter­na­tion­al com­pa­nies from var­i­ous indus­tries on the top­ic of the “New Expat Gen­er­a­tion,” which had been car­ried out pri­or to the Con­fer­ence, with the coop­er­a­tion of one of the world’s largest mar­ket research orga­ni­za­tions, Mill­ward Brown.

Gala Dinner – “New Expat Generation” results presentation & panel discussion

The sur­vey results, togeth­er with a stim­u­lat­ing pan­el dis­cus­sion between HR prac­ti­tion­ers from lead­ing multi­na­tion­als in Poland, were fea­tured dur­ing the Gala Din­ner on 6th Novem­ber, which pro­vid­ed an oppor­tu­ni­ty for all par­tic­i­pants to share expe­ri­ences, opin­ions and com­ments on this impor­tant and top­i­cal issue.

The results of the sur­vey con­firmed the wide­ly observed phe­nom­e­non that increas­ing num­bers of expa­tri­ate man­agers from the CEE region are being employed.

The sur­vey iden­ti­fied many rea­sons for this trend. It found that cost con­sid­er­a­tions are a very sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor, espe­cial­ly against the back­ground of the recent eco­nom­ic slow-down. Oth­er advan­tages of expa­tri­ates from the CEE include: strong goal ori­en­ta­tion, fight­ing spir­it, sol­id work com­mit­ment, ded­i­ca­tion to work over­time as well as their will­ing­ness to make them­selves avail­able for expa­tri­ate posi­tions. There has been a sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment in the skills and pro­fes­sion­al­ism of CEE man­agers as a result of the social and eco­nom­ic reforms which have tak­en place since the end of the com­mu­nist era. CEE man­agers have expe­ri­enced and sup­port­ed these reforms, which have trans­formed both their coun­tries and their per­son­al sta­tus. This expe­ri­ence has giv­en them faith in the val­ue of hard work and com­mit­ment to con­tribute to the growth and suc­cess of their orga­ni­za­tions.

On the oth­er hand, the sur­vey high­light­ed the short­com­ings of CEE Expa­tri­ates in such areas as unsat­is­fac­to­ry social and lead­er­ship skills, nar­row per­spec­tives, lim­it­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, insuf­fi­cient accep­tance of dif­fer­ent cul­tures, as well as strong focus on their own career growth. But there are good grounds for con­fi­dence that these short­com­ings can be over­come, and that the nec­es­sary com­pe­ten­cies can be devel­oped, through prop­er coach­ing, men­tor­ing or oth­er meth­ods. How­ev­er, the process requires:

  • open­ness,
  • self-aware­ness,
  • the poten­tial to devel­op and a will­ing­ness to change,
  • time and com­mit­ment.

The sur­vey pro­vid­ed inter­est­ing insights into the sources of expa­tri­ate recruit­ment. It showed that over 60 % of Expa­tri­ates are recruit­ed through inter­nal pro­mo­tion. In its rank­ing of suc­cess fac­tors, the sur­vey indi­cat­ed that whilst some impor­tance is attached to “In-depth knowl­edge of the com­pa­ny” (ranked in 5th posi­tion) much greater weight is attrib­uted to “Abil­i­ty to learn fast” (No 1). Oth­er high­ly val­ued attrib­ut­es are: “Pre­vi­ous inter­na­tion­al expe­ri­ence”, “Open­ness to new expe­ri­ence” and “Goal ori­en­ta­tion” (Nos. 2, 3, 4 respec­tive­ly). These find­ings prompt the ques­tion: “To what extent does recruit­ing expa­tri­ate can­di­dates from with­in the com­pa­ny guar­an­tee a suc­cess­ful expa­tri­ate assign­ment?”

The find­ings of the sur­vey clear­ly indi­cat­ed the sig­nif­i­cance of the role played by the peo­ple who recruit, pre­pare and moti­vate Expa­tri­ates, as well as those who man­age them dur­ing expa­tri­ate assign­ments. These include Region­al Man­ag­ing Direc­tors, Region­al HR Direc­tors and in some cas­es inter­na­tion­al Exec­u­tive Search Consultants.

Their main chal­lenges include:

  • con­sid­er­ing whether low cost Expa­tri­ates con­sti­tute the best solu­tion for the com­pa­ny
  • accu­rate ver­i­fi­ca­tion of a candidate’s com­pe­tences, includ­ing soft skills, need­ed for the expa­tri­ate role,
  • com­pre­hen­sive prepa­ra­tion of the future Expa­tri­ate before tak­ing up a new assign­ment (e.g. in terms of the new role and expect­ed coun­try-spe­cif­ic dif­fer­ences),
  • ensur­ing prop­er on-board­ing in a new place as well as sup­port in a longer time per­spec­tive (inter­nal or exter­nal coach­ing and men­tor­ing).

Last but not least, the sur­vey con­sid­ered the Expatriate’s moti­va­tion to go abroad. It showed that “chal­lenge” is the most impor­tant moti­vat­ing fac­tor – car­ry­ing greater weight than such fac­tors as career devel­op­ment, income growth and new learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. But what exact­ly does this “chal­lenge” mean for a company’s future Expa­tri­ates? And how to ensure that he or she ris­es to the chal­lenge suc­cess­ful­ly?

The sur­vey was the inspi­ra­tion for an arti­cle “Man­agers as Pol­ish export prod­ucts” pub­lished in the Econ­o­my sec­tion of Rzecz­pospoli­ta on 7th Novem­ber 2014.