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7 Things You Need to Keep in Mind Before Accepting a Job in Foreign Country

7 Things You Need to Keep in Mind Before Accepting a Job in Foreign Country

If you are embarking on an international experience for the sake of your career, take a deep breath and fire up your thinking pistons. No matter how fantastic the new job sounds, the fact is that it is going to be a pick-and-shovel experience nonetheless.

In your mind, you may know that you have that dynamic personality that makes you ideal for the novel experience of working in another country. But be sure to evaluate all these factors before you commence this venture, as it will impact both you and your family as well.

Here are some useful ideas for those looking to pursue their future in foreign countries with an intention of leading much more fulfilling and stable lives.

1. Familiarize Yourself With Cultural And Social Differences

It is highly crucial to understand the cultural, economic and working mandates of the country in which you are intending to pursue your career. Aptly prepare yourself for living outside your comfort zone, as a long term experience fraught with challenges lies ahead.

Keep yourself open to the new environment and be alert at all times. Learning everything from how to greet locals to how you spend time on a local holiday, to respecting religious events, is going to be a demanding experience.

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However, it could get equally fascinating and enjoyable depending on how curious and motivated you are about this rewarding journey. To truly assimilate into the new surroundings, you will have to observe and understand the new culture and its customs, which may either be more conservative or more liberal compared to your own.

Despite the fact that you have done your homework regarding the climate and timings, there are many mechanics of the process to master such as visa policies, accommodations, passport validities etc. For such information, it is always beneficial to interact with other expats through social media, expat forums and taking full advantage of electronic media. However, the best way is still to actually go out into your new habitat and mingle, all the while taking in the cultural concoction, from its heritage to its traditions.

2. Combating the Communication Barrier

Expressing yourself is an immensely important part of the process. You will need to interact with the locals on a daily basis for things as small as asking directions and shopping for groceries. Learning the language of a foreign country – at least on a basic level – should be one of your prime goals.

Give it a shot using books, media or even through intensive courses being offered. Being able to communicate will make your life easier and less frustrating. It will also help to boost your confidence in general, as communication is one of the fundamental needs of any human.

Citing my own experience, learning a new language during my time abroad for higher studies made me truly believe that language should not be taken for granted, especially when planning to work where there exists a linguistic transition. This will also sit well with your new co-workers and maybe even your boss who will appreciate you going the extra mile.

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3. How Secure Are You In The New Country?

Definitely, your intentions behind this life-changing step are to lead a more cherished and prosperous life. You can not jeopardize your life for the sake of a higher income or a triumphant future. Be clear about the political situation and stability of the country where you are headed.

Gather all relevant information about the place, the city, where your residence is located and where your work area will be. Find out what kind of help your company offers regarding insurance, health benefits, employee security and what happens when you want to retire, to ensure that the organization truly cares for its employees. Other common tips to remain safe include being careful about keeping an eye on your bag while walking in public places and avoiding dark places after dark.

Remembering the time I went on an expedition for my science project to Romania last year, I decided not to take any valuable ornaments after hearing stories about jewelry snatchers on the streets. I think that kept me mentally relaxed and focused on my work.

4. Overall Impact On Your Career

Don’t get overly excited about being offered an overseas work opportunity. Hopefully, it will do wonders for your CV, expanding horizons for your ever-growing future. But, you need to get your homework done before making any rash decisions.

Talk to yourself about what you are getting into and why you are getting into it, especially if you are accepting the offer for the sake of money (as employers usually offer better pay and benefits packages for overseas assignments). Ask yourself whether it will truly all be worthwhile. Will it really enhance your skills as you imagine, are you simply risking everything for the sake of traveling or to add an overseas assignment to your LinkedIn profile to make it more eye-catching? Be sure to evaluate the risks and benefits involved.

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5. Work and Health Authorization

Be aware of the fact that not everyone can work in the host country. Your employer should be you in touch with HR or an advisory company to provide assistance and guidance with respect to obtaining a work permit. If your employer does not provide such assistance, search for a relevant consultant or attorney.

Find out whether your employer provides health insurance and how you would go about obtaining dental and medical care when working outside your native country. Knowing this and sharing that information with your family will become extremely critical in times of emergencies. Health can be unpredictable, so make sure your insurance policy is valid where you will be living and when you are traveling through other countries.

6. Employer-Sponsored Preparation and Acclimation Training

Primary reasons for the failure of an assignment abroad

    Good employer-sponsored preparation and acclimation programs offer essential training that employees and their families need to live successfully overseas. Customized training that focuses on local business practices and cultural norms begins prior to the employee being sent overseas. Frequently this training is supplied by experienced language translation services that provide first-hand knowledge of housing, shopping, healthcare, education and other information needed for general daily life.

    Once the family is located in the destination country, they receive more comprehensive training that helps them to assimilate. Most assimilation programs assign individual family members to mentors who provide counseling in specific areas of need.

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    6. Moving Back Home

    “Never forget your roots“ is a saying that seems to be tailor made in its context for the people seeking their future abroad. One day you may have to return to your country even though you may have become a citizen of the host country.

    Although you may adapt to the new cultural and working environment, one shouldn’t completely disconnect from his or her own ethical, cultural and working background, especially if he/she intends to return home. For this purpose, technology has proven to be more than a blessing. Use it to stay in touch with your friends, family, ex-colleagues, and employers. Maintain appreciation of what you have now, with a greater respect for what you left behind.

    7. You and Your Family’s Decision

    We humans are all connected with one another by one form of relationship or another. Your decisions impact those around you, especially your family members. You need to consider their opinion as they will also be affected by your choices.

    Think critically, carefully weighing the pros and cons of your decision – especially if you are the sole breadwinner of the family. If they plan to travel with you, see what flexibility the employer provides and see if you can manage within the budget you have planned.

    Featured photo credit: Do8y via c2.staticflickr.com

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    Ahmed Raza

    CEO of Samurais.co

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    Last Updated on December 5, 2018

    How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

    How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

    Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

    We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

    How do they do it?

    By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

    1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

    There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

    If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

    2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

    Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

    According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

    Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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    3. Demand Learning from Your Team

    CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

    “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

    His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

    Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

    “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

    Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

    4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

    Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

    Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

    • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
    • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
    • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
    • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
    • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
    • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

    5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

    Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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    Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

    • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
    • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
    • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
    • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
    • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

      “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

    Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

    6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

    The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

    Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

    You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

    7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

    Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

    But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

    On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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    • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
    • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
    • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
    • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

    8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

    Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

    When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

    9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

    The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

    What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

    Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

    10. Empower Your Employees

    Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

    They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

    Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

    You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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    If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

    11. Nurture Your Company Culture

    Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

    Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

    However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

    Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

    Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

    Be a Leader, Not a Boss

    Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

    However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

    In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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