Who Will Succeed in Expatriate Roles?

December 22, 20162:34 pm1105 views

On identifying the personal characteristics of expatriates, assessment specialist cut-e has published a new report to help multinational employers choose the right people for international assignments.

The report titled, Predicting Who will be a Successful Expatriate’ is based on a research study of 35 organisations including expatriates as well as their managers, peers and subordinates in their home and overseas countries.

Feedback was collected on each expat’s performance, their personal success, their communication ability and how well they integrated into the local culture.

“Sending employees to live and work abroad involves a significant expense, so organisations have to look beyond the technical skills of candidates and ensure that they’re choosing the right people for the right reasons,” said Dr Katharina Lochner, cut-e’s research director.

“Our research identifies what it takes to succeed as an expatriate. We’ve also created a model which can predict whether someone will adapt well to a new culture, perform as expected, cope with the personal and professional challenges, manage their own stress level and be satisfied working abroad.”

According to the study, the key characteristics for success as an expatriate are: emotional stability, openness to change, cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity, an ability to adjust to different customs, perspectives and business practices, strong interpersonal skills, flexibility, resilience, respect for diverse viewpoints, a high level of autonomy and a sense of humour.

“Our study reveals that top performing expatriates have a specific profile,” said Dr Lochner.

“They understand that pressure can be a strong motivator, so they’re prepared to put time and efforts into challenging tasks, and they’re not overly concerned with the aesthetic aspects of their workplace, which probably helps them to adapt more easily to a new environment. They also feel empowered to organise their own work and take initiative when appropriate.”

cut-e’s study, which builds on previous research, highlights that psychometric testing can successfully assess the personal characteristics required for success.

“A personality questionnaire that covers individual, job-related values, motives and interests will help you to select those who are most likely to perform well in an international posting,” said Dr Lochner.

“By carefully selecting the right candidates for expatriate assignments, you can ensure that the expectations of both the individual and the organisation are met, and that both parties benefit from the opportunity.”

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