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Today’s Onboarding Does Not Address the Needs of International Hires (@Zukunft Personal Europe 2019)

19 Sep 2019

InterNations Business Solutions presents survey findings from the Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition: International Hires at Zukunft Personal Europe, the leading exhibition dedicated to the world of work. The report reveals that employees who were recruited internationally lack personal support — 67% don’t receive any relocation services.

International Hires Receive Poor and Unbalanced Support

International Hires not only receive poor employer support, but they also lack types of support that speak to both their professional and personal needs. According to the survey data, they are most likely to receive relocation services that address the practical needs of the move, while the least commonly received respond to the personal integration abroad.

International Hires_Least commonly received services


Ingo Priebsch, Team Lead at InterNations Business Solutions, comments: “Practical support might be more valuable to attract international hires in the first place, however, after their relocation personal aspects in the onboarding are crucial to supporting the productivity of international hires and securing talent retention. ”

Long-Term Stay Planned, but One in Four Considers an Early Return

Data from the Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition: International Hires confirms the importance of personal support to ensure global talent retention.

International Hires move abroad with a long-term perspective — 61% declare that they are planning to work abroad for five years or more. However, one in four currently consider an early return. Loneliness is the top reasons for them not seeing the plan through.

International Hires_25% consider an early return

The Link Between Failed Social Integration and Talent Loss

Loneliness is often caused by the lack of socializing opportunities, which is the top reason of unhappiness abroad for International Hires. Over 50% of those who are not happy in their new country of residence name loneliness as the main cause of their dissatisfaction.

Furthermore, the difficulty to make new friends abroad represents the main reason for dissatisfaction with life abroad. Despite this, only 12% of International Hires receive access to social networking opportunities.

The data also shows that after the first six months in their new home country, International Hires begin to experience greater levels of unhappiness. During the honeymoon phase, the first months after relocation when all aspects of life abroad are still new and exciting, satisfaction with life abroad is usually high but the level of happiness decreases by nine percentage points afterwards. This is an indicator for employers that International Hires need social support not only during the first days or weeks abroad but throughout the entire experience abroad. 

Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition_International Hires_Onboarding

Julia Benz, Senior Business Solutions Consultant at InterNations says: “Our data clearly shows that there is a link between talent loss and failed social integration. At a time where the global war for talent is rife, HR teams should look to improve the onboarding of International Hires, taking into account that career expats have different, more complex needs than regular employees. They should also incorporate longevity into their relocation packages to provide ongoing support that can help facilitate social integration abroad.”

International Onboarding: Balancing Out an Unbalanced Offer

Hiring internationally and onboarding international talent requires a shift of approach, as International Hires not only need to integrate into a new company but also into a new country — both on a practical and personal level.

To support International Hires, HR teams have to consider the administrative hurdles, such as relocation, visa, and tax support. This is often paired with cultural and linguistic differences that call for support from the employer — a task that not all HR teams are trained for.

Ingo Priebsch states: “Hiring the right people is costly. Therefore, retaining talent remains one of HR’s biggest concern and needs to be addressed. It’s expensive not to act. However, international onboarding doesn’t need to be. Self-service solutions such as peer-to-peer support can help improve talent retention. It is important to think outside the box in order to find innovative solutions that secure talent retention in a successful and sustainable way.

To ensure successful international onboarding, it is important to understand the needs and wants of an increasingly global workforce. Download your copy of the Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition: International Hires for more information.

About the Expat Insider Business Edition 
The Expat Insider Business Edition explores global talent mobility through expat eyes. It is based on the InterNations Expat Insider survey —  one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive surveys on life abroad. In total, 20,259 expats from across the globe took part in the survey. The Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition focuses specifically on Foreign Assignees, International Hires, and Relocating Spouses with the aim to provide an expat perspective on global mobility and international recruiting.

About InterNations Business Solutions
InterNations Business Solutions provides expert insights and personalized solutions for global mobility and HR professionals to ensure successful foreign assignments and improved international talent retention. InterNations is the world’s largest expat network with more than 3.5 million members and 420 communities worldwide. Through the InterNations Corporate Membership, expat employees and their families are empowered to quickly and easily integrate abroad through peer-to-peer support. This helps them through the most critical onboarding phase and seamlessly integrates them into their new home country for the entire time abroad. In turn, they are more productive at work and save global mobility and HR professionals time and costs.

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Birte Kristina Pampel
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