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Improve Global Talent Retention Through Social Integration Support

With a fast-changing and highly competitive global work landscape, employers need to ensure they remain competitive in the global war for talent. They need to think outside the box when it comes to recruiting and retaining global talent, carefully considering the support and benefits to offer — to reduce and prevent the risk of employee turnover and ensure international talent retention.

InterNations Business Solutions Talent Retention

Relocating for work has a strong influence on a private level which cannot be ignored. Beyond work, global employees need to build a new social network and daily routine. Therefore, it's part of the employer's responsibility to support employee social integration abroad to improve the chances of talent retention. Findings from the Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition indicate that not having enough socializing opportunities and the lack of a personal support network are top reasons for the unhappiness of international hires. Moreover, a quarter of international hires are considering returning home earlier. Employers can reduce the risk of turnover by supporting social integration abroad and making international hires feel better supported through improved employee benefits.

1

Effective International Talent Retention

In order to position themselves as an attractive employer globally and retain international talent, employers can no longer solely rely on offering competitive salaries. They now have to think about offering their employees other benefits too, to improve employee experience and ensure effective international talent retention.

HR professionals need to think differently and more holistically about the onboarding and retention of international hires. They can benefit through offering social integration support as it can reduce the risk of employee turnover and ensure more sustainable international recruiting.

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2

Improved Onboarding, Improved Talent Retention

In any context, employee onboarding plays an important role to make new hires adjust to all aspects of their new job, but it plays an even more significant role for employers onboarding international hires. Expat employee onboarding should be well-defined and well-structured. If not, there is a great risk of losing new hires.

For international hires, employee onboarding should go beyond just practical and operative onboarding at work. These expats need to find friends and establish a new social network — not just a good work relationship with their colleagues. Findings from the Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition indicate that 41% of international hires don't feel at home abroad yet or don't think they ever will. Successful onboarding in this context means making sure their basic needs are met to ensure talent retention. Concerns can be mitigated by offering them access to expat-relevant information and expat communities.

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3

Social Integration Abroad Is an Important Factor

While employers often tend to focus on the logistical aspects of relocation and the initial onboarding of international hires, settling in takes time. Employer support needs to reflect this throughout the various stages of the expat lifecycle and well beyond the honeymoon phase. Once the daily routine and reality of life abroad kick in, expats often find themselves dissatisfied and unhappy — also proven in findings from the Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition. This is the period where social integration support is critical as it helps them to establish personal support and social networks with locals and other expats.

Ongoing social support will reduce the risk of talent loss as it makes global employees feel more settled in their new home, increasing general happiness and workplace productivity. Such assistance can take shape in many forms, such as hosting networking events for new employees, offering expat networking memberships, and providing language classes to support integration into the local community.

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4

A Positive Employer Brand Is Key to Retention

For 80% of HR managers, employer branding impacts their ability to hire great talent (according to LinkedIn). To be considered as a top international employer, HR teams need to provide solid onboarding and social integration support. This not only increases the chances of retaining global talent, but also shapes the employer’s image.

Employer branding and building a strong reputation as an employer of choice is crucial to being successful at attracting and retaining talent. With the current global war for talent, it’s more typical to see global talent moving from one employer to another, as brand loyalty is not as prioritized by employees as it has been in the past — also taking new generations, such as Millennials into account. The only way to ensure the best prospect of retaining international hires for future growth, is to be an employer of choice through benefits, culture, and work environment.

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5

Assignment Failure Hampers Talent Retention

International talent retention is not only key in international recruiting, but also in global mobility. Global mobility is considered to be a more well-established industry, but existing expat packages could be improved to also factor in the social integration needs of foreign assignees and their relocating spouses. Providing these expats with added benefits, such as socializing opportunities and peer-to-peer support networks can improve life abroad and significantly reduce the risk of assignment failure.

With close to a quarter of foreign assignees and relocating spouses contemplating an early return home due to personal factors such as loneliness (findings from the Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition), assignment failure is a reality. When an assignment is terminated early, the assignee often has to repatriate without a new position or support for their reintegration. This oftentimes leads to frustration and can ultimately lead to the decision to leave the company. When repatriated employees leave, employers lose the skills and knowledge they have acquired through their foreign experience. Other indirect company costs include potential damage to the business, costs of replacement, and low employee morale.

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