Congratulations, global mobility manager! Just when you thought homesickness might never end, your assignee is figuring out how navigate the new culture that surrounds them with success. The culture shock stage of the expat adjustment cycle is winding down and your employee has begun to adapt to their new home. Meetings that used to be full of difficult conversations and reassurances on your end have become much more pleasant, productive and positive.
But even if your employee isn’t the type to share all their successes with you, here are three signs your employee is adapting to their new home.
They’re deepening relationships with new friends.
One of the most difficult parts of relocation is gaining the confidence and courage to open up to new friends. Whether your assignee lacked the language skills to move beyond small talk with their new co-workers or simply felt awkward making new relationships, building meaningful friendships can be difficult for assignees in culture shock. However, as they move past that phase and begin to adapt, they gain the confidence, vocabulary and experience that allows them to deepen those relationships. Whether it’s making inside jokes with co-workers or gossiping with neighbors over an evening drink, developing new, meaningful relationships show an assignee is adapting to their new culture.
They’re communicating with you less.
As a global mobility manager, you may experience some mild terror the first time an assignee misses an appointment. Are they okay? Did they get kidnapped? Did they eat too much of a local delicacy? Chances are, they’re doing fine. In fact, they’re doing so well they have less of a need to communicate with you all the time. Sometimes, brief meetings and a lack of communication can be a good thing. If an employee seems to be doing well, but their meetings with you are abbreviated and their communication infrequent, it might be a sign they’ve adapted to their new culture. If you’re seeing this, don’t worry. Let your assignee spread their wings and fly.
Difficulties have become more manageable.
No matter how well your assignee has adapted to a new culture, it’s impossible to be 100 percent comfortable 100 percent of the time. Cultural misunderstandings still happen in the adaptation phase, but part of the phase is also understanding this will happen and that it’s okay. While in culture shock, a misspoken phrase or a cultural misstep can be debilitating. However, in adaptation, an assignee realizes those mishaps aren’t the end of the world. Your assignee in Hamburg will stop beating him or herself up over not being able to pronounce Eichhörnchen and will instead laugh it off and challenge their German friends to pronounce the English pronunciation--squirrel--perfectly.
Let us know: what are the things you most often see signifying an employee is adapting to their new culture?
Employee not quite adapting yet? Download our checklist of the 10 signs of culture shock and help them move past this phase!