Cultural training significantly boosts success rates for international assignments. For the company. For the international assignee. And for any accompanying family members.

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Is your company relocating an employee to China – or will you and your family soon be living and working there?

Thorough preparation is a key to success. At C3 Consulting our expertise in precisely this area is firmly based on the experience we have gained while preparing many hundreds of employees and their families for life abroad.

Our most popular service for equipping future expats to live and work in China is described below: A 7-hour cultural training programme customized for an individual employee and any accompanying family members.

The programme prepares the employee and family for the cultural, professional and family-related challenges associated with their particular assignment.

We also offer other relocation services, e.g. workshops for groups of expats, a few hours of coaching before a short-term assignment, and training that ensures a successful homecoming. Read about the opportunities here.

How will you benefit from cultural training for relocation?

Your organization will:

  • Minimize the risk of failed assignments. Employees who struggle with adapting to the new culture, and unhappy families are among the most frequent reasons for global assignments to end prematurely. It’s therefore essential that both employees and any accompanying family are well prepared – and cultural training is an important aspect. Don’t wait to offer training until the first assignment has failed!
  • Maximize performance from day one. Cultural training will equip your expats for navigating successfully in a Chinese business and work culture. The result is motivated employees who don’t waste time on trial-and-error and culture-related misunderstandings. They devote their energy to the assignment itself.
  • Strengthen your Employer Brand and attract and retain the brightest employees. Expats talk a LOT together – also about the support a company offers before and during global assignments. Customized cultural training helps to ensure that what they say about you is good!

If you are relocating, you will:

  • Learn to communicate, collaborate and negotiate efficiently with Chinese colleagues and partners. You can also spar with us about adapting your leadership style to suit a Chinese context – and gain input for how to motivate your Chinese employees.
  • Refine your cultural self-awareness and gain insight into Chinese culture that extends far beyond the stereotypes. Explore key differences between your own and Chinese culture. And learn to use these differences to acquire new knowledge and drive progress.
  • Have a handful of simple and practical tools that are not only useful in your collaboration with the Chinese, but in all tasks where you work cross-culturally. See one here.
  • Get a solid platform for your new life in China – and plenty of practical everyday tips on e.g. housing, shopping, food, health and the best ways to get to know the Chinese.
  • Receive sparring for specific assignments and challenges – from trainers with personal hands-on experience with Chinese work culture. And we’ll help you compile a plan for achieving your objectives in China while using the assignment to optimize your future career prospects.

If your family is relocating too, you’ll also get:

  • A common frame of reference for living and working in China. This will facilitate chatting together about relocating and continuously aligning your expectations and objectives.
  • A clearer awareness of your family’s strengths and challenges in relation to the assignment. And help with compiling a plan for exploiting the new opportunities both individually and together so that everyone enjoys an exciting and meaningful everyday life.
  • Useful knowledge about expat life. We’ll introduce the typical phases of an international assignment and the classical reactions of both assignees and accompanying partners. Then you’ll be prepared and will know how best to support each other if energy levels begin to dip.
  • Sparring and counselling on all your questions about everyday life in China – about childcare and schooling, job prospects for the accompanying partner, and how to create a network for the whole family.
  • A confidential and neutral breathing space where you are comfortable voicing concerns and thoughts about relocating. And input for how to move ahead.
  • The option of targeting part of the training for older children – so they tune in to all the fun and excitement that relocating can bring. And we’ll make sure they are well prepared for their new life in China.

I was really amazed by all the concrete tools and examples, that suddenly provided me with new insights to some of the 'strange behavior' that I had already experienced during my preliminary communication and visits in China.

Sinne B. Nielsen, Technology Manager at Arla Foods

Practicalities about the training programme

The cultural training process with a focus on China encompasses:

1. We define the programme framework and content together

First we clarify the programme framework and content with your organization and the international assignee/family.

A typical programme contains 7 hours of training that you divide up as you like. We can hold all or part of the training before and after the move to China, and we can target part of the training at the accompanying partner and/or children over about 8 years of age.

Before the training, we’ll send a welcome mail to the employee and, if relevant, accompanying partner. This mail will explain the programme, coordinate times and locations for the training and urge both partners to complete a questionnaire about what we should focus on.

We’ll design the training on this basis. We can touch on any subjects and questions requested by the employee or family. Here are some examples:

  • What opportunities and challenges will relocating bring professionally, personally and as a family?
  • Chinese history and society: National self-understanding; interplay between politics, local government and companies; regional differences; generational differences
  • Key differences between your own and Chinese culture
  • Management, communication and collaboration in China
  • Tools for navigating in the new culture – both at work and elsewhere
  • Who are the Chinese, and how can you get to know them best?
  • Life as expats: What can you expect and what can you learn from other people’s experiences?
  • Practical advice and tips on how to enjoy everyday life in China

2. We select the trainer or trainers for the programme

When we’ve identified the location and focus for the training, we select the trainer or trainers that match your programme best.

Typically, one of the trainers is a country specialist who has gained extensive hands-on experience of Chinese culture while living and working in China. We also involve other trainers, as needed, who can contribute specialist expertise and competencies.

3. We hold the training as one or more modules

We now hold the training at the agreed place and time. We are happy to come to private homes to train employees and their families – many people find that a familiar setting helps them to speak openly about the challenges of relocating. We can also hold some of the training virtually via Skype etc.

We can concentrate all the training on one day or divide it up into several modules, in which case we usually give the employee or family ‘homework’ between modules to improve the impact of the training.

During the training, to maintain energy levels, we alternate between short presentations, cases, exercises and dialogue about the stay in China. We focus clearly throughout on how the employee or family can translate their new knowledge into specific tools and competencies that can make their assignment a success.

4. We assess the training and the future expats reflect on what they have learned

After the final session, we send out a follow-up mail with any extra info and a link to an evaluation form. The evaluation also encourages the employee and partner to reflect on how to implement their new skills while living and working in China.

Finally, the employee or family is always welcome to contact us with follow-up questions while living abroad.

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