relocation services

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. 

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.

 

 

Avoid expatriation failure - Use Expat US Relocation Services

Expat US: making relocation easy

Human Resources department have always been faced with difficulties when it comes to relocating their employees. When the relocation is to a foreign country with a different language and culture the process can prove even more difficult. Furthermore if the distance between the home country and the host country is great, HR departments can have trouble managing the relocation.

The expatriation process is complex which makes it hard for Human Resources to deal with it for their employees. The distance also means that they cannot be hands-on and help directly. Relocation services such as Expat US solve this problem by taking on the entire relocation process.

Relocating employees requires efficient relocation services. You need specialists, with an in-depth knowledge of housing, accommodation, work permits, visas, contract management, immigration, administrative procedures, tax, social security and so on.

Managing the relocation internally can be risky, expensive and time consuming. For those reasons, using a relocation agency is definitely the best way to relocate your employees.

Expat US will take care of all the formalities, allowing you to follow the progress of your employee’s relocation step by step, thanks to our guarantee of complete transparency. As mentioned in our previous article “How to convince employees to move abroad”, we assist assignees from the very beginning to the end of the relocation process.

We arrange everything with our team, from finding them the perfect home and moving their personal effects there, to helping find a school for their children, to opening a bank account and getting a social security number and a local driver license etc. which leaves the assignees free to concentrate on more important concerns.

With over 7 years’ experience, we know the difficulties linked to relocation and how to face them. We do not only save expatriation from failure, we also allow you to benefit from our experience to save time, money and stress. Here are a few reasons why our services could be ideal for you for your expatriation needs.

 

Save time & money

Everyone knows that time is money and using Expat US for your relocation needs will save you a great deal of time. Thanks to our extensive experience and knowledge of the areas we work in, we can work quickly and efficiently in order to meet your needs.

We take over all the steps of the employee’s relocation with our time saving services at competitive prices.

By having a large network of real estate brokers who have a strong knowledge of the market ensures that you pay the right price for your property. We organize visits with the expatriate or we can visit properties for them depending on their preferences and availability.

Expat US also takes on other tasks, which can sometimes prove to be the most time consuming during a relocation process. For example, we can find the perfect school for the expatriate’s children and take care of the enrolment. We can also help with finding the best provider for utilities and getting them set up or helping to apply for a social security number or local driver’s license.

Expat US allow you to save time for the other services (and maybe the most stressful ones) that an expatriation require. We find the perfect school for the children of the expatriates and we take care of the enrolment. We help in every step like to subscribe to a provider for your utilities or to get a social security number.

In short, we can provide everything an expatriate needs to settle into their new environment as we know exactly what these needs can be, we understand them and know how to meet them in the best and fastest way.

One of the main advantage to our services is that we deal with all the different providers so you do not have to. Our centralized service means you do not need to waste time as we deal with every aspect of the process.

 

Save yourself stress

Relocating employees is a stressful situation for everyone involved. At Expat US we aim to reduce all stress to a minimum by taking care of everything linked to the move and by continuously communicating with the employee who is relocating and their HR service. Full transparence at every step of the process means that you will always know what is happening. 

 

Services completely tailored to your situation

As each client is unique, we adapt our services to fit each client’s requirements, whatever they may be, to ensure a completely tailored service.

All research is taken care of by our responsive team who is in charge of your case from start to finish. Having the same people taking care of your case means that no time is wasted explaining the same needs, requirements or concerns over and over. You know your advisors and they know you and your needs.

 

 

Expat US was founded in 2007 in order to meet the needs of Human Resources departments and their expatriates.

 

Expatriation: Why does it fail?

Did you know that the expatriate failure rate can reach 30% to 50% ?

The failure depends on the length, the timing and the destination of the expatriation.
Those risks can be dramatically reduced using relocation services as Expat US.

Knowing the failure rate of expatriation has become essential for businesses and regarding the costs related to those failures, companies can’t ignore the risks.
Indeed, the loss for the failed expatriation is estimated at about $2 billion / year just in the United States.

 

Main Reasons for Assignment Failure

The main indicators to measure the expatriation failures are:

·         The rate of premature return

·         The under performance of the employee

·         The early withdrawal of employees after their expatriation

 

The state of mind of the employee and its family is an important success factor for the mission.
Almost 60% of the premature returns are due to a bad adaptation of the expatriates themselves or their family. The employee sent abroad has to manage the process of adaptation to the culture of the host
 country but also the adaptation to the host company. 

 

Some features to take into account

The management of the relocation is expensive, but certainly less than an unsuccessful expatriate mission if you omit some parameters. For example an expatriate in the U.S. represents about 3 to 5 times the wage he earns in France.

When expatriation fails, there are many consequences to face. You have to deal with the loss of the immigration charges and obviously the money invested unnecessarily. On top of that you can add the loss of time due to the failure of the expatriation project and also the time needed to find a new candidate. This includes the preparation of this new employee and his family of course. You will have to start from scratch which can be especially annoying if the mission was urgent.

 

Commitment of the companies for the moving of their employees

In one hand, companies do not have direct obligations to participate in the management of the relocation. In the other hand, some of their engagements require them to do so indirectly.
For instance, companies have to protect their employees against any foreseeable risks. According to the law, the company is responsible for any incident. Therefore, it may be better to take over the apartment search, for example, to ensure that no risk weighs on the safety of the employee and its family. Using relocation services as Expat US is the better option to avoid any problems.

 

Expatriation failure: Some figures

According to the survey of 196 HR Managers (NFTC), here are the main causes of expatriation failures*:

 

  • Family unable to adapt to the host location = 30%
  • Employee unable to adapt to the host location = 28%
  • Voluntary termination = 27%
  • Stated objectives of the assignment not met = 26%

*multiple responses possible

 

Skills of the expatriate

Professional dimension of the mission (hard skills) is only one of several reasons of the failure but not the main one. The adaptability of workers (soft skills) are essential, not only for the expatriate but also for its family. All of these skills required have an impact and a cost for companies. According to this study, 46% faced premature return between 2008 and 2009.

 

Return of the expatriate

The cultural shock of return (as know as "Re Entry Shock") must be taken into account, which is very rarely the case. You can see the percentage of employees who leave the company between one and two years after their return from expatriation

 

Percent of assignees leaving in 1-2 Years (in %):

                   2004        2006        2010
   None            23               9             17
   1-25%          
69             78             68
 26-50%            8             13            10
  51-75%           0               0               3
76-100%           0               0               2

 

Mismatch between expatriate and its home company

Expatriated workers, even those who do well overseas, are often dissatisfied with their assignments upon return. They feel that they do not have the opportunity to put what they learned into practice. For this reason, some expatriate former employees decide to leave their companies.

 

Recommendation

As you know now, expatriation is a long and complex process that need to be handle by specialists. Expat US can assist you throughout your project providing you all the services needed for a good relocation. Expat US provides also extra services to make the employee feel supported from the beginning to the end. Our services commit to ensure a client-follow up during the 3 months following the end of the contract with the expatriate. 

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