Study Predicts who will Succeed in Expatriate Roles

December 7, 2016 Aon's Assessment Solutions

A new report which identifies the personal characteristics of successful expatriates has been published by assessment specialist Aon's Assessment Solutions, to help multinational employers choose the right people for international assignments.

Called Predicting who will be a successful expatriate, the report follows a research study involving 35 expatriates as well as their managers, peers and subordinates in their home and overseas countries. Feedback was collected on each expat's performance, their personal success, their communication ability and how well they integrated into the local culture.

"Sending employees to live and work abroad involves a significant expense, so organisations have to look beyond the technical skills of candidates and ensure that they're choosing the right people for the right reasons," said Dr Katharina Lochner, Aon's Assessment Solutions' research director. "Our research identifies what it takes to succeed as an expatriate. We've also created a model which can predict whether someone will adapt well to a new culture, perform as expected, cope with the personal and professional challenges, manage their own stress level and be satisfied working abroad."

According to the study, the key characteristics for success as an expatriate are: emotional stability; openness to change; cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity; an ability to adjust to different customs, perspectives and business practices; strong interpersonal skills; flexibility; resilience; respect for diverse viewpoints; a high level of autonomy and a sense of humour."

Our study reveals that top performing expatriates have a specific profile," said Dr Lochner. "They understand that pressure can be a strong motivator, so they're prepared to put time and effort into challenging tasks, and they're not overly concerned with the aesthetic aspects of their workplace, which probably helps them to adapt more easily to a new environment. They also feel empowered to organise their own work and take initiative when appropriate."

Aon's study, which builds on previous research, highlights that psychometric testing can successfully assess the personal characteristics required for success."

A personality questionnaire that covers individual, job-related values, motives and interests will help you to select those who are most likely to perform well in an international posting," said Dr Lochner. "By carefully selecting the right candidates for expatriate assignments, you can ensure that the expectations of both the individual and the organisation are met, and that both parties benefit from the opportunity."

Aon’s Assessment Solutions is part of Aon’s global Human Capital business, helping clients achieve sustainable growth by driving business performance through people performance. Aon’s Assessment Solutions undertakes 30 million assessments each year in 90 countries and 40 languages.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

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Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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