38% of companies sent between one to nine employees on a cross-cultural work assignment in 2013, according to a 2014 study conducted by Atlas Van Lines.
The costs of failure for any of these assignments can be sky-high when considering the price of relocation, onboarding in the host country, productivity loss, and disruption to normal business operations.
As a result, experts advise that HR and the company’s relocation team follow a six-step process known as S.E.T.T.L.E to ensure the greatest chance of relocation success. These are:
- Sizing up – providing employees and their families with detailed information about the target country to ensure that they are fully prepared for a move there.
- Embarking – assisting employees with the financial burden, as well as aiding with setting up accommodation, shipping personal items, and handling administrative tasks.
- Taking up residence – offering help upon arrival at the host country and providing guidance on routine tasks such as banking and grocery shopping.
- Tackling the necessities – helping employees with paperwork and administrative duties such as passport and visa obligations.
- Learning the ropes – offering cultural lessons such as expected attire, social norms, and etiquette practices.
- Exploring and discovering – showcasing the best the country has to offer, and displaying how the post-transition experience will be enjoyable for employees and their families.
While technical aspects of the transition require employer assistance, it’s important not to overlook human needs as well.
“Overarching nay relocation process must be an appreciation of the emotional journey that accompanies it,” said Sharon Swift, founder of The Expat Concierge. “When getting stuck into helping with the logistics of the move, businesses would be wise to be sensitive to the emotional aspects of the move, too.”
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