Globalisation means companies can operate in any country there is a market for them. This leads to opportunities for their people to live and work in a new place, learn a new language and adapt to a new culture.
It’s exciting, but what goes on behind the scenes to make it happen? If you work for a company which is looking at expanding internationally, how do to you create a relocation policy?
In this simple guide, we break down the main steps and considerations for each one.
Remember that companies are not obligated to provide a relocation package, but those that do will be more attractive to potential employees, and will also have higher retention of their best people.
AIRINC have published their 2021 Mobility Outlook Survey which highlights common reasons why international assignments fail:
- Lack of family integration in the host location
- Unmet expectations during the relocation
- Lack of spousal/partner career support
- Financial impact
There are a number of stakeholders involved in a relocation. Human Resources, Finance, Talent Acquisition and Global Mobility will all have a part to play.
Let’s start with the key considerations that you need to make, making sure that you are proactive.
Design your policy before you need it!
Language & Culture Training
First of all, and probably one of the most important things to help a person or family relocate successfully, is language and culture training.
Imagine the stress of moving to a country where you don’t speak the language.
Now imagine the confidence you would have arriving in that same country, except this time being able to communicate with the local people. Settling into a new environment becomes so much easier, making friends, finding your way around, even going to buy groceries.
Business cultures are different all over the world too, with language playing a major part in being successful and showing respect for your hosts.
Personnel Today wrote a great piece explaining 4 of the key reasons cultural training is essential:
Providing this training to your employees when they are relocating is hugely valuable. It enables them to immediately begin to build relationships with their colleagues, clients and associates. Not being aware of the cultural differences of a new work environment is highlighted as a major reason for a worker not settling into their new host city/country.
A key factor is looking at who will be eligible for relocation assistance, and what those different groups may need.
Tenure with the business, specialist skills or key experience all play a part in determining the benefits you may want or need to provide.
There are 3 main groups.
- New hires: These could be recent university graduates or new employees with limited experience.
- Experienced employees: These are people that have been working for a while, and have a range of experience levels.
- Executives/VIPs: These are high-level senior employees, generally with significant experience within their field and/or your company.
You probably wouldn’t be expected to provide the same relocation benefits to a 22 year old graduate as you would a managing director who has been with your company for 20 years. Things like family status and home ownership can play a big part in the discussion, and definitely have an impact on the overall cost.
Budgets and Services
Simple questions – How much do you want to spend? How much can you afford to spend?
Statistics from the website Urbanbound provide a great insight into potential sums involved.
The average cost to relocate an employee is $97,000 if they are a homeowner.
The range starts at around $20,000 for a new hire/graduate who rents.
What services do you want to cover?
Depending on whether the assignment is short-term or long-term, there are a few services which the vast majority of companies will include.
- Flights and transfers
- Work permits and visas
- Temporary accommodation
- Settling in
- Household goods, either storing or transporting
Further services which should be given strong consideration for long-term assignments are.
- Familiarisation/orientation tours
- School finding
- Childcare assistance
- Spousal employment support
- Trips home
Online group language lessons have transformed how we study languages. They let students to learn from the comfort of their own homes, removing geographical constraints and frequently lowering prices. Because online platforms are interactive, they promote collaborative learning by allowing students to participate in real-time discussions, practice with peers, and receive immediate feedback. This dynamic setting has the potential to expedite language acquisition and improve cultural understanding.
Corporations, on the other hand, stand to profit greatly from company in-person and self-paced language courses. Face-to-face encounters encourage nuanced learning, team building, and guarantee that staff are on the same page, particularly when preparing for overseas tasks or working with global clients.
Language lessons are also essential for relocation assignees too. They not only help with successful communication in a new nation, but they also help with the adjustment by offering insights into local culture, customs, and etiquette. These seminars, when combined with relocation training for assignees, guarantee that assignees can adapt easily, both professionally and socially, into their new surroundings.