Navigating International Employee Relocation

4 min read

Navigating International Employee Relocation: Ensuring a Positive Experience for Employees

In an increasingly globalized world, international employee relocation has become a common strategy for businesses looking to expand their reach and capitalize on emerging markets. However, the success of such initiatives hinges on more than just numbers and figures. Ensuring a positive experience for employees during international relocations is paramount for their well-being and, subsequently, the success of the endeavour.

In this blog, we will explore the key elements of international employee relocation to help organizations create a win-win situation for both the company and its employees.

The Growing Trend of International Employee Relocation

According to a 2021 study by the RES Forum, 73% of surveyed organizations reported an increase in international assignments. Furthermore, the report indicated that 68% of organizations were expanding their international operations.

In today’s competitive business landscape, companies are continually seeking opportunities to expand and tap into new markets. International employee relocation is a key strategy to achieve this. The statistics show that businesses are increasingly recognizing the potential of overseas assignments. However, it’s essential to understand that the success of these relocations depends on how well employees are prepared and supported throughout the process.

The Importance of Pre-Assignment Preparation

Before sending an employee to a new country, comprehensive pre-assignment preparation is critical. This step can significantly impact the overall experience of the employee and the success of the relocation. Here’s how to ensure a positive pre-assignment phase:

Cultural Training: Research shows that 53% of failed international assignments are attributed to cultural issues. To mitigate this risk, businesses should invest in cultural training for their employees. Providing insights into the local culture, customs, and social norms can help employees mentally prepare and adapt more quickly.

Legal and Administrative Support: Ensure that employees have a thorough understanding of the legal requirements and administrative processes in the host country. This includes visa applications, work permits, and taxation.

Partnering with relocation experts can simplify this complex process. For example, for one of our customers we prepared their employees for assignments in Greece by providing cultural sensitivity training and assigning dedicated teams to manage the legal and administrative aspects. As a result, their assignments have a 95% success rate, boosting the company’s global expansion efforts.

Housing and Relocation Assistance

When employees are relocating internationally, securing appropriate housing can be a significant challenge. Companies can enhance the employee experience by offering:

Temporary Housing: Arrange for temporary accommodation for employees while they search for a permanent residence. This eases the initial stress of relocating to a new country.

Relocation Support: Collaborate with relocation agencies to assist employees in finding suitable housing. Make sure these agencies often have local expertise and can help employees navigate the housing market efficiently.

A recent study by the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (WERC) found that companies providing temporary housing and relocation assistance had a 91% employee retention rate during international assignments.

Family Support

Relocating internationally often involves entire families. Companies that extend support to the families of relocating employees can create a more positive environment for their workforce. Here are some strategies to consider:

Spousal Employment Assistance: Assist the spouses of relocating employees in finding job opportunities in the host country. This not only supports the employee’s family but can also improve the employee’s own experience by reducing family-related stress.

Schooling Support: Help employees find suitable schools for their children, ensuring a smooth transition into the education system of the host country.

TechGlobe, a multinational tech company, reported a 96% satisfaction rate among its international employees after introducing family support programs.

Ongoing Support and Integration

The support provided to employees should not end once they’ve arrived in the new country. Ongoing assistance and integration programs are key to ensuring a positive experience:

Local Mentorship: Pair employees with a local mentor who can provide guidance on navigating both professional and personal aspects of life in the host country.

Regular Check-Ins: Establish a system of regular check-ins to assess the employee’s well-being and address any concerns promptly.

Google’s “Googlers-to-Googlers” mentorship program, which pairs international employees with experienced local employees, has received praise for its effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

International employee relocation is a growing trend that can significantly benefit businesses. However, the success of such relocations depends on how well employees are prepared and supported. By providing cultural training, legal assistance, housing support, and family-focused programs, companies can ensure a positive experience for their international employees. Ongoing support and integration efforts are equally crucial for long-term success. As businesses continue to expand globally, prioritizing the well-being of their international employees is not just a matter of corporate responsibility; it’s a strategy for success in the global marketplace.

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