Disha 2015, Day 5: Onimia – The growing number of expats in India: Handling a different culture.

Expats

Excerpts from the discussion:

Mr. Venkat Shastry, Partner, Heidrick & Struggles

Mr. Venkat took the role of a moderator in the panel discussion and converged the viewpoints of all participants. According to him, the world is a lot more global than it was before. The global opportunities are rising at a higher pace. Taking this theme he asked questions on how to set ourselves for a successful global career in the contemporary times.

Mr. Nagaraj V, Senior VP & Chief People Officer, Arvind LB&R

He talked about the development that is going on across the country. There is a need of great efficiency in building the retail industry. There is a requirement of foreign citizens to come and help the Indians deal with this situation. Senior expats are required to put initial building block, give the country that robustness. For this a robust selection criteria has to be in place. It requires cultural adjustments to be done by the stakeholders involved in this and clear deliverables should be articulated in order to build a strong foundation.

Ms. Aparna Sharma, CHRO, Greaves Cotton

Ms. Aparna stressed on the need for developmental alignment towards future roles. There should also be a succession plan, for identifying and developing internal people with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the company. Further, there should be a crisis management plan to make sure that the response systems are in place to take care of any crisis or emergency occurring in the organisation. She emphasised that substance in efforts is more important that style of work and is fundamental to success in any job. Also the value proposition and grooming of the staff should be unique in order to provide a competitive edge in building a strong organisation.

Ms. Indu Kapoor, VP-HR, EXL Services

After having worked in three companies, with TATA being an Indian company having global footprints, Alcatel being French company with Indian footprint and EXL listed in US NASDAQ with Indian footprints, she believed that an expat assignment should not be more than three years. Our motive should be to think global and act local. The practice followed initially was to align a local with the expat so that there is export of knowledge and the locals can take it over. As an organization, it’s very important to work in the benefit of locals.

She believed that as an expat, its always two ways mobility. One needs to know the culture. Instead of being an expat, act as global citizen who delivers value. She concluded by stating that one should represent his/her country and the organization in good ways to make others proud.

Mr. Mukund Menon, Director HR &Communications, International Paper

Speaking about expat assignments, he mentioned that for some countries, expat assignments can be rotational, people will change but position remains. For an expat it might be adventurous but it determines their cultural flexibility. Organizations send expats to understand about process and technologies but most important is change management which involves bringing in the culture.

He advised to stay in the top ten percentage in order to be considered for an expat opportunity. An expat should continuously work for self-development by blending with the culture there. They need to ensure that they are not singled out as social network makes one effective. The value one creates as an expat is of prime importance.

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