Relocation management is an important duty that allows companies to remain competitive — filling specialized positions abroad successfully, developing employees through international experiences, and ensuring knowledge exchange among their international locations. However, in an increasingly inter-connected and globalized world, employee mobility strategies are evolving to meet the new needs and expectations of the diverse workforce.
While moving assistance and lump-sum payments are more commonly offered by employers, a successful relocation program should adopt a more holistic approach to relocation. This could include, for example, social integration support through self-service tools such as peer-to-peer support. Having access to events, forums and destination guides also helps global employees and their families with settling in and feeling at home abroad. To guarantee a successful foreign assignment, employers should provide expat employees with well-balanced support throughout the expat lifecycle — from the onboarding period through the honeymoon phase to the repatriation stage.
In this era of globalization and digitalization, business waves across national borders. As high-level expertise represents a precious asset, international companies need to move their employees quickly and seamlessly to address pressing needs in global offices.
It’s important for expat employees to settle in quickly to continue with their work efficiently abroad. Therefore, they need to receive support both in the workplace and beyond the workplace — in their personal lives through a well-planned relocation program to ensure successful foreign assignments.
Employee relocation allows companies to always have the right person on the right job, centralize knowledge transfer, and export corporate values and propositions across borders.
Foreign assignments not only respond to the business needs of companies, but also represent an opportunity to reward employees with renewed energy, as well as career and personal development. Providing global employees with authentic experiences abroad help them to escape the expat bubble and to feel at home abroad. Social integration of expat employees and their families, therefore, represents a key tool to ensure successful foreign assignments.
As foreign assignments ramp up the agendas of employers, HR and global mobility teams are under pressure. Along with the lack of resources, they face the challenge to keep up with new trends, needs, and best practices in a fast-changing work environment.
However, the risks associated with international assignments can be mitigated with smart planning and innovative solutions, such as peer-to-peer support. These enable global employees to connect and exchange experiences and receive valuable tips and advice on life abroad from other expats. Adopting self-service solutions can help employers to lower administration, reduce costs, as well as boost productivity.
Traditional relocation programs focus on addressing the short-term, practical needs of expat employees through, for example, lump-sum payments, visa support, and moving assistance.
However, personal needs should also be addressed throughout the expat lifecycle to ensure happy and productive foreign assignees and successful foreign assignments. Having access to social networking, events, and individuals that can provide support and information while abroad, can help expat employees to settle in abroad in a significant way. This is not only true for foreign assignees, but also relocating spouses as they also need social integration support. The successful or failed integration of the whole expat family in their new home country can make or break a foreign assignment.
The workplace is changing and relocation programs need to keep up with the times. As global mobility grows in importance and complexity, employers need to continually adapt and shift focus to address the ever-changing needs of a diverse workforce.
Millennials are becoming more prominent players in the global workforce. As they expect a more personalized, flexible, and authentic approach, global mobility and HR teams need to move away from the one-size-fits-all solutions and continually review their expat relocation strategies.