September 28, 2016

Outsource Expat Training to an American Living in India!

Increase workforce effectiveness of your international
assignees with cross-cultural coaching!
It is no secret that every year many Indians (and other foreign nationals) come to the US for short-term, long-term or permanent professional assignments. 

As is the case with many assignments, everything seems to be rushed at the last minute before getting on the plane. In some cases, the assignment is only given a week or less before the actual departure date. And, for those with families or already living away from home, this transition from India (or any other country) to the U.S. can feel like a whirlwind of tasks and emotions. 


While many companies in India do offer cross-cultural business training for virtual teams or even seminars on preparing for life in the U.S. before going, sometimes with this whirlwind of activity that happens before the plane takes off, there is just no time to either attend or set up the class. Trainers may not be available. Space for sessions may not be available. Time is lacking.  


Hence, many of the offshore team members arrive in the U.S. with very little understanding of how to do basic things. Here, we are not talking about work so much as how to set up their life in the U.S.  



As an American citizen living in India, and the principal trainer of Authentic Journeys, it is clear that everything is so different between these two countries when it comes to setting up one’s life. Many companies simply don’t have the resources to help their expat and international assignees with this transition. Due to this, many face immense culture shock at the get-go. This can impact and does impact their ability to function at work. Ordinary, simple things for locals offer steep learning curves for foreign team members as world cultures vary so vastly. There is no doubt that the practicalities of living abroad can overwhelm one’s work, even for those are top performers. In some cases, these international assignees may leave early without even finishing their intended purpose for coming. This financially impacts companies in unexpected, negative ways.Ordinary Things that Can Frustrate Expats in the US:
  1. getting around
  2. how to cross the street 
  3. getting ID 
  4. using a bank account 
  5. getting an apartment
  6. finding a good school 
  7. daycare for their children
  8. ordering food in restaurants or at drive thrus

This financial loss does not only impact the host company or client in the U.S., but the sending company or satellite office in India. There is a tremendous expense in the administrative elements of arranging international travel for an employee. The costs and fees can exceed upwards of twenty thousand U.S. dollars. For complex visa processing cases or for employees who may have to reapply for visas multiple times before getting accepted, this fee will increase. Keep in mind, also that when flights to the U.S., living expenses, travel, food and other per diem expenses are factored in, the entire cost of going to the U.S. rises even more.

While cross-cultural training may seem unnecessary and an additional expense, in the whole scheme of this expansive budget, it is only a fraction. And, this fraction can save all this money in the long run from being a loss if the cross cultural training and follow up is handled properly.


Authentic Journeys has provided training to over 800 professionals from India traveling to the U.S. for work. The sessions that have the greatest success combine elements of daily living skills, work expectations, small talk tips, inclusion and diversity, and exercises and other modules as per company requirement. When this classroom session is followed up by 1:1 or small group follow ups once onsite, this is a winning combination for onsite success. However, as mentioned before, many may not get the option of the cross-cultural preparation or predeparture training before leaving their home country. In such cases, this should be done as soon as possible once the candidate reaches the US. But, as they will be very busy with work, finding a place to live, getting a cell phone or internet connection, buying a car, and arranging other immediate living needs, shorter sessions of 30 minutes to 1 hour covering the most relevant topics of the day in more of a coaching environment seems to be the most effective.


As Authentic Journeys is in India, you can benefit from competitive rates of outsourcing and offshoring your training to India. Training is done by a U.S. citizen who has lived and worked in India for over 5 years. Jennifer Kumar, the Managing Director and principle trainer, has delivered cross-cultural business training to virtual teams and US predeparture training to over 1600 professionals in various career paths and domains.


If you’d like to explore how Authentic Journeys can improve your international assignees workforce effectiveness through training, coaching or consulting, contact us today.  

Small Talk Newsletter-
This newsletter, published 10 times a year is delivered to onsite team members working with Americans as well as expat worker onsite in the U.S. The newsletter introduces your employees to the upcoming U.S. holidays, how to celebrate it and small talk tips about the holiday. The newsletter also includes other tips to work more effectively in the U.S. To sign up your team for free to this newsletter, contact us today.

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