Participating in a global assignment is not only one of life’s big adventures, but is also an increasingly important milestone for business leaders. Research shows most leadership positions require global business acumen to succeed today, and many people build those skills through international assignments.

Global Mobility Professionals can add value to the assignee, the company, and ultimately their strategic organizational position by supporting assignees throughout the Expatriate Adjustment Cycle.



The Expatriate Adjustment Cycle begins with Preparation. Getting ready to move can be a very stressful time. During preparation, assess for strengths and weaknesses, and develop training plans to close gaps. Understanding challenges they will face on assignment and having a plan to overcome them is one of the best ways for expats to alleviate stress.

During the Honeymoon stage, everything is new and exciting. Expats are filled with energy. Encourage them to channel that momentum to build relationships and identify mentors in both home and host locations. You can even set up formal programs to facilitate those relationships.

Mentoring and staying connected are essential when your expats move into Culture Shock. Make sure they have the support they need to make it through the tough times.

As they move into adaptation, expats will be developing new skills. One-on-one meetings with you, with their hiring managers, and with home/host colleagues will help them recognize what they are learning. This includes skills beyond the job description like global negotiations and delivering feedback across cultures.

Repatriation is all about bringing home the skills and discoveries your expats made abroad and integrating those experiences. You can support this by sharing stories in newsletters, by hosting global Lunch-and-Learns, and, of course, helping expats highlight their new skills in performance reviews and opportunities for promotions.

Tell us about your experiences. How do you support your expats throughout the Expatriate Adjustment Cycle?

Grayson-LeverenzGrayson Leverenz is Director of Marketing at RW3 CultureWizard. A highly sought after speaker and writer, she has expertise in supporting expatriate success and building high performing global teams.

Prior to joining RW3, Grayson was part of a global marketing team at Johnson & Johnson. She received her MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, and has lived and worked in Vallendar, Germany and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She currently resides with her husband in Durham, NC, USA.