Theresa Häfner, Head of Business Solutions at InterNations, spoke at Relocate Global's Festival of Global People in London, about the importance of supporting expat employees throughout the relocation process, and innovative self-service solutions that can help global mobility and HR teams support their global employees.
When moving abroad for work, expat employees are faced with various challenges, including administrative tasks, a new work environment, onboarding, and cultural differences. They also need access to information, to a new social and professional networks, as well as support for them and their families to settle in abroad.
Expat peer-to-peer support can help expat employees and their partners overcome these challenges. What is peer-to-peer support? It’s an exchange with like-minded people in the same situation with a similar background without necessarily the interference or the enablement of a third party.
Findings from the Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition indicate that the lack of a personal support network and socializing opportunities are two of the main reasons for the unhappiness of expat employees. Global employees and their families need to rebuild their sense of community when abroad and peer-to-peer support empowers them to do so through a localized and personalized approach. Peer-to-peer support helps international hires, foreign assignees, and relocating spouses to integrate into the local culture, have authentic experiences, feel like they are part of a community, and escape a potential expat bubble.
For employers, expat peer-to-peer support represents a self-service solution connecting the dots between a global workforce, social integration, and practical expat support. By meeting some of the crucial personal and practical support needs of global employees and their families, peer-to-peer support can provide them with a safety net.