Enhance your global talent pool and foster cultural diversity with international internships and assignments.
Dec 1, 2023
The Benefits of International Internships and Assignments for Your Organisation
The benefits of international internships and assignments are hard to ignore when building an adaptable workforce capable of participating in cross-cultural collaborations and contributing to your organisation’s competitiveness in a global economy.
Setting growth strategies and talent development initiatives that develop a ‘global mindset’ in young talent is good for your employees and your bottom line. Research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows interns are over a third more likely to be retained than new hires lacking internship experience.
This blog explores the advantages of integrating international internships and assignments into an organisational growth strategy and talent development initiatives.
Enhancing Your Talent Pool with Global Exposure
Collaborating in diverse cultural settings, navigating international business challenges, and developing a cross-cultural skillset are just some of the international internship benefits on offer for global assignees.
The opportunities for personal and professional growth are a big draw for high-calibre candidates looking to advance their careers globally. And it’s often just the start of a long-term relationship between employer and employee; NACE found over half of interns convert to full-time employees.
Attracting Diverse Skill Sets Through International Internships
The benefits of international internships don’t just flow from employer to employee. Individuals with diverse skill sets, backgrounds, and existing global networks are drawn to international opportunities, enriching an organisation’s capabilities through appointment. There’s an opportunity to create a dynamic, agile workforce by implementing a global talent acquisition strategy at the intersection of fresh talent and exciting international assignments.
Retention and Development of Top Talent
International assignments are pivotal in elevating employee retention rates and meeting employees’ career development needs by fostering a strong learning culture. According to Deloitte, organisations with strong learning cultures have 30-50% higher engagement and retention rates. A commitment to international assignments signposts your business as a place where professional ambitions thrive.
Fostering Cultural Diversity and Inclusion
Bringing together individuals with different perspectives, backgrounds, and viewpoints stimulates new ideas and working methods driving innovation. Increased creativity and better decision-making are the hallmarks of a business that values cultural diversity and inclusivity, which is viewed positively by employees, customers, clients, and partners alike.
For further reading, visit our article on implementing diversity and inclusion in global mobility programmes.
Building Cross-Cultural Competency
Heightened cultural awareness means more effective communication, leading to better negotiation and relationship-building skills. The best way to build this into your strategy? Exposing employees to different cultural contexts enhances their ability to navigate diverse markets. Cross-cultural competency goes hand in hand with easy adaptability, which empowers colleagues in multicultural teams to communicate successfully.
Strengthening Global Teams and Collaboration
For global teams to collaborate effectively, they must first remove stereotypical barriers getting in the way of creating an inclusive environment. International assignments play a helpful role in breaking down these barriers by encouraging appreciation for diverse perspectives. Teamwork improves when international assignees (typically open, respectful, and adaptable) lead with a globally-minded approach.
Expanding Business Horizons with International Assignments
Living and working in a different culture gives employees first-hand knowledge of the local competitive landscape, which is invaluable for making informed strategic decisions, adapting business approaches to specific markets and capitalising on emerging opportunities. Among other international internship benefits, putting your best people where you need them most is one of the best, encouraging organisational reach expansion through partnerships and collaborations.
Leveraging Local Knowledge for Business Strategy
Knowledge is power when it comes to international assignments – nothing beats the on-the-ground insights gained from international experiences. In retrospect, gathering this information from international assignees influences global talent acquisition strategy and business operations.
You can also plan and deploy an international assignment armed with upfront local knowledge by using global mobility platforms like Centuro Connect. Centuro Connect features blueprints for over 170 countries; through the platform, users can connect with local experts worldwide.
Centuro Global’s carefully vetted experts in destinations all over the globe provide fast advice and services for everything from legal and HR issues to financial planning, tax and immigration. Leveraging local knowledge is straightforward; you’ll be connected with the right local resources to frame an appropriate expansion strategy.
Tracking and managing employee assignments through the Centuro Connect platform is also simple, giving you full oversight of how your international interns and assignees are performing. This high level of insight feeds into objectives and strategy, allowing you to act with agility to evolving workforce and market requirements.
Developing Global Leaders
Research suggests the Great Resignation is slowing. A report by Total Jobs found under a third of workers plan on finding a new job in 2023. Employers should not rest on their laurels, however, when it comes to global talent acquisition and retaining top talent. If you can offer your leaders job security and opportunities for training, growth, and to see the world – it’s a win-win scenario for everyone. Satisfied leaders with a global outlook and culturally sensitive leadership skills become undeniable assets to your business.
Innovation and Knowledge Transfer
Innovation streams get stale without the injection of fresh ideas and practices. One of the key benefits of international internships and assignments is their ability to facilitate the cross-pollination of information across different business units and regions.
An innovation developed for an emerging market, for example, may be suitable for broader applications in different international contexts – a globally diverse team is more likely to recognise and capitalise on such an opportunity, given their exposure to a wide range of global influences.
Driving Innovation Through Diverse Perspectives
Globally diverse teams create a competitive advantage by offering a unique perspective to problem solving,
- They catalyse innovation and creativity, merging perspectives, experiences, and approaches to develop concepts otherwise impossible in homogeneous teams.
- They foster a collaborative culture where the opinions and ideas of individuals of all cultural backgrounds are valued and respected.
- They’re better equipped to anticipate and address the needs of global and local markets, understanding cultural nuances and preferences. Products and services are more likely to be culturally sensitive to and appeal to a broader range of markets.
Enhancing Organisational Learning via Knowledge Transfer
International assignees bring first-hand knowledge and insights from regional business locations, informing global talent acquisition and business strategies and with assignees in situ, knowledge, best practices, and expertise flow between headquarters and international branches, aligning teams across the entire business.
Strategies and initiatives may work at head office but often need adapting for new markets – international assignees are your best ambassadors for organisational culture. In leadership roles, encouraging them to take on mentorship and training transfers specialised skills and knowledge and promotes professional development.
Assessing the Return on Investment for Global Assignments
Some benefits of international internships and assignments are more tangible than others. So, when assessing ROI on global investments, it’s not as easy as comparing projected assignment costs to actual costs. One assignee may deliver as expected: nothing more or less. Another assignee might flourish in their assigned location, setting up a valuable knowledge exchange which increases the profitability of an international franchise.
International internship benefits differ from candidate to candidate. So, how do you measure ROI on global assignments? We explain this in the next section.
Direct Financial Returns and Cost Considerations
Calculating direct financial ROI from international assignments comes down to preparedness. Investment in an international intern or assignee is not insubstantial, and you’ll need to consider the cost of investment against financial gains from expanded operations of increased sales in new markets.
Three quick steps to follow when measuring direct impact are:
- Define clear objectives, e.g., talent development, market expansion, and knowledge transfer.
- Gather quantitative metrics against pre-set KPIs. Compare costs against measurable benefits such as increased revenue, market share or cost savings.
- Assess retention vs attrition. Look at the number of employees who’ve stayed with or exited the business during or following a global assignment.
There are many indirect benefits to international internships and assignments, too. While these are harder to quantify, here are three things to consider:
- Assess engagement levels. Run an employee survey with questions about the impact of international experiences, job satisfaction and overall engagement.
- Undertake comparative analysis. Compare the performance of employees with international experience against those without such exposure.
- Continuous improvement. Establish feedback loops based on participants and organisational feedback to continually refine international internships and assignment programs.
Long-Term Organisational Benefits
The long-term organisational benefits of a successful global mobility programme are often the most intangible. A robust program yields direct financial returns and shape strategic positioning, prioritising employee satisfaction and loyalty. Programs factoring personal and professional development enjoy an enhanced reputation – people want to work for businesses where they feel valued.
Global talent acquisition and retention strategies favouring a ‘global mindset’ contribute to increased competitiveness in the world economy. The benefits of international internships and assignments for maximising organisational growth are clear: employers build an adaptable workforce capable of participating in cross-cultural collaboration, and, in turn, employees transfer their knowledge back into strategy and planning. The result? Strong organisational growth informed by happy employees.
Contact us for a consultation on how we can help with international internships and globally mobile workforces.