Trailing spouses: an underestimated factor in a relocation's success

According to Alceis Global Nomads, Human ressources departments often underestimate the importance of the trailing spouse in the success of a relocation assignment.

Companies that wish to send their employees abroad now need to take into account the career of their employee but also the career of the employee's spouse. More and more companies are working to find a way for the spouse's transition to another country to be a smooth as possible. Some even reach out to head hunters in order for the spouse to find work in the destination country. According to research by Alceis, in France only 30% of expatriate spouses state not having had any assistance before leaving home, which shows that more and more companies are taking into account the importance of their employees' spouses. 

However, other factors are often overlooked by human resources departments. Finding work in the destination country is not the only factor in the spouse's happiness and therefore the overall success of the mission. Despite most expatriates being excited to venture abroad, they often do not realise how much of a change of lifestyle it can be and that it can be lonely and language barriers can cause issues.

The trailing spouse should also be a priority for companies at the same level as their employee as a relocation can depend on them. The spouse is often the assignees main support and makes sure that everyone in the family is settling in well in the destination country. Therefore if the spouse's needs are not taken into account and they are unhappy in the destination country, this can affect the assignee and the relocation mission can be cut short.

At Expat US, we work to ensure that the relocation of employees goes smoothly and that the entire family is satisfied in their new home. Should you wish to learn more about the services we provide to companies and their employees, please do not hesitate to contact us.



Source: Les Echos Business


Diversity, the overlooked advantage of relocating employees

Corporate relocations of employees has drastically increased over the last decade with more and more companies deciding to send their employees abroad. The reason motivating Human resource departments to relocate employees is often to address imbalances in their work forces, however it can also stem from a need to hire new employees for a new location or as a way to develop an employee’s competencies to improve their career path.

As mentioned in our previous article Global mobility: beneficial for both employees and employers, relocation is beneficial to all parties and increases a company’s effectiveness and productivity. However, a key factor that is often overlooked is the fact that it brings diversity to the workforce.

A Gallup study of more than 800 units from two companies from two different industries showed that businesses with a more gender diverse work force have on average 57% better financial outcomes overs workforces dominated by one gender.

Gender diversity is not the only type of diversity in the work place that leads to beneficial results. An age neutral work force, where different generations work hand in hand can lead to better communication between different age groups and the business reaps the benefits of the strengths and values of each group.

According to research led by the Harvard Business school, companies with diverse work forces made 18 to 69% more net income and 91% reported that customer satisfaction was higher. Sales performance was also proven to be higher at companies with a diverse team.

Through diversity a company appeals to a larger customer base, which improves the image of the business. Furthermore, this diversity allows the company to have different perspectives on issues both internally and externally and source ideas from a larger more creative group. Diversity in a work force also proves that the company does not discriminate which can increase its appeal to new candidates.

Increasing diversity in a work force can be a challenge as conflicts between the different members of the group can occur. Differences in opinions and work styles can lead to difficulties with teamwork and unproductive arguments.

By communicating with the workforce and giving all employees time to adapt, the difficulties companies encounter should be minimized. Relocating employees and adding more diversity to a business are a great way to improve effectiveness and are worth considering. 

School grade equivalents in the USA

Moving to a foreign country with your family is daunting enough without having to worry about which grade your child should attend once you have arrived in your new country.

Grade structures are different in France, the United Kingdom and the USA, which can lead to confusion as to which class you should apply for.

The following table will give you an idea of the school grade equivalents in different countries and help you better understand the American system.

Expat US offers comprehensive school search assistance which includes an overview of private and public school options as well as assistance registering your children in their new school. If you are relocating to the USA with your children, Expat US may be able to help you.

Expatriation - Quel impact sur la retraite Française?

Comme nous l’avons vu dans notre article précédent, partir travailler à l’étranger est une option de plus en plus attirante pour les professionnels. Cependant, ces périodes de travail effectuées dans un autre pays que la France peuvent avoir des impacts sur la cotisation de la retraite qu’il ne faut pas négliger.

La peur de l’inconnu peut être un frein à l’expatriation. Dans cet article nous allons expliquer les conséquences liées aux périodes de travail à l’étranger ainsi que les démarches à suivre pour limiter l’impact sur la retraite finale perçue.

Tout d’abord, avant d’envoyer un salarie à l’étranger, il faut définir son statut. En effet, il existe deux statuts possibles, soit expatrié, soit détaché et le statut choisi a un impact sur les cotisations à verser et la retraite finale.

La principale différence entre le détachement et l’expatriation résulte du fait que le salarié expatrié n’est plus affilié au régime français de Sécurité sociale et relève du régime de retraite du pays d’accueil. Un salarie détaché continue à cotiser auprès des régimes de retraite français.

Le statut de détaché n’est possible que pour une durée limitée. En Union Européenne il est limite à 2 ans renouvelables, dans les pays ayant signé une convention avec la France, la durée est limitée a 5 ans. S’il n’existe pas de convention la durée est limitée a 3 ans maximum, mais cette option est moins avantageuse car implique de payer les cotisations en France et dans le pays d’accueil. Apres 3 ans dans l’autre pays, le salarié détaché est considéré comme un expatrié.

Les expatriés, ne cotisant plus au régime de retraite français doivent penser à demander, lors du départ, la liquidation de leur retraite dans le régime étranger. De plus, les expatriés doivent faire face à une autre complication s’ils ont travaillé dans plusieurs pays au cours de leurs vies ; les conventions ne se cumulent pas et l’employé ne pourra bénéficier que des trimestres accomplis dans un seul pays lors du calcul de sa retraite par la Caisse nationale d’assurance vieillesse.

Lorsqu’il s’agit de pays n’ayant pas de convention avec la France, les cotisations versées au régime local pendant l’expatriation ne seront pas prises en compte pour la retraite en France et peuvent même être perdues si le pays en question exige une durée minimum de cotisations ou bien que le retraite réside dans le pays au moment de la retraite.

Il peut donc être judicieux pour les salariées travaillant à l’étranger d’adhérer à la Caisse des Français de l’étranger ou CFE, ce qui permet à l’expatrié de rester dans le régime de retraite français. Dans ce cas, le statut choisi et le fait de partir dans un pays non conventionné n’auront donc plus d’impact sur la retraite.

Pour faciliter le départ du salarié, plusieurs options peuvent être proposées dans le package d’expatriation de l’entreprise. La prise en charge des cotisations à la Caisse des Français a l’étranger peut rassurer le salarié et être une bonne option, surtout si l’expatrie doit conserver une couverture équivalente à celle dont il bénéficiait en France. L’entreprise peut aussi proposer au salarié de continuer à cotiser auprès des régimes complémentaires français ou bien de se constituer une retraite supplémentaire grâce à un plan de retraite international.


Making moving abroad easier for employees

More and more companies are expanding their operations abroad in order to take advantage of emerging consumer markets and foreign resources, which dramatically increases the need for employees to relocate abroad.

By using relocation service providers such as Expat US, the employee’s relocation is handled by professionals and is ensured to go smoothly, which can facilitate the employee’s decision to relocate. Assignees are taken care of from the beginning to the very end of the relocation process and all their needs are met in order for them to transition as smoothly as possible into their new life.

In general, a great deal of junior employees in companies are eager to move abroad for professional reasons, as they see it as a great way to further their careers and have less personal commitments in their home country. However, unfortunately for companies, most of the time more experienced workers would be a better fit in overseas operations and these employees are often less willing to uproot their lives and move abroad.

 Human resources department therefore face the challenge of motivating the ideal candidates to accept an international assignment.

According to a survey conducted by IPSOS and BDO, there are 5 incentives that companies can take to incite employees to accept an international assignment are: 

- 45% would like to receive relocation & repatriation assistance as well as the guarantee that once the assignment is over they will be able to return to their former position in their home country.

- 43% would like their company to provide a round trip airfare so that they may return home to visit family at least once a year.

- 43% would like for their company to send them (expenses paid) to the selected country before they are asked to make a decision about relocating there.

- 42% would appreciate it if their company paid for language training when necessary. 

- 42% stated that assistance with immigration issues for their spouses so that they could obtain employment would be appreciated. 

There are some incentives that can be brought up when pitching an international assignment to an employee which can ensure that they will truly consider the proposal.

The following elements can help employees take the leap and accept an international assignment.


Reassure employee about career development opportunities

The number one fear of employees relocating is that it will have a negative effect on their position in the company. For example reassuring employees that they will be able to return to their current position once the international assignment is finished will reduce the risks they feel faced with.

By making international assignments into an important part of an employee’s career development plan can mean that the relocation is viewed as a promotion or the path to a future promotion.


Send employees on shorter term assignments

Typically international assignments run for 34 months, however this is a long time for employees to be away from their home countries. By offering shorter term assignments, which last less than a year, the employee’s reluctance to relocate can be reduced.


Increase commuter policies

Nowadays about 20% of employers use “commuter policies” which is a large increase compared to the 8% of employers using them in 2002. These policies allow international assignees to fly back and forth between their host country and their home country as much as possible, which can be a major motivating factor for employees.


Broaden the definition of “family”

Over the last 12 years the number of expatriate family policies, allowing same sex partners, or non-married partners to qualify, has almost tripled, increasing from 17% to 49% (KPMG survey).
This means that the resource “pool of potential assignees” has expanded.


English speaking countries appeal more to employees than non-English speaking countries

The desire to be assigned to English speaking countries is considerably stronger than for other countries. This can mean having to offer greater incentives and support for individuals going to non-English speaking countries in order to increase the attractiveness.

With years of experience relocating employees, Expat US knows the important factors to take into account and the KSF (Key Success Factor) for expatriates.



Global mobility: beneficial for both employees and employers

Over the last decade global mobility has increased with the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), the UAE and Qatar all becoming attractive destinations for employees looking to relocate.

According to a recent survey conducted by international recruitment consultancy firm Robert Walters, more and more professionals believe that working overseas is both beneficial from a personal perspective and is also important to their current careers and future prospects. International assignments are good resume builders as they allow access to new cultures and languages and broaden professional networks.

The survey that focuses primarily on career lifestyles shows that 47% of the professionals spoken to rate overseas experience as “important” or “very important” to their future careers, which constitutes a 6 percentage point increase compared to the figures from 2013. Furthermore 76% of the individuals surveyed have already worked abroad or would like to carry out an international assignment at some point in their careers.

The main reasons behind this desire to be professionally mobile are the opportunities to experience new cultures (48%) or improve long-term career prospects (21%) with only 13% claiming salary as the main driver.  

Global mobility is therefore beneficial for employees but is also an important element for employers to take into account. The Robert Walker survey found that opportunities for career progression are deemed more important for employees than pay, flexible hours or benefits; therefore an organization that shows that they offer international mobility opportunities can attract new talent to the company as well as securing current employees.

Furthermore, international mobility can help organizations that have multinational operations face potential talent shortages and allows them to optimize their activities by putting the best employees in the best locations. Employees that have experienced international assignments also offer new knowledge, skills and languages and can help companies become more competitive and efficient. 

 By providing assistance at every step of the relocation process, Expat US facilitates global mobility for employees and employers.

*The survey concerning career lifestyle can be found at the Robert Walters website. 

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