The Snitch

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Archive for the ‘Expatriation’ Category

HRTV: Small Talk on driving stress out of commuting

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Singapore – For some employees, early morning traffic jams and delays in transportation services can cause stress to build up before they even reach the office.

Work place services provider Regus has recently revealed Singapore’s seven deadly sins of travelling to work, with the top three being dangerous driving, delays and service interruptions, and other commuters’ body odour or bad breath or smelly food.

Lee Xieli and Sabrina Zolkifi also discuss why employees, who even though do not meet clients, should be given a dress code, and how maintaining the right image for your corporate website can attract the best talent.

Tune in as they also talk about how expats in China are now earning less, the weirdest excuses employees have given for being late, and what companies can do to help bankers further develop their skills and services.

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HRTV: Small Talk on taking MC

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Singapore – Employers can no longer penalise employees who take sick leave, nor will they hire human resources (HR) professionals who still believe the main focus of HR is people.

Employee absenteeism has been a hot topic this week, as Small Talk sheds more light on the consequences of employers denying their staff sick leave.

More companies are also beginning to recognise HR as a strategic business function, and HR professionals with that same mindset are more likely to be in demand.

Jackie Orme, chief executive for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development told Human Resources that organisations need to hire more HR professionals who see “HR as a business discipline rather than a people discipline first and foremost” in order to evolve.

Small Talk this week also discusses why asking the right competency-based questions during an interview will help you get the best candidate. The soaring office and accommodation costs in Singapore is another talking point in this episode. Xieli and Sabrina also talk about the bonuses HR professionals are expected to receive this year.

How to stimulate creativity? Go live abroad

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Want to be creative? Take time off to live and work abroad.

People who live abroad are more creative; and the more time they spend away from home, the more creative they become. That’s according to a recent study done by William Maddux, an assistant professor of organisational behavior at INSEAD.

Certain conditions, however, apply, says Maddux, who conducted the studies in collaboration with Adam Galinsky, a professor of management at Northwestern University.

For example, creativity is unlikely to spark for people travelling abroad for a short holiday. “We don’t find a positive correlation with travel abroad and creativity.” Maddux says it has to be at least a short stint abroad, but also adds that the quality of the experience matters as much as amount of time spent overseas.

“Not only does time matter – which can explain why living abroad matters and not travelling abroad – it’s also the psychological transformation that you might go through while you’re abroad.”

For instance, your creative levels can spike if you fully immerse yourself in local experiences, in particular, languages. “There’s a very strong, robust association between foreign language aptitude and creativity. So bi-lingual and tri-lingual people are more creative in general. And I think that the language is part of the adaptation.”

“So you can imagine a person who goes to live abroad for a year, but hangs out mostly with expatriates, maybe from their own country – that person is not going to derive the same kind of creative benefit as those who try to adapt themselves to a new culture, learn the language, learn the customs and get really involved in changing who they are and how they behave.”

Age matters too because, according to Maddux, younger people have greater capacity to learn languages. “If you’re getting those cultural experiences at a young age, it’s going to have a stronger effect on subsequent creativity.”

Another of his studies reveals that even if you have long since returned from working abroad, you can tap into your creative reserves by mentally reactivating your experiences abroad.

“So if you recall and write about having lived abroad, people who do this show more subsequent creativity within the next five or 10 minutes, compared to people who recall other experiences – for example going to the supermarket, being in their hometown … When we reactivate the experiences, it does seem to cause increased creativity.”

Yet another positive correlation exists between entrepreneurship and creativity. “We’re finding the same correlation between time abroad and entrepreneurial activity … Entrepreneurs tend to have the experience of having been abroad as well.”

Clearly, where creativity is concerned, the benefits of living abroad far outweigh those of staying put.

Maddux’s advice to companies interested in promoting creativity is to look for people who have these enriching experiences abroad. Conversely, they should also not skimp on offering international assignments, as these seem to be key for developing significant mental processes.

And while abroad, he emphasises that adaptability is key. “It’s not just enough to spend 18 hours in the office and then go home and sleep. If you want to get these kinds of (tangible) benefits from the international experience, it will help to get out into the culture and try to adapt yourself while you’re on these international assignments.”

While Maddux agrees that living abroad is “not the be all and end all of facilitating creativity”, it is, and will continue to be a major driver.

Reprinted with permission by INSEAD Knowledge.

Written by Human Resources

January 5, 2010 at 1:50 pm

What happened to the welcome committee?

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Written by Human Resources

April 22, 2009 at 4:26 pm

10 worst cities to work in

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Apparently, seven out of the 10 worst cities to be working in as an expat are found in Asia.

In a survey by ORC Worldwide and Business Week,  Lagos, Nigeria stands as the worst place to be working in, due to a risky combination of poor infrastructure, pollution and “the risk of being caught up in sectarian violence”.

But take note. The survey excludes cities outside North America and Europe. It also excludes cities that are under combat or in international isolation.

#1 worst city to work in – Lagos, Nigeria

Problems include: Infrastructure and crime, pollution, disease & sanitation, medical facilities, availability of goods and services.

#2 Jakarta, Indonesia

Major Problems: Pollution, disease & sanitation, medical dacilities, political violence & repression, political & social environment, crime

#3 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Problems include: Political violence & repression, political & social environment, culture & recreation facilities

#4 Almaty, Kazakhstan

Problems include: Pollution, disease & sanitation, medical facilities, physical remoteness, housing, climate, education facilities, infrastructure, communications, culture & recreation

#5 Mumbai, India

Problems include: Pollution, disease & sanitation, infrastructure, political violence & repression, climate, medical facilities

#6 New Delhi, India

Problems include: Pollution, disease & sanitation, infrastructure, climate

#7 Nairobi, Kenya

Problems include: Crime, infrastructure, disease & sanitation, political violence & repression, political& social environment

#8 Bogota, Colombia

Problems include: Pollution, political violence & repression, crime, political & social Environment

#9 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Problems include: Disease & sanitation, climate, pollution, medical facilities, infrastructure, crime

#10 Chennai, India

Problems include: Climate, pollution, disease & sanitation, medical facilities, education facilities, infrastructure, physical remoteness.

Full list here

Written by Human Resources

March 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Posted in Expatriation