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Guide to Expatriate Education and Training

By R.N. Dolgener, writer
Jul 04, 2011
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> Human Resources

Tailor your company's classes for expatriates.

Expatriate education and training is necessary in a global marketplace to ensure effective communication and business success.

Expatriates' training programs within your company could include language courses, international business development or cultural communications, but don't leave out the most personal aspect of international assignments. Often, it's a family's inability to adapt that leads to initial assignment hiccups.

Focus your expatriates' training on business issues, certainly, but also provide information for expatriate training programs that involve your employees' spouses and children.

  1. Begin training for expatriates at the cultural level to emphasize communication and eliminate cultural missteps.
  2. Continue education, expatriate training and family education with comprehensive programs which offer support for the length of the assignment.
  3. Conclude courses for expatriates with repatriation training.

Provide cultural and business communication education for expatriate basic knowledge

Basic expatriate training and development should include a focus on the country of assignment: culture, language and laws. Provide education for expatriates that properly prepares them to conduct business on your company's behalf without any delays due to misunderstandings with international stakeholders.

Continue training expats while they are on assignment

Most training for expatriate assignments will introduce an employee to their new station, but it's just as important to offer consistent, always-available support in case the expat has a question for the pros. Develop an expatriate training program with a professional consulting service that educates, trains and supports international business employees throughout international assignments.

Identify courses for expatriates that offer repatriation training and support

One of the most important classes for expatriates is one that is often overlooked. Global business studies by the Society for Human Resources Management have concluded that nearly half of all expats leave their current company for a competitor at the completion of an international assignment.

  • Many expat training consulting companies will help expatriates' families establish housing, children's educational facilities and online degree programs for employees and their spouses. They also offer counseling and peer-support linking services, so before you sign on with a provider of expatriate education, ask if these services are included in the package.
  • Provide links from your company's website for expatriates in need of support. Whether you link to a chosen expat training consulting company or provide a discussion forum for expats and their families, show that you value your offsite employees and want their transition, assignment and homecoming to be effortless, well-planned and thoroughly supported.
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R.N. Dolgener
R.N. Dolgener
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