Published on May 28, 2013

Corporate relocation programs are costly. When your company relocates employees internationally, the cost – and the importance – dramatically increases. You probably realize that the short-term cost pales in comparison to the long-term employee contribution to the company's bottom line.

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U.S. employee relocations are complex. International relocations are off the charts complex. However, you should adopt policies that benefit both your company and the assignee. Consider the following suggestions to facilitate the international relocation process. International relocation services reduce assignee stress and promote better transfer results.

Popular – Successful – Relocation Service Options

  • Passport services. While some people formerly considered getting a passport a confusing, mysterious, time-consuming process, since 9/11 the process has come under even more scrutiny. Helping your assignee obtain or renew an expired passport is a valuable service.

  • Visas and work permits. Another sometimes mysterious process, getting appropriate visas and/or work permits in different countries can cause assignees to lose time and focus without employer help. Country policies for issuing proper documentation can differ widely.

  • Destination services. International transfers can be tougher on the family than on the assignee. Questions and concerns arise at a rapid rate, particularly about the quality of life the assignee's spouse and family will face. Helping them settle in to an initially strange new location is valuable.

  • Cross-cultural training. A country's language and culture can be perplexing. Relocation policies that include language training and explaining the new country's customs go a long way to smooth the transition to an international location.

  • Moving household goods. Along with the excitement and anticipation of moving to a different country, comes the stress of packing, moving and unpacking household goods. Moving a household is more than transporting just furniture and appliances. It also involves moving a lifestyle and irreplaceable items.

  • Home sale assistance. Nothing creates more anxiety than worries about a timely sale of a current residence and renting and locating another home. The anxiety level ramps up considerably when an international move is immanent. Employer assistance can be monetary, enlisting experienced professional help or both.

  • House hunting trips. International relocation house hunting trips deliver multiple benefits to the employer and the assignee. Along with helping find an acceptable home, the assignee and family also get a 'taste' for the new culture they'll be entering. This helps them become more comfortable in their new location – and country – before making the final one-way move.

The company benefits from offering these relocation services on various levels. Consider the following benefits the employer receives.

  • Assignees endure much lower stress levels. Knowing that the company – or a top proven relocation firm – will assist the transfer, the stress factor diminishes, sometimes disappears.

  • Transferred employees and their families assimilate to new cultures faster. Simply moving from Maine to Texas in the U.S. can be a short-term dramatic culture change. Relocating from America to a new country can be a longer-term shock to an assignee's psychological system. These relocation services help assignees become comfortable with new cultures and help employers integrate employees into their new environments.

  • Language lessons help assignees communicate with other company employees indigenous to the new country. Unless employees are transferred to another English speaking country, there can be language barriers. Some might say that even transfers to London or Perth pose some short-term language differences. Moving to other locations, such as Berlin, Brussels, Tokyo or Beijing, pose more daunting language challenges. Prepping soon-to-be-transferred employees with language training helps the assignee and the company better communicate with co-workers.

  • Employees arrive at their new, location ready to produce, without extended down time. The cost of offering these international relocation services is minor as compared to the input a top-performing employee can bring to your company.

The combination of less stress, faster assimilation, at least rudimentary language skills and family settlement helps the company get the most out of its transferred employees. The typical settling in issues and concerns about an international move often result in low assignee production for some period.

Offering these relocation services can often minimize the all-too-common 'transfer syndrome' that translates to lowered production. Your employee will be energized and anxious to contribute immediately. The company wins big, as the assignee begins contributing to the bottom line from day one.

These services smooth out the entire international relocation process to keep your company operating at peak efficiency without any significant interruptions. You can attach appropriate operational and monetary benefits you wish. The company wins under any scenario.

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