The benefit of family support

Expat Academy The benefit of family support  Over the past 20 years, the evolution of global mobility to an even faster-paced, fragmented environment means that GM professionals now have to be more nimble to keep up with the complexities of a relocation, meet the demands of the business and ensure assignee satisfaction, all at lightning speed.

Simultaneously, the profile of the assignees has changed. There are more female assignees and many are younger, with a strong focus on dual career issues. Meanwhile, assignees and their spouses are increasingly concerned about their well-being and the overall relocation experience adding an extra layer to an international move.

We all know that this ‘relocation experience’ varies for each person and it is important to emphasise that moving to a new country will have its ups and downs. A key factor is to focus on family support, which is often overlooked as its value is underestimated and difficult to quantify in the whole picture of assignment satisfaction.

The following simple yet effective suggestions, may help assignees and their families to readily adjust to the new location:

  • Don’t compare everything to your home country – everything will be different, not better or worse, just different
  • Be kind to yourself – it will take time to put all the pieces together in the new location and culture
  • Have an action plan to address the different challenges – you can’t solve all problems simultaneously
  • Invest time in networking both social and professional – Be proactive
  • Ask for help – you aren’t alone!

Generally, a lot of support is provided at the initial phase of the assignment, even though it is quite normal to feel unsettled a bit later. Often, many questions or concerns come up a few months into the relocation when unfortunately, support is no longer available. So, what can we do?

There is no magic formula to ensure the success of an international assignment, but it is important to note that having support available throughout the assignment, contributes to a positive experience for both the employee and their partner. Especially when the family’s needs are addressed promptly.

Provision of that support can be given through a fixed point of contact/reference, flexible company benefits to be utilised as and when needed, continued cultural training and repatriation assistance. It is important to highlight that with the large variety of assignment types, support might be necessary not only to international assignees and their spouses, but also to local hires who are coming from another country and wouldn’t otherwise get support.

Although difficult to measure, time and again it can be seen that when international assignees are given family and spousal support, there is higher productivity, increased loyalty to the company and better retention rates. It may seem obvious, but if the family is happy and looked after, there is greater likelihood that the overall relocation experience will be positive.  Find out more about what FOCUS can offer here: www.focus-info.org.

Written by Eva Stock, Director of Business Engagement, FOCUS Information Services mailto:estock@focus-info.org Expat Academy The benefit of family support

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