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Lingo Consulting
 

Like most people, I've bee watching a lot of news lately. I tend to watch lots of different stations, even news stations that I don't agree with (no naming names!), but lately I've been shocked at what is going on....why does it take a war in Mexico for us to realize how important it is to understand Latin America? Hey, I know that North Korea probably has nukes. I also realize that there is a war going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. And of course, we are fighting for our lives in the stock market.


BUT, Mexico is right next door, and yet things have gotten so bad there that it is spilling over into our neighborhood. It's been happening for awhile, but it's gotten REALLY out of control lately. So why have we been treating our neighbors like stepchildren we'd like to ignore while we fry bigger fish. I hope it's not too late to act. I hope that we can make some change in policy and some change in attitude when it comes to keeping America safe. Because these people are not just after their own-they are after us too! As Latin America suffers economically (worse than us, I'm afraid) where are they going to go? Up, up and to the USA, of course. We may not be the promised land we once were in some people's views, but we are still an attractive place for people who have nothing to lose. That includes some wonderful, honest people fleeing a bad situation, but also the worst of the worst criminals.


It's time to take a look, a real, honest look at how to stop this...how to reduce the demand for drugs...how to cut drug dealers' income source at the quick....how to secure ourselves from the crazies....and how to develop better relationships with our neighbors so that we can all be protected and yet, maintain our sovereignty. It's going to take some work. But we have to do it. And we have to do it now.

 
 

I don't quite know how to put this--I was perusing the web when I ran across someone who was looking for information on this very topic. Since I am a Latin Americanist with a serious affection and knowledge for all things related to Argentina and Brazil, I wrote an email to the person in question.


I was impressed by the question, since I have encountered quite a few companies that have made the mistake of outsourcing in Latin America without contacting me first. LOL. Seriously-this was a great question asked in earnest, and I thought it deserved an honest answer. I thought that I would post a few of my responses here. Out of respect to the person who asked the question and the company he/she represents I have altered some of the text. But I think that it provides some useful information for those considering making the leap to hiring in Argentina or Brazil:



Dear __________,
 
I came across your question on  ________,  Realizing that you wrote this question in October, I hope my advice is still relevant. I also hope that I do not offend you by emailing you directly, but what I have to say is longer than what I would want to appear on the ______ comment section.
 
First, I'll tell you who I am and why I am writing. I am a Latin Americanist. If I were to break it down (not to bore you), then I would also point out that I specialize in the Southern Cone Region (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile) and most definitively, prefer to concentrate on Argentina and Brazil when I have my choice. In addition to that, I am also an international human resources professional with years of experience in the region. With that being said, I have a little bit of authority when I tell you that not only are there excellent employees to be found in Argentina/Brazil, but that some of the best employees I have known can be found there, particularly in the IT field.
 
Ok, so you have plans to extend  (Company X ) into Argentina and possibly Brazil. Here are some things that will be helpful to you:



*Most Argentines do speak English, and certainly most Argentines in IT and hard science fields. I have organized language training programs before (just returned in October) and was astonished to find that the most common issue was not the language barrier, but a)understanding other employees with accents over the phone (if you think it's hard to understand a person from India speaking English, imagine what someone whose first language is not English feels) , b) correctly understanding differences between American and British English-many Argentines are taught British English and are stunned at the way we communicate with each other and c) getting nervous when speaking with their English counterparts here in the USA or when they visit.  The same is very true of Brazil.
 
I tell you this because I know that many, many people are intimidated by moving into Argentina  or Brazil because they are afraid of the language barrier or fear of the unknown.  Understand that employees are in awe of how American business works (especially how we work as a "team"  that even includes management when they are so used to an "employees vs. the big, bad boss" kind of mentality). So if you are hiring there, and ((Comapny X)) has one of those "we are all one" corporate cultures, this is something you will have to train our new hires in,  as it is not the norm culturally.
 
*Since you asked about how to hire when you don't have operations there, the answer that one person gave about hiring professionals here to help you with hiring down there is, in my experience, the best solution. As someone who has done this before, I can tell you that Argentine and Brazilian people are accustomed to doing things in person. Of course, IT professionals and other corporate employees are typically very web savvy, but as a rule, they do everything face to face. As well, they are also used to going through several grueling rounds in the hiring process. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but in both Argentina and Brazil it is permissible to ask for photos, have age and gender requirements mentioned in job descriptions, and even to visit a potential employee's home during the hiring process. Unlike the US, it is not only legal, but acceptable that a potential employer also ask personal questions such as marital status as well. 
 
*However, I HIGHLY recommend that you make sure to have a representative  team from your company or a US representative team to train and/or assist in recruiting. Argentines have a way of hiring friends and relatives that makes an objective eye  (who has your company's interests at heart) essential when it comes to hiring decisions. This also helps to set the tone of inclusiveness, rather than that these new hires will simply be "cheap labor" even if that may be one of the perks of hiring there. Argentines have a complex about American businesses because of a past history of US companies coming there and abusing employees.
 
*I also agree with the person who commented that you should look at Uruguay as well. It is a small country wedged between both Argentina and Brazil. As the person commenting stated, they are almost identical culturally to the Argentine people (sort of like how Canadians are similar to Americans), but with more flexible tax laws and reciprocal agreements with the USA that may make it worth your while to investigate. 
 
*Ideally, ((Company X)) would put a small or satellite office in either Argentina or Brazil (preferably both) as again, it has been my experience that this is best for everyone, especially if as you stated, these will be "full-time employees." The only other alternatives would be to either work with a partner firm or to have a designee fly there periodically to ensure that your company's goals are being met.
 
I apologize immensely for taking up too much of your time with this very lengthy email. I hope that it did shed some light on ((Company X's))  situation. As I am looking to return to Argentina, I am willing to help your company if you have any further questions or need assistance. My specialty is not in information technology, but I do have a wealth of experience in the way business is done in Argentina/Brazil, as an international human resources professional, and in business consulting.

Sincerely,

Dorian Turner

 



 

consulting, business, international, latin america, spanish language, corporate training, training, leadership, executive training, relocation, business training, expert, work, job, skill, development, spanish, english as a second language, english, argentina, brazil, travel, atlanta business, europe, politics, advice, south america, southern cone, experts