Pressemitteilung – Cologne, December 3, 2018

Sending Employees Abroad in Times of Tsunamis, Trump and Brexit

  • Political insights into the future of globalization from guest speaker Sigmar Gabriel
  • The many responsibilities of employers who post staff abroad
  • Best- practice examples for attendees from German SMEs

Cologne, December 3, 2018

“Is globalization coming to an end?” That was the provocative question with which Sigmar Gabriel began his keynote at the first Cross Globe conference on overseas postings, which was held in the offices of the HR and management consultancy Kienbaum in Cologne.
The answer? No – with some caveats.

Germany as a beneficiary of globalization

Mr. Gabriel described the crucial importance of globalization for Germany, which has one of the world’s most open economies and will continue sending people to other parts of the globe in the future too. Addressing an audience of representatives from German SMEs, the former German economy and foreign minister said, “Even though political conditions appear to be growing ever more complex, you still need to post staff abroad, whatever the circumstances in the country to which they’re sent.” He acknowledged the global rise of protectionism, for instance in the US and China, but noted that it is having a different impact in different regions. In China, for example, the current trend has meant a stronger focus on the country’s domestic market. “There have been some shifts in the German market too. While in most cases the highly productive part of value creation, such as Research and Development, takes place domestically and manufacturing is outsourced abroad, some German companies have now brought their manufacturing operations back home. However, most companies will continue to maintain foreign offices, and so those sending employees abroad will find themselves needing to make preparations of completely new types.”

Sending employees abroad in times of tsunamis, Trump, Brexit etc.

The conference, with over 60 invited guests, focused on organizing, training, and planning for overseas postings. It was organized by Cross Globe, a network of eight partners that specialize in this area and provide wide-ranging consulting and other services both in Germany and abroad. One of the partners is HR and management consultancy Kienbaum, whose CEO Fabian Kienbaum knows very well how complex sending staff abroad can be. “We’re familiar with the issue from our own experience. The kinds of questions we deal with, based on our own experience and expertise, are less to do with regulatory measures and more with things like ‘Who are the best candidates for these challenging overseas positions?’” It’s important not to underestimate cultural differences when posting staff abroad, according to Jens Washausen, executive director of GEOS Germany: “People can run into difficulties because they behave the same way abroad as they do at home. Or just the opposite: they do things there they’d never do at home.”

Taxes, schools, insurance: things to think about

When preparing for a (temporary) relocation abroad, there’s a long list of things to think about: finding a house or apartment, transportation, visa applications, tax issues, health insurance, changing children’s schools, language barriers, and so on. Careful preparation and reliable local contacts are the most important factors for ensuring that an overseas posting is successful, both for the company and the employee. In the panel discussion, the partners spoke about two real-life examples and some of the issues from employers’ and employees’ perspectives. To cover all the different tasks involved, the network is a full-service provider, whose members support companies with every aspect of posting staff abroad, from initial preparations right through to returning to Germany.

CROSS GLOBE is a network of international specialists committed to providing comprehensive, professional support to companies that send employees abroad. The wide-ranging services offered by the network’s members cover areas such as staff selection, advice on salary, tax, and insurance issues, supporting staff with the relocation process, finding apartments/schools, visa requirements, and safety and risk management. The members of the network are BERLITZ Deutschland GmbH, BüchnerBarella Assekuranzmakler GmbH, Deutsche Fernschule e.V., European Relocation Services SA, dhpg Dr. Harzem & Partner mbB, GEOS Germany GmbH, Kienbaum Consultants International GmbH, and Streff.

For more information about the network, please contact:
Jens Washausen
c/o GEOS Germany GmbH
+49 (0)228 9696 090

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