ticommunication-Praxisprojekt Munich-RE

Intercultural Inpat Support Programme

Welcome to Germany! Intercultural Inpat Support Programme for our client Munich RE

Client: Munich-RE
Project Manager: Andreas Hauser
Objectives: Providing intercultural support for international contract inpats; facilitating intercultural training to smoothen the transition into the local environment; enhancing intercultural skills to heighten the work performance in the German business environment
Process: Initial contact and information phase; general intercultural training session on work and life in Germany; specific intercultural training session on business and management topics; follow-up
Target group: Munich Re inpats worldwide joining the headquarter in Munich/Germany on a fixed contract + their partner/family

 

Initial Approach

Munich Re is one of the world’s leading reinsurance companies. It employs over 11,400 people worldwide. With the credo “Diversity – is our strength”, Munich Re is strongly aiming at integrating the different cultural backgrounds of its staff. This strategy is reflected by the increasing number of inpats coming to work in the Munich headquarter, bringing with them their experience from the markets and introducing an international approach to business. In 2009, after recognising the challenges that some executives and their families from abroad faced in Germany, Munich Re started to provide intercultural training for the inpats. In 2010, in cooperation with ti communication, a comprehensive intercultural support programme was developed, geared to the needs of foreigners in the work and living environment in Munich.

Intercultural Support Programme

In order to provide the inpats not only with snapshot interventions, but with a comprehensive and long-term training cycle for lasting effects, the concept of the intercultural support programme rests on four pillars:

  1. Por A.Hauser kleinContacting the inpat in his home country before his assignment, assessing the individual situation and needs, and offering intercultural information.
  2. Providing an initial intercultural training session for the inpat and his or her partner/family, answering urgent queries about setting up daily life, explaining common intercultural pitfalls and giving hands-on experience around town.
  3. Carrying out a subsequent intercultural training session on business and management topics for the inpat and partner, reflecting on-the-job experiences, solving typical misunderstandings and elaborating on individual success strategies.
  4. Routine follow-up after three months plus individual support on an ad-hoc basis ti communication sets up and carries out the programme together with Andreas Hauser, a senior management consultant and intercultural trainer.

Implementation & Results

Munich Re is one of the first German companies to develop and implement an intercultural support cycle for international inbounds, taking on a leading role in comprehensive skills development of foreign managers. Furthermore, the inclusion of the partner/ family in the training process reflects the company’s strong commitment to take over responsibility for working and living conditions.

So far, the programme included inpats coming from the USA, UK, Australia, Japan, China, Korea and Canada. The feedback from the participants in the training cycle was thoroughly positive from the beginning, with the participants strongly appreciating the efforts undertaken by Munich Re. On an individual basis, the requirements from the participants were quite varied. The managers put a strong emphasis on building up and extending their intercultural competence for the business environment and the typical Munich Re organisational culture in headquarter. The partners, in turn, were focusing more on the aspects of daily life, managing the process of setting up house, building a social network and getting to understand the rules in German life.

Both perspectives taken together built for them the basis of arriving quicker and more swiftly in Germany, recognising and avoiding misunderstandings as well as integrating easier in the daily routine – both at work and in the private realm. After two years running the programme, all four pillars have proven to be effective in reaching the programme’s goal:

  • The initial communication still in the home country was felt as a helpful way of providing a contact partner to respond to intercultural concerns or questions.
  • The general introduction to culture and life in Germany was considered highly useful; especially the field-experience of walking around Munich and learning seemingly obvious yet challenging intercultural tasks like buying the right metro ticket, ordering and giving tips in a restaurant, sources for English books and school stationery, or arranging a doctor’s appointment had a hugely positive effect.
  • The specific training on business and work issues, mostly carried out some weeks after the first session, helped the participants to reflect on their own experience, tackle specific issues and work on intercultural success strategies; in one case, this even led to successfully carrying out additional training measures on intercultural leadership.
  • The inpats’ feedback process three months after the last training session helped to consolidate the gained competence and showed a high degree of awareness for intercultural issues in work and life; in several cases, the participants continued the contact and drew on the trainer for individual intercultural support.

The intercultural inpat support programme “Welcome to Germany”, developed as a joint initiative by Munich Re and ti communication, can be considered a success story. Munich Re shows its dedication and commitment to the personal and professional development of its employees – and has found in ti communication a valuable partner to be putting it into practice.

Visit our customer's homepage or contact us to learn more about this project.


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