Employers underestimate the need for social integration and the fact that it is part of their responsibility to make sure their global employees manage to feel at home and welcome abroad. This according to Theresa Häfner, Head of Business Solutions at InterNations, the world’s largest expat network. From her experience and expertise on the topic, smooth integration abroad is not only beneficial to global employees but can also have a significant impact on business goals — in terms of productivity, risk management, and cost-efficiency. She lists the top three employer misconceptions about social integration.
Employer Misconceptions About Social Integration
1. It Is Not About Paying for A Party
It is always about the employee as a whole person — professionally, in terms of skills, knowledge, and talent, and personally, in terms of emotions and well-being. An unhappy employee can’t focus on work and be successful. Social integration has a significant impact on productivity at work and company success. It is worth investing in and taking a more holistic approach to managing talent — especially for people who move for work.
2. It Doesn’t Just Happen Naturally
Even though you hire people who speak English and/or the local language, who are experienced, who seem to have an international mindset and to be social and outgoing, it is not necessarily easy to settle in. Social integration can be hard work. For many expats (and their families) it can be crucial to get relevant support to ease this process. Unfortunately, this is still under the radar of many HR professionals.
3. It Is the Employer’s Responsibility
The private lives of employees should certainly stay private, however, relocating for work has a strong influence on a private level that can’t be ignored by an employer. Therefore, a responsible employer should take care of this private side as well and see it as part of the company’s success.