There are a huge number of companies currently operating on a global scale. Whether they are massive brands, or small businesses accessing select markets, it isn’t uncommon for employees to be offered opportunities to work abroad.
For a business, moving workers internally onto international assignments makes perfect sense. They’re aware of the businesses culture, they’re proven, trusted and experienced, and they are on board with your goals and objectives.
The practicalities of a move, however, are less straightforward. Moving an international employee is a massive undertaking for HR, who are often made responsible for everything from managing immigration to arranging shipping. With such major tasks to consider when managing corporate relocation, it can be easy for international relocation managers to forget about the smaller, but still important processes involved in a move; processes that can make or break relocation on a personal level for assignees.
Offering Adjustment Resources
Moving abroad can be stressful, difficult and time-consuming. It’s also expensive for businesses. After all that’s happened, all the hoops an assignee has had to jump through, after all the time and money that HR has invested, life post-move needs to go well and the employment needs to be a success.
Repatriation must be avoided.
Having an assignee quit unexpectedly and repatriate is not the desired outcome of any overseas project, but it happens more often than HRs might think.
There are many reasons for an early exit from an international job, but one thing that often affects it is issues with culture and settling in. Being unable to obtain a comfortable lifestyle in your personal life can make working abroad unbearable, yet this aspect is rarely handled well by businesses.
To protect themselves against repatriation, HR should invest post-move support; support structures that help an employee become acclimatised to their surroundings. This includes things like helping prospects get to know the culture and local area, integrating them with their community and supporting them in the transition from visitor of a foreign country to resident.
Getting involved in how a worker settles in after a move abroad is essential. If you are not supporting them through this vital stage of career development, you cannot know if things aren’t going well.
Pets aren’t just furry little dependents; they are often integral parts of a person’s life, as valuable to them as any human companion. As such, an inability to move a pet abroad will have serious ramifications for an overseas assignee; potentially to the point where they refuse the work.
Taking every possible step to ensure pets can accompany employees on overseas assignments is key to their success. It not only helps with the commitment aspect of moving abroad for work, but also settling in and getting comfortable upon arrival.
Finding Domestic Storage
When moving an employee overseas, it may be for a permanent placement, or it may be for a short-term assignment. Whatever the circumstance, acquiring domestic storage can be an important, yet easily overlooked factor.
For short-term moves, having storage is essential. The cost of relocating all an employee’s belongings twice is going to be high. Storing the majority of their possessions domestically while sending them with only what they need for the short-term assignment cuts costs and simplifies the logistics of the move.
When it comes to long-term moves, however, assignees may not want their possessions sat in a storage locker for years. That doesn’t mean they don’t have value, of course. It can take a while to find the right accommodation for an employee, it can also take them a long time to get set up in their new environment. To send them with all their items at once can create problems and distract them from their working goals. By storing items domestically while they get set up and shipping them at a later date, you can help keep focus and make a move more manageable for both HR and the international employee.
New Workplace Integration
Everything we’ve mentioned so far provides the backdrop for a successful working assignment, but one thing you must never forget to put energy into is making sure your employee is prepared to adapt to their new workplace.
Working cultures vary all over the world, both internally and in terms of the market as a whole. People expect workers to act in certain ways, and management expect certain work ethics from their employees. If the country is different enough, there may also be barriers with language, lifestyle and customs. Failure to help an international assignee adapt to their new working environment can lead to tensions and difficulties performing.
This problem should be addressed both prior to a move and once the assignee has started their job. Begin with preparation, such as educational resources on what it is like to work in the country they are moving to and how to achieve results in their new workplace. Following a move, it is vital you engage with the employee, identifying both any core issues and the smallest of problems, working to resolve them as quickly as possible.
Obstacles in international employment can seem amplified and can heavily weigh on both the minds of the assignees and the performance of the business. Elimination of problems is the only effective way of keeping an overseas work assignment on track.