RRI answers questions on global assignments

first_imgThis month’s questions and answersWhat are the most effective steps employers can take to overcome employeeand family resistance to a global assignment? With security and family issues high on the list of concerns and the number ofdual career families significantly increasing, the most important step is toprovide a comprehensive policy and support it with the right services,delivered in the right way. An employee’s willingness to accept an assignment often corresponds with thecompany’s ability to demonstrate the importance of global relocation – that itis the company’s way of developing the next generation of leaders. Actionsspeak louder than words when it comes to conveying this value and careeradvancement potential, and it is the most effective means of building a lengthylist of eager applicants. Convincing the employee’s family requires early counselling and culturaltraining; as a rule, the better you prepare them before the move, the betterthe results will likely be. Performing a detailed needs assessment will helpyou gauge each family’s unique concerns and develop a customised solution thatmakes relocation more attractive, while offering personalised, on-the-groundassistance and orientation tours in the new location will help them feel atease with the decision. Complementing your core settling-in programme with a wide range of familytransition services – from spouse job counselling to school finding – can makea big difference, increasing your chances of a successful assignment. How are companies addressing the security issues that are inherent inglobal relocation? For your global assignees, security begins with cultural training andemergency preparedness. Assignees who are thoroughly versed in the practices,lifestyles and people of their destination country will be more comfortablewith their decision. They will have a keener eye for potentially dangeroussituations, how to avoid them, and how to react when faced with them. Somecompanies are also establishing contingency plans for any unexpected problemsand issues that may arise. Further, we are seeing an increased need among today’s managers to knowprecisely where their global assignees are at any given time. That is whereessential ‘on assignment’ services make a difference, not only by providing alifeline to assignees, but also allowing home country managers to access onlinestatus reports and run instant ‘roll calls’ for all of their assignees. At what stage of a global assignment should repatriation planning begin? A global relocation can be a sizable investment, but unless your companymaintains an effective repatriation plan, you may never realise the maximumreturn. This means that even before an assignment begins, planning for itsconclusion should be under way. Start by fostering an understanding of the ‘expatriate experience’ amongyour home country management. One of the primary reasons cited for assigneeturnover is a perceived lack of appreciation and/or outlet for theinternational business skills and cultural insight they have acquired. Evenwhile your employees are on assignment, their managers back home should bethinking of the best ways to put their expertise to work. As soon as your candidates are selected, have a comprehensive discussion oftheir career paths, explaining how the skills they acquire will be put to useupon return. The last thing you want to see is your valued assignee heading offto a competitor, armed with years of international business knowledge for whichyou have footed the bill. Keeping your assignees ‘plugged in’ throughout theassignment not only helps relieve one of their most common fears – being ‘outof sight and out of mind’ – but can also provide direction for the re-entryplan. Don’t forget that repatriation can carry as many cultural and logisticalissues as the initial move – assignees often have to buy a new home, getchildren settled into a new school, and address a spouse or partner’s careercontinuation. In some cases, particularly after long assignments, reverseculture shock can occur. Methods to ease this transition – such as culturalreorientation programmes – should be addressed during the initial planningstages. What are some of the most effective means of keeping an employee ‘pluggedin’ to the company during a global assignment? While your employees will no doubt embrace the challenges that await them intheir new assignments, even the most adventurous will want to feel tethered tothe company during their stay in the destination country. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to keep your employees linkedto your corporate intranet, letting them access company news and developments,or delivering custom messages through your relocation provider’s e-servicesystem. Companies may also wish to assign mentors who will remain in contactwith the assignee from time to time to keep them “in the loop.” Infact, the results of our recent Question of the Month survey indicate that anincreasing number of companies are assigning mentors and giving formerassignees the opportunity to become mentors. A lot of companies have attempted to implement ‘global’ policies. Dothese work? While global policies are growing in popularity, to be effective they mustbe implemented in accordance with the local norms/practices of each of yourtarget destination and departure regions, and that requires local expertise.One of our major clients has had great success with its global policy, which issupported by service centres in each major region – the Americas, EMEA andAsia-Pacific – to ensure timeliness, responsiveness across time zones, and themost effective global counselling. In our experience, global policies are best executed by providers who knowthe client’s policy and have a global team of trained specialists who can offercrucial ‘on the ground’ assistance and expertise to your assignees, and who arealso well-versed on policy, procedures and service performance metrics. This isthe only way to ensure consistency throughout the entire process. Are there any instances in which it would be preferable to choose a localhire over an expatriate? The simple answer is, of course, yes. However, you can’t overlook theimportance of building global fluency among your employees. The value of aglobal assignment is that it instils essential international business skills,and companies that eliminate such opportunities risk depleting their pool ofglobal leaders. Look at the CVs of today’s CEOs and you will find that themajority earned their leadership positions through consecutive globalassignments. Author biographies Pablo Colon Director, global client services, RRI Pablo oversees the development and worldwide management of RRI’s GlobalAssignment Programs (GAP). He also interfaces with the company’s ServicePartner Alliance and Global Network Services groups to identify new andinnovative ways to deliver the best total solution to RRI’s global relocationclients. Pablo is bilingual, has close to a decade of global relocationexperience and his international business career has encompassed assignments inCosta Rica and the UK. Diane Fitz-Gibbon Director, client services, EMEA, RRI Diane has more than two decades of global relocation experience, and in hercurrent role she works closely with clients being serviced out of RRI’s UKoperations centre to ensure the company continues to exceed its service andcost-savings expectations. She also fosters synergy between members of the RRIteam on both sides of the Atlantic to increase client product knowledge. Beforejoining RRI, Diane worked for Ernst & Young and British Petroleum. Roxanne Pappas Director, consulting services, RRI An authority on global relocation, Roxanne provides RRI’s clients with comprehensiveconsulting, research and information services to help them develop andimplement effective programmes. She has been a valued member of the RRI teamsince 1990, has held a wide range of roles from account manager to director,client services, and was instrumental in the establishment of RRI’s UKoperations. Roxanne speaks French, Spanish and Greek. About the company Relocation Resources Inter-national (RRI) is a global relocation company providingcomplete, customised solutions to a wide range of corporations. The company hasbuilt its reputation as the industry quality leader through its ability topartner with clients to develop and administer the best total solution to theiremployee relocation needs – solutions specifically tailored to meet eachclient’s unique culture, objectives and budget. Unique among relocation companies, RRI is independent and employee-owned,with operation centres throughout the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific and morethan a quarter century of global relocation experience. Through its expertstaff, extensive global service network, in-house consulting services andrelocation finance groups, and state-of-the-art online programme managementtools, RRI offers clients one convenient stop for all their relocation needs. For more information, call + 44 (0) 207 802 2563 or visit www.rriworld.com Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. RRI answers questions on global assignmentsOn 1 Oct 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more