Our Benchmarking Service – What Coronavirus communications have been issued to your assignees?

Expat Academy Our Benchmarking Service - What Coronavirus communications have been issued to your assignees?

Our benchmarking service is a brilliant tool for members to put forward anonymous Global Mobility questions to their fellow members.

We are seeing some rich and varied activity through this resource and wanted to show you with a real question how other members are helping each other through their exceptional knowledge sharing. Undoubtedly, the best example right now is the Coronavirus, albeit members have now moved beyond the communications stage and are asking follow-up questions on this topic.

Other questions include assignee selection methods, Posted Workers Directive, mental health and wellbeing, graduate housing contributions, accompanied STAs and a whole lot more!

If you would like full access to this golden membership nugget, then please contact Tony@expat-academy.com

Question:  What Coronavirus communications have been issued to your assignees? (sic) (12/02/20)

We have communicated to all employees worldwide. For the European region we have included links to Government websites for each relevant country providing information on this. Our other regions have done similar. We have also had a Global Communication to all employees warning about the virus and advising to look at the relevant website for their own country.

The Global Communication also gave the basic information regarding self-isolation in case of feeling unwell and to contact the relevant emergency number if symptoms got worse.


We have used Workplace to communicate globally on the outbreak and changes in travel policy on travel to/from China or Hong Kong.  For the Asia Pacific region, the communication was sent via the Regional Security and HR to all office locations, along with specifics for our Hong Kong office, i.e. if the employee has travelled from mainland China, they are placed on “self-imposed” 14 day quarantine before being allowed to return to the office.


We had a communication sent globally to all employees by the management committee + regional communication in China by HR/senior management.

Content was about working from home, quarantine and approval process for flights to Asia.


Communications have been sent group wide to all employees re travel and we are separately phoning all our impacted assignees re their personal circumstances and plans.


Communication has been sent out by the Head of HSE to all global employees and assignee. The email contained the following points:

  • Self-quarantine for 14 days
  • Do not travel if you are sick – note that some locations have implemented screening, and travelers may face quarantine and testing.
  • As always, discuss with your line manager before making travel arrangements.
  • To maintain good personal hygiene is always useful and also helpful in this context. Wash your hands frequently and for 20 seconds. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer for use when soap and water are not readily available.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider as relevant.
  • Take relevant preventive measures: Be aware of who to contact if you develop symptoms of illness; seek medical assistance if you develop symptoms, especially fever or shortness of breath.


Communications on this topic have been prepared centrally by our Group Communications team and shared on our company’s intranet with all employees.  This includes travel restrictions, approval process, FAQs, and specific instructions for expatriates. Guidance covers all employees in all geographic locations, with an emphasis on affected countries.

Re: expatriates, the same guidance applies, and assignments across continents due to start during the next 3 months require additional approval to go ahead.


Our UK parent company has issued guidance from group security.  Travel to China is prohibited, anyone that has travelled to Wuhan area of China recently has been asked to self-quarantine and work from home.  No separate communication has gone to assignees.


As an organisation we have issued the following:

– company-wide communications (sharing general advice for people travelling in and out of mainland China, HK and Macaua and sharing WHO advice)- these were issued by global leadership

– country specific communications (sharing country-imposed restrictions, e.g. travel bans etc)- issued by country leadership

– Regional communications (directly to employees and assignees in mainland China, HK and Macau, regarding office closures and local guidance)- issued by local HR and leadership

– we have also issued mobility specific communications to assignees on assignment, at pre-assignment stage and to those due to repatriate. These communications have been issued within the mobility teams and were more specific to the above communications in that they were asking questions and responding to peoples’ direct concerns, especially for those who are due to start an assignment in China.


Our Global Security Services team have issued a global email to all global employees, via our Internal Communications team.  I am not allowed to share any details of our plans.


We have, via HR communication on our intranet site, reminded all employees about our membership with International SOS. In addition to our internal travel risk assessment, approval and reporting process we direct employees to the section on the International SOS portal which focusses on the Coronavirus.


We have sent group wide communications from our CEO advising how our Chinese local employees (we have no expats there currently) are being supported as well as details of how travel and business trips to the region should be handled.


Yes, we have issued communications by email and have also displayed posters.  These have been Company-wide to all employees, issued by our Group Travel, Security and HSSE.  Additional regional communications have been issued to all employees and expatriates in China have been targeted separately and evacuated.

Communications include notification that all non-essential travel to china must be deferred, essential travel will require risk assessment and HSSE President approval.  Communications include guidelines from WHO on precautions to take, guidelines on notification to line managers, if you have undertaken travel to China in last 14 days, advice for arranging meetings with third parties and management of visitors.



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