Ways for HR to ensure a smooth international employment

02 Jul 2019

As the world becomes closer due to globalisation, employees are getting more opportunities to work overseas either through international assignments or country transfers.

By moving company talents around offices, these employees can share their expertise, increase diversity, and have a chance to bring back ideas to their home base.

As moving countries can be a cumbersome task, HR needs to put their best efforts forward to ensure a smooth transition. Here are some of the important factors to consider:

1. What are the costs involved?

Firstly, HR needs to know how big of a budget can the company provide for the employee.

This will affect the pay package for the assignment and allowances such as home, food, transport health care or more during the duration of the assignment.

Also, if the employee wishes to bring along his/her family, the company will need to include their needs in the package as well.

Secondly, some countries differ in terms of cost of living, and even more so if the person is not a citizen.

HR also needs to look into living costs, health and insurance, and make sure they can maintain a similar living standard, and help ease the employee and family to assimilate into the society.

2. Pre-trip preparation

Before leaving, the employee needs to be prepared mentally and current in his/her capabilities.

If the person is moving to a country where language could be a barrier, knowledge would be useful and may take one to two years to prepare. 

The employee might need to take trips to the country to see if he/she is able to live there and get a feel of the place.

Just like preparing for any trip, the person needs to know what to expect, what to bring, what to do, and learn the ways and cultures of the city to avoid committing any social faux pas.

Also, it would be useful to set up a support network for the employee in terms of colleagues, contacts or mentors who can check in regularly or provide advice.

Safety and security are important factors too. HR can prepare the employee in terms of emergency or in event of evacuation of natural disasters or political unrest situations.

3. Supporting the employee

Being away and out of sight, it may be hard to keep track of the employee's well-being and activities.

Regular communication and support are important tools to help the employee orientate to their new surroundings in case of culture shock in the city or in the new work environment.

And when it is time for him/her to return, providing support in making the return arrangements can be very helpful for the employee.

By keeping the employee prepared and happy during this assignment, it can help him/her perform his/her job better.

When he/she returns, there will be better chances of him/her having a better experience, provide insightful advice for the company and give more knowledge on how to prepare the next employee for international assignments.

Main image from Pexels

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