In order to be able to make strategic decisions regarding the performance of your company or team, you need to know where you are going and how you are going to get there with your specific skills set. Xpatweb can provide your organisation or team with clear direction and focus to allow for continued measurable performance.

Optimal Expatriate Performance

Optimal Expatriate Performance

When sending individuals abroad you need the comfort that the Expatriate, as well as his/her spouse, are fully prepared and will be able to exceed your expectations. Xpatweb offers you this comfort by preparing expatriates before they go on international assignment, and also assisting them with their emotional well-being during the assignment. We remain involved during the repatriation of the expatriate and his/her family, facilitating their successful reintegration into the parent company and home country.  Happy employees are more productive.  Xpatweb will assist you to ensure that your expatriates are happy and adjusted from an emotional perspective.

Solutions and Services

The key objective of the Xpatweb Partnership Solution services provided to multinational companies is to enhance the well-being and effectiveness of their expatriates while on international assignment in foreign countries.  This is done by ensuring the appropriate processes and interventions are in place to equip and support the expatriate in dealing with the specific demands associated with each of the phases identifiable in the expatriate international career cycle.  The Xpatweb Partnership Solution Expatriate Management Process is graphically depicted in the table below:

Expatriate Management Process


Individual Selection and Preparation

Expatriate Competence Assessment (ECA)
Expatriate Assessment and Counselling Process (EACP)
Group preparation sessions

Organisational Preparation

Cross-cultural preparation
Organisational preparation


Individual Optimisation

On-site individual counselling
Spouse-specific support interventions
Support groups
Trauma counselling

Organisational Optimisation

Customised on-site interventions e.g.:

Cross-cultural interaction
Head Office versus operational interaction
Conflict resolution
Team interventions
Role clarification


Individual re-integration

Pre-return preparation
Repatriate adjustment interventions

Organisational re-integration

Pre-return preparation
Repatriate orientation
Role clarification
Utilisation of gained international skills

The expatriate management services detailed in the table above are made available for access to expatriates and the organisation, and are based on scientifically proven psychological processes and principles with the purpose of ensuring:


  • The most suitable expatriates are selected in line with predetermined selection criteria;
  • Psychologically prepared and equipped expatriates and families who will be able to cope with the demands placed on them from a personal and family perspective;
  • Expatriates who are prepared and equipped to understand and manage the organisational dynamics involved with working on international assignment;
  • Cross-culturally prepared expatriates who are equipped to adjust to the local culture within which they are required to function in the host country.

On Assignment

  • Expatriates who are enabled to achieve their business objectives;
  • Psychologically adjusted expatriates and families;
  • Cross-culturally functional expatriates who are enabled and willing to transfer skills and knowledge to local nationals.


  • Successfully integrated repatriates;
  • Successfully integrated repatriate families.


The following interventions are customized in accordance with the conditions and requirements of the client:

Pre-Assignment Assessment and Preparation

Expatriate Competence Assessment (ECA)

The Expatriate Competence Assessment Process (ECA) is used to conduct a comprehensive full-day assessment on the individual’s overall ability and competence to perform effectively as an expatriate.  The purpose of the ECA assessment process is to compare an individual’s current competency level against a predetermined position profile, thereby identifying his/her strengths and development areas.  It also provides a more objective framework for selection purposes.

Pre-departure Expatriate Assessment & Counselling Process (EACP)

The Expatriate Assessment and Counselling Process (EACP) is utilised to assess and prepare the future expatriate to cope with the emotional challenges he/she will need to face during the expatriation process.  The EACP provides the future expatriate and his/her partner with counselling and feedback in terms of their personal strong points and possible development areas that might influence their ability and willingness to adjust during the expatriate’s contract.

Group Preparation Sessions

Group preparation sessions can also be conducted with expatriates prior to their departure on assignment.  The purpose of the preparation sessions is to provide the future expatriate (and his/her spouse/partner if practically possible) with an introductory brief on the impact of the international assignment on him/her and his/her family.

Expatriate Cross-cultural Preparation

A one-day cross-cultural intervention is presented to prospective expatriates and their spouses prior to their departure on international assignment to other countries.  The purpose of the cross-cultural preparation intervention is to provide prospective expatriates with the appropriate self-insight, knowledge and tools to integrate themselves into the work and cultural environment in the foreign country.  This entails the person being exposed to typical scenarios where miscommunication and friction can potentially develop between the expatriate and the local nationals he/she has contact with on a daily basis.

Pre-departure Organisational Preparation

In order to ensure the optimum performance of the expatriate from an organisational perspective, appropriate processes and interventions are put in place before the prospective expatriate even departs on assignment.  These interventions are implemented within the framework of an existing database of typical work conditions the expatriate is exposed to prior to leaving on assignment and while on assignment.  They involve both the prospective expatriate and his/her future Head Office superior, and focus specifically on dealing with the critical factors having an impact on the expatriate’s future performance as discussed in the previous paragraph.

Interventions while on International Assignment

Depending on the requirements of the Company, follow-up interventions are conducted during his/her stay in the foreign country.  These interventions inter alia include the following:

On-site individual counselling interventions

Individual on-site counselling sessions are conducted with expatriates and their spouses/partners.  During such counselling sessions the emphasis is placed on the individual’s perception of his/her current external expatriate environment, as well as his/her perception of his/her ability and willingness to cope with the environment.  Use is made of both quantitative and qualitative processes, and the individual is given an indication of his/her current levels of effectiveness and health as compared to other expatriates in similar conditions.

Spouse-specific support interventions

The ability and willingness of the spouse/partner to cope with the demands of the expatriation process will have a significant impact on the expatriate’s ability and willingness to perform effectively during his/her contract (irrespective of whether they accompany the expatriate on the international assignment).  62% of expatriate failures can be attributed to personal issues related to the expatriation process.  The purpose of the spouse-specific interventions is to equip expatriate spouses with the appropriate self-insight and tools that will enable them to cope with the pressures placed on them.

On-site team interventions

Specific on-site team interventions are also provided, focusing on the common areas identified during the individual counselling sessions and the assessment results. The on-site team interventions are customised in accordance with the specific site conditions and client requirement.  The contents of the interventions are determined by the generic outcomes of the personal counselling sessions held with the expatriates, as well as the overall results obtained from the questionnaires completed by the expatriates.

Repatriation Interventions

Expatriates often believe that returning to the home country after completing their contracts should be an easy process.  ‘Coming home’ is unfortunately not that simple for many returning expatriates.  Their own country has changed, their organisation has changed, their friends and family may have changed and, most importantly, they themselves have changed.  In addition, companies cannot always guarantee the repatriate any jobs on his/her return.  These factors could make the return home the biggest adjustment shock of them all, often called reverse culture shock.

To assist the repatriates in readjusting to the home environment, individual and group interventions are held with them before their return and on their arrival after the completion of the expatriate contracts.  Depending on the requirements of the specific company, these interventions are conducted on an individual basis or in group sessions.

Comfort of Selection

Comfort of Selection

Identify the most suitable individuals to be appointed in key positions, both for domestic and expatriate positions. As an outcome, individual strengths and development areas are highlighted to ensure optimal long term development and performance.

The annual cost to company of employing a person in an executive position is estimated at approximately R1 million.  The cost and consequences of employing the wrong person in that executive management position can be disastrous.

Companies need to make very sure they appoint competent candidates with the appropriate skills.  One of the major constraints experienced by many organisations is the inability to identify employees who have the required management competence and potential to succeed in management positions and management development programmes.  These human resource refinement and enhancement processes will generate business growth, which leads to ultimate financial success.  These processes are scientifically researched and proven to ensure success, providing a reliable and cost effective way to ‘grow’ human resource assets in a business.

Within the context of the new multicultural South Africa, the defensibility of using traditional assessment instruments to identify management potential is open to question.  With the rapidly changing labour situation in South Africa, these traditional assessment techniques are increasingly being questioned, especially taking into account the legal aspects involved as specified in the Labour Relations and Employment Equity Acts.  To provide in this need, a fair and objective assessment process was developed which can be used to assess the managerial and leadership competencies of employees identified for accelerated development and appointment into management positions.

It is very important to note that assessment should never be seen in isolation.  Assessment must be directly linked to the appropriate development interventions and performance management processes.

Management Competence Assessment Process






Purpose of the Assessment Process

The purpose of the assessment process is to compare an individual’s current competency level against a predetermined position profile, thereby identifying his/her strengths and development areas.  It also provides a more objective framework for selection purposes.  The position profiling, i.e. identifying the levels of complexity and proficiency on each competency required by the position, is done before the commencement of the actual assessment process by the person’s supervisor and/or other parties involved.

The job profiling and the assessment of thinking competencies are based on the Stratified Systems Theory (SST).  According to the Stratified Systems Theory, all occupations in the world of business can be categorised into certain levels, depending on the complexity of functioning with which the incumbent in the position needs to cope with in order to be successful in the position.

The assessment materials and techniques are selected in such a way that they accurately reflect the requisite levels of complexity as determined by the position profiling process, as well as the performance of the individual on the various competencies.

The assessment process focuses on the following dimensions:

 i.     Thinking Competencies

Thinking Competencies form the crux of a person’s ability to effectively lead and manage.  The following Thinking Competencies are included during the assessment:

  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Decision making

The following “Execution competencies” are also assessed:

 ii.   Management Competencies

  • Planning
  • Organising
  • Delegation
  • Managing Performance

iii. Personal Competencies

  • Initiative
  • Pressure handling ability

iv. Interpersonal Competencies

  • Persuasiveness
  • Assertiveness
  • Interpersonal Sensitivity
  • Communication Skills

 v.   Leadership Competencies

Where individuals are assessed for executive positions, the following competencies are also included to determine the candidate’s ability to strategically identify and manage complex business situations:

  • Develop a vision
  • Tactical Leadership
  • Concern for Excellence

Although the above mentioned competencies are rated separately, they are integrated in the feedback report and always related back to the predetermined job requirements.

Assessment Techniques Used

Various assessment techniques are used to measure the person’s proficiency in the identified competencies.  The techniques are only finalised after the job profiling has been done in order to determine the importance of each dimension for the successful performance of the individual.  However, in general these consist of:

  • Assessment centre technology, e.g. in-baskets, role plays and fact finding exercises;
  • Culture-fair personality assessment instruments (only used to confirm results obtained from simulation exercises);
  • Self-evaluation questionnaires;
  • Emotional intelligence questionnaires;
  • Cognitive development potential questionnaires (e.g. APIL, TRAM-2, TRAM-1);
  • Interviewing exercise;
  • Other assessments may also be incorporated dependent on the client’s requirements, as well as the outcomes of the job analysis conducted on the specific position.

At the more senior management levels, additional assessment instruments may be included dependent on the results obtained from the job profiling exercise.

At lower level supervisory/first line management levels, a strong emphasis is placed on identifying candidates who may not necessarily already possess the required levels of competence, but who possess the cognitive development potential to acquire such skills and knowledge.

The assessment process is flexible and can be used at all levels in the organisation as the same basic management/supervisory principles apply.  However, the required level of thinking complexity will be taken into consideration to suit the requirements of the position, as well as the levels of education and understanding of the employees assessed.

At senior management and executive levels, the total assessment process takes approximately seven to eight hours to complete.  The results of the assessment process are summarised in a feedback report.  Personal feedback is provided to the individual with his/her supervisor present.