About this podcast

How much support do employees need when on assignment in a different culture? What can managers and leaders do to support them and ensure that the assignment is a great experience for the individual and their family?

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Global mobility teams have to navigate a variety of different geographies customs, cultures and societal norms when preparing and sending individuals and teams around the world.

Not only do assignees have to adapt to obvious cultural differences such as language and the workplace, they also need to understand how the concept of working time, work-life balance and reward can be very different too.

Marianne is joined by Dr Susan Shortland, Senior Lecturer in Human Resources Management (HRM) at the University of Westminster, to discuss the influence of societal cultures on working practices and how to prepare assignees to ensure the best possible transition. Marianne and Susan talk about how to support employees in cultural training, help them and their families assimilate, and what to do if assignees struggle with “culture shock”.

Susan is Professor Emerita at London Metropolitan University and a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is an active researcher and the author of five books in the field of HRM. She previously held a managerial consultancy role in international HRM at KPMG and managed The CBI Employee Relocation Council.

The podcast covers how to ensure the right support for employees before they leave, when they move in and during the assignment, and how this can make the difference between a successful and a failed assignment. Susan also provides a perspective on some of the difficulties assignees may experience when they return home, a process sometimes called “reverse culture shock”.

Up to half of all returning employees move on to a different job with a year of repatriation. Susan discusses how managers need to provide new career opportunities, support around returning home and have the right settling-in policies in place to retain this key talent.



Marianne Curphey

Marianne is an award-winning freelance journalist, author and columnist specializing in personal finance and business. She writes on investment and personal finance for national magazines, newspapers and websites including BBC Worldwide, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian and The Observer.

Dr. Sue Shortland

Susan is a Senior Lecturer in HRM at the University of Westminster. Her career spans 40+ years, during which time she has worked in both the private and public sectors. She is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.