CapRelo Blog

Shirien Elamawy

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Trailing Spouse Syndrome

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Tue, Jun 30, 2015

Global MobilityEmployers often go to great lengths to acquire and retain top talent. They offer competitive compensation and benefits, flexible work arrangements and opportunities for advancement. And when an employee has to relocate internationally for a position, an employer will typically provide relocation services that can include anything from assistance in selling his home and finding a new one to household goods moving and car transportation. This relocation assistance can contribute significantly to reducing the employee’s stress level and accelerate a return to productivity.

Find out more about relocating employees with families in our free article.

However, when an employee has a spouse or partner also moving to the new location, that partner can experience challenges, especially if he or she doesn’t have a job lined up or a support system in the new location. According to Expat Info Desk, this phenomenon is typically referred to as “trailing spouse syndrome” and is characterized by one or more of the following:

  • Culture shock: Trailing spouses are more exposed to the new culture than their working partners, since they have to take care of everything with the household and, in the event there are children, schooling. Whereas the working partner usually functions in a more or less international environment where everybody shares one thing in common — the company — the trailing spouse has to manage all sorts of people and situations, ranging from landlords to veterinarians for house pets to shop attendants in stores and dentists for the family. Getting used to new customs while being responsible for the household and family can be extremely stressful for the trailing spouse.
  • Homesickness and isolation: With their jobs, families and friends usually left behind, trailing spouses can find themselves feeling homesick and isolated. Fortunately, modern technology makes it easier to stay in touch, yet it can still be very lonely for a trailing spouse trying to navigate life in a new country.
  • Depression and loss of focus: Especially when a trailing spouse has given up a job to accompany the employee, he or she can experience deep feelings of loss, which can in turn lead to depression. Having a profession gives people a sense of purpose: losing a job can take that purpose away. To complicate matters further, many countries don’t grant the trailing spouse a work permit, which makes it impossible for him or her to get a job.

Trailing spouse syndrome also has a significant impact on the relocating employee, because when the home situation is stressed, there’s a lack of stability. When the employee gets stressed, his or her work is likely to suffer. According to ExpatArrivals, it’s crucial for a trailing spouse to prepare for and take control of the relocation experience. And that’s where a global relocation management company (like CapRelo) can make all the difference. CapRelo can help, in some cases, arrange for a work permit for a trailing spouse; organize cultural and language training; and assist in building a social network. These kinds of services offer significant support for the trailing spouse and make settling in far easier — and that has a positive impact on the happiness and performance of the relocating employee.

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Topics: Family Relocation, relocating employees, trailing spouse syndrome,

How to Attract and Retain Female Executives In the High Tech Industry

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Tue, Jun 09, 2015

leader-resized-600.jpgAround the globe, employers are becoming aware that the low participation rate of women in the high tech industry has a negative impact on business. According to Sharon Florentine in her CIO article, “6 Ways to Attract and Retain Female IT Talent,” research shows that actively recruiting, retaining and advancing more women is good for a company’s bottom line. And when women are in leadership positions, turnover is reduced, the overall performance of the organization is enhanced and a strong leadership pipeline is established.

Learn key ways to increase employee retention in our free article.

Also, since the high tech industry is overwhelmingly male-dominated, companies are missing out on a significant pool of quality talent. Especially in a labor market where employers are concerned about a talent gap in professions such as engineering, companies can’t realistically afford to not foster female talent. However, statistics indicate a lack of success when it comes to retaining women: a Harvard Business Review report led by Sylvia Ann Hewlett shows that 41 percent of highly qualified STEM workers are female, yet more than 50 percent of them leave the field in their mid to late thirties.

What Employers Can Do

According to the Kelly Services article, “Attracting and Retaining Women in the High Tech Industry,” some of the reasons women leave the IT industry include a lack of female colleagues and role models, as well as distinctly inferior treatment such as lower salaries and fewer advancement opportunities when compared to their male peers. It’s only logical, therefore, that addressing these issues would make for more attractive work environments for women. Employers should consider taking the following measures:

  • Diversity training aimed at promoting understanding, tolerance and equal treatment between male and female workers. This training should include both management and employees and be geared to eliminating gender bias.

  • Offering equal salaries. According to David Louie in the ABC7News article, “Silicon Valley Job Growth Exposes Increasing Gender Gap,” men in tech earn up to 61 percent more than their female counterparts. Obviously, offering women equal remuneration will form an important incentive.

  • Offering clear career paths for women. Employers should clarify how women can advance within the company from the start of the recruitment process.

  • Providing paid maternity leave, as well as flexible work arrangements. Many women leave the high tech industry due to a lack of support for motherhood. Creating work environments where they can fulfill both their roles as mothers and as professionals will likely help retain them beyond their mid to late thirties.

  • Actively encourage female role models. Inviting senior female employees to speak to and mentor younger ones provides clear role models who prove women can succeed in the high tech field. At the same time, recruiting female students in the same manner can encourage more women to study STEM subjects and enter the field of high tech.

  • Provide relocation support geared specifically toward women. Women who need to relocate for their jobs may require tailored support to help them and their families acclimate to the new environment. From cultural training for a female employee relocating to a more traditional society to support in locating schools and childcare, relocation companies can provide superior relocation experiences that help employers retain their top female talent.

Attracting and retaining women in the high tech industry is an ongoing endeavor. But by understanding what women want and where companies fall short, employers can effectively adapt their talent management strategies to foster and support top female talent.

 Talent Management: Engagement Article


Topics: talent retention, attracting new hires, talent management

What You Need to Know About Relocating Millennials

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Tue, May 12, 2015

Millenials Moving

Millennials—those born between 1980 and 2000—are far more interested in relocating for their careers than Generation X and Baby Boomer workers. In fact, Mary Lorenz, in her The Hiring Site article “Five Things You Might Not Know About Millennial Candidates,” cites a CareerBuilder and Inavero survey that showed that 83 percent of Millennials are willing to relocate for the right job that provides them with a higher salary or better advancement opportunities. Moreover, other sources show that 40 percent are even willing to move to a different country or continent!

Learn about developing relocation policies to attract top talent with our free guide. 

In addition to this willingness to relocate, it’s important to note that Millennials in general switch jobs more often than their predecessors. Jeanne Meister writes in her Forbes article titled “Job Hopping Is the ‘New Normal’ for Millennials: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare” that while the average duration of a professional engagement is 4.4 years, 91 percent of Millennials expect to move on to another position in less than 3 years.

When you combine these statistics, it becomes clear that Millennials are a highly mobile segment of the workforce. And with this generation rapidly becoming the largest group of workers, it’s clear that employers will increasingly encounter situations in which they need to relocate Millennial employees.

A Global Mindset and a Desire for Independence

It’s essential to understand that Millennials are far more independent than older generations. Social media has allowed them to develop a global mindset, enabling them to stay in touch with family and friends, no matter where they are in the world.

Additionally, having grown up in an era where information and services are readily available on the Internet, they’re accustomed to solving problems on their own. And this attitude generally applies to corporate relocation, too. Many Millennials believe they can coordinate their local, national or even international moves themselves. Yet however capable they are in many areas, it doesn’t mean they’re prepared to handle such an impactful life change without assistance. The employer, in the meantime, needs to ensure a good relocation experience in order to keep the employee happy, engaged and productive.

Striking the Right Balance

As Julie Cook Ramirez points out in her Human Resource Executive Online article titled “Generation Why Not,” employers need to strike the right balance between overseeing the move and allowing the transferee the flexibility to handle certain aspects him or herself. And this is where the role of a corporate relocation company like CapRelo is pivotal.

The relocation company needs to offer the necessary support and coaching in a manner that appeals to Millennials. Keep the following points in mind:

  • Be open to including the transferee in the decision making process.
  • Schedule an informational meeting up front in which expectations can be stated.
  • Utilizing technology, provide one central hub from which the transferee can instantly navigate to the specific aspects of the relocation process in his or her own time.

Investing in Relationships

Successful relocations enhance retention, helping companies keep top talent within their ranks. Additionally, Millennials will advance into senior decision-making positions, and the relationships they build now will likely be the ones they rely on later. So though adapting the relocation process to cater to Millennials will likely require some capital and effort, the investment promises to pay off both in the short and long-term.

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Topics: employee retention, relocating employees, employee relocation concerns, talent management, millennials

Talent Management: Global Mobility Webinar

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Tue, Apr 21, 2015


In a global marketplace, the competition for finding and retaining talent is critical to your organization’s success. But long gone are the days you could quickly and easily fill vacancies from a vast pool of potential employees. The key now is to successfully manage talent on a strategic level and in partnership with your company’s global mobility experts. In fact, an effective talent management/global mobility partnership is a good way to ensure that you have a say in the highest levels of decision making in your organization.

Topics: caprelo webinars, global mobility

Five Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Tue, Apr 14, 2015


Employee engagement is a key driver of business success. According to a report by Harvard Business Review titled “The Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance,” a workforce that’s highly engaged with its employer improves productivity, maximizes human capital and reduces turnover, thereby positively impacting a company’s bottom line. A disengaged workforce, however, can contribute to low productivity and increased attrition. In fact, according to Gallup’s 2013 report “State of the American Workplace,” disengagement costs U.S. companies between $450 and $550 billion each year.

Learn more about how to increase employee engagement with our free article.

So it’s no surprise that organizations around the globe are looking for methods to enhance how engaged their people are. Here are five ways to improve employee engagement:

  1. Clearly communicate corporate goals and achievements. Companies whose leadership provides information and insights into business objectives, company policies, and corporate achievements are more likely to engage their employees that those that don’t. In the Entrepreneur article “Richard Branson on Increasing Employee Engagement,” Branson states that at Virgin, management informs workers about what the company’s doing and why by means of internal newsletters.

  2. Provide transparency as to how employees’ performance contributes to overall business goals. Employees want to feel valued, and a large part of this is tied in with how much their individual efforts and performance contribute to company-wide goals. By recognizing high performers and encouraging employees to understand their role in the bigger picture, companies can make them feel more engaged.

  3. Listen to employee feedback to determine satisfaction levels. Harvard Business Review advises getting employee feedback by means of employee satisfaction surveys that are carefully designed to yield information about what is and isn’t working in the company. It’s optimal if the surveys can provide specific, actionable data that can guide company policy.In short, they should enable management to work with employees to pinpoint obstacles to engagement and come up with ways to overcome those obstacles.

  4. Employ good managers. The role of frontline managers is key in employee engagement. Managers who know how to develop their teams, encourage them to excel and help them advance their careers are far more likely to establish a connection with employees than those who don’t. This means that frontline managers also need the support of their companies’ leadership in order to help their people become effective.

  5. Empower employees. Employees who feel supported, who have the tools to do their jobs and who are offered training and development opportunities, are far more likely to feel engaged than those who don’t. By offering employees ways to grow within their jobs and with the company, employers demonstrate their trust in their people, as well as how much they want them to succeed.

Enhancing employee engagement is an ongoing process. It requires unbiased information about employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction, as well as the ability to analyze that information and adapt or create company policies accordingly. But when you consider that employee engagement is one of the greatest drivers of business success, spending the time and effort on improving engagement strategies is well worth it.


Download our Free White Paper: Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Topics: employee engagement, talent management

Why CEOs are Worried About Talent Management

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Tue, Apr 07, 2015


In a recent Harvard Business Review article titled “The 3 Things CEOs Worry About the Most,”talent management issues were cited as the number one concern for 16 out of 24 CEOs. It’s no secret that many organizations are struggling to attract and retain the talent they need to grow their operations.

With the labor landscape changing due to an evolving workforce that consists of an increasingly large number of non-traditional workers such as independent contractors and other contingent talent, employers have to determine where to source their talent to best meet their company’s objectives. At the same time, the manner in which work is performed is changing, with automation and technology having a significant impact on the types of skills needed in the workplace.

Learn more about increasing employee engagement with our free article. 

So what are some of the talent management issues CEOs are concerned about?

  • The skills gap. Finding qualified workers remains a problem for companies. According to research by Manpower, in 2014, 40 percent of employers reported difficulties in filling open positions and 56 percent of companies agreed that a lack of talent had a medium to high impact on their business functioning. The skills gap has a number of reasons:
    • A large number of experienced Baby Boomer workers are set to leave the workforce, taking their knowledge and expertise with them.
    • Entry-level and mid-career workers don’t yet have the skills necessary to fill more senior positions.
    • The rate at which technology is evolving makes it difficult for employees to keep up; even educational institutes are having a hard time ensuring the skills they teach don’t become obsolete within a few years.
    • Geographic disparities in education and occupational experience make it difficult to find qualified workers in certain regions.
  • Cultural fit. Companies that are poised to grow quickly oftentimes prioritize skill sets over cultural fit. Though this is a logical choice, when employees fill outward facing positions, cultural fit can be as important as possessing the right qualifications. At the same time, an employee who isn’t a good cultural fit can face more challenges functioning in a company and ultimately leave, costing the company thousands of dollars to search for a replacement.
  • Career advancement. Some CEOs are concerned about whether their high-potential employees are being adequately supported in their professional development. Companies need clear career paths and sufficient support for those employees who are aspirational and possess the ability to advance beyond their current positions.
  • Global mobility. With an increasingly global marketplace, more and more companies have a footprint in other countries. Creating a mobile workforce with top talent who are willing to relocate for the right opportunity is a challenge for many CEOs. The good news is, organizations that use a corporate relocation company like CapRelo can significantly enhance the success rate of their global assignees by providing them with the assistance and support they need to navigate international moves. With help for everything from packing household goods and relocating pets to locating schools and language classes, talent are far more likely to have a positive overseas experience. And that increases the chances they’ll act as ambassadors for their companies’ global policies by speaking out in favor of international assignments.
  • Talent pipelines. Companies with an established talent pipeline are concerned with ensuring those pipelines can provide a continuous flow of talent for the long term.

Considering these factors, it’s understandable that CEOs are concerned about talent. Yet the most important thing to understand is that in an evolving labor landscape, talent strategies need to be flexible. By remaining flexible, employers will be better equipped to incorporate any changes or developments that could further impact their talent management strategies.


Download our Free White Paper: Ways to Increase Employee Engagement


Topics: employee engagement, talent management

ROI on Sending Employees Abroad

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Tue, Mar 24, 2015

What’s happening with ROI?

ROI-Part-2-Adelante-Live-blogAccording to a survey conducted by KPMG Global Assignment Policies and Practices 72 percent of 600 international organizations used global mobility programs to reach their business objectives and remain competitive in the global marketplace.

However, only about 12 percent of the companies surveyed understood the need for controlling costs and what constituted a good ROI. In fact, almost 27 percent of those interviewed also admitted not even knowing the exact percentage of transferees who left the company after returning from an assignment. This demonstrates a critical need for better oversight, especially of those employees that make up non-traditional transfers, such as those on short-term engineering assignments.

To learn more about developing an international relocation policy, download our free article.

A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reported that only about 42 percent of the nearly 200 executives who participated believed they were getting a good return for their money. When one considers the fact that fewer than 10 percent of companies surveyed even measure their ROI, and fewer still are able to accurately put a number on the cost, there is the possibility that the return may be greater than they thought.

Generally, those positions generating revenue, such as a senior sales manager, can reasonably expect to offer a higher and faster return against a company’s relocation expenses than from someone in a lesser position.

Factors influencing ROI:

The PwC survey also reported that ROI can vary widely and is impacted by subjective factors including:

  • The type of work performed such as sales, engineering or product development
  • The transferee’s status within the company
  • The amount of risk involved in placing employees overseas, including oversight of permits, visas, tax liability and other concerns, particularly for employees not traditionally mobile, such as team of engineers to fix overseas equipment on a short-term (under six months) basis.
  • The inevitable hidden and often-overlooked costs, such as work permits, that contribute to the problems of cost control and benefits.
  • The expense of transferring an employee overseas is large – in many cases at least twice the employee’s salary – so most companies at least attempt to measure (often without much success) and control some of the expenses.

The takeaway

In spite of the variable returns, 85 percent of PwC respondents cited global mobility as important for the company’s growth with 89 percent indicating plans to continue relocating workers over the next two years. To improve ROI Peter Clarke of PwC and other experts recommend:

  • Improving oversight, especially since the trend seems to be to shorter assignments of less-traditional expat positions.
  • Selecting the right candidate for the assignment
  • Understanding what best motivates potential transferees: career development, especially for younger transferees, seems to be more motivating than a big package of financial perks.
  • Offering tiered systems, such the policies offered by FirstEnergy, to limit the highest costs to the executive salary levels, followed by professional, basic and new-hire plans.

As shown by the latest numbers of the when all parties involved are satisfied with the outcome of the relocation experience, everyone wins.

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Topics: employee relocation concerns, international relocation

Employees Are Willing to Relocate for a Dream Job

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Tue, Mar 17, 2015

This way to your dream job

Why employees want to relocate

According to a study by the job website Monster, three-quarters of international workers, including about 48 percent of American respondents, were agreeable to being transferred if the “job of their dreams” was involved. While 23 percent wouldn’t accept a transfer for any reason, 32 percent of respondents would even be willing to move halfway around the world.

Find out more about developing relocation policies with our free guide. 

A breakdown of respondents from another study showed that 77 percent of workers who transferred during the previous year were pleased with the move, reporting benefits that include making a fresh start (30 percent), new experiences unavailable elsewhere (29 percent,) and higher earnings (27 percent).

Millennials making changes

Younger workers (dubbed "Millennials”) who are beginning their careers are more adventurous, flexible, and open to living and working in new locales and often see it as a necessary requirement for career promotions and development.

Millennials tend to be renters; therefore the relocation packages are less expensive than that of traditional expats.

Savvy organizations know that it’s important to get the ‘new hires’ off to a good start if a transfer is in the immediate offering, as this will color their experience with that company. As a result, many companies hiring younger workers are turning to offering less traditional, more flexible benefits packages for the newly hired transferees.

I win, you win

The flexible concept is working well for other transferees higher on the job ladder, as are tiered plans that offer fair relocation packages to employees at all levels. Twelve percent of companies surveyed in a 2013 employee mobility study, offer plans with basic or core benefits, covering final move costs, temporary housing, and house-hunting, with additional benefits – such as guaranteed home purchases or miscellaneous expenses – offered cafeteria-style as the transferee desires.

While the US economy is gradually improving, job markets in many areas are still extremely competitive, making the idea of looking elsewhere for work more attractive than ever. As a result, 44 percent of American workers indicated a willingness to relocate if the right job opportunity came along, according to a Career Builder study. In fact, 20 percent of workers who were laid off during the previous 12 months found new employment after relocating to a new state or city, according to the study.

On the flip side, there are also many employers who are willing to bring needed talent to their location, with 32 percent willing to pay relocation costs. Another 19 percent were willing to offer a smaller salary during the first year for a relocation signing bonus.

And the winner is...

The most popular city cited by potential transferees is London, followed by New York City, according to a recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group and The Network, a recruiting group participating in the study. Both cities offer a large foreign-born population (about 3 million each), and are both flourishing business centers.

Overall, though, the USA is still considered by workers worldwide, including those from developed economies, to be the most desirable country to relocate for work.

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Topics: employee retention, relocating employees, employee transfer, talent management

Meet Patrick Cacho: VP of Global Business Development

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Mon, Mar 09, 2015


We recently sat down with Patrick to learn more about his role at CapRelo and what he enjoys doing in his spare time.

1. Who is “Patrick Cacho?” – Where do you come from, what is your background, what do you do?

I grew up in New York City and graduated from the City University of New York with a degree in Psychology. Soon after graduating from CUNY, I went on a business trip to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles and decided I definitely wanted to relocate to California. A year after that infamous trip, I relocated to San Francisco where I met my bride, Marilyn, of 30 years. We have two sons who were competitive collegiate golfers and graduates of Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business.

I joined CapRelo as a VP Global Business Development for the Western Region and I bring over 20 years of RMC experience where I served in a variety of roles including operations, account management and sales. I have also owned two executive search firms.

2. How long have you been with CapRelo, and what is your favorite part about your position?

I started at CapRelo on January 5th and it has been a great new experience. During my interviews, I was impressed to learn that CapRelo has enjoyed 100% client retention for the past 6 years. This spoke volumes about CapRelo's “culture of service,” which was exactly the type of work environment and culture I wanted to be a part of.

When you are selling in the consulting industry, you want to represent a company that has a great reputation for service and delivers on their promises! I am passionate about helping others. I truly enjoy working with global mobility professionals that work for some of the largest corporations on the Fortune 1000 list, as well as some of the fastest growing companies in the world. It’s exciting to learn about a prospect’s workforce mobility issues and then help them to customize solutions to make their jobs, and the relocations of their employees, easier and stress free.

3. What do you do in your spare time, what are some of your interests?

I value quality time spent with family and close friends. I enjoy traveling with my family, especially to one of our favorite places, the Hawaiian Islands. I like taking hikes into the San Jacinto Mountains, playing racquetball, watching all types of sports, playing golf with the family and going to some of the “major” golf tournaments.

Some other interests include having some laughs over a good glass of wine or a great craft beer and recently, I have started learning how to oil paint landscape scenes. Still on the bucket list is learning the piano so I can play "As Time Goes By," from my favorite movie "Casablanca," and maybe one day, retiring in Hawaii!

Topics: CapRelo, CapRelo Employees, about us

3 Tips for Writing Effective Employee Relocation Letters

Posted by Shirien Elamawy on Tue, Feb 24, 2015

Check out this video, which lists 3 tips for helping you write an effective employee relocation letter. 


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Topics: relocation tips

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