Set up for success in Australia

A well-known Western supermarket chain needed to transfer three senior Chinese managers to Australia for a period of three months. The aim was for them to gain as much experience as possible of the Australian retail environment and gain a better understanding of the expectations of Western customers.

The managers were expected to become members of a new store-based management team at the Australia operations, be responsible for local work deliverables, and for managing local store employees. All this directly upon arrival.

They were all strong English speakers and had study overseas experience, meaning they had a good understanding of the importance of adapting communications styles and behavior. They were enthusiastic about the challenge, and company HR wanted to ensure they were set up for success. And that cultural misunderstandings would not get in the way of their short window for success.

These transfers were considered a pilot program for the company with the intention of rolling it out more widely, so it was important to ensure success. When the client initiated talks with ICUnet, there was only six weeks before the assignees were leaving for Australia so there was a need to move quickly.

ICUnet Actions to Ensure Success:

  • Setting up calls with the managers to understand their expectations and hopes for the training and to assess their existing level of awareness and knowledge.
  • Arranging a customized one-day training for the group based around the specifics of the retail environment in Australia and the requirements of their roles in Australia.
  • Training included skills for building trust with counterparts and colleagues, expectations of effective management, Australian values and attitudes, the Australian worldview and perceptions of China.
  • Participants appreciated the respectful and conversational delivery style and the flexibility of the Western trainer to exchange in either English, or Chinese on the more complex topics. They valued insights shared about Australian perceptions of China, realizing that these preconceptions could affect interactions with colleagues. They also valued the opportunity to be reflective about first impressions made through image, posture, eye contact, language and confidence levels in the early days.

Feedback provided by the client’s China HR team was that the services delivered by ICUnet had accomplished exactly what they were aiming for. Furthermore they felt confident that the assignees had gained the ability to quickly become effective upon arrival in Australia as a result of the ICUnet customized training.

Contact us to learn more about how ICUnet can help your managers get the best chances to succeed.