Successful Assignments – Plan Early, Manage Expectations

Global assignments provide a means for managing strategic business risks and exploiting business opportunities. For employees, global assignments provide a unique opportunity for career advancement and to expand cultural awareness. It is important that every global assignment be managed as a strategic investment by both the organization and the assignee with a relentless focus on maximizing assignment ROI from beginning to end. This means thinking about what the organization AND the assignee need to achieve for the assignment to be considered a success. 

Tips for Cultural and Language Training AbroadMaking sure an assignment ends in success starts at the beginning. When assignees and accompanying family members are preparing to relocate, shifting from tourist into transition gear early on can help to hit the ground running. 

The sooner you are able to settle in, the sooner you will be positioned to fully experience your new location. Beyond conventional cultural and language training, here are three simple tips that can help both the assignee and family begin to feel at home in the new location:

  1. When visiting the new location, replicate the things you normally do at home. An example would be to spend time in a grocery store or market, or other types of retail establishments frequented at home.        
  2. Expatriates often seek community in the company of other members of the expat community from their home country which can make it more difficult to assimilate with the local culture. An alternative is to identify local groups that represent your individual interests or affiliations. One example might be the local chapter of an alumni or professional association.              
  3. Determine what your access will be to things that are important to you and your family such as recreational activities and hobbies. Set realistic expectations about what will be available in your new city and be open to trying new things. Where possible, consider arranging for lessons or instructions to accelerate learning.

Taking both personal and professional considerations into account at the start of an international assignment will help hold a space for the things most important to you and your family, and help to ease the adjustment and transition. When an employee and his/her family feel at home in their new location, both the assignee and the company benefit from a higher level of engagement and satisfaction, which increases the likelihood of assignment success.

For more tips on meeting new people and getting acclimated abroad, check out the resources below:

Clements Worldwide has partnered with Adaptive Leadership Strategies to provide international insurance solutions to their clients. Adaptive Leadership Strategies is pleased to lend their expertise as a guest blogger in Clements’ expat blog series. Adaptive Leadership Strategies, LLC works with companies to improve leadership capacity. They work with executives, key employees and top talent across cultures and close to home to improve influence, adapt to unfamiliar circumstances and produce better operational results. For more information, send a message to

10 Tips for Living Abroad and Meeting New People