By: Global Mobility Solutions

April 9, 2020

Global Mobility Solutions’ clients know that business faux pas can inhibit the development of a mutually beneficial relationship. Some customs that are completely acceptable in one country may not be acceptable in other countries. As a result, even the smallest gesture might not give a positive reflection. There are many ways to avoid these scenarios. Companies should provide resources and training for employees to help them learn how to cultivate good global relationships.

Top Emerging International Markets for Global Relocation

Many companies actively seek the top emerging international markets for investment. Companies focused on growth have a number of paths to choose as they look into global expansion. These choices may include some of the following:

  1. Business travel
  2. Short term assignments
  3. Work with a local partner
  4. Utilize services of International Professional Employer Organizations (PEO)
  5. Establish a local presence

Companies that are planning to use one or more of these paths should follow specific tips to avoid business faux pas. Careful research and investigation will help ensure good global relationships.

Top 5 Tips to Avoid Business Faux Pas

1. Research information about the location

GMS provides a number of valuable information resources for our clients. Global and Domestic Spotlights highlight information about culture, education, cost of living, climate, and many other points. Each of the spotlights provides information that can be used to learn more about important points for business contacts.

MyRelocation® Video Spotlights provide visual insights into a destination. Viewers can easily identify points of interest. They can also see the type of location, whether large city, suburban town, or small city located in the countryside. As a result, each of these locations will help the viewer understand how best to approach contacts in those areas.

In-depth research on a specific location can provide important points. For example, the city of Los Angeles recently enacted new regulations that may impact clients in various ways, and could certainly lead to business faux pas. This kind of research can also be provided with customized requests focused on specific locations and topics.

2. Get to know your contact

Many companies and their employees have robust pages on Linkedin. This social networking platform has risen in importance as a place where business people communicate with each other on relevant topics. Groups may be formed that are specific to interests such as Quality Auditing or Content Marketing. A contact’s participation in a group may provide helpful information on topics of importance to them.

Professional Organizations may have information about members. For example, the Arizona Department of Real Estate includes information on all licensees and brokers. Visitors to the website can search within the Department’s Public Database on topics related to licensing, education, development services, and compliance.

3. Ask questions to avoid business faux pas

Within your company or other professional contacts, do you know others who have visited the location? If yes, they may provide good information about the location, customs, and people. The more these contacts share with you, the better your chances are for creating a positive experience and avoiding business faux pas.

Do you or others in your circles know specific contacts at the location? Perhaps a supplier may have a facility located there. It may be helpful to reach out to these contacts and ask questions about their lives and experiences. Inquire as to what these contacts enjoy doing in their spare time, and what tips they can share about the local culture.

As you plan your travel, the places you stay may be able to provide valuable input for your visit. Contact local housing providers and ask if they have information about the location they can share. If you will be staying at a hotel, often the concierge is a source of valuable local information.

4. Review the business

Diligent research on businesses and contacts should include reviewing any publications such as the company’s annual reports, press releases, websites, and social media pages. Much of the contact that is shared can provide good insight into what is important for the company. It may also provide a number of talking points that can help open doors and leave an impression that you care about the company and their issues, needs, and goals.

Many business journals publish articles about companies. While not all of these articles are authorized, they may still provide helpful information. Some business journals to review include the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business, and The Economic Times. Keep in mind that referencing an unauthorized article about a company to your local contact would indeed be a business faux pas.

5. Attend cultural training to learn how to avoid business faux pas

A virtual trainer for culture allows employees to access training anytime, anywhere. Cultural training modules include several topics in helpful settings, such as:

  • Personal training via webcam in one-on-one sessions
  • Trainers help employees learn how to view cultural differences to promote synergy
  • Guidance to operate in business settings includes practical and actionable points
  • Skill-sets found in other cultures are leveraged to help the employee learn more
  • Values such as mutual respect and understanding are shared and reinforced

Cultural training can be critically important as businesses pursue growth in countries that may be quite different from their own. For example, China’s culture includes a unique concept called “good guanxi.“ In China, the primary focus in business is relationships, not tasks. As a result, companies seeking to do business in China should learn the best ways to build business networks with good guanxi. This will go a long way toward avoiding any business faux pas.

What Should Companies do About Business Faux Pas?

Companies should work with a qualified Relocation Management Company (RMC) that has extensive experience in helping companies understand global issues. The RMC will help them understand how to research information about locations and companies. Additionally, the RMC will help the company learn how best to prepare for global expansion, whether through direct staffing efforts with global assignments or with the use of an International PEO.


Global Mobility Solutions’ team of global relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients learn how to avoid business faux pas, with a goal of cultivating good global relationships. Our team can help your company understand how to research locations, people, and companies. We can also help your company learn how to leverage cultural training modules for employees to promote successful global business development.

GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com. The company also created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. As a result, GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation® technology platform.

Learn more about how your company can avoid business faux pas and cultivate good global relationships. Contact our experts online or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.

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