Is your employee REALLY ready for an International Assignment? Part 2

How do you know for sure if your potential expat is ready for an international assignment?

There are 15 traits that mark employees with high potential for global success. The first factors: mindset and perception.

At first glance, mindset might seem too abstract to be important. Yet, we’ve all felt the drain of spending time with someone with a bad attitude. Imagine that negative influence in your company for as long as 3 years!

International employees need to have the right mindset.

With open minds, they are able to deal with difference, learn what they need to succeed, and thrive in their assignments. Otherwise, they create conflict, they’re dead weight on the job, and they often wind up quitting.

Employees need different talents to succeed abroad than they need to succeed at home. On an international assignment, new challenges present themselves often. Stress is higher, and what they have learned in their career in their home country may be of little use to them. Expatriate employees need a special set of skills. They must to be able to learn the right things, adapt, and change their approach when necessary. Their mindset and perceptions are what allow them to be this flexible.

So how can we identify employees with the right mental tools?  Easy. Just look for five traits. You can observe these on a day-to-day basis, at home. There’s no need to wait and see how the employee does on assignment. You can look for all these traits without ever leaving the employee’s original office.

1. They aren’t reactive.

Before they pass judgement on the situation, they pause and and try to look at the details. They work to understand what is going on, they don’t shoot from the hip, and they consider before they act. At the same time, they’re not indecisive. They don’t avoid conflict.  But they give themselves enough space to ensure they are taking the best action. This is the person you know you can trust to give you a balanced perspective on a problem and to respond with sound judgement.

2. They are curious.

They are eager to learn, they work to try new things (but aren’t distracted), and they ask questions. Training opportunities motivate and excite them.


3. They’re comfortable with the unknown.

It can even inspire or motivate them. They see obstacles as challenges.  They are resilient in the face of resistance or change. This person can work from a plan, but when they don’t have one or if it goes wrong, they aren’t daunted. They’re skilled adapters, improvisers, and innovators.
4. They’re interested in global culture.

They’re curious about other countries. They know something about foreign cultures or affairs and want to learn more, they may already speak more than one language, and they might enjoy foreign films or music. Maybe they are a geography whiz, or maybe they love to travel.  If they haven’t been abroad much, they might show interest in the local diversity. They’re not negative about their own country and culture, and they’re not snobby about their global knowledge.  This is the person who enjoys telling fun stories about how they spent their vacation on some interesting trip.


5. They’re flexible.

They can handle deviations from their routine. They don’t mind small changes. They’re willing to try something new from time to time. They definitely have their own preferences, opinions, and interests, but this does not prevent them from branching out or experimenting with something different. This is the person who loves it when something shakes up their day at the office a little. Instead of stressing them out, this variety refreshes them.

When you’re trying to decide which employees to send abroad, look for the ones that already show these traits. These employees will have the best chance of success! If you are interested in more information on this topic, contact us at to see how we can help your expats thrive.

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