How can I help my relocating employees deal with culture shock?


How can I help my relocating employees deal with culture shock?

Culture shock is often an unavoidable part of international relocations. Senior Relocation Counselor Christelle Degobertiere talks about how to help your employees cope with this challenge.


Complete transcript: “Hello, I am Christelle Degobertiere and I am a senior relocation counselor at Plus in London.  Most people who live in a foreign country for some time go through an adjustment period called ‘culture shock.’  Once culture shock is understood, its effect can be minimized dramatically.  Indeed, we look at the employee go through 5 phases while adjusting to their new country.

First, the honeymoon phase.  This is typically happening the first couple of months after their arrival.  Everything is exciting and new.  The relocating employee should use this boost of excitement to look for their favorite places so it will help them when they feel a little bit stressed or overwhelmed in this new country.

The second phase is called the challenge phase.  The relocating employee experiences what we call homesickness.  Simple day-to-day tasks such like going to work, taking public transport, or even paying the bills become a real challenge in this new country.

Then comes the adjustment phase.  This is six to twelve months after their arrival.  The relocating employee becomes accustomed to this new surrounding and day-to-day activities becomes an actual routine.

The fourth stage is the acceptance or the adaptation phase.  This is when the relocating employee is very comfortable with their new surrounding.  This is also called the bicultural stage.

The final phase is the reverse culture shock.  Although it seems backward, the relocating employee becomes less and less familiar with their culture and norms and values of their home country.  They can expect their re-entry to be challenging and confusing.

So how can a relocating employee minimize the effect of culture shock?  The most important thing is that they should not isolate themselves.  They should join a club or use the internet to find local groups from their home country.  The most important thing is that they should get out of their bubble.

Now you should have a better understanding of what culture shock is and how to deal with it.  Please remember, the most important thing is for your employee to embrace the change.  Thank you for watching.”

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