Taking the time to screen potential expatriates prior to a global assignment can go a long way to ensuring assignment success. Find out more:
Millions of American professionals relocate annually, many taking on exciting international assignments. U.S. businesses are just as excited about these global relocations. After all, global mobility can lay the groundwork for expansion and revenue gain.
But businesses must understand that expatriates can encounter serious safety hazards during and after relocation. Companies organizing and managing global mobility and assignment processes are responsible for addressing these dangers and ensuring employee safety.
Duty of care encapsulates these obligations. Both businesses and relocating employees should clearly understand what duty of care constitutes before navigating employee mobility strategies.
Corporate Responsibility During Employee Relocation
Duty of care, in the context of corporate mobility, is the obligation to protect those under your charge. Organizations sending teams abroad must take on this complex responsibility.
Businesses must also consider employee well-being, which includes not only physical safety but also emotional and mental wellness. Moving to a foreign country can be a stressful experience, especially moving to one with an entirely different culture than what you’re used to. Businesses should address this issue by providing comprehensive resources to help relocating employees cope with the stressors that accompany international assignments.
With specific employee safety and well-being concerns in mind, companies can begin to formulate strategies to address them in a formal duty of care policy that should be incorporated into business travel and global mobility policies.
While there are legal obligations that companies must meet, they should go beyond what’s legally required of them, not just for the employees’ sake, but also for the success of the company. Relocation is an investment, and providing for the productivity and safety of those who relocate will protect and nurture that investment.
But what does that strategy entail? Providing access to reliable mobility vendors is a good start. Employees moving abroad should be able to connect with mobility management companies and other vendors involved in the relocation process.
Employers should also consider offering property insurance to their relocating talent. Although this may not be a legal requirement, providing this option sends the best message about a business and its brand: We recognize what you, our employee, and your family are undertaking for the benefit of our organization, and we will do our part to allay concerns about your belongings during and after your move.
How to Find Assignment Success
Even employees who are seasoned travelers and excited about embarking on global assignments can experience nervousness and may have trouble living abroad and adapting to unique cultures and customs in the long term.
Adjustment is critical for assignment success. Employees who do not adapt well to their new surroundings may underperform. Anything an employer can do to prepare relocating employees for any initial culture shock, such as offering language and cross-cultural training before the move, can help them immerse themselves in their new communities sooner with greater ease.
Employers can also ensure their assignment policy includes provisions that address duty of care and promote assignment success beyond basic personal safety, such as:
- Evaluating health and medical care laws and customs in the host location to ensure the medical insurance offered to employees and their families is sufficient.
- Ensuring employees' personal information is secure during the relocation process.
- Providing additional benefits tailored to the assignment location, like winter driving courses for locations in cold climates.
CapRelo's One Platform, One System concept is the core of our technology offering. It presents a seamless experience for our clients, their transferring employees, our employees and our supply chain. Find out more in our video below!
CapRelo employees came together this holiday season to lend a helping hand to several organizations this holiday season.
Employees in our headquarters office participated in a Gifts for Kids Drive for a local nonprofit organization, Cornerstones. Cornerstones promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare and other human services.
CapRelo's Stacy Chinn and Angela San Martin organized the drive and collected donations from employees to help fulfill holiday wishes for nine local children, including two young boys and seven teenagers. "Our goal was to collect $750, but we surpassed that by $100, all within a couple of days. It was so amazing to see everyone come together and give to such an awesome cause!"
Stacy and Angela were able to purchase Amazon Fire tablets for the young boys and a variety of gift cards for the teens, as well as a few additional gift cards for Cornerstones. While the organization often receives extra toy donations, gift cards are very hard to come by and appreciated.
Employees in our Dallas office worked with Our Calling, a local faith-based organization that offers the homeless friendship, mentoring and support providing meals, clothing, access to computers, church services, access to showers and referral services to area resources.
CapRelo team members volunteered their time to prepare blankets and toiletries for the homeless, removing manufacturer/ retail packaging from the blankets and rolling and taping them for easy distribution. They also organized and stored packages of toiletries for distribution.
Global assignments that are mismanaged result in higher costs that could be avoided and also could result in an unsuccessful assignment if the employee is not able to focus on the goals of their assignment. A well-managed assignment includes pre-assignment discussions with the employee that align with expectations of both the employee (and accompanying family) and the business.
If employees feel unsupported and/or incur financial losses, their dissatisfaction could carry over in both their professional performance and job satisfaction. Sometimes that's a temporary situation that improves over time; with other times, it causes key talent to leave an organization. Either way, the consequences can be costly:
- Loss of Productivity – Whether an employee temporarily underperforms due to challenging circumstances or a key position becomes vacant because top talent leaves, productivity suffers, and you run the risk of missed returns.
- Loss of Human and Intellectual Assets – When employees leave the organization, either voluntarily or involuntarily, they take their knowledge with them. If not restricted by non-competition clauses, they could take that knowledge to a new job with a competitor.
- Negative Public Relations – When high-profile employees leave a company, it can become news. Depending on how much information is made public about the situation, there's always a chance of speculation and negative attention.
- Cost of Recruitment – Recruiting, hiring and training key talent is expensive and time consuming. When that compromises business operations on a larger scale, the potential cost to the company increases.
A successful global assignment is more likely to result in a high-performing, productive employee who remains loyal to his or her employer. Combined with good assignment cost management, this is exactly what companies should strive for to maximize the return on their investment.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 96 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of America. That’s almost 2 billion people. To get access to this growing class, companies may need to expand to new shores.
There are many opportunities and benefits that come with doing business abroad. Government incentives and foreign investment opportunities aside, doing business internationally also offers a competitive advantage when it comes to technology, industry ecosystems and talent. Access to larger, more diverse talent pools offers companies unique advantages in terms of increased productivity, advanced language skills and diverse educational backgrounds.
And while the prospect of international may seem daunting, having a global partner to help you will ease those worries.
At CapRelo, we can help because we’ve expanded too. Over the years, we’ve grown from our Virginia operation to having a true tri-regional presence in Canada, China, Germany, India, Malaysia, Singapore and the U.K. Establishing these bases of operations was key to understanding and meeting our clients' global mobility needs, and sets CapRelo apart as a global mobility management company.
Whether your company wants to expand its horizon into a new market or secure the hottest global talent from anywhere else in the world, we can help. We deliver quicker data, quicker answers, so you can make smart talent decisions faster.
Finding a balance between employee support and cost management when overseeing global assignments is a challenge, but it can be done. Most importantly, it's imperative to properly plan for assignments and actively manage expenses.
No two global assignments are identical, so rather than creating a one-size-fits-all solution, you may opt to evaluate some custom-fit solutions that take the bigger picture into consideration to create opportunities to save. In addition, you may consider these measures to help manage and reduce global assignment costs.
Assignment Cost Control Measures
- Establish goals and select the appropriate candidate for the assignment. To avoid the cost of a failed assignment, one of the most important steps is to properly plan your business goals and objectives to screen candidates and identify the best talent for the assignment. Candidates can be assessed not only on their job skills, but also on their ability to manage and adapt to a different culture and environment.
- Review your assignment program regularly. There may be areas in your program where minor adjustments can be made to reduce costs without negatively impacting employees. For each possible adjustment, analyze how it will impact the relocation process and how it will affect your employee's productivity during the assignment.
- Regulate cost-of-living allowances. There may be a significant difference between the costs of living in originating and host countries. Set allowances that are applicable to their respective locations, and recalculate cost-of-living subsidies regularly to reflect financial fluctuations in the host country's economy. Use a salary cap when calculating the COLA to further contain costs.
- Reevaluate host country housing guidelines. To control housing expenses, employ more conservative standards to determine guidelines for host housing using the most current data available. Remember to review and adjust the guidelines regularly to account for local real estate value and currency fluctuations.
- Lower house-hunting trip reimbursements. International airfare, transportation at the location, as well as lodging and food can be expensive. Reduce these costs by limiting the number of days allocated for these trips. Unless necessary for school enrollment, limit trips to the employee and spouse/partner only.
- Reassess the costs of language training, cultural training services, home-finding and familiarization trips. Though these services are often crucial to an employee's successful assignment, you may be able to do some research and compare providers to determine if there are more cost-effective ways to provide them, such as providing web-based language training. Pay attention to service quality and client satisfaction to ensure you make both cost-effective and responsible decisions.
CapRelo and our sister company JK Moving Services once again committed our support to Cycle for Survival, an indoor team cycling fundraising event to beat rare cancers. The fundraising effort supports research for pancreatic, brain, stomach, ovarian, and thyroid cancers; leukemia and lymphoma; all pediatric cancers; and many others.
This is the 11th year for the event. So far, Cycle for Survival has raised more than $140 million to fund innovative clinical trials, research studies, and major research initiatives led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Every dollar raised goes directly to lifesaving research within six months of the event.
CapRelo and JK Moving have each reserved one stationary bike to ride at the event on Friday, March 1st at the Equinox Sports Club in Washington, DC. Each team will be comprised of four to eight members. The event is essentially four back-to-back 50-minute spin classes that the teams ride in relay style. The classes are challenging, high energy, and inspiring. During the relay, survivors, current patients, and doctors speak briefly between each ride.
Below is a great video that gives a sense of what the event day is like and really shows the profound impact Cycle for Survival is making in people’s lives.
As captain of the CapRelo team, I’m looking forward to joining my team of enthusiastic riders and fundraisers for the ride and supporting a worthwhile cause! Please consider joining us in supporting Cycle for Survival by visiting our team page and making a donation.
Click here to learn more about Cycle for Survival.
Click here to visit the CapRelo Team Page.
We will be attending and/or sponsoring the following upcoming events. If you’re attending, look for us and say hi, because it's a great opportunity for us to stay abreast of the latest global mobility trends, as well as develop and strengthen trusted partnerships.
Greater Richmond Relocation Council Winter Conference
Date: Evening Event, December 3; Conference, December 4
Location: New Delta Hotel, Richmond, VA
Attendee: Pete Larkin
The GRRC winter conference will include a keynote global economic update, panel discussions and roundtable sessions.
Wisconsin Employee Relocation Council Holiday Meeting
Date: December 4
Location: Maggiano's Little Italy, Wauwatosa, WI
Attendee: Christopher Bloedel
The WiERC holiday meeting includes a guest presentation on attracting corporate investment in the Milwaukee region and a peer activity on talent acquisition.
Portland Relocation Council Winter Meeting
Date: December 5
Location: World Forestry Center - Miller Hall, Portland, OR
Attendee: Patrick Cacho
The PRC winter meeting will focus on educational topics ranging from tax reform updates to a panel on Inclusive Mobility: How Global Mobility & Inclusion Can Partner for Results. The PRC is encouraging attendees to dress for the holidays and will award prizes. There will also be a variety of volunteer opportunities to support JOIN, a Portland organization that supports the efforts of homeless individuals and families to transition into permanent housing.
Heart of America Relocation Council Holiday Meeting
Date: December 5
Location: Lidia's Italian Restaurant, Kansas City, MO
Attendee: Christopher Bloedel
The HARC holiday meeting's panel discussion will focus on the Evolution of Mobility and Talent Management. A holiday reception will follow the panel discussion. When you register for the event, you will have an opportunity to donate and support Move for Hunger.
Greater Washington Employee Relocation Council Membership Mingle & Meeting
Date: Mingle, December 6; Meeting, December 7
Location: Mingle – Cure Bar and Bistro, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC;
Meeting – Partnership for Public Service, Washington, DC
Attendee: Pete Larkin
The GWERC will host a special holiday membership mingle on Thursday, December 6, followed by the December membership meeting the next day. The meeting will feature industry and association updates and a relocation and mobility panel discussion, as well as a presentation by motivational speaker Gian Paul Gonzalez.
Bay Area Mobility Management Annual Holiday Celebration
Date: December 7
Location: W Hotel San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Attendee: Patrick Cacho
BAMM's annual holiday celebration includes a holiday luncheon, an opportunity to network with industry colleagues and a silent auction to support BAMM charities,
New York Council of Relocation Professionals Holiday Event
Date: December 11
Location: Columbus Citizens Foundation, New York, NY
Attendee: Pete Larkin
Details for NYCORP's holiday event are not currently available, but you can register to attend.
Topics: CapRelo Employees
A robust and responsive global mobility program can make your organization stand out among your competitors and help you attract and retain the top talent in your industry. Find out how: