The Netherlands proves a good point of reference for other countries, in terms of the relocation support that employers provide to foreign assignees and international hires, and the positive impact that this support has on the happiness of their global employees.
Employers of international hires and foreign assignees in the Netherlands provide well-rounded relocation support. This is one of the findings from the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition Country Focus, a report based on the Expat Insider survey, looking at nine types of relocation support that global employees receive from companies (language classes, intercultural training, additional spouse support, access to networking, access to socializing opportunities, membership in an expat organization, information on local life, move organized by employer or service provider, and lump-sum payment for expatriation-related expenses). In addition to the Netherlands, the report explores the situation of expats who moved abroad for work and live in China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States of America (USA).
Of the 482 expats based in the Netherlands that participated in the survey, 11% are foreign assignees and 23% are international hires. In comparison to the other countries featured in the report, employers of global employees in the Netherlands put a greater focus on providing personal relocation support — such as socializing opportunities and membership in an expat organization — in addition to the more commonly provided practical offerings — such as an organized move and lump-sum payment.
Practical Relocation: What's Offered?
For five of the six types of practical support, the percentages of foreign assignees in the Netherlands that received them are above the global averages: language classes (47% received it, compared to 37% globally), intercultural training (35% received it, compared to 24% globally), information on local life (57% received it, compared to 46% globally), an organized move (86% received it, compared to 75% globally), and a lump-sum payment for expatriation-related expenses (76% received it, compared to 65% globally).
In comparison to this expat type in the other featured countries, foreign assignees in the Netherlands were most likely to receive intercultural training and information on local life (together with those in Switzerland), as well as a lump-sum payment.
The only aspect of practical support that employers of foreign assignees seem to fall behind with is additional spouse support. Only 22% of this expat type in the Netherlands received this, which is nine percentage points below the global average, and the second-smallest share of foreign assignees receiving it (after 18% in the UK).
The story is similar for international hires in the Netherlands, who also seem to be well-supported by their employers. In fact, the percentages of international hires that received all six types of practical support were equal to or above global averages.
Unlike foreign assignees in the country, international hires were particularly well-supported when it comes to additional spouse support. Together with international hires in China and the UAE (both also 19%), those in the Netherlands were most likely to receive this type of support.
International hires in the Netherlands were also most likely to receive information on local life, as well as the lump-sum payment, when compared to this expat type in the other featured countries.
How Personal Relocation Support Stacks Up
In addition to these practical relocation support types, employers of global employees in the Netherlands also seem to focus on the more personal support types, such as access to local networking and socializing opportunities, and membership in an expat organization. The shares of both expat types receiving these aspects of support were equal to or greater than the global averages.
When compared to foreign assignees in the other featured countries, those in the Netherlands are most likely to receive access to local socializing opportunities (20% received it, compared to 16% globally), as well as membership in an expat organization (14% received it, compared to 8% globally).
The share of foreign assignees in the Netherlands that received networking opportunities (16%) was equal to the global number, and the second highest percentage. Only foreign assignees in Switzerland were more likely to receive this type of support (20%).
While international hires are generally less-supported than foreign assignees (findings from the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition), those in the Netherlands seem to be particularly well catered to when it comes to personal support — not only in comparison to international hires in the other featured countries, but also when compared to foreign assignees.
Of international hires in the featured countries, those in the Netherlands had the largest share that received access to networking opportunities (22% received it, compared to 17% globally), and membership in an expat organization (12% received it, compared to 8% globally). In terms of access to socializing opportunities, only international hires in China had a slightly higher percentage that received it — 33% of those in China and 32% of those in the Netherlands received this type of support, compared to 20% globally. Of these three support types, greater shares of international hires in the Netherlands received both networking and socializing opportunities, when compared to foreign assignees in the country.
Well Supported Expats Make Happy Global Employees
The well-rounded support that foreign assignees and international hires receive in the Netherlands might also contribute to their level of happiness — both expat types are happiest, when compared to those in the other featured countries.
Of the international hires in the country, 84% indicate they are happy with their life in general — 13 percentage points higher than the global average (71%). When it comes to foreign assignees in the Netherlands, an even higher percentage (86%) say that they are happy, which is also higher than the global average (80%).
Well-Rounded Support, With Room for Improvement
Employers of global employees in the Netherlands set a benchmark — both in terms of providing practical relocation support, as well as the stronger focus placed on personal support types. Even so, there is still room for improvement, with large percentages of foreign assignees and international hires demonstrating a need for both practical and personal support types. While both expat types in the Netherlands, for example, were most likely of the featured countries to receive membership in an expat organization, 61% of foreign assignees and 59% of international hires indicated that they did not receive this support, although they would have liked it.
“Moving abroad comes with organizational as well as emotional challenges,” says Theresa Häfner, Head of Business Solutions at InterNations. “If the Netherlands wants to remain an attractive destination for global talent, employers need to further build on their offerings of both practical and personal support for their employees. It is, however, good to already see a more well-rounded approach to relocation support from employers with global talent in the Netherlands.”
The Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition Country Focus provides some interesting food for thought for employers of global employees. The report prompts companies to look at the relocation packages that they currently provide, and consider how gaps in support might be impacting on the happiness and productivity of their foreign assignees and international hires in the workplace.
Snapshot: International Hires in the Netherlands
Find out more in the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition Country Focus: The report zooms in on Foreign Assignees, International Hires, and Relocating Spouses in nine featured countries. Mini reports for each country provide insights into issues relating to these expats and their employers on topics such as relocation support, settling in, and happiness.